Culturally, dance bridges gaps between groups and fosters a dialogue of non-verbal communication. As a universal art form, dance has the ability to create openness and a greater sense of community between groups. It is the hope of uniting people of different cultures and life experiences in the Village of Hamilton that Colgate alumna and Executive Director of the project Terica Adams ’12 is spearheading Hamilton National Dance Day. The endeavor is being supported by three recent Colgate graduates and one current student, junior Danielle Iwata.
Hamilton National Dance Day is advertised as a localized continuation of the 2010 National Dance Day initiative started by Nigel Lythgoe, the “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president. The Hamilton National Dance Day event promotes the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically, as well as the significance of human interaction and cultural awareness. Though the event is not planned to take place until later this summer, it is off to a rather impressive start.
The event, scheduled for July 25 to 26, 2014, was launched with a press release from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. at the end of February earlier this year. The press release emphasized the importance of dance in cross-cultural communication, professional communication and in connecting individuals. Iwata was quoted in the release, speaking to the more directly employable benefits of dance.
“Dance shows great promise in enhancing communication skills through understanding nonverbal cues, bettering problem solving because of amplified creativity and improving teamwork through enhanced understanding of group affect,” she said.
For those looking to get involved, attendance is open to all ages, skills and backgrounds but specifically to those who are open to meeting new people and stepping outside of their comfort zones for a weekend. The organizers are looking for individuals who dance, are interested in dance, are looking for creative way to stay fit, are curious and adventurous and those looking to explore new cultures and give back to the Hamilton community. As far as the structure of the event goes, individuals can sign up to take workshops instructed by different dance groups ranging in genre from salsa, jazz, ballet, Middle Eastern Raqs Sharqi, Caribbean Dance Hall, South African Xhosa and many more. The experience will culminate in a showcase of the dances that participants have learned over the weekend. Registration for the event is $15 per person before June 1, and $25 thereafter.
Along with the opportunity to learn about other cultures and dance styles, this event is particularly exciting because it is driven by Colgate students and alumni. Adams sees this event as a branching off of Colgate’s semi-annual Dancefest. Adams credits Dancefest as setting a precedent for engaging the Colgate and Hamilton communities in the excitement of dance. If all goes as projected, Hamilton National Dance Day will serve to showcase the skills of dancers not only at Colgate but also in the larger community while engaging in a collective expression of cultures.