Dancefest: Dancing into the End of the Semester

Sophia Zanussi, Maroon-News Staff

Colgate’s dance groups reinvigorated the student body just in time for finals week during the fan favorite semi-annual production Dancefest on Saturday, December 7. Each year, Dancefest is one of the most attended events on Colgate’s campus. This semester, the trend continued with audience members lined up outside of the chapel in single-digit weather an hour before the event started. 

At 6:30 p.m., the chapel lights dimmed and the audience roared as all of Colgate’s dance groups performed an opening number together. From Belly Dancing to Ballroom, the first number showcased the wide variety of dance styles that would be performed later that night. As each group gave the audience a taste of their dance genre and style of dress, it was clear that the night would be filled with a manifold set of performances gracing different cultural and emotional modes of expression.

For sophomore choreographer and dancer in Colgate Dance Initiative and Colgate Ballet Company Anisah McEwan, the cultural diversity displayed in Dancefest’s performances is one of the most rewarding aspects of participating in the event. 

“My favorite part of Dancefest is the dress rehearsal. It’s so amazing just seeing everyone’s dances for the first time. Dancefest is, I feel, a melting pot of cultures, and it’s so great to see,” McEwan said. 

The multiculturalism experienced at dancefest did not go unnoticed by the crowd. 

“I really appreciated the inclusion of different cultural styles and genres of music,” sophomore Isabel Barraza said. 

Throughout the night, hosts seniors Katie Yu and Sharrod Gorum took the stage and introduced each of the six sets of performances and their corresponding dance groups. Yu and Gorum’s energy matched that of the enthusiastic audience as they spoke about the inspiration behind each dance, provided the audience with background information about certain dance styles and even cracked jokes about some of the groups—most notably, the dance team Wolf Pack’s boy band-esque dances and their eccentric titles.

Each group graced the stage in a total of 33 performances. Sophomore performer and choreographer in Colgate Dance Initiative Sophia Beresford specified that preparation for Dancefest is much more than just choosing choreography to put to music. In order to craft an experience for the audience that is not only entertaining but evocative of emotion, there are many factors to account for. 

“As far as choosing the music, Anisah and I sat down in my common room one day and bounced ideas off of each other about what we wanted the vibe to be. We decided that we didn’t want a song with lyrics and we came across the instrumental for ‘Needed Me’ and thought it was perfect. As far as the storyline for the piece, we came up with that randomly one day while choreographing which is also how we came up with the title for the piece ‘Girl Interrupted,’” Beresford said. 

As Dancefest came to a close, audience members congratulated dancers outside of the chapel and commended them on their performances. After much praise and conversation, a swarm of both audience members and performers united at Frank Dining Hall—embodying the truly unifying spirit of Dancefest.