‘Twas the Tuesday before finals week, when all throughout Storrs
No frat pregames were stirring, on any dorm floors;
Papers were sent to HuskyCT with care,
In hopes that fair grading would soon would be there;
The students were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of the UConn Dance Company danced in their heads.
Forgive the over-syllablization on the last line, but I had to get to the point eventually: The UConn Dance Company took the time out of their last week cramming to give a superb show last night at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Jumping (literally) from hip-hop to slow balladry to top 40 pop bangers, the nine-year-old dance troupe wowed a packed crowd last night.
The Dance Company was aided by guest performances, A Completely Different Note, UConn’s oldest all-male acapella group and Husky Bhangra, a competitive Indian dance club. With 10 traditional small-number dances and one big finale, the club didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
Each of the performances were given a tidbit of context through an accompanying quote gathered together in the program. The beautiful opening number of Act II, called “Alive” (set to the identically named song by Sia), had a particularly touching Matshona Dhiwayo quote, “Be like stars; instead of cursing the darkness, shine.” The note continued, “Alive is a powerful dance about overcoming adversity, about not just coping with hardship, but rather finding the inner strength to live life fully in the face of it.” The dance mirrored that sentiment perfectly, with the dancers flying around the stage with the same passion as Sia’s crooning vocals.
Not all dances shared the same smooth sailing steps and emotion. Some dances went hard. The third dance of the evening, set to a fusion of rap hits (primarily Kendrick Lamar’s HUMBLE.), was balls to the wall energy. In contrast to the Sia-inspired long movements and gliding, the hip-hop moves were brief and flashy; The range of the show was amazing, to say the least.
That energy carried through the audience for the whole 90 minutes, with various students screaming (between songs) the names of their friends and words of encouragement.
The excitement carried from the audience back to the performers. “Tonight was awesome. I really love this team and I’m super excited to see what next semester will bring,” sophomore dancer Yvonne Laporte said about her night and experience with the group.
“It was an amazing show,” Beverly Clancy, a family member to a performer said. “A lot of hard work went into it, that much was clear; my granddaughter was dancing and she was gorgeous.”
The show concluded with a brief word from the president of the club, junior Eric Beltrami. He thanked everyone for coming and gave special recognition to the two seniors who are graduating after this semester. It was a touching end to a superb night of jumping and dancing across the stage. Bravo.