UConn Dance Company and UConn Ballet Company amaze at Jorgensen

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Dancers from the University Dance Company perform in their annual winter showcase on Tuesday Dec. 7 in Jorgensen Center for Performing arts, for the first time since 2019. The showcase featured dances that were choreographed by members of the Dance Company, and the Company acknowledged the seniors from the past two years who were not able to participate in their final performances due to COVID-19. Photo by Erin Knapp/The Daily Campus

On Tuesday, the UConn Dance Company and the UConn Ballet Company held their first show since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Held at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, the night was filled with various energetic performances from the groups with a considerable audience turn out. The show followed all COVID-19 guidelines; dancers wore face shields and audience members in masks showed proof of vaccination or a negative test.  

The UConn Dance Company started the night with an introduction from the group’s vice president, seventh-semester student Rachel Guire. The group impressed the crowd with multiple dance numbers, including selections from popular songs by artists like Rihanna and Harry Styles. The company chose a wide range of dance styles, from lyrical to acrobatics.  

While all the students in the dance company wowed the audience, one student stood out from the rest. Trevor Mazzei holds the title of sole male dancer in the UConn Dance Company. He had some featured solos throughout the night, and during the company’s performance of “Finesse” by Bruno Mars, even showcased some breakdancing moves. The entire company amazed the audience with their skill and rhythm.  

The UConn Ballet Company performs excerpts from The Nutcracker in their first performance on Tuesday Dec. 7 in Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts. The Company, founded in 2020, was unable to perform in the past due to COVID-19 restrictions. Photo by Erin Knapp/The Daily Campus

The UConn Dance Company also took an opportunity to showcase a video during the performance, featuring their planned dances of 2020. These performances never made it to the stage because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tribute featured a farewell to the company’s class of 2020 graduates who never got to perform in their final show. The video was an interesting insight into the dances we never saw and a touching tribute to the seniors whose time with the group was cut short.  

After a brief intermission, the next group was introduced. The president, student Angelia Prip, and vice president of the company, fifth-semester student Karolina Zimny, welcomed the audience to what we discovered was the company’s first show. The UConn Ballet Company was started by the pair, and their dedication was clearly evident on stage. The company performed various excerpts from the classic ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Solos included Prip as the “Sugar Plum Fairy,” seventh-semester neurobiology student Deanna Pietrorazio as “Marzipan Queen,” fifth-semester political science student Bianca Spataro as “Snow Queen,” and first-semester mechanical engineering student Lela Romeo as “Clara”. The show was a beautiful rendition of the Christmas classic.  

The show also featured an unusual face. Although not a dancer, Dr. Waldo Klein, professor at the UConn School of Social Work, graced the stage with his talents that night. Playing Clara’s godfather, “Herr Drosselmeyer,” his performance was a cameo that many UConn students both on stage and in the audience enjoyed.  

While traditionally many dance shows are choreographed by professionals, the two companies took this opportunity to showcase their students’ talents, with most of the night’s dances featuring student choreography. 

Overall, the show was a look into the talent that these students clearly possess. The show was a roaring success after a stagnant year, a great start to what will hopefully be a very successful comeback for both groups and an opportunity to show the UConn community just what they can do.  

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