“The show starts in five minutes,” a mysterious voice called out from behind the black curtains of the Sainer Auditorium on May 5. Moments later, the New College Spring 2023 Dance Collective Showcase commenced with cultural dances, K-pop choreography, jazz solos and beautiful interpretative dances that captured the audience’s attention.
This year’s dance administrators—second-years Anne McAllister, Lydia Ubry, Catalyst Co-Copy Editor Gaby Batista and third-years McKenna Mooney and Alexis Merker— worked alongside technology administrators, first-year Matthew Glandon and third-year John Smith, to lead the group of performers through an hour-long show on May 5 and 6. The show was available for free for the public to enjoy, attracting rows of New College students.
The show started with a rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” with choreography influenced by popular Korean choreographer BBAEYUB, creating a hip-hop and pop fusion piece. The choreography was both sassy and fun, capturing the audience members with the first performance. Third-year Micheal Bolesh and dancer in this rendition interviewed with the Catalyst about his past experiences with the club.
“I have a soft spot for ballet, as my first dance collective dance partner and choreographer, Phoenix Kadzis (’22) was classically trained.” Bolesh stated.
Next came the fan-favorite duo Batista and thesis student Rocio Del Mar with their dance to Joy Crookes’ song “When You Were Mine.” The choreography told a story of the ups and downs of ex-lovers as the performers creatively used two black chairs in their choreography, swiveling back and forth across the stage as they told the romantic story. First-year Rowan Riley sat in the crowd enjoying the performance and turned to a Catalyst staff writer after the act ended.
“Wow, that was so good,” Riley exclaimed. “I can’t wait to see them both in more acts!”
“Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane was also performed and—according to the show’s program—dedicated to “all the fearless people that have made New College a treasure that only we will know.” The piece was a powerful contemporary work choreographed by all of the dancers involved in this number. Leaps, rolls and leg lifts were featured with airy dancing and an emotional message. The Catalyst talked to NCSA Vice President and performer, first-year Kyla Baldonado about the experience.
“Our piece, Somewhere Only We Know, was very emotionally charged,” Baldonado said. “Every week, the dancers came in with feelings about everything going on around us. We all had incredible ideas to inject into the choreography so it was a fun challenge to facilitate that kind of dialogue in the dance studio.”
The show list continues on with a medley titled “Good For Her.” The act focused on female empowerment as a trio of dancers performed in a hip-hop style to songs by Beyonce, Nelly Furtado and Little Mix. The crowd felt their feminine flare radiating across the audience as they strutted with confidence.
For those looking for a more calming contemporary dance, the medley “Human Nature Is…” was just that by aiming to capture the joyous and chaotic journey that is life. The music included soothing voices whispering in the background, with rhythmic and flowy choreography. The dance provided a unique element of “self-made music” created by the performers patting their bodies to produce a rhythm in the moments when the music went silent. As the dance came to an end, audience members roared with praise for the act.
First-years Bilge Bengisu Akyol and Demetre Seturidze brought something totally unique to the table with their piece. This traditional Azerbaijani dance piece, “Derbendi Reqsi,” is more than just a simple dance—the two described it in the show list as a connection that bridges between two souls. The duo spun around each other gracefully with wide arm movements and concentrated twists of their hands.
A certain level of bravery is involved when taking on a solo performance, with the audience’s eyes on you as you move across the stage. First-year Lianna Paton demonstrated great skill and technique with her solo contemporary piece, “Poets of Prophetic Messianism.” The lighting added an extra dramatic element as crew members Glandon and Smith casted the lights upon Paton front and center, who executed kicks and rolls with ease to the intense jazz music. Her goal was to connect her love for dance with her passion for anthropology and academics.
Last but certainly not least was a K-pop dance piece to “Antifragile” by Le Sserafim, a song that represents solidarity and not backing down from challenges that relate to the New College social climate. The dancers all wore a mix of red and denim which made them pop as they danced to the hip-hop number choreographed by Park So Yeon and Todd Williamson. The group ended the showcase on a high note with their strong dance moves and high energy. Merker, a performer in this piece and a dance administrator for the team spoke with the Catalyst about her preparation.
“We prepared for the Dance Collective Showcase by practicing every week for approximately two hours,” Merker said. “When we got closer to the show, we could also practice the pieces on the Sainer stage. The most difficult part of the choreography for me was knowing if certain moves were on counts, words or a certain musical note. An example of this difficulty was in Antifragile by Le Sserafim. This is a K-pop piece where some moves are on words, others are on certain musical notes, and some are in absolute silence!”
Batista also participated in the Dance Collective finale.
“This might be a bit biased, but I always look forward to Antifragile,” they said. “It’s so much fun performing it, especially all made up and in our outfits, I feel a bit like a professional. That sounds a bit silly, but I can’t help but love the song and the dance so much!”