November 21, 2005

Fall Step Benefits C.U. Charity

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Shadows Dance Troupe organized performances by 13 Cornell student dance groups to support a greater cause at the eleventh annual Fall Step Friday night at Ithaca’s Historic State Theater.

The performance, which included hip-hop, jazz and ethnic styles of dance, helps to fund On-Site Volunteer Services yearly operating costs, Cornell’s student-run community service agency.

Last year’s performance brought in at least $2,000 for the agency. Shadows led the show with four dances, including “Kiss Kiss,” “Culo,” and “If,” choreographed by Stefanie Schoen ’07, Brittany Haas ’08, and Alexis Fraser ’06, respectively.

Fall Step and Shadows have been affiliated with On-Site Volunteer Services for the past nine years. A Shadows dancer who was also an On-Site employee initiated the collaboration to make the proceeds of Fall Step benefit On-Site nine years ago, said Michelle D’Agrosa ’07, Community Service Director at On-Site.

By allowing the proceeds to fund On-Site, Shadows and the Cornell dance community show how they care about Tompkins County, D’Agrosa added. On-Site’s community outreach and service mission complements Shadow’s selection of the State Theatre in downtown Ithaca.

“State Theater’s a big venue, and we were able to do a lot of publicity in the Ithaca community, in local stores,” said Shoen, co-chair of Shadows.

The goal was to have an audience comprised of both Cornell students and community members. Last year, the dance groups performed at Ithaca High School.

“Both Shadows and On-Site build town-gown relations because they’re taking organizations and bringing them downtown and involving community members,” D’Agrosa said.

“It’s a really effective way to raise money; it’s an entertaining way to do it,” said Joanna Lieberman ’07, a member of the audience in response to Fall Step’s socially conscious fun.

Fall Step not only works to unite Cornell organizations and the Ithaca Community, but also unites the many diverse dance groups on campus.

“The show makes everyone more aware of the dance community on campus and reminds people there are a lot of dancers on campus,” Shoen said.

For Fall Step, Shadows works as the umbrella organization over the 17 dance groups on campus. “There can be rivalry in the dance world, like anything, but Fall Step brings everyone together and represents all different cultures and lets everyone show what they’re all about,” Shoen added.

More multicultural cultural dances have been integrated into Fall step since its inception 11 years ago. According to Shoen, styles like hip-hop and fast jazz are under-represented in dance and the Ithaca community.

The performance allows dancers a little bit more room to express themselves, she added.

Sitara, a South Asian dance troupe, Bhangra, Punjab Indian dance, Sabor Latino, Uhuru Kuumba, the Cornell Filipino Association and Cornell Raas added an international style to the performance while On Tap, Shadows, Impact, Pandora and BASE performed contemporary American dance, from tap to hip-hop.

Archived article by Jessica DiNapoli
Sun Staff Writer