Courtesy of Lindsay Forg

Pictured above, the Senior students in Rise Dance Group.

May 5, 2021

Cornell Dance Alliance Celebrates Dancers’ Hard Work During Virtual Year

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Bailey Hall has been extra quiet this year… What happened to all of the dance performances?

During a normal year, you could find Cornell’s colorful array of dance troupes putting on huge performances for family and friends. However, this year, even practicing in-person as a full group is prohibited. Luckily, that hasn’t stopped Cornell’s dance community from putting in the work! 

All of that hard work will finally pay off this Saturday at the Cornell Dance Alliance Super Showcase, where many of Cornell’s dance groups will show the school community what they’ve been working on this year and how they’ve continued dancing with each other virtually.

The Cornell Dance Alliance, or CDA, is an umbrella organization that connects all of the dance groups at Cornell, providing resources for Cornell’s dance community and amplifying each group’s dance events. In a normal year, many dance groups put on their own showcases for friends and family, but because of Covid, all performances (and a lot of the rehearsal that goes into them) have to be virtual. Because of this, the opportunity was ripe for CDA to bring dancers together to perform virtually. “It made sense to create a space where our community can come together one final time to share our passions with one another,” said CDA E-board members Kyle-Avory Muña ’21 and Clara Fontaine ’21. “It has been super rewarding to see the dance community quickly adjust to the virtual environment and support each other in this unconventional year of dance.”

This year has indeed been unconventional for dancers. Dancers could be found participating in virtual dance practice all around campus, from the tiny bit of floor space in dorm rooms to the second floor of the Physical Sciences Building. However, more recently, groups have been able to meet in groups of 10 or less to finally practice together, but also on a floor that is safe for turns and tricks. Learning and communicating choreography over Zoom can be challenging, making clarifying and perfecting routines in-person even more important. Later, dance groups were able to film videos of their routines in person to produce the final result.

Dance-related challenges weren’t the only difficult part of the virtual transition. Holding auditions and recruiting new members was harder this year, especially for troupes that rely on impromptu performances to attract new members, like Cornell Bhangra. Even though it has been harder to stay connected, dance has become even more of an important outlet for students to destress while navigating the year. 

One highlight of the showcase will be the debut of a new dance group, Dance to Inspire, which was formed this semester. Members of the group expressed that it was challenging to start the group during the virtual semester, form a bond between teammates, and create a full-length two minute piece online.

This Saturday’s “Super Showcase” will feature recordings of dance performances from at least ten of Cornell’s diverse dance groups, including Bhangra, BASE, BreakFree, Cornell University Dance Team, Dance to Inspire, E.Motion, LOKO, Rise, Sinigang and Tamasha. These groups encompass a wide variety of styles, from hip-hop to traditional Punjabi dance. The showcase is more than just the dance performances, though. The event is also a dance party with music by DJ Ha-meen in between videos, celebrating all of the hurdles that Cornell’s dancers have overcome this year. CDA calls it a “social dis-dancing party!” If you want to see all that Cornell’s dance community has to offer and jam out to some great music, head to linktr.ee/cudancers to sign up for the party, which will be Saturday, May 8 from 8-11 p.m. EDT.

Lauren Douglass is a freshman in the College of Artand Sciences. She can be reached at led94@cornell.edu.