By Gabby Pacitti
St aff Writer
The College’s Tap Ensemble and Dancers of New Jersey held their fourth annual showcase on Sunday, April 23 on the Kendall Hall main stage.
Featuring dancers from all skill levels and backgrounds, the show was an exposition of a semester's worth of preparation presented in an exciting 90 minute performance.
“These organizations are unique because we are a non-audition based group, and accept all levels of dancers,” said Nicole Decker, a senior nursing major and the president of the Tap Ensemble. “In Dancers of New Jersey, we have some dancers who have never danced before, while we also have dancers who have danced since the age of 2.”
Composed of different group, solo, duet and trio performances, the showcase ranged from energetic hip hop numbers to more somber contemporary dances. There were a total of 24 dance numbers throughout the evening, with a twenty minute intermission in the middle.
A unique aspect of both organizations is the contributions of student choreographers. A handful of members from each group choreographed their group numbers, while members who performed solo, duet or trio numbers were able to choreograph their own dances.
“For Dancers of New Jersey, our group numbers were choreographed by Emily Castanza, Shenney Lin, Simie Zhu, Jess Kraycirik, Isabel Rinaldi and myself,” Decker said. “For Tap, our choreographers are Grace Trumpy, our choreography captain, Anna Stout, Tara Weber and myself.”
Starting off the evening was a group performance from the Dancers of New Jersey to “Candy Store” from “Heathers: The Musical,” followed by a solo performance by Ashley Serrao to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.”
Other solo numbers included Sara Somogyi’s performance to “hate to be lame” by Lizzy McAlpine and FINNEAS, Anna Stout’s performance to “Survivor” by 2WEI and Edda Hayes and Decker’s performance to an acoustic version of Green Day’s “Wake Me up When September Ends.”
Choreographed by Decker herself, this was a special number for her.
“As a kid, my mom and I would love listening to this song,” she said. “I wanted to do something for my solo that was not only meaningful to me, but showed my mom how grateful I am to have had her by my side throughout my whole life.”
The emotion was felt by the audience throughout her dance as well.
“It was really moving watching her dance; she did a really great job,” said Jillian Cohen, a freshman elementary special education major.
In addition to the emotional numbers, like Decker’s, were fun and high energy performances, including a tap performance to “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” by Miley Cyrus and a hip-hop number from Dancers of New Jersey to a remix of Flo Rida’s “Low.”
Brianna Finkle, a freshman computer science major, performed in both dances. Interestingly, her background is in contemporary and lyrical dance, but she performed neither style in the showcase.
“Hip hop is not really my thing so that was more challenging for me,” said Finkle of the “Low” remix. “But it was really fun to see it all come together.”
The hip-hop number was a crowd favorite and one of the standout performances of the night.
“All of the contemporary and jazz and tap numbers were good, but they sort of blended together after a while,” Cohen said. “I really liked the hip-hop dance. It was sort of unexpected, and it really stood out from the rest.”
For some dancers, it was their first showcase performance at the College, but for others, it was their final time on the Kendall Hall stage.
“It’s really sad to think that I will be graduating and leaving both these organizations,” said Decker, “but I am really excited to be able to come back and see how these organizations will grow through the next couple years.”
The showcase was a true celebration of dance, from the dramatic to the emotional to the pure joy of it. For Tap president Decker, having fun while performing is what it’s all about.
“That’s something I love about our showcase,” she said. “We don’t care if you mess up a tiny step, as long as you are having fun.”