Dance groups on campus adjust to membership spike

UntitledAccording to the most recent polls, Step Up Revolution probably will not win an Oscar this year, but its effect on the urge to torque is obvious. Georgetown’s premiere dance groups have seen a significant increase in membership this year.

Groove Theory, Georgetown’s only co-ed hip hop team, took in a much larger group of talented newcomers, compared to previous years. Groove Theory manager LaTara McLemore (COL ’13) explained why the team felt the need to expand. “This year in particular, we had a much, much larger number of dancers come audition, and we saw that so many had great potential,” she said.

“Groove Theory doesn’t have a cap. We don’t say, ‘We only want a team of 20.’ [This year’s auditions] were not necessarily more competitive, because we don’t have a limit. We took as many as we thought would be able to handle the choreography,” she added.

Unlike Groove Theory, this year the Georgetown University Dance Company continued to strictly limit the size of its group. This year’s GUDC audition was extremely competitive, according to GUDC co-director Erica Pincus (SFS ’13).

“GUDC is an academic course within the Department of Performing Arts and thus has a given number of available spots,” she said. “This year in particular we had an excellent group try out, which did make the auditions rather competitive. The arts community at Georgetown may be relatively small in size, but it is very talented.”

Pincus also expressed her wish that fewer potential dancers be turned away in the future. “I think it would be a real asset to Georgetown if the University created more avenues for interested students to learn how to dance and/or to continue their passion for dance,” she said.

Other dance groups have their own reactions to expanded interest and membership. Davisson Han (MSB ’13), a leader of the Hoya Break Squad, described the particular challenge posed by taking on new members in the realm of break dancing. Since Han’s freshman year, Hoya Break Squad has more than doubled its membership.

“B-boying [break dancing] is a very individualistic and personal art. Each member has his or her own talents, preferences, and style,” he said. “While it is possible to train any inexperienced new members in the same basic format, those committed to further learning quickly develop their own unique forms of dance.”

But Han stressed Break Squad’s commitment to employing each of its members’ skills. “We are an open group that welcomes and encourages those who wish to learn to participate. The concept of a ‘crew’ is based on a balance of personalities that come together to perform and battle. The difficulty is in the attention and effort that must be given to members who often have very different needs,” he said.

However, adapting to new membership is not the only thing on the minds of dance leaders—the coming years may see the disruption and movement of campus dance activity. Currently, the dance groups conduct practices in the dance studio in New South. But the planned construction of a New South Student Center in this area leaves dance leaders worried.

“I’m a senior, so I don’t have to worry about it personally, but it’s something I worry about for future years of Groove Theory,” said McLemore. “Talking to the Department of Performing Arts, I don’t think that they’re entirely certain about what will happen with the dance studios. Whether they’ll be somewhere else on campus, or whether they’ll be off campus, which would be bad. That’s a big, big question mark.”

If the trending interest in dance continues over the next few years, those studios will be much needed. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not the new student center will include them.

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