By Sarah Levine ’16
One of the great things about this campus is how involved students are in extracurricular activities like clubs and organizations. Almost every type of interest is represented in the 200-plus clubs from fencing to math to model UN. But for me, the most amazing thing of all is the sheer number of different dance groups.
With groups that specialize in Bhangra, Irish Step dance, Ethiopian dance, hip hop, salsa and so many more styles, you would be hard pressed to find one that isn’t represented.
For many students, dance was a hobby they pursued in high school and wanted to continue when they got to college. For some, its a good way to get rid of tension and have a break from the strenuous needs of academic life.
As junior Yukako Ito, a Dance minor and Computer Science major, puts it, “I started dance to have a stress reliever during my busy schedule… now I also do it as a passion!”
Each fall, as a part of the fourth annual First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, students from these organizations, and those taking classes with the dance department, are invited to perform in the annual Diversity of Dance performance which showcases the diverse dance types here on campus and in the world.
This year, the performance took place on Saturday, September 26 at the School of the Arts and featured eight different pieces from UR Bhangra, Radiance, Indulgence, Dance 380- Repertory and Performance, Ur Celtic, Xclusive Step Team, Sahir and a solo by Yukako Ito, a Junior in the dance program.
Each group had a five-minute window to fill with choreography and the range of performances was simply wonderful to see. No two groups performed the same genre and the audience was treated
to a tour of the world through movement.
From belly dancing to hip hop to jazz, students dazzled the audience with sparkling costumes and shining skills. Even though the audience was small and it was early on a Saturday, all of the groups performed with high energy.
This performance is like a tiny sampling of all the distinct and differing backgrounds that the students on this campus represent. These differences are the spices that give our community so much flavor and spark. The dance community is one place where all of these differences shine through in a kaleidoscope of culture and movement. So many countries have their own dance tradition and it is so great to get to see these celebrated by the groups on campus and in the dance department.
Junior and UR Celtic member Erinmarie Byrnes says, ” Dancing with Celtic reminds me that I do Irish dance because I love it, and that its worth dedicating time to even on days that feel bogged down by stress and work.”
The Diversity of Dance performance gives us an opportunity to showcase the differences that make Rochester the vibrant and international community it is and share and celebrate our students passions with the city of Rochester as well.