Dance Guild performs to sold-out crowd
Students packed into the sold-out Dance Guild show Friday night in the CFAC auditorium. Dance Guild held two performances on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 17 at 8 p.m.
Even though the Calvin volleyball tournament game took place at the same time as Dance Guild on Friday and Saturday nights, the Friday show was still sold-out well beforehand.
This year, 274 students participated in Dance Guild, which is Calvin’s largest student organization. The show included a diverse variety of 28 dance routines, such as jazz, funk, hip-hop, contemporary and ballroom dancing.
Jenna Werkman, Kofi Akyeampong, Mallory McLaughlin, Maria-Renee Plona and Noelle Babechenko are the Dance Guild student leaders who helped to coordinate, synchronize and harmonize the dances.
For senior leader Mallory McLaughlin, this Dance Guild marks her last, as she is going abroad to York next semester. She was glad to see the hard work pay off at the performance.
“Our dancers have worked for 10 weeks so hard to put it together, and it shows in their excitement on stage,” said McLaughlin.
Maria-Renee Plona is a junior member of Dance Guild student leadership. She danced in audition sacred, audition modern and audition pointe, and she choreographed audition sacred and audition modern with Megan Reitsma. Plona is excited to have an opportunity to be on the Dance Guild leadership, which was an aspiration of hers since she started participating.
“I have been waiting [since] my freshman year to be on dance guild leadership, so it feels great,” said Plona. “The best part of being on leadership is seeing everything come together during the show. Everyone works so hard on their dances so seeing the finished product is really beautiful.”
Since the fall of her freshman year, Plona has participated in a total of 24 dances with Dance Guild. She hopes that the audience enjoys the variety and talent that the student body showcases through the dances.
“I love Dance Guild, and I hope that people appreciate the artistry put into a lot of the dances and take notice of all of the genres we showcase,” she said.
Aimee Vos, a sophomore student, was a choreographer and dancer for the show, and she has participated in three Dance Guild performances prior to this November’s show. Vos danced in audition co-ed hip-hop, audition hick-kick, which opened the show, and audition funk, which she also choreographed.
Her favorite aspect of Dance Guild is the collective enthusiasm and exhilaration that comes with the performances.
“[My favorite part] is show night, performing and being backstage with all the dancers and sharing in the excitement and encouragement,” said Vos.
Vos also enjoys the dance participants’ solidarity in the lead up to the performances.
“Pre-show we sing the Doxology together and it’s really beautiful and you just realize how much talent you’re sitting with,” said Vos.
Jenna Werkman is a junior student leader for Dance Guild this year. Werkman started participating in Dance Guild fall semester of her freshman year, and has been in Dance Guild for five semesters. She took part in three dances and choreographed the Audition Girls Lyrical piece.
“Being a student leader of Dance Guild is an incredible honor and very insightful,” said Werkman. “It instilled in me great appreciation for all the work done behind the scenes weeks before the show to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Along with the excitement of choreographing, Werkman said that one of her favorite aspects of Dance Guild is being able to positively influence the community.
“My favorite part of Dance Guild leadership, aside from all the wonderful people I get to work with, is knowing that I have the chance to positively impact a community that I am passionate about,” said Werkman. “Hosting the choreographer meeting is one of the most exciting tasks for me as a leader. It gives us a sense of direction for the entire show, and I love all the creative ideas that students bring to the table each semester—a synchronized swimming-inspired number, for example.”
Noelle Babechenko, a senior member of leadership, has participated in Dance Guild every semester she has been at Calvin. Babechenko, who has been dancing for 14 years, said that it is her passion.
She is involved in seven dances this semester, and she also co-choreographed the advanced sacred routine.
As a member of Dance Guild leadership, Babechenko said that the atmosphere surrounding the performance nights is frenzied.
“During show week, being a student leader of Dance Guild is insanity, but not in a bad way,” said Babechenko. “There are just a lot of things that need to get done in a short period of time.”
Nikita Blaauwendraat is a sophomore member of Dance Guild. She participated in four dances: audition co-ed hip-hop, audition funk, advanced jazz, and guild co-ed hip-hop. The camaraderie between the dancers and the thrill of performance are some of her favorite parts of Dance Guild.
“I really like the friendships you make in your dances and the excitement of performing on stage,” said Blaauwendraat.
She also loves seeing the Calvin students who come to support Dance Guild and see the results of months of hard work, preparation and practice.
“I love when I can spot my friends in the audience and I can see them and other people cheering you on,” she said.