Ursinus College Dance Company welcomes spring

Photo courtesy of Matthew Wright Fig Tree Photography

Sophia DiBattista

sodibattista@ursinus.edu

     The Ursinus College Dance Company (UCDC) will be performing their annual spring concert from Thursday, April 19 to Saturday, April 21 in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center. UCDC and the Dunya Performing Arts Company will be teaming up for the performance to bring “It’s All About Dat Beat: Dancing Resonance” to Ursinus.

     Produced by Karen Clemente, Professor of Dance at Ursinus, UCDC is well prepared for their long-awaited recital, which they have been practicing for since January 2018. Clemente said, “There are approximately 40 students involved in UCDC this year, [with] 24 dancers and 16 technical crew members.”

     Other performers will be present as well, including hip-hop artist Josh Polk and professional choreographer Dana Powers-Klooster, who have both lectured at Ursinus.

     Josh Polk, also known as “J Peazy” is a theatre director, performer, and choreographer. According to the Ursinus website and PhiladelphiaDANCE.org, he specializes in hip-hop and funk-style dance, and he has lectured at multiple college campuses, including Ursinus, teaching students about the importance of choreography and the hip-hop community. He currently teaches dance in Philadelphia. Dana Powers-Klooster is the Adjunct Professor of Theater and Dance at Ursinus, and her Ursinus page explains her specialties involve jazz and ballet.

      According to an article on the event by Taylor Manferdini, the event will consist of dances from a variety of genres, including transatlantic rhythms and various African-based dances, which will be performed by UCDC and the other featured artists. Powers-Klooster plans on performing her “Roots Unfolding’ piece, which examines themes such as nature, family, love, and loss. Polk is dancing his “Fight the Power” piece, focused on how hip-hop brings diversity and unity together as a celebration of cultures.

     Powers-Klooster’s piece will include Brooke Moses ’18. Moses said that she has been involved with numerous types of dance styles and that this is her fourth appearance in a UCDC show. Moses and Powers-Klooster “have been rehearsing for this piece since early March,” according to Moses.

     The African Dance Residency, a special class for Ursinus students, will be performing in the concert as well. Kelsey Jean-Baptiste, a senior media and communication studies and dance major, has been a part of UCDC since her freshman year. She will be performing in the African Dance Residency this year and explained that “the African Dance Residency is an opportunity that comes every spring semester [when] Jeanine Osayande and Ira Bond teach [participants] different African dances and rhythms.”

     Moses said, “[The African Dance Residency] have been performing in UCDC [for] the past for years with us. I believe it will be a fun performance especially since this is the first semester they have accepted two student pieces to be a part of the show. The pieces, I believe, are going to have a fun and upbeat feeling and hopefully make it an enjoyable night for its viewers.”

     “Caravan,” one of the accepted pieces in the African Dance Residency, is a collaborative piece with seniors James Daring, Kelsey Jean-Baptiste, and Danielle Jordan. Jean-Baptiste said that “[she] is very excited to perform [the piece] because it deals with a lot of polyrhythms within the beats.”

     Jean-Baptiste is looking forward to the concert and being able to perform with both UCDC and the African Dance Residency. She said, “I am very excited! It’s been really hard because a dancer has to sacrifice so many hours to practice, and that’s hard when you have classes and other extracurriculars. People don’t realize the time commitment and the pain that a dancer’s body goes through sometimes.”

     Jean-Baptiste advises audience members to “come in open-minded and leave inspired. Don’t take the moment for granted.”

     Be sure to check out the annual concert for a night of rhythm, dancing, and fun! Students can buy tickets for $5, and non-Ursinus members can buy them for $8 either online at ursinus.edu/tickets or at the box office before the concert.