Unique Dance Guild performance celebrates all dancers

Photo+by+Anna+Delph

Photo by Anna Delph

Students in Dance Guild, Calvin’s largest student organization, performed a pair of nearly sold-out shows last Friday and Saturday in the CFAC Auditorium.

This spring, over 300 student dancers jumped, hip-hopped and swung to over 30 acts by about 45 choreographers, all under this year’s weather-appropriate theme, “Dancing In The Rain.”

This Dance Guild marked another splash in the bucket of the org’s long history: this was the 44th year of performances since they began in 1971.

The impressive longevity of the org is a result of its energy and inclusivity, according to professor Ellen Van’t Hof, the program advisor who helps with the logistics of the org.

“No other college has something like this. Other colleges have dance programs, recitals and performances, but they are often part of a curriculum for the elite. Here, we welcome every skill level, every body type and every style of dancer,” said Van’t Hof.

Dance Guild’s diverse student participants bring a range of talents and specialties, but they are united by a sense of common joy from dance. That joy has been a thread throughout the entirety of the guild’s existence and has led to quality show after quality show.

The show last weekend easily matched, if not exceeded, the energy and quality of performances from previous years.

Students danced to a variety of music and executed performances with “several fresh dance styles that have not been seen at Calvin College in the past,” according to Rachel VanOeffelen, a senior student leader.

As always, the student dancers had high energy and were well practiced, and the returning leadership team helped to create a nearly flawless show.

“This spring went a lot smoother than the fall semester, mostly because during the fall we were new to leadership and it was all of our first time running a Dance Guild show,” said Kayla Gibson-Beckner, publicity manager on the student leadership team.

Working together for a second semester allowed Beckner, VanOeffelen, Josue Vasquez and Therese Mualla — this year’s leadership team — to be prepared for the immense amount of planning that goes into executing a smooth Dance Guild performance.

As with any live show, Dance Guild’s audience has a substantial influence on the atmosphere and the success of the performances, so having a great audience is crucial. This past performance, the audience did not disappoint.

“Even though tickets weren’t sold out, the audiences for both nights were amazing, super loud and encouraging while we were on stage and when our dances were over,” said Cassidy Dykstra, a first-year student who danced in the show.

Over its 44 years of existence no two dances have ever been the same. But its unpredictability only contributes to the considerable anticipation that mounts before each performance.

Excitement for next year’s season is already germinating. Student leaders Lauren Wylie, Jaclyn Kuyers, Chris Lemoine, Marisa Heule and Andrea Osei-Bonsu will be working over the summer to prepare for next fall’s show.

Their leadership will mark the 45th year of the all-inclusive and flourishing student-led org.