Grand Valley Dance Troupe Presents Fall Show – Grand Valley Lanthorn
The Grand Valley State University Dance Troupe (GVDT) is a non-competitive, student-run organization that empowers dancers of all skill levels to express themselves and their passion for dance.
On November 18 and 19, GVDT performed two shows at Allendale High School for their fall 2022 performance, “Don’t Stop Be’Leafing.”
Each semester, the group organizes a recital to raise funds for a local non-profit association. This semester, all ticket sales made by the organization have benefited the Blandford Nature Center, the local nonprofit whose mission is to empower and engage the Grand Rapids community through nature.
This non-profit organization has been in operation since 1968 and its mission is to cultivate community through enriching experiences in nature. Through numerous routines and the name of the show itself, GVDT has raised awareness of the center and its environmental efforts.
“Blandford Nature Center now spans a total of 264 acres, making it one of the largest nature centers in the country to exist entirely within city limits,” said Graylen Erdmann, chief financial officer and member of the seventh semester. “They engage 10,000 youth program participants in 450 programs a year and three elementary schools surrounding our property who can engage their students in experiential education in nature throughout the school year.”
The group encouraged students, families and community members to attend the event to support and recognize the hard work of both organizations and their commitment to giving back to society.
Grace Mahon, current president and a member of the club for the past seven semesters, said the team has been preparing for the show all semester to do its best yet.
“Each dance practice once a week during the semester to learn choreography, and the week before the show we meet every night at Allendale High School for what we call spirit week to rehearse on stage,” said said Mahon. “As president, there are also a lot of behind-the-scenes details to prepare for our recital, promotions, videography, photography, venue and more.”
Jillian Ferry, currently membership manager and a nine-semester member of the GVDT, echoed Ferry’s explanation and added how gratifying it is to see the final production.
“Our dancers are so dedicated and talented,” Ferry said. “It’s amazing how all the preparation comes together for the show, and it’s worth it.”
As part of their fall 2022 performance, the group choreographed and rehearsed 24 dances, and the choreographers had to meet specific criteria in order to demonstrate their creativity.
“Once you complete a semester at GVDT, you can become a choreographer for any level and style of dance,” Ferry said. “To play this role, leaders expect the choreographer to be responsible for ‘creating up to two of the dances and choosing the costumes to accompany their piece(s)’.”
Members take pride in their performances and the artistry of their teammates, using dance as an outlet to express their identity and their passion for giving back to the community.