The GV Dance Troupe performs for a cause close to their hearts – Grand Valley Lanthorn
For the first time in two years, the dance troupe at Grand Valley State University (GVDT) held an in-person recital.
On Friday, November 19 and Saturday, November 20, GVDT performed their show “Dance Among the Stars” at Allendale High School Auditorium.
Each semester, the dance troupe uses the recital to help raise funds for a local cause.
In previous semesters, they have helped raise funds for the Harbor Humane Society, environmental justice organization The Sierra Club, and a shelter for victims of domestic violence called Resilience.
This semester, the troupe decided to raise money for North Star Reach, a camp for kids who usually can’t attend summer camp due to life-threatening illnesses. North Star Reach is Michigan’s only fully accessible, barrier-free medical camp.
Kaitlyn Holloway, GVDT secretary and double major in communication sciences and disorders and Spanish, said this cause is particularly close to home for GVDT.
Holloway said a recently deceased former GVDT dancer was closely linked to North Star Reach as an organizer and former volunteer, and the organization was very important to her.
“Sadly she passed away over the summer and we thought it would be a wonderful way to honor her legacy, raising awareness and raising donations for their cause,” Holloway said.
During a typical semester, the GVDT Human Resources Representative researches several charities and organizations located in West Michigan. The representative then presents their findings to the club and they vote on which organization to represent.
Due to the personal nature of North Star Reach with the troupe, this semester they collectively decided to fundraise for the organization instead of going through the traditional selection process.
This semester, the recital consisted of 18 dances that included solos, group dances of varying styles, and a finale that featured all the dancers in the troupe. Each number was intimately choreographed by its choreographer and displayed a range of skill and emotion.
Holloway said she hopes those in attendance embrace the range of emotions that each number evokes.
“Some of the dances were sensitive in nature, with personal tributes to loved ones who have passed away or in solidarity with those who have suffered from domestic violence,” Holloway said. “We hoped audiences would applaud the upbeat hip-hop, applaud the incredible pirouettes in the advanced jazz routines, and embrace the emotions of the lyrical ballads.”
Since this was the troupe’s first in-person performance since the pandemic began, most of its members had never performed with the troupe live.
“I was looking forward to my first in-person recital as a board member, as we have held a special tradition that begins with every recital,” Holloway said. “From seeing him as a freshman to hosting him now, the loop is very full.”
Among those who experience such moments of closure are the senior GVDT graduates in the spring.
GVDT Treasurer and Environmental Sustainability Specialist Sierra Barnes said she was delighted to be back in person for her final performances on the program.
“Dancing for the last time this year means the end of an era for me,” Barnes said. “I’ve been dancing all my life and it’s crazy to think this is the end. Anyway, I’m so happy to be able to end on such a high note with GVDT. I wouldn’t want that otherwise.”
Performances like “Dance Among the Stars,” which allow a group of people to come together and collectively experience the same emotions, are part of the arts world that the pandemic has taken away from people.
Holloway said GVDT wanted to bring him back.
“In particular, stepping in (this time when there are safer options for gathering), opportunities to bring the community together for entertainment as well as supporting and contributing to wonderful causes is a responsibility we are proud to lead” , Holloway said.
GVDT will host their next recital in the spring of 2022.