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Large Crowd Enjoys Lesley University Dance Team Performance

The people who took their seats in Marran Theater had waited in a long line that stretched all the way into the Student Center. Parents were holding bouquets of flowers to give to their children, and students chatted with their group of friends; they were all there to support the Lesley University Dance Team in its end of semester dance show, “In The Middle Of The Dance Floor,” performed on December 7, 8, and 9, 2018.  As a former dancer for 13 years, I was eager to watch the show because of the importance dance has played in my life for so long. I was also there to support my friends who were performing.

The first thing I noticed (in addition to the long lines) was a table that stood to the left of the entrance; it had flowers that attendees could purchase to give to the dancers. The proceeds were being donated to T.A.P.S., the U.S. non-profit “Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors,” which provides care and support to families and friends grieving the loss of a member of the armed forces.

The lights flickered to notify the audience of the start of the show. As the bright red curtain was closed, dancers slowly peeped their heads out from the side to wave to their family and friends. Quiet tapping of feet stormed the stage, and the dancers chanted “L-U-D-T” numerous
times in a row. The audience was at the edge of their seats in anticipation for the show to begin.

The hosts, Hope Sutton and Keri Murray, walked on the brightly lit stage and began to hype up the crowd. In the theme of Lesley’s inclusive atmosphere, the hosts encouraged cheering from the audience but to stray away from gendered language. The hosts advertised the hashtag
#LUDTFall2018, where they would pick tweets from the audience members to read during the short breaks between dances. To lighten the mood with humor, Keri added, “If you send in mean tweets, Hope and I will DM you until you leave.”

The positive atmosphere welcomed the first number, “Burlesque”. The dancers wore corsets in a shade of deep red that shimmered in the stage light. Underneath, they sported black lace along their arms and fishnet stockings on their legs. Missy Fredericks choreographed the
jazzy number and incorporated chairs to add a new height to the dance. Freshman Jessie James said, “‘Burlesque’ was the hardest dance to perform from the entire show.”

The show continued with the hosts stepping on stage between dances to entertain the audience while the dancers participated in a quick costume change. They made self-proclaimed awkward jokes and were well aware of their role to distract the audience. When a dancer came
through the side curtain to cue the next number, Hope and Keri sighed with relief as they walked off the stage.

The setlist was filled with dance genres such as jazz, tap, contemporary and a few songs included body contortion and lifts from the dancers. According to Nina Mollo, a junior at Lesley University, dancers practiced one and a half hours per dance each week on top of two five hour
practices in preparation for the end of semester show. Some dancers, such as Emma Fredericks, participated in outside solo pieces that required more practice time.

The setlist for the show included “Byegone” by Volcano Choir, “Cringe” by Matt Maeson, a “Pink Panther” Mix, “Hanging On” by Active Child, “House of the Rising Sun” by Lauren O’Connell, “Goodbye” by Apparat, a “Girls” Mix, “Let Me Go” by HAIM, “Grown
Woman” by Beyonce, “Warm Foothills” by Alt-J, a “Who’s Bad” Mix, “Redwoods” by Foxing, “Easy” by Son Lux ft. Lorde, “An Evening I Will Not Forget” by Dermot Kennedy, “Cane Shuga” by Glass Animals, a “Boot Camp” Mix, “Wake Me Up” by Wham, “Strong” by London
Grammar, “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato, and “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey.

The ten-minute intermission included a slideshow of the dancers in the studio throughout the first semester. Supporters in the crowd cheered when they saw their friends and family members on the big screen.  During “Grown Woman,” the dancers wore tall, black heels and danced at a fast tempo, leaving the audience in a state of awe. In “Sorry Not Sorry,” a dancer on the left side of the stage translated the first verse in American Sign Language to further echo the inclusivity of Lesley. Her expression was fierce and it was a subtle yet important reminder that the deaf community is just as valid (and important) as the hearing community.

The finale had the dancers rushing down the aisles in matching shirts and in various groups, joining on the stage for a short in-sync outro dance.  At the end of the show, co-captains Kassie Landry and Ashlyn O’Dowd thanked the outside choreographers, technology staff, Office of Student Activities, the hosts, USG, their faculty advisor, and costume design for helping to put on the show. They welcomed the new eboard of Spring 2019 as Kassie Landry, Ashlyn O’Dowd, Miranda Sass, Emma Fredricks, Maria Napoli, Sam Verdecanna, Kim Parker, Francesca Lupo, Abigail Worthington and Jessie James.

The audience responded enthusiastically, as they had throughout the entire two-hour performance.  Then, the team bid farewell to the graduating seniors of the dance team and wished them luck with their future plans. The dancers made their way into the audience to greet their biggest fans, their friends and family. A big thank you and congratulations to all the dancers for putting on a spectacular show!

Kassie Landry, Joanna Garmon, and Maria Napoli performing “Warm Foothills” by Alt-J

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