Street » Cover Story
For newcomers on campus, it may be a little daunting to face a group of red-clad people telling you to “get hyped.” Don’t worry; BodyHype, a co-ed, student-run dance group known for tackling a wide range of styles, is not out to get you — they just want to get you as excited about dance as they are. BodyHype’s members bring with them a wide range of styles and training backgrounds, resulting in an eclectic group that showcases expertise in disciplines such as tap and pointe ballet, in addition to hip hop and contemporary. “This year, we hope to leverage the amazing talent available choreographically within our BH family to produce a show that stretches our audience’s expectations,” Artistic Director Alison Malkowski ’14 said. “Our goal is to push both our members and our community to discover a new space of movement, style and creativity through dance.” Although BodyHype’s winter show will not be taking place until reading period, fans do not have to wait until then to see them in action — they will be performing at the Chinese Student Association’s Moon Festival, in addition to numerous other student events throughout the semester.
— Lin King ’16
eXpressions Dance Company is the oldest student-run dance group at Princeton, founded in 1979. As an all-girl dance group, the company makes an effort to create a supportive and close-knit community. The group’s fall show, titled “Linked,” will be the first dance show on campus this fall. The artistic directors, Sarah Rose ’14 and Robin Palmer ’15, hope that the theme of the show will reinforce the company’s extensive range of dance styles, including both hip hop and pointe ballet, and their desire to create a show that is both diverse and coherent. “We already have one eXpressions alumna and a guest choreographer who will be choreographing for ‘Linked,’ and we are excited to see what current members will present,” Sarah Rose said. This year, eXpressions also hopes to increase its presence on campus, maintain their reputation as a fun and bonded group of girls and to continue to push its choreography and performance to new levels.
— Zoe Perot ’16
You’ve probably heard the chant “BAC BAC WHAT” around campus already this fall and seen the tell-tale purple of Princeton’s Black Arts Company, one of the largest hip hop dance groups on campus. This year BAC has welcomed 15 new dancers and has a number of plans already for the coming year. In addition to the fall show, BAC will be performing at the Princeton CSA’s Moon Festival. Additionally, the company hopes to work with other student groups on campus and participate in collegiate level dance competitions. “Step Up,” anyone? “Additionally, we plan on continuing the tradition of our annual workshop bootcamp led by a celebrity dancer. In previous years, we have brought phenomenal dancers such as Bam Martin, Pac Man and Ellen Kim to campus to teach workshops to BAC members and interested non-members alike,” Artistic Director McKenzie Dawkins ’14 said. BAC is also excited to see what changes new members bring and get to work on the fall show.
— Zoe Perot ’16
This year, diSiac is celebrating its 15th year anniversary! “It is amazing to look at the amount of growth that diSiac has had from challenging ourselves year after year as both performers and choreographers,” Artistic Director Austin Giangeruso ’14 said. In honor of its 15th anniversary, the members of diSiac will not only look back to their roots, but also continue to push themselves more and more. This upcoming semester, diSiac’s fall show will be in November instead of December. While it means less time to prepare, it also means more time after their show to do things they normally wouldn’t have time for, such as concept videos and community events.” As a company, we are always looking for ways to grow, and we plan on continuing to look for ways to do that!” Giangeruso said.
— Maggie Zhang ’16
Princeton University Ballet, a young yet thriving dance group dedicated to both contemporary and classical ballet, recently admitted one of its largest and most talented classes of dancers to date, accepting just under half of the 33 professionally trained dancers who auditioned. Continuing with its tradition of the “Nutz” show in December and a spring performance in May, PUB hopes to develop into a more recognizable dance group on campus this year. In order to seem more accessible to the student body, the members are planning to arrange more workshop events throughout the year (such as PUB 101), as well as creating a series that brings in skilled dancers from the area for the benefit of the larger Princeton community. In February, PUB will be performing a joint showcase with both Harvard Ballet Company and Columbia Ballet Collaborative in New York City, a unique opportunity to bring the talents of Princeton dancers into the spotlight. In keeping with its goal of pushing the boundaries of traditional ballet, PUB is constantly discovering new music, choreography and approaches to technique in order to introduce Princeton students to all the exciting, diverse forms ballet can take.
— Grace Lin ’16
The members of Naacho, Princeton’s premier South Asian dance group, are eager to expand their repertoire this year. Since one of Naacho’s main goals is to do the South Asian dance style justice, the members are currently attempting to diversify the pieces they choose by incorporating a much larger range of dance styles into their shows, from folk and classical to Bollywood. To achieve this, they are hoping to organize more workshops throughout the year to expose the Princeton community to various styles, including bhangra and Raas, which are two forms of traditional Indian folk dance. Looking forward, Naacho also plans to achieve more cohesion in its shows that has been lacking in years past, the first step being that the artistic directors have a comprehensive theme in mind before planning the show. Therefore, rather than altering their vision of the show to fit the individual pieces, they envision that the dance numbers of a certain show will all echo a consistent theme. Though Naacho is certainly still a growing dance troupe, it has high hopes and goals for the year to come.
— Grace Lin ’16
Raks Odalisque, Princeton’s belly dancing troupe, is hoping this year to work on being a strong community for its dancers while also increasing its campus presence. President Anne Coventry ’14 explained that Raks has recently instituted a company class that she believes will “provide the time and space for us all to spend more time together and become closer-knit.” In terms of campus presence, Raks has been a relatively low-key group that performs one major show a year and has been established for a little over a decade, but Coventry and Artistic Director Lili Driggs ’14 are hoping to increase publicity and grow name recognition. The group is currently focusing its efforts on its Sept. 21st auditions. As for its other goals, Raks is still trying to find the right balance between the sensuality inherent in belly dancing and some of the stigmas surrounding the art form. “As a college troupe, we have to tread carefully … This is something we grapple with every year, and it is what always proves to be our biggest battle,” Coventry said. As the year unfolds, expect to see Raks Odalisque deliver on hip-shaking, fun choreography while continuing to grow their name at Princeton.
— Lakshmi Davey ’15
From K-pop to lyrical, martial arts to breakdancing, Triple 8 does it all. Although Triple 8 is known as Princeton’s only East Asian dance company, neither its repertoire nor its members are limited to Asian culture. Its members vary from those of traditional dance training to martial artists to those with no related experience. The diversity found in Triple 8 is reflected in another piece of the company’s trivia: It has the greatest number of crossover members with other dance groups, including diSiac, BodyHype, BAC, eXpressions, HighSteppers, Sympoh, Raks O and TapCats. “We encourage our members to explore new styles, and we often create fusion pieces that integrate East Asian culture with modern movement and music,” President Jessica Weng ’15 said. “This year, we hope to … expand our repertoire and range of choreography, stage high-quality performances for both the Princeton community and the local community, and develop strong social bonds among our members and with other dancers.” Triple 8’s annual show won’t be until February, but you can check them out at the CSA Moon Festival next weekend.
— Lin King ’16
Breaking, popping and locking since 1998, Sympoh is Princeton’s only b-Boy/b-Girl crew. Its initial focus was hosting “jams” and inviting breakdancing groups and individuals to compete. “Princeton Battlegrounds,” an annual breakdancing competition hosted by Sympoh, became a permanent event. The success of “Princeton Battlegrounds” in connecting students with the regional breaking community is something the group would like to channel and expand upon this year. “We’re trying to get more involved in the breaking scene in New Jersey. We’ve done a good job of hosting jams and other events in the past, now we want to focus on getting our members out to attend other competitions,” President Stephanie Teeple ’14 said. Sympoh is unique in that a majority of its members are trained in the skills of elemental hip hop from scratch. Teeple notes that this investment and closeness translates into tight-knit friendships within the crew. This year, Sympoh is looking to develop the range of skills and talent in its crew. “We pride ourselves on the variety and creativity that Sympoh brings to the table — this year we want to refine that,” Teeple said.
— Katie Bauman ’15
Princeton’s one and only tap-dancing company has several artistic goals for their January 2014 show, THRIVE. The company aims to incorporate various dance styles into this show in order to demonstrate the rigor and creativity of tap dance as an art. While THRIVE will feature intermediate and advanced company dancers, TapCats is a non-selective dance group that offers weekly lessons to beginners. Students who wish to learn the basics of tap dancing can work with seasoned TapCats dancers and work toward performing in the group’s annual show. TapCats is also looking to increase its campus presence this year. “As a dance company performing its 10th show, TapCats is thriving on campus and ready to expand our presence further by doing more guest performances and bringing in professional choreographers for Master Classes throughout the spring semester,” Artistic Director Lisa Fierstein ’14 said. “Come see how the company is expanding — we promise an amazing show!”
— Abigail Williams ’14
Princeton Bhangra is a co-ed team that performs bhangra, a lively, upbeat South Asian folk dance. With thirty active dancers, Princeton Bhangra is the biggest it has ever been, bringing a welcome increase in the group’s on-campus presence. The dancers’ varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds make Princeton Bhangra one of the most diverse groups on campus and “probably the most diverse collegiate bhangra team in the US,” Captain Aneesh Sahni ’14 said. While Bhangra’s performances have primarily taken place in the spring, Sahni said the group plans to perform more this fall. Bhangra also has the opportunity to compete against other bhangra teams around the United States, in addition to their on-campus performances. One of Bhangra’s goals for the year? “To get everyone to pronounce ‘bhangra’ properly,” Sahni said.
— Abigail Williams ’14