One of the things I was really excited about when I came to UC Berkeley was the opportunity to explore different interests and activities. Before college, I had swum competitively and played piano and violin for over a decade each; while I still love swimming and music, Cal has introduced me to a panoply of additional extracurricular possibilities. Our university has over 1,200 student organizations, including a cappella singing groups, ethnic student associations, community service organizations, and many others. I remember the exhilaration of Calapalooza during freshman year and visiting dozens of tables and picking up flyers for various student organizations.
In particular, I discovered that I enjoy dance! Starting freshman year, I have taken five PE dance courses in jazz and technique and performance, and performed in end-of-the semester showcases. I have also participated in dance workshops hosted by dance groups on campus, and watched performances by Danceworx, AFX, Abba Modern, Movement, Jazz Dance Company, Ballet Dance Company, Thrive Dance Company, and the Cal Dance Team.
Last week, I enjoyed a lovely outdoor Sproul showcase by Danceworx. Founded in 1988, Danceworx is the oldest student dance group on campus, and they perform student-choreographed pieces in jazz, hip hop, and tap. There were about 10 different pieces in the one-hour showcase, which opened with a story-inspired jazz piece choreographed by my friend, Alli. Titled “A World Alone,” the dance centered around a gossipy party scene, and featured dancing with champagne glasses as props.
My favorite two performances were “Magic,” a playful tap piece choreographed by Ashley, and “Like Real People Do,” a lyrical piece choreographed by Jason and Emily. The cheeriness throughout “Magic” encapsulated the Martha Graham quote shared in the introduction to the piece: “Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.” In “Like Real People Do,” the flowy yellow dresses the dancers wore added to the mellow quality of the dance. I especially liked the intricate timing of the hand and head movements and fluid transitions to and from the floor.
The showcase concluded with “Find You,” an energetic hip hop piece choreographed by Danceworx alumni. Dance is a beautiful conduit for storytelling and sharing emotions, and the showcase put me in a happy mood to dance.