| BC Dancers Shake, Swing, and Sashay
More than 600 were in attendance for the 10th annual Berea Dances program. This years performance featured choreographed routines from more than thirteen different dance groups and classes, representing a large variety of cultural styles, including belly-dancing, swing, hip-hop, square-dancing, modern dance, and gymnastics, and more.
Some of the many performances from Berea Dances.
The night started off on an energetic note with the gymnastics class, as they tumbled and leaped on large mats. They were followed by the Modern Dance class, the Berea College Dance Team "F.Y.A.H." (Fine, Young And Hypnotic), the Berea Middle Eastern Dancers (BMED), a solo performance by their instructor Nashwa Cahill, the Aerobic Dance class, the Country Dancers, another solo performance by Inessa Federova, the Praise Dance Group, the Swing Dance Club, the Sub-Conti Girls, Hispanic Dance, the African Students Association Dance Team, and the Modern Dance Troupe. The Danish Gymnastics Club wound up the evening with more acrobatic feats, as the lyrics of their accompanying song urged listeners to "go ahead and jump." Throughout the evening, the crowd also was invited to partake in square-dancing with the students of the Social and Folk Dance Class.
Overall, the experience was rewarding for the dancers. Chair of the Physical Education department and director of Berea College's dance programs Susan Spalding said, "This year's performance was stronger than ever. Each dancer seemed to challenge him or herself and push his or her own limits. Every movement was clear and precise and full of commitment." This certainly was true for BC sophomore, Stephanie Henry, who performed with the Modern Dance class. "I had a great time with it. I live to perform. I wasn't nervous at all,” said Henry. It was one of her first experiences with dance, and she says that modern dance is "a way to express myself, and not think about anything outside of what I'm doing."
Live music by Al White, Tripp Braton, Atossa Kramer, Alice White, and "Will and Marty" accompanied some of the dances. Berea Dances is an annual event and was coordinated by Susan Spalding and Adrian Safar.
Berea has many opportunities to learn dance, and the variety of options is staggering. "I hope the audience went away full of the energy of all the talented dancers, and full of the awareness of the diversity of dance opportunities at Berea College," said Spalding. "It is unusual for any college … to have such widely ranging dance offerings." When Berea Dances started 10 years ago, there were only two dance groups, but the performance grows every year. This year there were numbers from nine campus dance groups, as well as students from several dance classes.