University dance team dazzles during spring showcase

The+dance+team+performs+a+game+day+number%2C+April+2%2C+2022%2C+West+Haven.

Photo courtesy of Mia Adduci

The dance team performs a game day number, April 2, 2022, West Haven.

Mia Adduci, Student Life Editor

The University of New Haven Dance Team took the Charger Gymnasium by storm as they flooded the room for their spring showcase on April 2.

The team of 32 dancers put on a production that synthesized gameday performances with an array of other diverse styles in routines choreographed for the showcase setting, displaying the range of ability that the group is versed in.

The afternoon kicked off with a high-energy gameday number by the entire team, and the level of rehearsal was evident through the girls’ synchronicity and clean movement as a unit.

The dance team exhibited a range of skills that covered everything from acrobatic training, to more street style tricks and everything in between.

Members of the dance team in a small group performance, April 2, 2022, West Haven. (Photo courtesy of Mia Adduci.)

The group did not hold back in expressing their personality throughout their routines, and in moments such as ending “Fergalicious” with an entire team dropping into a jazz split, the sass showed that this is a group that has personality and uses it to enhance their stage presence.

Senior captain Emma Dombrowski exemplified the power of facial expressions to transform a performance. In every number, whether she stood downstage in front of the audience or in formation further back, drew eyes with her ability not only to perform with immense cleanliness but also fully immersed execution at a competitive level.

The team’s performances included jazz funk and hip hop genres, but a number of individuals, including junior captain Olivia Sisk, took to the stage with emotionally driven contemporary numbers.

Madison Cook, who graduated in the winter, performed a solo that can only rightfully be described as artful. Cook’s ability to control her motion and isolate her movements was technically flawless. This piece played into the power of emotional storytelling unlike any other the entire afternoon.

Junior captain Ashley Mercier performed a solo with flawless attitude turns and a range of control that was incredibly nuanced.

A small group number, which used music that many could recognize from the popular television show “Euphoria,” displayed what could best be described as a modern contemporary number that had some of the most unified timing of the entire show. It was legs, legs and more legs with this performance.

The pom-poms came out to drive the audience into intermission, a nice duality to the progression of solos found in the second half of the showcase

Junior soloist Melanie Kurtman put on a performance that can only be summarized rightfully by two words: core strength.

Overall, the team showed the power of taking risks within their demonstrated choreography, as they elected to take the top-40s hit “Levitating” in a heavy jazz funk direction, deviating from the commonly seen hip-hop usages of the music on stages across the country. It’s no wonder their energy pushes our Charger teams to their highest potential at every home game.

Throughout the afternoon, breaks in the program were filled to honor each of this season’s graduating seniors: Cook, Dombrowski, Isabella Menta and Daphne Schroeder.

In the final group number entitled “Space Cowboys,” the team really hit the mark with their song choices. From “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” to “Starships,” the duality between “space” and “cowboy” showed the range of the girls’ ability to choreograph essentially anything, and look amazing while doing it. During this number, in particular, the team used their formations to their benefit with such a large group, and not one dancer got lost in the powerful crossover between the two divided groups in this production. The audio transitions between songs in this large number could have been cleaner, but the choppiness was drowned out by the power of the girls’ performance.

As Coach Ashley McClain put it, the group “bring[s] an artistry to athleticism,” and anyone sitting in the audience would have been able to feel the power of forming a community through the arts. The team is powerful, evidently dedicated, and pulled out all the stops to give a diverse performance to bring their season to a close.