By Maggie Austin
Dance, in all its various forms, is culturally universal. Dance can embody emotional expression, social interaction, or religious devotion. Some forms of dance require years of training, such as ballet or ballroom. Other forms require no training, such as the Electric Slide or simply moving to the music. Whether dance is technical or not, it is always expressive. Furman University’s annual Dance Spectacular Showcase provides the campus and Greenville with a unique opportunity. No other event or Cultural Life Program at Furman offers its viewers a total immersion into dance as a spiritual and performative art. The audience will participate in the nonverbal communication of dance as they view each piece of choreography. Dance Spectacular presents dances of varying meaning and varying styles: Indian, contemporary, ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop.
Furman’s Dance Spectacular is hosted by the Furman Dance Company, which also performs in the showcase. The Furman Dance Company (FDC) is an organization that exists to foster and improve the creative art of dance in a team-building environment through regular training, rehearsals, and performances. FDC will be performing several pieces in jazz, contemporary, jazz funk, and hip hop styles and will be joining the Furman Paladin Band on stage for the opening number.
Katie Poteet, the dance director for the Furman Dance Company, organized the event and invited companies from around South Carolina to perform. One of the participating companies is the Greenville County ARMES Program, a tuition-free arts program that encourages students’ creativity through the in-depth study of dance. The ARMES Program will perform two modern pieces for Dance Spectacular. The Nrithyanjali School of Dance will bring rural India to life on stage by showing how folk dancing is the essence of Indian art and comes straight from the hearts of its villagers. The Greenville Ballet School promotes lifelong learning, fitness, and an appreciation of the arts. The school, like the ARMES Program, will perform a modern piece for the showcase. Studio A Performing Arts Company will grace the stage with two unique pointe solos and a contemporary dance. Studio A also plans to shake things up with a high-energy tap routine that is sure to get a few laughs. The Power Company from Columbia, S.C., specializes in contemporary dance and is a haven for dance enthusiasts. The Power Company will perform two pieces for Furman’s showcase.
Poteet encourages students and faculty to attend Dance Spectacular because of the diversity of amateur and professional performers. Poteet also emphasizes that most dance showcases of this scale would cost a lot more than the $5 ticket for Dance Spectacular. The show offers an invaluable opportunity to learn about and appreciate dance as a fine art. The Power Company’s motto is “moving people.” They believe that power can be found in art, dancing, beauty, and the spirit of each individual. These ideals of The Power Company completely embody the spirit of Dance Spectacular. Experience the power of dance by attending the Dance Spectacular Showcase and CLP at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 28, at McAlister Auditorium.