Performers join in tears at the conclusion of dance “To My Dearest Friend,” Nov. 2 at the Northwest Dance Company Show. Lacey Casel choreographed this dance in memory of Northwest student Morgan McCoy who died in a tragic accident in Jan.

The Northwest Dance Company took its record-breaking crowd on an emotional journey through a wide-range of dance performances at its annual fall show Nov. 2.

More than 600 friends, fans and family members packed into the Ron Houston Center for Performing Arts, which was more than the show has ever had. The fall show usually draws between 350 and 400 people.

Unlike the familiar, entirely upbeat performance the fall show usually provides, this year, NWDC demonstrated its multifaceted capabilities through a combination of both fun, light-hearted numbers and performances with serious undertones.

NWDC Vice President Ashley Brennan said the show’s spectrum of emotional diversity provided a true reflection of life.

“I think it’s important to realize that people go through different things and there are different emotions in life too, which I think the show tonight really emphasized,” Brennan said. “There were happier pieces, there were sadder pieces. I think it was really nice because it almost created the story of life and how life goes with the ups and downs.”

One particularly moving performance featured audio of Igor Oro’s spoken poem, “To My Dearest Friend,” which is formatted like a letter to a friend who has died. It acted as a tribute to Morgan McCoy, a Northwest student who died after being struck by a drunk driver last year.
NWDC President Faith Casel and Brennan said this piece helped all those involved through the grieving process.
“Normally we don’t do a lot of heavy pieces, so it was definitely different, but I think it helped the audience connect. I know for sure with the dance my sister Lacie did for Morgan, it really helped a lot of the Sigma Kappas who lost her cope,” Casel said.

Brennan interjected.

“It takes a weight off that was there before, that I think is lighter now, especially afterwards,” Brennan said.
Another heartwarming performance included a live song written and sung by Jaymie Argotsinger, a first for NWDC. This first-ever live performance addressed the ups and downs of life.
“We (Brennan and Argotsinger) had recently talked, and I have always wanted to do something different and more creative because we always just do songs that are played,” Brennan said. “Jaimie is amazing and beautiful and was nice enough to write this song that was super personal and open up to me about it, and it turned into a beautiful piece of art that I am so proud of.”
The show also included a performance to Logic’s “1-800-273-8255,” which is a song titled with the phone number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This song was paired with the tap number to creatively portray a deeper message regarding suicide.

“My dance number was 1-800-273-8255, which was the tap number, and I’ve never been more proud of them,” Casel said. “It was something that was really close to my heart and have a lot of experience with, so to see people help me convey what message I was trying to get across was just incredible, especially because it was in a way that isn’t really conventional.”
Throughout the show’s 17 acts and six short acts, the dancers performed in a way highly reflective of the many hours of preparation and rehearsals.
“Everybody has worked so hard these past seven weeks, and so it’s nice to see it all come together and pay off, because clearly I think people were happy,” Casel said.

Brennan added to the statement.

“All the blood, sweat and tears that have gone in, especially this week, was so worth it,” Brennan said.
Freshman NWDC member Samantha Fortik described it as the epitome of their hard work.

“I think overall it went really well. Everyone did the best they ever did, I think,” Fortik said. “We had practice yesterday and there was still a few mistakes here and there, and I think people let that get to them yesterday, but today, they powered through the mistakes and they just smiled the whole time, and it was great.”

The show was emceed by Chief of University Police Clarence Green and Lt. Anthony Williams, who did a surprise performance of their own during the second act of the show.

Williams was thankful for both the group and his own opportunity to perform.

“It was a good time. We learned a lot; we had fun,” Williams said. “The group was amazing. They’ve really perfected their craft, and obviously Talitha (Santana Baez) helped us do our dance, and that was the best part.”

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