As the lights began to dim, the crowd in the Ron Houston Theater cheered and erupted into applause.
Viewers of all ages turned their eyes to the lit stage as two women walked to the center, microphones in hand. The 2019 Northwest Dance Company Show was about to begin.
The Dance Company, made up of 100 students, performed over a dozen dances, ranging from contemporary like “Happier” and “Black Magic Woman,” to hip hop like “Early 2000s Remix,” to musical theater.
Northwest Dance Company started in 2001 as a way for students who enjoyed dance, to share their passion and choreograph their own pieces.
Psychology senior AJ Hinson struggled to find a song to go with his musical theater number.
“My first go-to was ‘Candy Store’ from ‘Heathers: the Musical,’” Hinson said. “I chose out the music and edited it because it wasn’t the most appropriate, and so I made it sound appropriate. Then my president and vice president were like ‘Listen, as much as we love this, it’s not a kid-friendly number to choreograph to,’ so I sat down and listened to all the musicals that I like.”
Hinson chose the song “Nicest Kids in Town” from the musical “Hairspray.”
Dancers had the option to be involved in up to three dances for the show. Dancers are picked based on a variety of criteria including experience, preferred style of dance and what dance they want to be part of.
“The audition process was very interesting,” Hinson said. “It was my first semester experiencing it, so it was a little confusing at first. We go in and we watch the dancers in groups, and then we have a list of them. Then all the choreographers sit in a circle and talk about what people we’d like in our dance. I wouldn’t say we fight over them, but we all compromise on what dancers we want in our dances.”
Criminology freshman Kevin Nguyen talked about his audition experience as a dancer.
“It’s a two-day process,” Nguyen said. “On the first day, we choose what style we want to be in and you start by learning your dances. So if you’re not in one of the first dances, you’re out in the hallway stretching.”
Nguyen performed in “Nicest Kids In Town.” His favorite style of dance offered in Northwest Dance Company is musical theater since he gets to “put on a character.”
Nguyen’s favorite type of dance, overall, is called poms. Poms is the style of dance often seen in cheerleading.
“It’s all sharp moves,” Nguyen said. “It’s a lot of high V’s, low V’s, touchdowns just like you see in cheer. You do toe touches like cheerleaders, but I think the biggest difference is it’s more jazzy and everything flows together. You do turns and kicklines.”
Biopsychology sophomore Kylie Miller choreographed a hip-hop routine of 30 members to a remix of early 2000s songs.
“It’s challenging, especially with hip-hop, because I had close to 30 people in my dance,” Miller said. “However, it’s been a really fun experience. It’s really helped me grow tremendously in my creativity as a dancer and to gain better leadership skills.”
The show lasted from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and audience members had a chance to interact and send shoutouts to their friends on stage with the hashtag #GetGroovy2019. Some tweets were read aloud and competitions were held by the show’s emcees, and former Dance Company members, Sydney Arnold and Elizabeth Brown.
Despite technical difficulties halfway through the performance, the Dance Company took on the motto “The show must go on.”