As the spring term gets underway, some of Yale’s undergraduate dance companies are concluding their spring auditions processes.
While most performance groups at Yale only hold one round of auditions per year, a number of dance groups — including Rhythmic Blue, A Different Drum, Rangeela, Yale Jashan Bhangra and Groove — some hold both fall and spring auditions. But while leaders of some groups view spring auditions as a sign of an overall increase of interest in dance, others said that a lack of awareness about dance companies causes many groups to host a second round of auditions at the beginning of the spring semester.
Nicole Feng ’16, president of the Alliance for Dance at Yale and co-president of the dance group Rhythmic Blue, said groups have been growing in membership over recent years, but noted that she believes that their caliber has not declined.
“We have been tapping more now than in the past, but this is not a result of lowering our standards,” Feng said. “We believe this points to the conclusion that there is greater interest in dance on campus.”
After the most recent round of auditions, which took place over the first two weeks of the semester, groups such as Rhythmic Blue and A Different Drum accepted only a few new members into their company, each adding two to their rosters of 21 and 23, respectively. On the other hand, Groove did not accept any new members this semester.
Sarah Holder ’17, president of Groove, said the spring auditions provide an opportunity for students interested in dance to participate in groups that they might not have heard about in the fall. The presence of many different types of groups in the Freshmen Extracurricular Bazaar might exclude students who participate in other activities in the fall from getting involved with dance groups, Holder explained.
“Sometimes dance groups fall under the radar,” Holder said. “The second-semester audition is really a way for us to find freshmen who didn’t find us before.”
Holder added that Groove had a lower spring audition turnout this year than in previous years. She noted that many members of Groove who are also involved with theater productions were unable to participate in the company’s fall show, which means that the number of company members participating in the spring show will be larger. But she noted that having a smaller company allows most of the members of Groove to choreograph their own pieces for the spring show, and allows each dancer more space on stage.
While membership of A Different Drum has not drastically changed over the last few years, according to artistic director Zoe Reich-Aviles ’16 and president Hannah Leo ’15, the company has consistently held spring auditions over this period, usually accepting a few new members each time.