This Thursday and Friday, more than 200 students with varying levels of dance experience will take to the Off Broadway Theater stage for the Danceworks end-of-semester showcase. This year’s cast is the largest to date, almost doubling in size since last season.
“It’s kind of like we’re running a small town with this organization,” joked co-president Darwin Edwards ’19.
Danceworks is Yale’s largest no-audition dance group, offering a variety of dance styles and commitment levels. Interested students sign up for dances at the beginning of the semester and rehearse for one hour each week per dance. This semester’s show, titled “Agent DW 007,” features 17 full dances and nine interludes.
Because Danceworks welcomes all students, its shows feature students with a range of dance experience. Some participants have never danced before, while others have had years of experience. Edie Abraham-Macht ’22 said that Danceworks is a refreshing change from the seriousness of her high school dance experience.
“The reason I stopped [dancing] was partially because it was too intense” Abraham-Macht said. “[Danceworks] is much more manageable.”
Stephen Irving ’19 joined the group during his first year, having never danced in front of an audience. This year, he is in three dances and considers Danceworks one of his favorite extracurriculars due to its “inclusive” and “empowering” community.
Several members of the cast echoed Irving’s thoughts on Danceworks’ positive environment. Throughout Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, cast members cheered and snapped for each other in support.
“I think it’s one of the most inclusive spaces on campus,” said Danceworks member Jason Yang ’21.
This semester holds much excitement for Danceworks. The executive board, which comprises eight students, is focused on making the production process more efficient and professional.
“We really put our heads together to figure out how we could make everything cohesive — so that everyone could be in a dance they’d enjoy — and how we could make the structure more efficient,” said co-director Aivy Duong ’21.
Many of the dances this semester reference the spy theme of the show’s title. To begin each dance, a participant calls out, “Mission commence.”
Duong said the executive board chose the James Bond 007 theme to highlight this semester’s “sleek” new look and feel. The show features numerous lighting effects. And according to Duong, the board even changed the Danceworks logo for the first time in many years.
Yet, the co-directors emphasized that the mission of Danceworks remains the same, despite its makeover.
“We’re expanding the zone of creative expression to encompass more people,” Edwards said.
Danceworks will present “Agent DW 007” twice on both Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Lindsay Daugherty | firstname.lastname@example.org