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Night of Dance celebrates its African-American heritage

Pacer Writer

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 15:02

The Black Student Association and the Office of Multicultural Affairs teamed up with UTM’s Dance Ensemble to create a dance performance to honor the rich African-American heritage that has made many contributions to modern dance styles. 

Forget the typical, the Night of Dance created an environment that was entertaining as well as informal, with performers walking up to the stage right out of the audience, and each dance performance radically different from the one before it.

 “This show was created so it can celebrate African-American influence on dance.” Said Sarah McCormick, Director of the Dance Ensemble.

McCormick also addressed the audience after a few performances to remind them to take note of how life is expressed through dance.

The Night of Dance showcased nine performances ranging from traditional African-American tribal dances, to modern ballet and hip-hop.  With differing styles of music from Liturgical to contemporary R&B, there was not a dull moment once the lights went down.

 “African-American cultures began dancing, and now we as students are showing the advancements of dance techniques. My piece was designed to showcase ballet and modern techniques,” said Ashleigh Morrow, a junior Dance Education major and member of the UTM Dance Ensemble.

UTM’s Dance Ensemble’s performance in the Night of Dance was just a preview for their Spring Dance Performance April 11-12. 

This is the 3rd year that the Night of Dance has been held. It began as part of the yearlong celebration that the Office of Multicultural Affairs held in 2011 in honor of the first African-American undergraduate students that attended UTM.  It has become one of the many ways that UTM student associations express their celebration of Black History month.       

Dr. Annie Carol Jones, head of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, expressed her delight at the turnout this year, stating that it was “much better than previous years” and that she hopes it will continue to gain popularity throughout the years.

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