Second-year communications major Cinthia Pimentel founded The Warriors dance team last fall in hopes of creating something out of the ordinary.
None of the existing groups fit her style of dancing. Pimentel didn’t want her team to do just one type of dance. She wanted instead to have all different types of dancers, to create a judgement and stress-free zone.
To emphasize this, she held a different sort of tryout. Dancers were allowed to do any dance they pleased. She said she didn’t want to “hold anyone back from their personal style, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”
Pimentel said The Warriors are a very different and diverse team. With 17 members of various ethnicities and an assortment of dance expertise, no one is the same.
However, forming this team did not come without roadblocks. When she began, Pimentel said she held auditions for a month and gained only one member. She then advertised at the club involvement fair and garnered much more interest there. She also faced negativity from already existing dance teams.
“I felt very alone at first,” she said. “People said, ‘Why don’t you just join this team? Why don’t you join that team?’ But that’s not my style.”
Eventually, the other teams realized and accepted that The Warriors were real and now see them as a team. According to Pimentel, the other teams are very supportive and they have a great relationship with each other.
“We all like to dance at the end of the day,” she said. “We just have two different points of view.”
This rapport between teams was apparent in the Warriors’ first event, “I Am A Woman,” on March 10 in McKenna Theater. While the performance was comprised mainly of dances by The Warriors, other teams including Culture Shock, Shades Step Team and the New Paltz Dance Team performed a number.
The performance was a celebration of Women’s History Month. Keeping a budget of $2000, The Warriors began planning the event at the end of the fall semester, starting with 21 story ideas and slowly knocking ones out. They tried to choose stories that people might not know much about and began practicing at the start of spring semester.
“I want people to leave the show feeling touched and having learned something. I want them to embrace it and say ‘go women,’” Pimentel said.
Dancers portrayed famous women in music, such as Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. More serious topics included comfort women, who were young Korean girls forced into prostitution during World War II, and a forbidden romance between two lesbians during The Holocaust. Tributes were also made to Frida Kahlo, women in the workforce and women in war. A brief informational speech about the story being shown was given before each dance by hosts Chris Milea and Mike Bunin to add an educational aspect to the program.
Second-year elementary education major Danit Ianovici recited personal poetry about Soraya Manutcheri, a young Iranian woman who was stoned to death for alleged adultery.
“I felt it was an honor as a woman to participate in something like this. It’s great that they worked so hard to represent women. It was an amazing show and I had so much fun,” she said.
Cass Hoblitz, a second-year sociology major who frequently attends dance performances, shared the sentiment.
“As a woman I found it very empowering and very informative. The acts were all very diverse and put together,” she said. “It was the best dance show I’ve seen in New Paltz so far.”
With a turnout of at least 230 people and more than $150 raised to donate to Girls Educational & Mentoring Service (GEMS), an organization that aids young girls exiting prostitution, Pimentel was pleased with the overall event.
“I loved the show and everyone else did as well. I have not heard one bad thing about the show,” she said. “I am so happy that people left on such a positive note and learned something.”