Dance conventions are held all over the U.S., but costs usually reach nearly $300 per person. So SUNY New Paltz dance enthusiasts decided to take matters into their own hands.
English graduate student and Culture Shock Dance Troupe alumnna Samantha Taylor, along with current Culture Shock members Nicole Pemberton, Shakiraye Rookwood and Bina Fronda organized the first annual Movement Dance Convention. The convention is the biggest in the Hudson Valley and will take place this coming weekend from May 6 to 8. The price of general admission is $40, but for New Paltz students the cost is only $20. If students do not want to complete the full weekend, they can attend Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday for half price. Donations will also be accepted for Elle’s Encore, an organization in honor of Noelle Lucivero.
The convention will offer two classes Friday, four on Saturday and four on Sunday, for a total of 10 classes in all. In each time slot there will be three to four different classes offered in more than 16 styles of dance, such as Afro-Modern, Ballet, Brazilian Samba, Hip-Hop, Jazz and Tap. Attendees will also be able to choose from a variety of levels, ranging from just liking dance for fun to very advanced.
“We’re doing very diverse styles of dance which is wonderful so that everyone can get a taste of other styles even if they’ve done only one style their whole life,” Taylor said.
While the team is extremely excited to hold the event, the planning was much more difficult than initially thought. A main decision was determining which types of dances would be taught and how many classes students wanted. They decided to create a poll to answer these questions and put it online, on Facebook, sent it to students and to all of the dance teams. From this poll, the coordinators were able to develop most of their ideas for the convention.
With only four of them actually putting the entire production together, the group split up the necessary tasks to lessen the workload, such as purchasing necessary items and writing all the e-mails. Taylor took on the cumbersome task of finding all of the potential choreographers.
“I looked up and found out about all the choreographers and I had them e-mail me resumes and we chose from the choreographers that we had responded to,” Taylor said. “We checked out their resumes, their backgrounds and only took a few per each style and put it together that way. Luckily, we started in January so we were able to get most of the people that we wanted.”
The most challenging part for the organizers was advertising and getting their name out since this is the premiere of the Movement Dance Convention. They e-mailed almost every university in the Tri-State area and Massachusetts that has a dance team or dance program, as well as high school dance programs and many New York City dance studios.
“We would have meetings where we would get together and just spend like two hours with a group of six or seven of us just going on Google,” Taylor said. “We’d Google ‘New York dance’ or ‘Brooklyn dance’ or ‘Hudson Valley dance,’ and just call every dance studio and leave messages or send out e-mails.”
First-year art major Alexis White, a volunteer for the convention, looks forward to the experience and is even bringing her mother and sister.
“I’m excited to expose people to this art form, which I think is under-appreciated,” White said.
The coordinators are expecting a turnout of 100 people ready to bust a move, and hope that if the event is successful, it can be done every semester.
“We not only wanted to get big name choreographers that everybody knew,” Taylor said. “We also wanted to bring all our New Paltz dance communities experiences together and learn from all the different styles we had growing up.”
If you want to attend the Movement Dance Convention you can register online or the day of the event. For further information visit their website, http://themovementdanceconvention.com/coord.html.