At Studley Theater on April 22, the New Paltz Dance Team, along with guests from the Dance Association, gave their final show of the season entitled “Lights, Camera, Action.” For the graduating members on the team, it was their final show before they move forward from SUNY New Paltz. This performance was an opportunity for the dancers to exhibit their skill and beauty, to show the audience who they are as a team and to say goodbye.
I watched the show with a constant smile. Each set commanded attention, with a pleasing unity of music and style, as well as choreography by the dance team’s own members. The opening number, “Always Be There,” was a bouncing, spinning jazz dance. The second act saw the dancers use a modern style, rising and falling with the piano keys of the song “Vienna.” “Flowers,” the contemporary-style sixth number, had the dancers wear white dresses that swirled to the soft minor melody. “I Like It” featured the E-board, the executives of the dance team. The New Paltz Dance Association, a club that shares members with NP Dance Team, performed smaller but no less moving numbers with the musical-theater/jazz duo “Mamma-Mia,” the hip-hop solo “WTF” and the jazz duo “Toxic.”
The charisma the dancers showed during their performances was matched by their speeches interspersed between acts. These speeches served to introduce the dancers and gave background on the team’s journey. Second-year public relations executive Alexandra Tommasulo and second-year social chair Morgan Zielke gave a vibrant introduction. Fourth-year Julia Beyer and first-year Joella Adamec spoke about how the team bonded through practicing together, and performing at events and games. “I think we also all came together when you hit your head in the middle of a game dance,” Beyer said to Adamec. Adamec replied, “Yeah, you guys were very supportive. Definitely a first for the team.”
Audrey Hemingway, fourth-year and one of the presidents of the dance team, and Paige Scherling, third-year and one of the team captains, explained how they had worked hard to prepare this show over the last two months. “These dances that you’re seeing tonight have come a long way,” Scherling said. First-years Sophia Deserto and Madison Yauchler, as well as graduating fourth-years Joanie Quinones and Sydney Cipriano, spoke fondly about their favorite memories on the team.
The sophomore members of the E-board, secretary/treasurer Emily Hernandez, Tommasulo and Zielke, explained the “camera” portion of the final show’s “Lights, Camera, Action” theme. As public relations for the dance team, Tommasulo takes photos and videos of the team, both during shows and off-stage. The show’s program is filled with pictures of the team, which gives a full sense of how close the team is to each other.
For the 25th number, the dance team finished the show with the Senior Dance, a jazz/hip-hop piece that featured all the members of the team. After the final dance, the whole team gathered on stage. The graduating members, bouquets of flowers in hand, each told the audience what they have planned for the next chapter of their lives. It was a joyful farewell.
After the show, I spoke with Quinones, who shared her feelings about finishing the final show.
“That feels very sad because I’m graduating and not coming back,” Quinones said. “So it’s really emotional, the last time dancing with the team.”
For more information on the NP Dance Team and The Dance Association, follow their Instagrams
@newpaltzdanceteam and @npdanceassociation. A video of their final show, which was filmed and edited by Tin Jun Chiu, is posted online at https://tinyurl.com/292f2d8z.