The Dance Evolution Factory


Culture Shock Dance Troupe’s annual competition, “Dance Evolution Presents: Pure Imagination,” is sure to be sweet.

Interpreting dances inspired by the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” New Paltz’s official hip hop dance team will showcase their talents on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. in Studley Theatre.

DJ Haze will spin hip hop, soca and reggae music, and New Paltz performance groups Urban Lyrics, Impacto Sensual, Warriors Dance Team, Shades Step Team, Domino Effect and Nachle New Paltz will be featured along with competitive dance teams from New York City.

The first half of the show is a talent show and the second is a competition. The winning team walks away with $1,000, according to third-year biology major Shakiraye Rookwood.

Culture Shock’s performances are based on any movie the troupe wants to revolve a dance routine, costumes and scenes around, according to Nicole Pemberton, vice president of Culture Shock Dance Troupe. Past performances have been based on movies such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Kill Bill.”

Although rehearsals were overseen by head choreographers, the team worked together to add bits to the performance so the choreography was a more collaborative effort. Even with so many voices contributing to the dance, Culture Shock was able to organize its performance stylistically, Pemberton said.

“Our dance performance is broken up into halves, and each half has a different style,” she said. “We have a boys’ half which is more hard hip hop, masculine choreography, we have a girls’ half which is feminine and a little sexy and then we have a pop half that is very technical and fast. All of us put in plenty of effort to choreograph and clean each piece.”

The dance troupe opens its show to all performers during auditions, being sure to “double-check how entertaining they are,” Culture Shock President Craig Washington said. Culture Shock then works with other dancers to clean up their pieces and make sure they are stage-ready.

The most challenging aspect of organizing the show, Washington said, was matching up everyone’s schedule to rehearse and getting the word out about the performance.

Despite the challenges that Culture Shock Dance Troupe faced getting their show off the ground, Pemberton said she is sure this will be a golden performance.

“We have a script that is also incorporated, so we are telling a full story as opposed to only dancing,” Pemberton said. “We’ll have jokes about New Paltz, shout-outs to the crowd or alumni, plenty of things that keep the crowd on their toes. It’s such a long journey from the idea to the full show, and what I really would love is for people to leave the show remembering parts of it.”