The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday August 16th

Memorial Hall to showcase 4 dance groups this weekend through Carolina Dance Initiative

After months of midnight rehearsals and hours of practice, four dance groups will showcase their work this weekend at Memorial Hall, with tickets free to anyone with a valid One Card.

The spring showcase marks the first three-day booking at Memorial Hall since Carolina Performing Arts was created in 2005, said Mark Steffen, events manager of Carolina Performing Arts.

UNC Dance Team

March 30 8:00 p.m.

Star Heels

March 31 2:00 p.m.

Carolina Style

March 31 8:00 p.m.

Carolina Vibe

April 1 1:30 p.m.

All performances will take place in Memorial Hall.

Participants said the event would not have been possible without the Carolina Dance Initiative. Founded in 2010, it seeks to be the definitive voice for the dance community on campus.

“There is a lot of dance on campus, but there was no unity,” co-founder Lauren Petersburg said.

In total, Petersburg estimates there are more than 700 dancers on campus, all involved in different organizations.

Katie Hudson, a member of Carolina Vibe, one of the groups performing this weekend, said the group has performed in smaller venues in the past, but that it will be exciting to dance on a larger stage.

“Memorial Hall will be a huge difference for us,” she said.

In preparation for the showcase, Morgan Thompson, president of Star Heels, said the group has been practicing every day leading up to the event.

But she said securing rehearsal space has not always been easy.

“We use the Campus Rec lottery system but still struggle to accommodate students’ schedules because practices are so late.”

Petersburg said working around the lack of rehearsal space is a testament to the dancers’ drive.

“Despite not having an official dance program or good rehearsal space, the community is very much alive and thriving,” she said.

“We want to show the rest of the Carolina community that.”

Mike Johnson, associate director of Carolina Performing Arts, said Memorial Hall decided to book the spring showcase over three days to accommodate all the groups. He said he expects a good turnout for all four shows.

Petersburg said booking Memorial Hall cost $11,000. Student Congress paid for $9,500, and the rest of the money came through fundraising.

Senior Alena Hall said she plans on attending the Star Heels show.

Hall said dancers become a part of a community while at UNC and dance for “the love of self-expression.”

“It has been a part of these girls’ lives for however long,” she said. “It is a fun way to relate to their peers and makes Carolina seem smaller as a result.”

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