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Carolina Dance Initiative to feature 10 dance groups in annual showcase

Not your little sister’s dance recital, Carolina Dance Initiative’s showcase is a full-blown production with talented performers who will tap, waltz and pirouette their way into Memorial Hall Friday night.

CDI’s annual showcase will feature 10 dance groups, all with different styles. The showcase will also encompass a variety of dance styles, from traditional forms such as tap and jazz, to cultural pieces from around the world. 

CDI is an organization that works to unite the dance community on campus, hosting showcases as well as offering beginner classes to the general public. This showcase is their largest of the year and features more than 200 performers.

Preparation for the event has taken up the entirety of CDI’s spring semester. The groups have been rehearsing their pieces for months, but the entire show will only come together for rehearsal today, just hours before the curtains open. 

Diversity is a recurring theme in the showcase. Featuring a little bit of everything, CDI has worked to incorporate all styles and genres of the art form.

“We have a very boxed-in idea of dance, being only tap, jazz, ballet,” said senior Erica Sabol, president of CDI. “I wish more people knew about the diversity of dance on campus.”

Audiences have responded well to the diversity of the showcase in past years, which is encouraging for new groups such as Flying Silk, a traditional Chinese group founded just two years ago. They will participate in the showcase for the first time tonight.  

“Cultural dances are often put in their own category — but blending them into the showcase is a good way of expanding the dance community as well as the audience’s knowledge of the different types of dance,” sophomore Marissa Liu said, co-founder of Flying Silk.

UNC’s Ballroom Dance Team will also be performing in the showcase.

Normally a competition-oriented team, they spend their time preparing for nationals where individual couples perform for a panel of judges. This showcase is the most campus exposure the ballroom team gets during the year.

“We like doing this showcase because we can show the student body what we are doing,” said senior Nathan Ahlgrim, performance coordinator for the team. 

The showcase serves a greater purpose to unite the dance community and present the art of dance as a form of both personal expression and communal experience.

“People should expect to come away with the feeling that you really can try anything when it comes to dance,” Ahlgrim said.

There is also a push to create a dance minor at UNC. With plenty of interest to foster a program within the dance community, many students are hopeful of University support. 

“It’d be nice to see the academic side of the University foster this talent,” said senior Alex Ford, president of the Star Heels dance group. “I’m optimistic about the future of dance at UNC.” 

This optimism is alive in the dance community, and will be pulsing through Memorial Hall tonight.

“I really hope that people come and don’t just see it as a little sister recital — these are people who have been dancing their whole lives,” Sabol said. 

“Dancing is like a lifestyle. It becomes part of who you are.” 

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