The VIU Mariners Dance Team proudly presents: DANCE

VIU’s dance team places first for their large group jazz performance at the Upper Island Music Festival. By Tonya Milton.
0

As the semester comes to an end, the Mariners Dance Team hosts its second annual Dance Showcase.

On March 20, the VIU Mariners Dance Team nearly filled the Malaspina theatre for 15 routines, all of which were unique in cast, choreography, style, and costume.

The performances varied from gameday sets, to festival pieces, and even award-winning numberscreating a stylistic mash up of pieces ranging from small group hip-hop, to large group contemporary.

The squad was accompanied by a tech-savvy stage operator who coordinated music and lighting for each piece, crafting a pleasing aesthetic and atmosphere. Additionally, the two MCs, Shireen Shakirae and Jesse Kennedy-Burgoyne, gave a warm and friendly welcome, and elicited some laughs between each piece.

The MCs also labeled each dancer with a title as the night progressed, like “Most Feisty,” “Best Jumps,” and “Most Genuine Teammate.”

According to Elissa Miranda, or “Most Fragile,” the team’s co-captain/coach/manager, this tradition carried over from the team’s inaugural showcase.

“It was something I started because I was injured, and couldn’t dance in the showcase last year, so I MC’d the show,” Miranda said. “I wanted to thank everyone for what they did, so I gave them a title for the way they contributed to the team.”

Keely Forget, or “Best Turns,” the team’s other co-captain/coach/manager, added, “It feels nice… they don’t know we’re doing this, and they’re about to go on, and then they get this cool kind of [recognition] for something that they did. It’s a nice self-esteem boost.”

Although the MCs read from a script, they had to make a few impromptu performances of their own to stall for backstage preparations and delays. This not only allowed for more time to change costumes and get into place, but also served as rest periods for the performers. The 12 dancers performed their 15 pieces within one hour, leaving the audience breathless, but the performers quite literally the same.  

Forget and Miranda performed back-to-back in the final two pieces, resulting in choppy dialogue.

“It’s okay, the showcases are relaxed,” Forget said, laughing off the winded speech. “It’s our family and friends who come support us, which is nice.”

Miranda took the mic and thanked a list of supporters, and the team for a successful year, then addressed a subject new to this year’s squad—awards. Forget and Miranda handed out three: The Leadership Award to Jane Coady, The Rookie of the Year Award to Ellen Gardner, and Most Valuable Teammate Award to Payton Berrigan.

“Those dancers really stood out to us a lot this year,” Miranda said.

“They put in so much extra work,” Forget continued.

“In and outside of practice, as well as helping other girls on the team,” Miranda added.

“As well as asking all the right questions and listening, and never missing practices,” said Forget.

“It was amazing to have them on the team this year and have their support. We wanted to recognize them for that,” Miranda said.

This act of kindness was reciprocated as the team gifted Miranda and Forget with flowers. The conclusion was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“It’s kind of a relief when the audience enjoys it,” Miranda said. “Because when you’re up there you’re like, ‘man, what if I mess up, what if I trip,’ so when the audience is there to support you when you’re done [it’s great], especially at the end of the show, when we were crying, the amount of support from the audience was really nice.”

“Also, a few of those dances are my choreography, and the solos are our choreography. It’s vulnerable to put your own stuff out there,” Forget added, “but then it feels great when you get that positive reaction.”

“The positive crowd reactions are fun,” Forget said.“It’s why we do what we do.”