GVSU Dance Troupe raises money for YWCA

GVL / Emily Frye    
Grand Valley State University Dance Troupe recital on April 16, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Grand Valley State University Dance Troupe recital on April 16, 2016.

Claire Fisher

Shifting among emotional ballads, upbeat girl power anthems and head-banging rock tunes, the Grand Valley State University Dance Troupe performed in a variety of styles and raised money for a local cause at their “Dancing Toward a New Beginning” shows on April 15 and 16 at Allendale High School.

The GVSU Dance Troupe is a student-run organization which provides an opportunity for dancers and choreographers to express their passion for dance. With 160 members, the organization is non-competitive and accepts dancers of all styles and levels.

This semester’s concluding show was held to raise money for the YWCA of West Central Michigan. All of the ticket sales, $5 per person, went toward the organization and audience members were encouraged to bring in new items to donate.

Treasurer Lauren Galdys said the members of GVSU Dance Troupe vote each semester to decide which charities to donate to.

“We like to donate to local organizations,” Galdys said. “So we get ideas from different members who submit them to (the executive board) and we vote on it amongst ourselves. But we like to keep it within West Michigan to benefit our community.”

During the show, Jon Calkins, acting as the event’s announcer, shared the mission of the YWCA with the audience to help explain the group’s reason for choosing the organization. He specifically highlighted the YWCA’s goal to eliminate racism and empower women.

“(The YWCA) believe that achieving economic, social and political empowerment for all women is inextricably linked to eliminating racism and achieving an equal, just and sustainable society,” Calkins said. “They envision a community that embraces diversity, creates a safe and empowering environment for all women that celebrates peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.”

President of the organization Ally Porter took time to thank the audience for attending the dance troupe’s recitals and bringing in donations.

“We definitely wouldn’t be able to pull this off without the friends and family coming out to support the dancers and the YWCA,” Porter said. “We will be able to give back to the community and in order to do that we have to fundraise through our recitals and all the friends and family help us do that.”

Justyna Marasco, head of fundraising for the organization said there had also been a lot of participation in donations of items to give to the YWCA from the dancers and choreographers themselves.

Galdys said what she loves about GVSU Dance Troupe show is seeing everyone’s hard work and love of dance put together. She also enjoys being able to use dance to benefit a worthy cause.

“It feels good because you’re working toward this all semester and then we work all of it all this week. It’s a lot,” Galdys said. “Then we combine all of our hard work into the show. I think it’s really fun that you get to put aside your classes for a second. I’m able to (dance), which I used to do all the time. I’m able to do that here in college, but also having all of it benefit some organization is really cool.”

Marasco said she appreciates the dance troupe’s inclusiveness and ability to fit into already full college schedules.

“Rehearsals are always after 9 p.m. so it won’t ever interfere with class schedules,” Marasco said. “We have a group of choreographers that are dance troupe members and then we just give everyone a schedule. You get to choose which dance you’re in, so dancers can choose different styles and what times work best for them.

“We’re welcome to anyone, you don’t have to dance or you could have danced for 20 years. We don’t care. We have beginner to advanced level dances, all different styles. We’re pretty open and flexible.”