GV Dance Troupe does Pirouettes for the Planet


GVL / Katherine Vasile

Allison Rafferty, Staff Reporter

As the fall semester draws to a close, the dancers of the Grand Valley Dance Troupe have been hard at work rehearsing for their annual end of the semester recital. Friday, Nov. 22 was their opening night of Pirouettes for the Planet, and beginning at 7 p.m. in the Allendale High School Auditorium, the dancers choreographed and brought to life 24 dance numbers. Per usual, the recital doubled as a fundraiser, and this semester the proceeds went to the Sierra Club. 

Each semester, the GV Dance Troupe chooses a charity of choice, and all proceeds from ticket sales are donated to that cause. In the past, the Dance Troupe has donated to several causes, including Angel Tree, Rainbow Connection and the West Michigan Humane Society. 

During the performance, GV Dance Troupe Human Resources representative Katy Thill talked to audience members about the Sierra Club. She said that when deciding what organization to donate to, there was an overwhelming number of dancers who wanted to give the proceeds to an environmental organization. The Sierra Club is the largest environmental organization in the country, and with a chapter in Grand Rapids, it made the organization an easy choice for the dancers. 

Specifically in Michigan, the Sierra Club has been working on shutting down Line 5, an oil pipeline that has been causing oil spills near the Mackinac Bridge. They also have some tree planting groups within the state. The Sierra Club sent representatives to the recital and set up an informative table in the lobby, where those in attendance could get more information on the environmental organization. 

 “I feel very accomplished knowing our organization makes an impact in the world, and on the environment this semester specifically,” said Amanda Paler, who is in charge of public relations for GV Dance Troupe.

Aside from being in some of the dance routines and being on the troupe’s Executive Board, Paler also choreographed her very first dance for Dance Troupe, which was featured in the recital. 

“Tik Tok,” choreographed by Paler, was a fast-paced hip-hop number that was inspired by the music from the video sharing app of the same name. She said that her favorite part of putting on the show was the feeling of pride she experienced watching her dance be performed on stage for the first time.

GVL / Katherine Vasile

Dance Troupe Secretary Katie Piesz said that she was most looking forward to her family and friends seeing her do what she loves most. 

Piesz also choreographed a number for the show. “When the Party’s Over” was an advanced modern routine that intended to bring awareness to the high levels of anxiety found in college students. The dance showed how even the most level-headed students can be affected by the disorder during their vulnerable years at a university.  

Members of Dance Troupe get the best of both worlds by being able to support causes they care about through the world of dance. 

“This event always just warms my heart knowing we are doing something for the greater good,” Piesz said.

The semester recitals put on by Grand Valley Dance Troupe allow dancers to support a multitude of charitable organizations through doing what they love. Their next recital will be held in the spring, and a charity has yet to be selected.