GV Dance Troupe performs for heartfelt cause


Courtesy / Grand Valley State University’s Dance Troupe

Allison Rafferty, Staff Writer

For the first time in two years, Grand Valley State University’s Dance Troupe (GVDT) hosted an in-person recital. 

On Friday, Nov. 19 and Saturday, Nov. 20, GVDT put on their show, “Dance Among the Stars” at the Allendale High School auditorium. 

Each semester, the dance troupe uses the recital to help fundraise for a local cause. 

In previous semesters, they have helped fundraise for Harbor Humane Society, the environmental justice organization The Sierra Club and a safe house for domestic violence victims called Resilience.

This semester, the troupe decided to fundraise for North Star Reach, a camp for children who are typically unable to attend summer camp due to life-threatening illnesses. North Star Reach is Michigan’s only barrier-free, fully-accessible medical camp. 

Kaitlyn Holloway, GVDT Secretary and double major in communications sciences and disorders and Spanish, said this cause hits especially close to home for GVDT. 

Holloway said a GVDT alumni dancer who recently passed was closely affiliated with North Star Reach as an organizer and former volunteer, and that the organization was very important to her. 

“Unfortunately, she passed away over the summer and we thought it would be a wonderful way to honor her legacy, by bringing awareness and raising donations for their cause,” Holloway said. 

In a typical semester, GVDT’s HR representative researches multiple charities and organizations that are located across Western Michigan. The representative then presents their findings to the club and they vote on which organization to represent. 

Due to the personal nature North Star Reach has with the troupe, this semester they collectively decided to fundraise for the organization instead of going through with the traditional selection process. 

This semester the recital consisted of 18 dances that included solos, group dances of various styles and a finale that highlighted all of the troupe’s dancers. Each number was intimately choreographed by its choreographer and displayed a range of skill sets, and emotions. 

Holloway said she hopes those in attendance embraced the range of emotions each number brought forth. 

“Some of the dances were sensitive in nature, with personal tributes to loved ones who have passed or in solidarity with those who have suffered from domestic abuse,” Holloway said. “We hoped the audience would cheer at the upbeat hip-hops, clap for the incredible pirouettes in advanced jazz routines, and embrace the emotions of lyrical ballads.” 

Given that this was the troupe’s first in-person performance since the beginning of the pandemic, most of its members had never performed with the troupe live.

“I was looking forward to experiencing my first in-person recital as an Executive Board member as we hosted a special tradition that starts off every recital,” Holloway said. “From witnessing it as a freshman, to now hosting it, is very full-circle.”

Among those experiencing such full-circle moments are the GVDT seniors graduating in the spring. 

GVDT treasurer and environmental sustainability major, Sierra Barnes, said she is thrilled to be back in person for her final performances in the program. 

“Dancing for the last time this year means the end of an era for me,” Barnes said. “I have been dancing my entire life and it’s crazy to think that this is the end. Either way, I am so happy that I get to end on such a positive note with GVDT. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Performances like “Dance Among the Stars,” which allow a group of people to come together and collectively experience the same emotions, is a part of the arts world that the pandemic took away from people. 

Holloway said GVDT wants to bring it back.

“Especially entering (this time where there are safer options for gathering), opportunities to bring the community together for entertainment as well as supporting and contributing to wonderful causes is a responsibility that we are proud to lead,” Holloway said. 

GVDT will be hosting their next recital in spring 2022.