DANIELLE VOLLONO, SPECIAL TO SOUTHERN NEWS:
Symphonic Pulse Dance Company, a relatively new dance club on campus, is finally making its own name, doubling in size after auditions last January and hosting its biggest event in two years.
The dance company, known as “SPDC,” gained 22 members last audition, bringing its total up to 35 members. Isaiah Lyte, a communications major and SPDC president, said he could not be more pleased with the team’s progress.
“I had no idea that it would turn out that large. I was pleasantly taken aback with the turnout at our auditions,” said Lyte.
After promoting themselves through fliers and performances on campus, SPDC gained recognition around campus, giving them an increase in popularity.
“I want them to expand into the community. To keep training the dancers so that by the time they graduate or can no longer be on the team, they are a stronger dancer,” said Lyte.
Although it was a tedious process of filling out paperwork for Student Life and attending meetings after meetings in the Student Center to clarify what SPDC was all about, Lyte said he was determined to make it an official club.
“I wanted dance to be accessible to students at SCSU, both trained and not trained, and to educate the campus community about the different genres and history of the genres,” Lyte said.
SPDC struggled to become a club due to the possibility of interfering with Southern’s dance team, according to Lyte.
“It wasn’t that the dance team was against us, it was that they thought we were doing exactly what they did to replace them,” said Lyte. “It was just a misunderstanding but we cleared it up and things are good now.”
Over the past two years, SPDC performed at a number of events on Southern’s campus, including the homecoming pep rally, Relay for Life kickoff, and its biggest event, the African Student Associations Culture Night last May, where the club performed before roughly 200 people in the Lyman Center.
Lyte, along with the team’s choreographers, is currently preparing the team for several performances this semester, including their own showcase which will be performed May 15 in the Student Center ballroom.
The pandemonium themed showcase, by donation-only, is the club’s opportunity to present all of their work to the students, faculty, and general public.
Angelica Heron, one of the club’s newest members, said she knew she had to audition after hearing about SPDC.
“I wanted to dance. Dance plays a huge role in my life. To me, dance is much more than just a hobby,” said Heron. “It is a way to express your feelings through movement. I couldn’t picture my life without it.”Heron, a social work major, said she has no problem juggling classes and dance practice as a college freshman.
“Since high school, I had to balance class as well and working and teaching at a dance school so I was already familiar with time management,” Heron said. “This helped prepare me for college, so having to maintain focus at [dance] practice and class is nothing new for me.”
Heron also said she found the balancing easier due to the constant expectations by the president of the team for club members to keep their grades up.
“Rather than being forced to attend practice if burdened with homework, we are encouraged to bring it to practice along with our degree evaluations,” said Heron.
Instead of focusing on one genre of dance, SPDC tries to incorporate all different types of moves into their choreography.
Some of those dance moves can range anywhere from a hip-hop inspired piece to a jazz piece.
The team’s choreographers, which include Lyte, Lauren Romanelli, Monica Lasenberry, Jason Facey, Pierre Jolicoeur, and Manny Simpini, each have their own style and dance inspirations.
A few inspirations range anywhere from the TV series “America’s Best Dance Crew,” to top choreographers such as Danielle Polanco and Wade Robeson, to everyday people dancing on the streets.
Romanelli, an education major, said she is constantly flowing with ideas for new choreography.
“I get a lot of my inspiration from watching famous dancers such as Mia Michaels, studying different styles, but mostly listening to all genres of music,” said Romanelli. “A dancer’s movement is not as powerful without the interpretation of music because music is what makes dance a form of art.”
According to SPDC club members, self-promotion and becoming involved in any way they can is important.
Because they are a recognized club on campus, a budget is provided to them by the school and they also raise their own money by hosting bake sales around campus.
Receiving money from the school and putting together fundraisers helps them afford items they may need such as dance costumes.
Because Lyte will be graduating this May, the club will hold elections to see who will be the new SPDC president for the upcoming fall semester.
“Our purpose is to give students a chance to learn something they might not learn somewhere else, and it is a fun learning experience,” said Lyte.