The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Club Culture: UMass Dance Company

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UMass Dance Company Performing at UFest

UMass Dance Company

The UMass Dance Company is a Registered Student Organization (RSO) on campus dedicated to bringing together experienced dancers who are looking for something fun and easygoing, but also willing to put in time and commitment to work hard on their dances. The UMass Dance Company is completely student run, showcasing all student-made choreography. We spoke to Olivia, a sophomore member of the company, about why she's so happy to be a part of such an amazing group of dancers and people.

Why Join?

The company is made up of dancers who are dedicated to putting on an entertaining and impressive show each semester, but are not involved in competitions. Olivia, a sophomore and member of the company, shared why she decided to join: “From age 8 on I danced at a very intense, competitive studio and knew that when I went to college I didn’t want to lose my love for dance. But I also knew I was not interested in continuing that competitive lifestyle."

UMass Dance Company performs all styles of dance, from hip-hop and jazz to contemporary and tap. "We like to bring all different types of choreography and dance into our performances," she shared.

Olivia has been a member for three semesters now, joining her first semester as a freshman at UMass. As a freshman, joining the company introduced her to many amazing people and new friends she would not have met otherwise. She is happy to have met, "Some of the most amazing people in the world."

It may be intimidating to audition as a freshman but, Olivia says, “The older members really got to know the freshmen and made us feel comfortable. The whole company gets along very well. I felt welcomed from the moment I joined the company."

What Makes this Club Special?

As members, dancers are able to choreograph their own dances starting their first semester as part of the company. Olivia has already been able to showcase two of her pieces and is working on her third. "There are also opportunities to get involved and onto the executive board to help run the company," Olivia shared. It's an awesome chance to gain leadership experience while doing something you love. 

"The company puts on one showcase every semester, usually near the end of the semester," Olivia explained. "It's completely student run and free for anyone to attend." The company also performs at UFest and at other RSOs' shows as the opening act or feature performance. The company also puts on fundraisers for their organization. Another fun thing the members do is "get together after the shows to watch the show videos and bond," Olivia said.

Want to Get Involved?

The company holds auditions in the fall, and any student can try out. Once in the company, the dancers practice Monday through Thursday evenings, and it is up to you how many dances you would like to be a part of and how many days you want to rehearse. The schedule is flexible and the company aims to “provide a place for dancers to get together and do what they love in a non-stressful environment," Olivia said.

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UMass Then and Now

University of Massachusetts student and her parents (both UMass alums) standing outside with the Old Chapel and the library in the background. Text: UMass Then and Now

If I took a time machine back about 30 years I would recognize some very familiar faces walking the same streets of UMass that I walk today. Two of these being my own parents! Both of my parents were undergraduates at UMass Amherst in the early '90s, where they met and graduated with degrees in education and engineering.