Dance Ensemble of Georgia State brings diverse dances to the stage

Ballet, jazz, hip hop, African, modern – these are all types of dance. Many times they are performed separately, but as a member of the Dance Ensemble of Georgia State, you might be fusing one or more dances to create a unique performance. 

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Submitted Photo | The Signal

Dance Ensemble offers an opportunity for dancers with prior dance experience or interest in dance to join with others to practice, make friends and perform together.

Student Maya Dejoie joined Dance Ensemble her freshman year at Georgia State. A dancer since age three, Dejoie said dancing comes naturally for her. Because college is so time consuming, Dance Ensemble allows Dejoie to commit to her passion while on campus.

“With the work load that I have, if I didn’t dance, I’d go crazy,” Dejoie said. “It’s important to me to continue to make time for dance so that I never lose that talent or passion for it.”

Dance Ensemble allows students to foster their passions with dance master classes led by Atlanta choreographers in the Student Recreation Center. Dance Ensemble’s newly elected president, Dejené Marshall, hopes to get more students involved in the club for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.

“I hope to increase the number of members as well as the awareness of our group on campus for functional reasons,” Marshall said. “But most importantly, I really hope to get Georgia State back in touch with the performing arts on campus. Since we’ve seen the dance major disappear, the presence and support of dance has also declined.”

Dance Ensemble’s first performance is scheduled for November 9 at the Student Center ballroom. Performances are opportunities for the dancers to show off their hard-work and various styles of dance. Marshall said that for the November show there will be several pieces: hip-hop, urban ballet, jazz, contemporary, a “soulful” piece and an interesting, modern piece.

Dance Ensemble has two choreographers within the group, but they also network with other choreographers and instructors in the Atlanta area to teach classes and construct routines.

Marshall learned ballet and jazz first, two common studio dances. Dance Ensemble provides other types of dance instruction that anyone can learn in addition to what they know, or as a new skill.

“Seeing your growth is very rewarding,” Marshall said. “I started dancing in high school and I have had moments when I thought I could never do a certain movement or technique skill. Then after time and practice, I would do it and the feeling would be so amazing.”

Practice, for dancers, is the essential ingredient to perfecting their craft. They also allow for the forging of friendships.

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Submitted Photo | The Signal

“The most memorable moments for me are the practices we have leading up to performances,” Dejoie said. “So much hard work and creativity goes into performing, and although it can be stressful, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

This creativity doesn’t mean that dancers have to put their life on hold to perform.

“Dancers understand that there is a “dance life” where you drop everything else and spend much of your time in rehearsal,” Dejoie continued. “This is also time consuming and stressful, but as a dancer, you love it anyway and you’re also creating a greater bond with the other dancers in the group.”

Marshall remembered her first performance with Dance Ensemble as being different because of the friendships she made with the other dancers.

“We got so close being in rehearsal until midnight together,” Marshall said. “It was a really good bonding experience.”

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View Dance Ensemble’s videos on YouTube. 

Story idea submitted by Maya Dejoie, junior