Sacred Heart University’s Dance Program had its final performances of the semester starting on Thursday, April 20 and ending on Sunday, April 23.
The SHU Irish Dance Ensemble, The Claddagh Dancers, started the weekend on Thursday night with a mixture of live performances and video footage of their experiences on SHU’s Dingle campus in Ireland and past performances. The Claddagh Dancers performed the piece that earned them the title of National Champions in 2023.
There are 240 dancers in the Dance Ensemble, and 395 dancers in total throughout the whole program. The SHU Dance Program consists of Dance Ensemble, Dance Company, Claddagh Dancers, Inception Dance Crew, SHU’s Professional Track for Hip Hop Production, and SHU Mo(VE)ment, SHU’s other professional track group.
Director of Dance Kari Williams expressed her passion for the dance program and all it has to offer at SHU.
“The thing I look forward to the most during show week is witnessing the entire dance community at SHU coming together in support of one another,” said Williams. “Anyone who attends a dance show at SHU can attest to the incredible energy and excitement that fills the theater.”
SHU Dance Company performed its pieces on Friday night in their show, “Shadow Work.” SHU Dance Ensemble’s “Spring Finale”split into two shows, Program A and Program B, on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
The Dance Program also put on an Earth Day Dance Festival throughout the day on Saturday in celebration of Earth Day. Dancers performed different styles of dance at various locations around Main Campus.
Dance Ensemble President Ally Ferreira reminisced on her time in the program and at SHU during the final week of preparation and performances.
“Dance has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl, so it’s been incredible to be able to share that with my closest friends, create my own pieces, and have an outlet for being a stressed-out college student,” said Ferreira. “I would not be the person I am without having dance in my life.”
The Dance Ensemble’s “SHU Force” is a group of student choreographers and leaders that teach their own classes and run events. The program also utilizes staff professional choreographers such as Taylor Krebuszewski, Heather McKeown, and Matthew Westerby for their classes and performances.
Ferreira gave a special thanks to her friends and program leaders for their support and care throughout the years.
“Being that I am a senior, it is going to be bittersweet performing on the Edgerton stage for the last time with my best friends,” said Ferreira. “I am so proud of all the SHU Force Choreographers and would like to thank them all, as well as Kari Williams, Taylor Krebuszewski, and Heather McKeown, for making my last year the best one yet.”
Junior Kayla Goncalves attended the Dance Ensemble show on Saturday night in support of her friends that were performing.
“I really enjoyed the show, but I think my favorite dance was Ally Ferreira and Nicolette Mascioli’s duet to the song ‘All My Love’ by Noah Kahan,” said Goncalves. “The dance was so beautiful and their music choice made it even better.”
The weekend ended with the professional track dancers performing in Pro/Positions III on Sunday night.
To join the program, prospective and current SHU students must either schedule an in-person audition or send a video to program director Kari Williams. Audition guidelines can be found in the Participation Grants & Auditions section of the Sacred Heart website.
The SHU Dance Program can be found on Instagram at @sacredheartuniversitydance, or in the Dance Program section of the Sacred Heart website.