Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Dance groups to compete at SUNY Albany

By Kiyanna Noel

Tensions are high but the energy is even higher. Dance teams Spicy Island Tings and JEDI Productions combined dancers to compete at University of Albany’s Jamaican Student Association’s 13th Annual Dancehall competition March 31 at 7 p.m. 

The competition will include dance performances from Under Construction, Stilettos and Maddshott — all student dance groups at UAlbany.

The competition also features a  special performance from Jamaican singer Konshens, who created the hit songs “I’m Coming” and “Bruk Off Yuh Back.” The event will be hosted by DJ Tek Ravers. 

JEDI President and Choreographer Yisselli Sandoval expressed how the teams have worked endlessly every day just to prepare for this competition. 

“For the last two weeks we’ve been practicing for this competition,” Sandoval said. “Every day, even Friday or Saturday, [the dancers] have been putting in the work.”

Although the dancers are full-time students, that doesn’t mean school is on hold because of a competition.

Assistant choreographer of Spicy Island Tings Tai’jah Neil critiqued practice with a computer in her hand while paying attention to each and every dancer, never forgetting it’s midterms week. 

Spicy Island Tings Choreographer Thomeisha Belle made sure throughout these past two weeks to keep everyone on their toes and to keep an eye out for mistakes in new choreography so the team can “practice, perfect and perform” more efficiently before competition day. 

Even when miscommunications happen, this team knows when and how to address the problem, center themselves, motivate each other and continue to push each other to do the routine with high energy and passion.  

Motivating and combining two diverse teams may be a challenge for some, but the JEDI Choreographer Justice Hall makes it look easy every practice. Hall constantly reminds members to take deep breaths and that they’re “good and got this.” 

JEDI Dancer Chanalle Wilson recognized the effort of all choreographers to not only make the music mix, but put together a cohesive dance. 

“This competition means showcasing the hard work we’ve been doing. We put blood, sweat and tears into these dances,” Wilson said. “All the dancers are working hard, harder than they’ve ever worked before.”

This competition represents more than showcasing the talent at SUNY Plattsburgh, but it’s a chance for all dancers to show off their skills and represent themselves.

“Although practice may run late some nights, it’s just to make us better prepared for competition day,” Spicy Island Tings dancer Angelina Briggs said. “I’d rather stay late than go to Albany looking unprepared and unrehearsed.”

With a new audience and a different style of dance, the dance teams have spent time in and out of the basement of Harrington Hall studying and perfecting their moves for the big day. 

“The question isn’t ‘Are we ready for Albany?’ The question is ‘Is Albany ready for us?’” Hall said.

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