Performance Groups in a Pandemic
As I have started to get acclimated with a Dartmouth lifestyle, I have begun to participate in various clubs and groups on campus, the majority of which are performance-based. After weeks of auditions and exploration, I can say that I am a member of both Ujima, a dance group, and the Brovertones, an a capella group here at Dartmouth!
Ujima is the oldest dance group on campus, and while it is focused on and centered in hip-hop, all styles are incorporated and used as influence. One of my personal favorite aspects of being in Ujima is the fact that everything is choreographed by group members, and anyone can choreograph at any time. I've spent the past week working with the other '24s in the group on creating a dance to teach everybody else in the near future. Overall, this experience has been a great way to meet upperclassmen, as well as share a combined passion for dance. And while I don't have as much experience with any of Dartmouth's other dance groups, I am sure that this enthusiasm and enjoyment is true for them as well.
When it comes to acapella, the audition process took place over weeks 5 and 6, so the groups are only beginning to get settled now. However, I have already begun to get to know the members of the Brovertones (the group I'm a part of), and it has been a blast. There are eight different acapella groups on campus, all of which are a lot of fun and full of talent. Three groups are all-male, three are all-female, and two are co-ed. For the Brovertones, most of our songs are pop-based and a lot of fun. Additionally, a lot of acapella groups go on a tour every winter to perform and work in different areas over our break, and while we can't tour this year, I am excited for future years when it will be able to happen.
One of my biggest fears before arriving on campus was about the format of performances and rehearsals in the middle of a pandemic. It is definitely disappointing that we have to meet virtually for both groups, but I have found that there are ways to make the best of it. It is incredible to see how creative people can get in (cue our favorite phrase) unprecedented times. For Ujima, (yes, we do indeed dance over Zoom), the directors came up with the idea for our fall project to a music video. Since we can't perform live, we are creating a video that still showcases our ability and also gives us an end goal to work towards. I'll be honest—singing and dancing alone in my room to my computer screen is definitely not as enjoyable as real gatherings (not to mention my floormates have to deal with the noise), but we are making do with what is possible, and we can't really ask for much more. In the end, the experiences with both groups have already been extremely positive despite virtual rehearsal. I never thought in a thousand years that my college performance experience would be online, but I am so grateful to have even had these opportunities, and I can't wait for the next four years as a member of both groups.