NEIU Students Flaunt Their Dance Skills at Professionally Choreographed Dance Concert

On Saturday, April 15, 2023, NEIU hosted its annual Spring Dance Concert, where students showcased their dance skills to an enthusiastic audience. The event was hosted by NEIU’s Department of Music and Dance. The student-run dance concert was a spectacular and uproarious fusion of different dance styles, ranging from contemporary to hip-hop to jazz. Various tempos, fashion-styles, colors and kinesthetics were used for a fantastic night of movement on stage. Furthermore, an array of entertaining and eclectic performances featured NEIU students in the program. It was evident that the students were well-versed in the various forms of aesthetic, rhythmic and expressive dance theatrics.


The art of dance allows for dancers to embrace the music, step to the beat and share their bodily expression with spectators. Watching the synchronicity of music and dance live on stage is quite contagious and audience members either started tapping a foot or bobbing their heads to the beat of the music.


Diversity was at the core of the dance performances because over 20 students at various levels of their education performed content from both Western and Eastern cultures flawlessly and professionally. The performance included a dozen choreographed dances with the help of Rachel Burton, Interim Dance Program Facilitator of Music and Dance. Students danced to the beat of various music genres, from contemporary and traditional to hip-hop and classic.


One student who participated in the concert, Jazmyn Carthen, age 23, a graduate student in Communication, Media, and Theatre, shared her thoughts in an interview with the Independent. “I have been dancing since I was 17,” said Carthen, “I started on the hip-hop dance team called Eagle Dance Crew, here.” 


The Independent interviewed another talented individual, Evelyn Antolino, an undergraduate senior music major, for voice with a minor in dance. Antolino said that she is inspired to dance by her ability to convey emotions physically that she cannot convey verbally. When creating a story via non-verbal communication, it must be facilitated and accomplished entirely through rhythmic movement. Her explanation of how to express dark emotions was related to “domestic violence, to anything that’s more of like depression, and anxiety, something that hits home to me,” says Antolino.


Carthen expressed her love for dance and how being on stage makes her feel free and confident. She described her nervousness before going on stage, but once she’s on stage, she feels like it’s just her and the music.


Carthen also talked about the different dance styles she enjoys and how she loves being a well-rounded dancer. Her favorite styles include hip-hop, jazz and contemporary, which she finds challenging yet rewarding to learn. “My fellow dancers are really great dancers, and I think we put a lot of hard work to make sure these dances [are] so professional that we could put it on stage,” says Carthen.


When asked about the turnout for the concert, Carthen expressed her hope for a bigger turnout next time. She praised her fellow dancers for their hard work and encouraged people to come out and support them.


Carthen also dances in the community dance program as well as in musical theater drama. Even though she’s no longer on the dance scholarship program, she’s happy to fill in whenever she’s needed. Along the same lines, Antolino admits “it takes a lot to control your body, especially since we have a saying like the hardest part of dance is staying still, [and] it sounds easy, but it’s really not.”


Overall, the Spring Dance Concert was a huge success, the student dancers received a well-deserved round of applause for their hard work and dedication to the art of dance. With the passion and talent displayed at the concert, it’s clear that NEIU has a thriving dance community. Speaking of being bold and courageous, Antolino comments that “performance-wise, you just have to be confident… [and] …once you hit the stage, adrenaline hits you, and you can be just a different person.”


If students are interested in a unique and interesting way to express themselves and their emotions, Antolino said “just do it, don’t be scared, [and] if it’s something you want to do, just go for it.  There is no right or wrong to dancing.” Antolino expressed the need for more students to consider the dance program at NEIU. For students who are considering stageworthy dances, Carthen also encourages her fellow students by saying “don’t be afraid to try anything new!”


According to the official recital program document, dance scholarships are available to qualifying students. In addition, Carthen encourages interested dance candidates by saying “if you want to come dance, talk to Rachel, she is in the dance studio.” To audition for a scholarship or to learn more about the dance program, contact Rachael Burton at [email protected].