On Feb.15, several family members, friends and supporters went to Lee Hall as members of Essence Dance Theater put their hard work to the test in their showcase, “Under Construction.”
There was a total of eight choreographed dances, including “Work In Progress,” “Paths,” “Sommer Day,” “Seeing Green,” “Wait Your Turn,” “The Message,” “Danger Zone,” and a dance specially done by Rickards High School’s Golden Dolls.
The show also included other dance troupes, including Essence Dance Theatre 2, which is based in Tampa at the University of South Florida, and the Rickards High School Golden Dolls.
According to EDT’s president, Cha-Ryl Montgomery, the group focuses on more technically advanced and creative dancing.
EDT was founded in 2001 by 13 young women who all had a passion for dance.
Montgomery said that EDT does a variety of dance styles, including modern, ballet, jazz and hip-hop.
“Our organization consists of people who recognizes dance as a vital art form, and who believes in sharing their talent with others,” she said.
People who attended the show seemed happy about EDT sharing that talent.
Celora Jackson went to the show in support of her niece Cebrina Jackson, who dances for EDT.
“This show was excellent,” she said. “I don’t have anything bad to say because it was very entertaining.”
Although some thought the show was good, others felt they didn’t get enough.
“The show was over too quickly,” said Kenedria Thurman, a 24-year-old graduate student. “It only lasted an hour.”
But despite the show’s time slot, Thurman said she enjoyed herself.
“The show was really good, and I like how they brought in EDT 2,” she said. ” It was creative and showed difficulty and skills.”
While EDT clearly has the talent and technique, some thought the Golden Dolls had the best performance.
Seleste Cooper, a senior at Rickards thought her school held the top spot.
“The show overall was just OK to me,” Cooper said. “It didn’t blow my mind, and the last show I attended was better.”
Cooper said the Golden Dolls were definitely her favorite.
But no matter the mixed responses, Montgomery knows how much work was put into the production.
“We have been preparing for this show for the last semester and a half,” she said. “We rehearsed three days a week with additional marathon rehearsals lasting up to six hours.”
Gaining publicity for the show was no easy task either.
“We had to really put ourselves out there in getting people to come to the show,” Montgomery said. “Advertising was a lot of hard work.”
But the president truly believes that every bit of work was worth it.
“I think the show was a great success,” Montgomery said. “A lot of people told me they enjoyed it, and that was our ultimate goal- to make people feel entertained.”
And EDT is not going anywhere, any time soon.
“Essence has a lot in store,” the president said. “We will be traveling to the Black College Dance Exchange this April in Tennessee, as well as participating in other FAMU events.”