On Saturday Feb. 2, dance troupes from near and far shared a stage to showcase unity amongst each other at the Jake Gaither Gymnasium for the thirteenth annual “United We Dance,” on Florida A&M University’s campus. Students, faculty, alumni and community members packed out the gym to watch the performances. Admission was $5 per ticket.
The event brought together organizations such as FAMU Strikers, Mahogany Dance Theatre, House Arrest 2, Addiction, Elite, Attack, Boyz of Poison, Bethune-Cookman University ‘s What’s Next Dance Company, the Diamond Dancers, Orlando’s Fantashique Elite Team and many more.
Albernisha Jones, a freshman student at Bethune-Cookman University, noted the long drive to Tallahassee was worth it since she loves being amongst other performers.
“I came all the way from Daytona Beach, just to do what I love the most,” Jones said. “It is always good vibes when we come to FAMU, and when FAMU dance organizations come to Daytona. Rivalry or not, we just want to dance.”
Hosted by the FAMU Strikers and Mahogany Dance Theatre, the gymnasium that was filled with laughter, music, snacks and positivity. Despite some dance troupes driving more than three hours to perform, the energy was still very high.
Reuben Saint-Juste, a freshman student at BCU said the crowd’s energy kept him motivated to end the show with a bang.
“I am so excited to see what this event have in stored for the audience tonight. I have always heard about his event, now I actually get to be a part of the thirteenth year,” Saint-Juste said. “I showed up, and I am ready to show out. It’s okay to have a little fun while uniting with other dance troupes. I feel as though people try to make everything a competition, but we all have different talents that was instilled inside of us.”
Though the performers were united in dancing they were divided by their sense of style. Dancers were dressed in the latest fashions which included hot pink tutu’s, glow in the dark hoodies, silky lingerie and camouflage shirts. Each dance team brought their own unique elements and creativity to the stage and off.
Orlando’s Fantashique Elite Team was the highlight of the night. This high school team filled with sophomores and freshman was ready to perform. Kirah Graham, a sophomore on the Fantashique Elite Team said it was fun to watch college dancers.
Royce Reed, a FAMU alumna, past member of the Mahogany Dance Theatre, and coach of the Orlando’s Fantashique Elite Team said FAMU will always be her second home.
“I love coming back to my old stomping grounds,” Reed said. “I come back to every homecoming and make different pop-ups. Mahogany will always be my heart, those girls are my sisters.”
After the intermission came the FAMU Strikers, who seemed to be the crowd favorite. They danced the first two minutes in glittery MC Hammer pants, then changed into their regular basketball uniform. The crowd cheered and yelled “hype me up,” as they danced to the fast-paced music. The FAMU Strikers started their performance with full energy and ended with a bang.
By the end of the night, the crowd was mingling with one another and comparing their favorite performances. The sentiment expressed throughout the night was that events like this can help bridge the gap of rivalry.