Troupes unite for celebration of dance

Lee Hall Auditorium was filled with dance, laughter and cheering on Thursday. A number of FAMU dance groups and specially invited guests came together to present “United We Dance.”

The event, which was presented by the Arts Unlimited Dance Theatre, was unlike other dance concerts in which one particular troupe presents a show to an audience.

Instead, at the “United We Dance” extravaganza numerous dance troupes shared the stage.

People who came to the show looked forward to this unusual collaboration.

“I expect to see a variety of dance troupes and I’m glad to see everyone come together and do one show,” said Jerry Lightfoot, a junior biomedical engineering student from Atlanta.

“United We Dance” featured dance troupes such as the FAMU Strikers, Mahogany Dance Theatre, House Arrest 2, Essence Dance Theatre, the Venom Dancers and the Miami Northwestern Performing and Visual Arts Center Dance Ensemble.

Before the show began, there was a quick introduction from the co-host, Senate President Ramon Alexander, who got the crowd hyped.

Venom was first to the stage, performing a dance ensemble similar to a Missy Elliot video with unique dance moves and a little booty shaking.

Next, with a more mystified and sexy vibe, was Essence. Dancers moved barefoot to enchanting African sounds with smooth gestures comparable to an ice-skater.

While Venom had Missy Elliot-like moves, another group integrated the singer’s lyrics into their routine.

Mahogany dancers flipped their way onstage using gymnast-like movements. They showed their diversity in dance by switching from Missy Elliot’s “Really, Really Hot,” to Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go.” Then the dancers moved to a slower beat with Beyonce’s “Signs” and began seducing the crowd with slow, sensual movements before they left the sage.

After intermission came House Arrest 2, who seemed to be an anticipated favorite from the way the crowd cheered.

The crowd chanted “Hey, Hey, Hey,” as the group came out with crisp, solid movements to a fast-paced beat. The group performed with a lot of energy and seemed to be performing dance aerobics.

Miami’s P.A.V.A.C from Northwestern high school was the highlight of the event. The group scored heavily with hometown fans that were familiar with its performances.

Dressed in black and white, the group stood motionless on a dimly lit stage, while a pulsating heavy bass lingered in the background. Once the darkness illuminated and the music took over, the dancers began to twirl and jump with finesse as if they were in a theater production.

It was like a short play as the group had skits and narrated stories of unfaithful men and how they were punished. During the skit, the crowd sounded astonished when one of the men had cheated with another man. The group collected a standing ovation.

Midway through the show Junior Sen. Britney King came to take Alexander’s spot as host.

King seemed to enjoy the type of crowd that was there that night.

“I thought we had a great mixed crowd, a lot of area codes and a lot of diversity, they were real hyped,” she said.

Then, the Strikers came to the stage.

The group started out dancing to Mase’s “Breathe, Stretch, Shake.” The Strikers ended by pumping and moving their arms in unison in squat positions as the crowd went wild with excitement.

The show ended with the groups returning to perform little segments, giving the crowd a last taste of their dance flavor.

The man behind the scenes of the event felt pleased and thought everybody else was pleased.

“Everything went as planned. I think all the entertainers enjoyed the performance … everything went well,” said Shepiro Hardemon, owner of ” Arts Unlimited Theatre.”

With an anxious crowd and eager performers, everyone seemed to benefit from the show.

“As usual, our performance was electrifying,” said Herold Macajoux, president and company manager of the Strikers.

“I was proud of all my members and the energy was just awesome.”

Contact Royce Wynn at