15 dance teams unite for one night

Poster of United We Dance.
Photo Submitted by Catisha Joseph.

Fifteen dance organizations will gather under one roof for one night only this Saturday at Florida &M University.

Mahogany Dance Theater and Striker Dance Troupe will host the 13th annual United We Dance showcase, featuring performances by FAMU’s Mahogany, Strikers, The Lovely Ladies of TorQue, Elite Dance Squad, Attack Dance Crew, Boyz of Poison, House Arrest 2, Addiction Dance Experience, Rekonsruktion Dance Troupe and more. It takes place at  8 p.m. Saturday in Gaither Gymnasium.

“The purpose is to unite and uplift all performing arts organizations by allowing everyone to showcase their talents under the same roof,” said Delvontay Smathers, president of Strikers Dance Troupe.

What makes this 13th year significant is the participation and collaboration of all dances organizations, especially those that generally don’t take part such as FAMU’s Pom Squad-Venom Dancers and the Diamond Dancers.  Each group will showcase its unique style of dance individually then joining collectively for a “united” dance number where members from each group get their time to shine.

Exclusive performances by Florida State University’s Kings Dance Team, Bethune-Cookman University’s What’s Next Dance Company, TranscenDance Company and Fantashique Dance Company will take place.

United We Dance was started in 2007 by Sherpiro Hardemon, founder of Strikers and Mahogany. The idea originated when Hardemon wanted to unify all organizations on campus.

At the time, he served as an employee for Office of Student Activities for FAMU and wanted to expose the organizations to another caliber of performing arts, theater etiquette, and a fundraising opportunity to gain support from non-dance organizations on campus.

“It was a commodity, unification, fundraising that transpired the idea which eventually grew from performances in Lee Hall to Gaither Gym,” said Hardemon.

With 15 groups one might think, hectic rehearsals, rivalries and disses. Not at all. Rehearsals are nothing but friendly competition to keep that competitive edge, learning new dance techniques, routines, and of course having fun, he added. Rules are in place to prohibit the use of offensive gestures or disses towards each other.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased from a member of Strikers or Mahogany and at the door for $10.  

“Expect to see everything that is Florida culture, a lot of tricks and hard work put into one place,” said Manny “Fresco” Acosta, founder and creative director for TranscenDance Co.