Shanai Momi interviews NU Dance member and Show Secretary Yemisi Windapo.
1. When did you first join NU Dance and what made you interested in it?
I joined last year which was my first year at university. I really wanted to see what the dancing was like at the University of Nottingham. Not having a dance background, I stumbled upon NU Dance and soon became a regular member.
I remember just loving the feel of the society as a whole. It was not just the regular dance classes that I enjoyed but the link to other societies and the fact we hold regular competitions. There are lots of opportunities to meet a range of people and try a host of different dance styles. I was lucky enough to get into a competition in my first year so I met a lot of people through that and decided I wanted to be part of the committee.
2. You mentioned you’re part of the committee – what is your role in the society?
Show secretary. Every year we have a massive annual dance show where we include some of the competition pieces and we showcase these to our audience. This is what I am in charge of. Although we have professional choreographers come in to teach us routines, members of the society are also free to create a piece of their own that can be showed during other sessions and events but not usually during competitions. My role is largely behind-the-scenes and revolves around creating show of the whole dance society into a performance.
3. What type/style of dance does NU Dance involve?
It is a range of dances really! We are very versatile. Our main seven range from Street, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical Jazz, Contemporary to Commercial. This year we have teamed up with different societies (‘African Caribbean Society’ and ‘Black and Minority Ethnic Society’) on Fridays – a session we call ‘Freestyle Friday’.
To celebrate black history month we joined together to do three afro beat classes. As mentioned before, the ‘Friday Freestyle’ class is perfect for people to request a particular dance style or showcase something they have been working on to the rest of the group. We are pushing that this year as we really want to highlight everyone’s creativity! Three weeks ago, for example, we had someone showcase a K Pop routine which we hadn’t had before and it was really good!
“The creativity was off the chain!”
4. Thinking back to your first NU Dance taster session, what was it like?
Mine was really fun. The creativity was off the chain! The committee were all there as were the teachers. I remember everyone introducing themselves and we still do that in any new tasters we hold. Tasters are all about throwing yourself into it and not caring about how good or bad you are. It’s all about having a good time! Getting away from university and the pressures of life. A great way to de-stress!
5. Are there beginner classes?
Different dance styles have different abilities. For example, we have beginners street then you can work way up to advanced street. It’s the same with ballet and tap. Some classes aren’t a beginners or advanced so it’s a matter of pushing yourself.
6. Who and what has made your time in the society most memorable?
Definitely the variety of dance and the people you meet. I have no come from a dance background so it was brilliant to join a society where people have danced since they were a baby and others who have stumbled in. There is no animosity- it’s people coming together simply to dance.
“We love supporting our fellow societies”
7. Do you hold socials?
We do a LOT of socials. Ranging from going to Crisis and Pryzm for our non-sober socials and pizza nights and theatre shows for our sober socials. We recently saw Legally Blonde at the theatre and that was fantastic! We love supporting our fellow societies as well so always go to Musicality events and such whenever we can.
8. Can you tell me a bit the upcoming competitions?
Next Saturday (23rd Feb 2019) we are going to Liverpool to compete in the LGMU competition. It’s a smaller one where 10 other universities will also be competing. It will help work us up to Loughborough, the biggest university dance competition in the country.
9. Could you expand on the Loughborough competition?
“We were undefeated for the ‘Best Dance Society’”
It’s a really big dance competition spread over two days where you compete in range of dance categories. In previous years we usually do very well, placing in every category (in the top three). Last year, we were undefeated for the ‘Best Dance Society’ and our ‘Wildcard’ piece was also undefeated. This consists of a range of dance styles in one piece that we perform in around 3-3.5 minutes.
10. How often does NU Dance meet?
We meet every week for a one hour dance class. If you are selected to be in a competition piece you will do an extra hour on top of that and potentially stay slightly longer closer to performance day to refine the routine. You become really fit and healthy in our society!
11. Can anyone join, even if they haven’t danced before?
YES THEY CAN! Everyone is very welcome!
Tickets for NU Dance show on Kind Meadow Campus on the 5th and 6th April 2019 will be released soon! Keep an eye out on the SU website and follow their facebook page for updates. Membership is £10 for the year and £3 (members) and £4 (non-members) per class, which pays for the professional choreographers.
Interview conducted by Shanai Momi.