Image Courtesy of Jacqueline Jedrych 

By  Zachary Lichter

On December 1, 2021, the Catholic University Dance Company hosted Artsfest in the Great Rooms at the Pryzbyla Center. This year, Artsfest decided to have a holiday theme after not having it last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Free to Catholic University students, the holiday theme was integrated into many aspects of the event. Each table that was designated for members of the audience had holiday sweater cookies, and students were able to decorate these cookies any way they wanted. Students could also participate in the raffle upon entry by writing their names down on a little piece of paper and putting it in a little plastic cup that was in front of the holiday-themed prizes at the end, also receiving extra entries with correct answers to Christmas trivia questions. Artsfest featured multiple performances from the CUA Dance Company, the CUA Gaels, Pasión, and the Washingtones. The emcees were Mary-Helen Pryal and Carolyn Tachoir.

“We’ve been preparing for Artsfest since the beginning of the semester,” said senior English major and Dance Company president Kierstin Shea. “We started booking the room and we’ve been working on our dance company numbers since the beginning of September.”

The performances were scattered throughout the night. The Dance Company kicked off Artsfest by dancing to “This Will Be Our Year” by the Zombies. The dance was about how dance groups had to rise from the ground after the COVID-19 pandemic, and also included American sign language. The idea to incorporate American sign language into the dance was to include a unifying message that would be inclusive of all people, which was the message of the song. The Dance Company then performed a jazz number to the song “Toxic” by Britney Spears. The group then transitioned to a performance of  “King of the Clouds” by Panic! at the Disco, finishing off with a performance called the “Three Ephialtes.” Ephialtes means nightmare in Greek, and they danced to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Summer in G Minor.” 

Along with the CUA Dance Company, the Washingtones performed their first song, a mashup of songs from the band fun. They then performed “Zombie” by the Cranberries and one more piece, “White Winter Hymnal” in the style of Pentatonix. Pasión performed their dance number to several Latin rhythms. Following Pasiòn, the CUA Gaels performed two songs for ten minutes. The night ended with a group finale performance by all the groups. They ended up singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love. About 83 people attended, according to the list of attendees when people were walking in. This spring, the Dance Company is hosting a few events including Women in the Arts, a cabaret-style show in March, and then they will be hosting the Spring Showcase at the end of the Spring Semester. You can find out more on the Nest.

“We hope the audience enjoyed seeing a variety of different styles of dances and songs and seeing the different choreographic styles and backstories of the dances performed,” said sophomore business major and Samantha Heydari. “Also, we hope everyone enjoyed expressing their own creativity in their cookie decorating!”

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