For the Love of Dance: A Profile of the 5CDC

By Rachel Hennessey '13, Staff Writer

The 15 skilled young ladies who comprise the Five College Dance Company (5CDC) make a team that is truly unique. The team was founded by Jaclyn D’Arcy (CMC ‘11), and the 15 women on this year’s team work tirelessly at their art in preparation for their seasonal showcases held at Garrison Theater, as well as for their hallmark halftime performances at 5C football and basketball games. Although the ladies make dancing look easy, they are constantly dealing with behind-the-scenes issues, such as organizing and fundraising.

Taryn Ohashi (‘13), one of the group’s co-directors, explains that success has not come easily for the team, but a passion for dance is what motivates the ladies to put in extra effort in order to attain adequate funding. Ohashi, along with co-directors Maya Horgan (PO ‘13) and Hillary Lundberg (CMC ‘14), put in tremendous effort to keep the team alive. “We hold our own fundraisers but also present our case to the CMC Senate, Scripps Associated Students and The Motley,” Ohashi said. Through these means, the team is able to obtain sufficient funding to cover the expenses of renting practice space and purchasing costumes for halftime performances. The dancers are extremely thankful for the annually allocated budget that the Associated Students of Pomona College gives the team, but the grant stillfallsshortofcoveringthecostof renting out Garrison Theater for their semi-annual showcases. To fully cover their showcase costs, dance company members often have to dig into their own pockets or ask for donations.

Luckily, the team has always enjoyed strong leaders who are determined to make it successful, in spite of financial obstacles. Ohashi, Lundberg and Horgan communicate regularly with athletic directors about games and halftime shows, and coordinate all practice spaces and times, all choreography and every detail concerning the showcases, right down to creating the programs. The co-directors also encourage the other

12 dancers to take on projects such as heading fundraising, designing costumes and choreographing small pieces, so any 5CDC performance truly is a team effort.

Anyone who has been to a football or basketball game over the past four years would probably agree that the halftime shows add extra spark to the game-watching experience. The womengettodemonstratetheirskills while rallying support for Claremont teams and keeping the crowd entertained—what’s not to like?

They dance at Pomona-Pitzer games, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps games, men’s games, women’s games, football games and basketball games. That’s a lot of games and a lot of practices (6 to 10 hours weekly). This semester, the dance company has already preformed at 10 basketball games, and fans are responding well to their presentations. “I enjoy watching the halftime shows as much as I enjoy watching the games,” said fan Aaron Outland (CMC ’13). “It’s great to see such athletic talent at the Claremont Colleges, on the field, on the court and on stage.”

If you enjoy watching 5CDC’s halftime routines, you should attend their showcase performances, too. “Many Claremont students only get to see the Hip-Hop/Street Jazz side of us at halftime performances, but put us on a stage and we become ballerinas, Latin divas and contemporary dancers,” Ohashi said. Although the ladies enjoy dancing at athletic events, the showcases are where they really get to shine as individuals, and express their personal artistic styles through dance.

This year, the Spring Showcase will take place on April 22 at 7:00 p.m. in Garrison Theater at Scripps. Admission is free, and judging from past shows, you are sure to leave in awe of our talented peers.

On one last note, I recommend that attendees wear waterproof mascara to the showcase, because the beautiful performances are often tearjerkers.