Photos by Alex Fylypovych

After a long-winded storm blew through Fairfield’s campus this past Friday, the bright lights of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts signaled a special night. An entire year – for one show.

Friends and family members crowded the Quick Center’s lobby. Slowly, the seats filled. Programs fluttered. And then a huge cheer ripped through the auditorium as the lights went out.

The side wall of the room lit up with a video filmed and edited by Nicole Ross, ‘13.  A voiceover followed clips of dancers practicing on a smoke-filled stage: “Dance is fearless. Dance is outrageous. Dance is rewarding.”

Fairfield’s Dance Ensemble performed its annual show this past Friday. Sixty three dancers contributed to 27separate routines that included hip-hop, lyrical, tap and Irish step dancing.

The showcase “Firework” encompassed a full range of passionate dancing. “Skinny Love,” a lyrical duet by Lauren Adamczak, ‘13, and Maria Waring, ‘14, opened to tender piano music as the two dancers gracefully moved across the stage. Beneath the spotlight’s faint pink glow, their free-falling hair whipped behind them and they embodied grace with a tangible, vibrant fire.

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The pace changed with “Ireland’s Reel,” a fast-paced and rhythmic Irish step dance. At the end of the routine, the background music cut off and only the dancers’ precise steps rang throughout the auditorium. At the end of the acappella dance was one of the loudest cheers of the night.

Fairfield’s dance team also contributed to the performance with a routine to Pat Benatar’s “We Belong,” followed by a second routine that combined a spicy hip-hop dance named “Ninja” with a tribute to the recent craze “Gangnam Style.”background music cut off and only the dancers’ precise steps rang throughout the auditorium. At the end of the acappella dance was one of the loudest cheers of the night.

In between routines, Andrew McMahon ’13 and Frank Aquino ’13 added a touch of comedy to the night as they announced each upcoming dance. The audience convinced both McMahon and Aquino to tap dance; laughter permeated the auditorium.

8649967092_b073c96b89_bAnother crowd favorite was the tap dance number to fun.’s “Some Nights.” Fifteen dancers in army pants broke out with pounding soles and vibrant energy.  It was one of many electrifying routines.

Dance ensemble member Brianna Nunes ’16 has been dancing since she was three years old. “I use to dance three days a week,” she said. Since coming to college, dance ensemble has allowed her to continue her passion. “It’s been a great way to make friends.”

President Michelle Vizzi ‘13 has been dancing for 17 years and has been trained in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and hip-hop. She performed in 10 routines in the showcase.

Sophomore Marisa Mastrangelo was blown away by the performance. “They put on such a great show last year that I couldn’t wait for this one,” she said.

Junior Luis Gonzalez Rios echoed the sentiment. “I wanted to see the seniors perform one last time before they graduated,” he said. “I can tell how much effort and dedication went into it.”

Vizzi explained how the team prepared for Friday’s show: Each of the seven classes practiced once a week throughout the year. During the two weeks leading up to the show, they rehearsed every day.

“All of the girls worked really hard all year and you can see that in their dancing,” Vizzi said.

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In the final act of the night, the stage lit up one last time as all members of dance ensemble came together. The 13 seniors stood united in bright purple shirts, surrounded by a sea of white-shirted freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

As the final curtain loomed, the senior members of the dance ensemble team were called one by one to receive abouquet of flowers from their fellow dancers – a bittersweet conclusion to a dynamic performance.

From ballet to hip-hop, all of the routines shared the energy and passion of Dance Ensemble. The team wrapped up the year with an explosive ending. Firework, indeed.

A backstage look:

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