This past Saturday, I attended the annual Fairfield University Dance Ensemble (FUDE) dance recital, “Don’t Stop the Music,” and it was absolutely incredible. FUDE is the largest student-run organization at Fairfield with over 70 dancers showcasing their talent in styles such as tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, Irish step and more. This was the first time in the club’s history that the recital was completely sold out, selling over 700 tickets in the Quick Center!
I am proud to say that many of my roommates and close friends are involved in FUDE, and I know firsthand how much work is put into these shows. These dancers have worked tirelessly for months to learn, practice and perfect their dances for this show, and I can assure you that it was worth it to see the end result. From the graceful and emotional ballet performances to the energetic and powerful hip-hop numbers, every single dance was mesmerizing to watch. While it is almost impossible for me to choose a favorite, I want to highlight a few of my favorite dances and what made them so enjoyable to watch.
Having had a (very brief) dance career myself, tap performances have always been one of my favorites. From the song choice to the choreography, “Higher” choreographed by sophomore Ainsley Corriveau was incredibly entertaining to watch. Everyone in the audience could tell how much rehearsal went into this piece because the taps were so clear and together. There were so many moving parts that came together to make an amazing performance that the whole audience enjoyed.
My next favorite was a Broadway jazz dance entitled “Chicago” choreographed by senior Grace Filippi. This number involved a mashup of songs from the Broadway musical, “Chicago,” and could not have been more enjoyable to watch. The choreography of each section of the mashup created such a unique portrayal and interpretation of the story. The movement and costumes also contributed to the performance overall and had me smiling in my seat.
Known to me as the “bright pink pants dance,” the hip-hop number “16 Shots” was choreographed by a former member of FUDE, Cait McKearney ‘22. This dance was high energy and the dancers really attacked the choreography. This was one of my favorite dances because the facial expressions and fun costumes really brought the dance to life!
I am a sucker for a pretty ballet dance and “My Way,” choreographed by senior Maria Boyle was absolutely breathtaking to watch. The fluidity and simplicity in the movements, combined with the beautiful costumes, had the entire audience holding their breath in awe. You can never go wrong with picking a Frank Sinatra song and I’m positive everyone in the dance made Mr. Sinatra proud.
Speaking of good songs to dance to, the lyrical number performed to Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” was captivating. This number was choreographed by Elliot Enriquez ‘25 and really captured the emotion behind the song. With so many girls in one number, it can’t be easy to choreograph a piece with so many moving parts, but Elliot managed to pull it off effortlessly.
The Irish Step dancers are always a crowd favorite and they did not disappoint this year. From the Ed Sheeran hard-shoe dance to their dance battle against the tap ensemble, every dance was a hit. My favorite thing about the Irish dancers is that they look like they’re having so much fun on stage throughout every dance they perform!
Finally, the dance that stood out to me the most was the Mamma Mia Broadway jazz number choreographed by Joni Medzadourian ‘25 and sophomore Kate Enriquez (tap). This number was at the very end of the show, and yet the dancers had so much fun energy throughout this whole dance. I found myself smiling ear to ear for the entirety of the dance just watching how much fun they were having on stage!
I am often referred to as the “dance mom” of my friend group, which is a title I hold with pride. For two years in a row, I have watched from September to March as my friends, and all of the dancers, put in so many hours a week to learn and rehearse their dances. I have seen tears in times of frustration and indescribable relief and pride when you finally nail a section of your dance that you haven’t been able to get for months.
No matter how many times I had seen the dances before the show, either when my roommates practiced in our room or showed me a video from rehearsal, I was still blown away by the talent these dancers have. The dance ensemble here at Fairfield University is filled with incredibly talented dancers and choreographers who should all be proud of themselves for the incredible show they put on. If you didn’t have a chance to go to the recital this year, mark your calendars for next year’s performance (I know I’ll be there!).