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CDE: Dance That Defies Definition

As part of the Virginia Tech creative community, sometimes we isolate ourselves from the rest of the university. We also tend to forget that there are other forms of expression besides creative writing, music, or art. Dance is one such medium that can be overlooked and difficult to characterize: is it a sport, an individual or group activity, or an art form? Whatever you think of dance, there’s no question that it is a beautiful form of expression, artistry, talent, and athleticism. All of these qualities were on display during Contemporary Dance Ensemble’s fall show on Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th in the Squires Student Center.

Contemporary Dance Ensemble (CDE), an all-female ensemble, is one of many dance groups on the Virginia Tech campus, featuring 22 full company and 22 associate company members. Their fall show was titled “Undefined” to reflect how the girls in the group cannot be defined by one label, a statement that also holds true for dance itself. Members of the group danced in a variety of styles, including tap and hip-hop. There was also a guest performance by the Ballet Project, another dance group on campus that performs classical ballet.

I spoke with a new member of CDE, Bryn Burns, a mathematics major who was one of 4 girls this semester to make the full company as a freshman, about her experience with dance and all the work CDE does.

How did you prepare for the show?

“Starting from the first week, we started practicing our routines and working on our dances for this semester. The week before the show is called Tech Week ¾ we had rehearsal every day and full costume run-throughs almost every day.”

Why did you join the group?

“Because I love dancing, and I did not want to stop dancing in college.”

What is your previous experience with dance?

“Well, I started dance in first grade, and I’ve done it competitively for 12 years.”

What originally drew you to dance?

“My mom wanted me to be active and social, and I tried t-ball and soccer, and I didn’t like any of that, so I signed up for a dance class, and I liked it.”

How is this different from your previous experience?

“It’s kinda the same style, but I definitely don’t do it as much. I used to have dance literally like all the time, and I don’t go to competitions (now), so it’s a pretty big difference.”

What was your favorite dance in the show?

“I probably liked the tap one the most (to a song) called “Push It.” It was 80s themed, so it was fun ‘cause we just got to be goofy, and the costumes we had to wear (were) like big gold hoops and chains.”

What other events does CDE do?

“Sometimes we’re asked to be guest performers at events. We were guest performers at an event called Dance Marathon this past Friday (November 11) to raise money for kids who have cancer. We also do percentage nights to raise money like at Frosty Parrot, and we’re gonna have an upcoming grilled cheese sale. We are also participating in an event called Remembrance Through the Arts where we dedicate a performance to the beloved Hokies we lost in April 2007 … It’s the 10-year anniversary, (and) we dedicate our performance to (the Hokies lost), and it’s a free event.”

If you want to get involved in CDE, they hold auditions in both the fall and spring semesters. Also, look out for their next full showcase coming in the spring!

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