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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

Welsh Family Hall’s Dance Fest signature event returns

Welsh Family Hall’s signature event, Dance Fest, returns to campus in person this weekend for the first time in two years following COVID-19 complications.

Performances from 11 different dance groups on campus will take place Friday and Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. in Washington Hall. Admission is $5 at the door, or at the LaFortune box office, with all proceeds going toward Unity Gardens, a network of community gardens increasing access to healthy, locally grown food throughout South Bend.

Hannah Long, a sophomore computer engineering student living in Welsh Family Hall, organized this event with supervision from Sophia Aguilar, Welsh Family assistant rector and third-year law student.

The Dance Fest is a Welsh Family tradition for many years, excluding 2020 when the event did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a great way to showcase the talent we have here,” Aguilar said. “We have a really diverse set of skills and hobbies on our campus and we're so excited to showcase some of those for a good cause.”

Eleven groups are set up to perform during the two-day event, shaking out to about eight or nine groups each night.

One of the participants, the Ballroom Dance Club, performs Saturday night. The club will show three to five dances while switching partners between each dance.

Senior members of the Ballroom Dance Club David Fleming and Jessamine Kuehn Members said they decided to perform in the Dance Fest as a part because they would love to show the Notre Dame community how fun ballroom dancing can be and hopefully recruit new members to the club.

This event also gives their current members an opportunity to perform, especially since most of their away competitions have been canceled this year, Kuehn said.

Fleming and Kuehn practice for Ballroom Dance Club Monday night.

Airrial Tutton, a junior living in Pasquerilla West Hall and a member of the K-pop dance group on campus, will also be performing at. Dance Fest. Tutton said the club signed up for Dance Fest because they love the enthusiasm and sense of community that comes from performing.

The group will perform a high energy dance to a mash up of six different K-pop songs on Friday and Saturday night. Tutton said she hopes the crowd will feed off the dancers’ energy and excitement.

She said she is “always excited to see what other people are bringing to the table,” in the dance community and thinks this event will get the creative juices flowing, especially for those who enjoy choreographing pieces.

This will be the first time most current residents in Welsh Family and the Notre Dame community will be able to witness the event to its full extent. Two years ago, the Dance Fest was canceled due to COVID-19, and last year, it was scaled back and virtual.

With these complications, some members of Welsh Family have not had the chance to connect with their philanthropy group.

“We’re really sort of hoping to reintroduce our charity to our dorm,” Aguilar said.

Unity Gardens is a South Bend philanthropic organization that aims to “increase accessibility to fresh fruits and vegetables and provide education and different opportunities for families and individuals in need in that area,” Long said. They also work towards creating a sustainable local food system that brings people together. All proceeds and donations from the event will go toward Unity Gardens.