Escape Velocity: ‘Avenge’[ance] in the Air

Marie Sykes

Escape Velocity Dance Company’s Spring 2023 show, “Avenge,” left audiences in awe with nineteen dynamic dances set to popular songs like “Cell Block Tango” and “New Romantics.” With nineteen different dances ranging across genres, the production showcases a variety of styles. Escape Velocity (EV) members spoke passionately about the importance of the community in the dance company and the opportunity to express themselves creatively. Seniors were especially grateful for the chance to end their college careers on such a high note after the pandemic disrupted live performances in the previous year.

With everything from contemporary to hip hop to tap, Allie Fiore ’24 said the concert was “more diverse than anything we’ve done before.” Taylor Tobin ’23 explained that even within the dance genres, “people always have their unique take on different styles.” Chris Gerrow ’26 said he enjoyed choreographing and getting a chance to “explore all of those [styles] at once.” He added that “every time I see [the dances] again it’s like I’m watching them for the first time.”

Members of EV spoke about the importance of the community they created together. Mia Staurowsky ’23, the events coordinator, emphasized how it was such a “super fun show” and a “happy community.”

Highlighting an important aspect for students that are part of Escape Velocity, Olivia Fiorella ‘24, said, “I can let my creativity shine.” Having a student dance company also allows students to incorporate dance into their college experiences whenever it fits into their schedules, as Bri Spadafora ‘24 explained. Bailey Hann ’24 appreciated the company for allowing her to learn more about the process of running a program outside of “actually dancing.” Kalina Witkoska ’23 said that they “love that we all help each other and work together to show our love for dancing.” Liv Lesinski ’26 said, “I love performing [with EV] because of how it allows me to express myself! I feel free on the stage and I enjoy seeing others enjoy the performance.”

For seniors, “Avenge” was their last perfor- mance with EV. With COVID-19 preventing live performances in the 2020-2021 school year, the seniors were especially excited to end their college careers with such an exciting live show. Mackenzie Buckley ’23, treasurer, explained that because of the pandemic, she “made [her last piece] different than a lot of the other pieces” compared to more typical senior pieces. Buckley explained that most seniors pick sad songs for their final performances, which she maintains she did also, but Buckley also explained that she wanted to include very high energy songs in the performance as well. Addie Schwindt ‘23 said “as a senior I’ve been really grateful for the opportunity to be able to create pieces [as well as] work with my peers to create a vision.”

Escape Velocity is for anyone who wants to dance, whether they’re lifelong dancers or new to the stage. Bailey Hann ’24 said Escape Velocity is “for everyone.” You can see their archived performances on their YouTube and stay up to date with them on their Instagram, @ursinusescapevelocity.