Arielle Friedlander, Senior Staff

This February marked the first of what will hopefully become an ongoing tradition at UR: inspireDANCE, a dance festival and “week of learning, teaching, performing and interacting to promote the values of dance,” inspireDANCE organizer and KEY student Arielle Friedlander said. Friedlander had the idea for the festival back in January 2010 as a project for her fifth entrepreneurial year at UR. Dance has always played an important role in Friedlander’s life and, after coming to UR, she realized that something had to be done to improve the relationship between dance and this campus.
“There are over 14 dance groups on campus, but they’re very separate, they don’t cooperate, and sometimes there is even animosity — not always, but sometimes,” Friedlander said. “Between all these great groups there is hardly any interaction.”
Though the scale of her original idea was much larger than the festival ended up being, she still considers the experience a success and feels that the festival lived up to its goal.
Over the course of the five days that the festival ran, performances, classes and forums were held. To kickoff the experience on Tuesday, Feb. 1, a number of student dance groups performed in Hirst Lounge, after which “Dancing With the UR Stars” was held in conjunction with the 2014 Class Council as part of Spirit Week.
From Wednesday to Saturday, an enormously wide range of 24 different dance classes were open to both the UR community and anyone in the Rochester community. Such classes included everything from the usual ballet, tap and jazz to tai chi and traditional Jamaican dance.
Classes were offered at different levels of expertise to accommodate the interests of as many people as possible, and some of the classes held on Friday and Saturday were even taught by local professionals, such as Clyde Evans, a renowned hip-hop artist originally from Philadelphia.
In addition to classes and performances, because of inspireDANCE, UR played host to the Rochester Contemporary Dance Collective, which is a forum for different Rochester choreographers to come together and get feedback for pieces on which they’re working.
Friedlander worked hard to create a festival that would do just as the name suggests and inspire this campus to appreciate the art of dancing. The festival was ultimately a success, and though it was UR’s first dance festival, hopefully it won’t be the last.
Sklar is a member of
the class of 2014.

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