If you walked into the theatre building last Thursday, Friday and Saturday you may have heard music blaring from the speakers in the Theora England Proscenium Theater. Do not worry, it was not a student trying to play music to fill the silence that stood between them and their homework. Rather, it was the annual student led dance concert RUSH.
RUSH is a long-standing tradition here at Northwestern that has been carried on for 20 years now. The event entails various dances choreographed and produced by students who stepped into the position. Students from across campus are invited to take part in the show, whether they have years of prior experience, or if this would be their first-time dancing.
Choreographers and their student groups spend around two months meeting a few times a week learning and polishing up the dance. After this is all said and done, they perform on five separate occasions throughout three days. With the mix of different dance styles, spectacular lighting designs from students, a variety of different music and a full theater, the atmosphere quickly becomes electric.
This year, RUSH included eight dances choreographed by students, as well as several dances from Robin’s School of Dance, a local dance studio. Dance styles included tap, K-pop, hip hop and modern ballet done to a variety of songs including “Friend Like Me” from the movie “Aladdin” and “Bury a Friend” by Billie Eilish.
Senior political science major Aaron Eckmann chose to choreograph a tap dance to the previously mentioned Billie Eilish song. Eckmann, who has done tap dancing since he was in 1st grade, has been a part of RUSH for all four years of his college career. However, he was only able to perform live during three out of those four years. The senior class of this year unfortunately had their first year of RUSH cut short due to COVID-19.
Eckmann said “I saw someone on YouTube who choreographed a dance to this song which inspired me to choose it. It is quite dark and moody which set it apart from most tap dances I have seen and performed before.” Much like Eckmann, each choreographer had an inspiration, or a reason for why they chose the music and dance that they did.
Senior history major, Emma Geary, choreographed a hip-hop dance that she titled “Leap of Faith.” Geary put together a mashup of three songs on the soundtrack for the film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Geary, who is a fan of the film, found inspiration through the songs that propelled a vision for the dance.
“I had a vision for RUSH and I started working on the music and dance during Christmas break. I was convinced I had to sell my vision to make people believe I was creatively competent, at the least,” said Geary. “Going from my ruminations to seeing the investment the dancers gave was truly remarkable.”
Madison Follett, an alumnus of NW, was involved in RUSH all four years that she was here. After moving back to campus last year when her husband Brian took up the title of resident director of Colenbrander Hall, Follett helped put together the show. This year, Follett took the reins and held the position as director/producer.
Follett finds beauty in the event’s inclusivity and the creativity that goes into it, saying, “My favorite thing about RUSH is that it is for everyone. No matter if you have zero dance experience or if you have been dancing your whole life, RUSH is for both sides and everyone in between that’s spectrum of skill set. It also gives the choreographers a space to create a dance that they otherwise would not have a chance to do so.”
Whether your only dancing experience is at family weddings, or it is from years of dance lessons, do not be afraid to get involved with next year’s production of RUSH. Who knows, you just might find how much you enjoy dancing.