Colliding cultures, crossing genres and combining dancers from every corner of campus: RUSH – the always-entertaining, sometimes-edgy student dance concert – culminates this week in eight sold-out performances. Known for its unmatched diversity, this year’s production includes inspiration from the Lion King, indie electro-pop rockers, The XX and even the Queen of bizarre herself, Lady Gaga.
After only three weeks of practice, RUSH 2011’s collection of 14 dances and over 200 dancers hits the stage with a diversity, electricity and energy unlike any other.
“Our cast members come from every dorm and every department,” said former RUSH producer Vaughn Donahue. “Everyone at Northwestern brings their own experiences and personalities to the table, and we embrace the diversity in our cast. We want to provide our audience with variety.”
First created in 2003, RUSH began as an answer to a limited number of dance opportunities in the NW arts programs. Co-founders Corinne (Mings) Christian and Rebecca (Fanning) Donahue imagined a student-initiated and -directed show based on the principles that anyone – with enough time, direction and passion – can dance.
Growing by leaps and bounds from a group of 15 dancers in six dances to well over 200 participating students, RUSH has proven to be one of the highest-involved, well-attended NW student activities on campus.
“RUSH is an amazing opportunity for people throughout campus to be united together to just dance!” said junior Amber Maloney. “Last year, it was so much fun to see how much all the dancers in my group had improved and learned. At first they were shy, but by the end they were making up their own sweet dance moves.”
“I’ve done swing dancing before, and I’ve always enjoyed it. I really wanted to teach this style of dancing to other people and spread the enjoyment of it,” said senior Matt Skelton.
Christine Roy, a junior dancer-turned-choreographer, agrees. “I got involved with RUSH because I love to dance. Also, I wanted to add some spice by sharing my Indian heritage.”
As they say, “variety is the spice of life.” And within the RUSH production, it’s a staple.
“RUSH welcomes diversity because without it, art is dull. The goal of RUSH is to be new, engaging and even edgy at times. So far, it’s worked pretty well for the show,” said Donahue.
“It’s cool because this dance couldn’t be done without everyone in it,” said sophomore Meghan Schuster.
“RUSH is the ultimate showcase of what this campus is truly capable of producing. The idea of having a cast of 200 people, led by students and entirely conceived of students is outrageous. Yet NW pulls it off!” said Donahue. “It comes from passion, commitment and love for one another. We respect each other’s art, and through that we’re able to do what most colleges would consider impossible. Anyone can dance. Come show us what you’ve got. We promise you’ll blow us away!”
Still looking for tickets to one of this year’s performances? Ticket reservations closed last week but there are almost always extra tickets available if you’re willing to wait. According to NW Box Office policy, unclaimed Will Call tickets are available after all present ticket-holders have been seated.