The mixture of Lady Gaga blasting and the flutter of dancers’ feet creates a buzz of excitement in the theater as the 87 dancers of “Random With a Purpose XVIII,” the annual dance performance directed, organized and choreographed by students, prepare for opening night.
For the first time in its history, the show will be presented at the Mainstage Theater due to its increasing popularity.
In years past, the show’s four student directors — Caroline Clarke, Crystal Smith, Evan Adler and Kaylie Caires — participated in the performance, which has various dance forms from contemporary to hip-hop to ballet.
The directors expressed excitement about having such large roles this year.
“This has really been the highlight of my college career,” said fourth-year Caroline Clarke, a history of art and visual culture major.
Clarke explained that there are very few opportunities for dancers at UC Santa Cruz to come together in a setting like this one, where it is a collaborative effort on all parts.
Each student director was chosen by previous organizers of the show. Since the auditions last quarter, they have been working together to create the 18th annual performance of “Random.”
“It’s been a wonderful road,” said co-director Crystal Smith, a fourth-year theater arts major. “Not only to get to see dancers and choreographers work together, but to keep the communication open and participate in this creative artistry.”
According to Smith, about 130 students auditioned, which were an experience in themselves.
Smith explained that the auditions were more of a meet-and-greet, in which dancers could approach choreographers they were interested in working with and vice versa.
“We tried to make it a friendly and open process,” Smith said. “We wanted to get people talking.”
While the show is produced by UC Santa Cruz students, the directors have made a lot of effort to get the production into the city. Their efforts include contacting local schools to see if they can perform for other students.
Working closely with local dance studio Motion Pacific, the performers and directors have been making sure that the show will be seen by as many community members as possible.
“We have a strong community of dancers and as directors, we really want to move our community into the Santa Cruz community and find more opportunities to perform,” Clarke said. “It is a popular show. It has sold out in previous years and organizers are expecting the same to happen this year.”
The group has had run-through rehearsals over the past week and dancers are eagerly anticipating the opening of the show.
Prior to a rehearsal, Tandy Beal, theater arts dance lecturer, gave the dancers a little talk to amp them up.
“Everyone is coming together now to make their dreams come true,” Beal said to the group. “This is the moment where you really get to be who you are.”