Arts and Entertainment | Dance

Glass House Rocks shines spotlight on campus dance groups

  • Tianyue Sun / Senior Staff Photographer
    to the left | Members of Raw Elementz rehearse in Lerner Hall to prepare for their performance at Thursday’s Glass House Rocks. The group is one of nine dance groups performing on the ramps.

For some, Glass House Rocks may be an opportunity for free food and swag, but the annual event also serves to transform the Lerner Hall ramps into a stage. 

On Thursday, at 8 p.m., the annual showcase of dance performances and student groups in Lerner will mark its ninth anniversary with an “Under the Sea” theme. 

Though the event will also feature performances from various a cappella groups and DJ sets, the centerpieces of Glass House Rocks are the dance performances from nine groups. For the groups, it’s an opportunity to reach new audiences, and to take on the challenge of an inclined stage 

Yuri Gloumakov, SEAS ’14, a Raw Elementz dancer and B-boy, says Glass House Rocks provides Raw Elementz the chance to perform in a “new and edgy way,” as performing on the ramps is more challenging than performing on a stage. 

“Raw Elementz loves to push choreography to different styles and places that people haven’t performed before,” Gloumakov said. 

Tianyue Sun/ Senior Staff Photographer
Dip it good | Members of Sabor rehearse on the Lerner ramps ahead of Glass House Rocks.

April Mays, CC ’14 and Onyx’s artistic director, says the audience is one of the best things about performing at Glass House Rocks—as is the challenge that the performance space provides.

“Performing on the ramps is harder than on a normal stage because the floor is slanted and a lot of the choreography is up in the air and down on the ground,” Mays said. As a result, “movement gets more difficult.” 

Every year, Onyx strives to incorporate the Glass House Rock theme into its performance or costume choice. Mays said this year’s theme will feature quite prominently in their performance. 

Raw Elementz is also known for integrating the theme into its choreography and costumes. Gloumakov said that this year the dancers will have black and blue costumes and glitter lipstick. 

This year’s newcomer, Venom Step Team, is also incorporating the theme.

“Some of our steps are inspired by aquatic life,” Kei Phillip, BC ’14 and Venom co-captain said. “We found ways to reinvent old motions to incorporate the theme.” 

Due to the fact that Venom’s performance is entirely body percussion without background music, Lerner’s ramps and layers would warp the sound, so Venom will be performing in the Black Box theater.

Phillips said the group wants to perform as “a way of bringing the whole campus community together.”

“School is so hectic—everyone looks forward to it [Glass House Rocks] to relax, unwind, and have fun,” Phillip said. 

The annual Glass House Rocks theme offers dance groups the unique challenge of incorporating the atmosphere into their routine. 

Dance performances start at 9 p.m. and will feature Raw Elementz, CU Bhangra, CU Swing Dance, CU Raas, CU Generation, Sabor, CU Ballroom, CU Dhoom, and Onyx Dance Troupe.

There will be a capella, music, and stepping performances in the Black Box Theater from 8:35 p.m. until 11 p.m. by CU Voltage, String Theory, Notes and Keys, HAYOO, SHARP, Uptown Vocal, Phonoscenes, and Venom Step Team. 

A dance party in Lerner C555 that starts at 9 p.m. will feature three DJs: J0I (Michael Bellamy, CC ’16), DJ Dwai (Andrew Jorquera, SEAS ’16) and Vonzie (Sean von Ohlen, CC ’14). There will also be food catered by Westside Market and a Lerner Pub in Lerner Party Space.

arts@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

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