If you’re still wondering if Stern students can dance, then you definitely haven’t seen the show. As someone who has participated in the show as both a dancer and a choreographer the past couple of years, I may be a biased source, but let’s be real—I’m just stating the facts.
So You Think Stern Can Dance (SYTSCD) is the highly anticipated annual dance gala, a captivating delight for not only the audience, but the dancers involved as well, who have been working hard to put this amazing production together since the fall semester. The saying goes, “Work Hard, Play Hard”, and that statement couldn’t be more true regarding SYTSCD. While putting the show together can be a time-consuming, physically demanding process, the final performances are oh-so worth it. The show, run this year by senior Yaelle Kassai and junior Whitney Kagan, took place on March 28th and 29th in Lamport Auditorium on the Wilf Campus, instead of its usual venue from previous years, Norman Thomas High School. Regardless of the location switch, ladies from all walks of life still came out to see the dancers immerse themselves completely into the music.
There was a particularly diverse mix of dances this year, ranging from hip hop, lyrical and K-pop to Israeli and Jazz Funk. Every dance team brought the smiles, high energy, and attitude that are essentials to being an authentic dancer. Though every dance emulated different vibes from the next, each was met with deafening screams and applause from the audience. For the few minutes each of us got to be center-stage, we got to make a special connection with not only our fellow dancers, but the audience as well.
Whitney Kagan, co-president of SYTSCD and choreographer of three dances this year (including her very own solo), shared what makes her so passionate about the annual show. “The most rewarding part would have to be the end show, seeing all the hard work and how it pays off and how every girl gives it their all. It’s so much fun—the crowd loves it, the girls love it. It’s so beautiful to watch after all the stress and the months of preparing the final product, and it just looks phenomenal. I’m so happy to be a part of that.”
Kagan added that the show contributes to Stern campus life. “It gives girls the opportunity to get active in a fun way, and meet new people that you wouldn’t expect to meet. They branch out of their comfort zones and you never expect to see certain classmates in certain ways, and it’s just amazing to be like ‘Hey! I’m in a science class with that girl, and I never knew that she had this talent!’ or ‘Wow, that girl’s having such a great time on stage!’ and you would never know if it wasn’t for this event. There’s this whole other side to people, and it’s just beautiful to see how people have these hidden talents. I just love seeing those little things. It’s not just about the academics, it’s not just about the social scene—it’s like, wow, we’re all doing this together, we all have these hidden talents, and I just love that.”
Junior Jordana Maged, who participated in the event for the second time this year and was featured in both jazz funk and lyrical dances, shared the same sentiments as Kagan about the show. “The practices are a great way to get some exercise into my schedule, and they’ve also been a great bonding experience. I got the chance to spend time with other students that I don’t necessarily have classes with and probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Maged told The Observer. “And the show itself is tons of fun. It’s a really great feeling to know that your team’s hard work really paid off. It’s also really nice to just get to let loose. I don’t know where else I’d ever have the opportunity to be in an all-women’s dance, and get to perform it to an all-women’s audience.”
For me personally, the best aspect of the show is getting to raise the roof with students that I may have never crossed paths with if not for the show. We all have different majors, and we all spend our weekends differently, but our passion for dance brings us together. SYTSCD is also an amazing outlet to express ourselves through. There’s something unique pulsing through each and every one of our veins, burning to be unleashed through our movements. When we’re finally in the limelight, we get to unleash the beast within us and completely revel in the moment. We look at our fellow dancers knowingly, bond forces, and show the world what we have bubbling inside us. SYTSCD is truly welcoming to any Stern student, whether it be beginner or advanced. The show has been a huge part of my collegiate career and I’m so grateful to have been a part of something so special.