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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Feeling Good’: Momentum Showcase 2023

After a semester of lengthy rehearsals every Sunday, Vanderbilt’s Momentum Dance Company performed two outstanding shows on Nov. 7 in Langford Auditorium.
Olivia Noell
Silhouettes of dancers during their group routine, “Feelin’ Good,” as photographed on Nov. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Olivia Noell)

After hearing Michael Buble’s hit song “Feeling Good” during the opener of Vanderbilt Momentum Dance Company’s fall showcase, it was clear this was going to be a performance to remember. Momentum performed every style of dance under the sun — pop, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, contemporary, modern and tap — providing non-stop, two-hour entertainment to their audience. Not only did the group perform this feat once; they did it twice with performances at 5:30 p.m. CST and 8:00 p.m. CST on the same night. 

Following this opening number, Momentum presidents Emily Chandler and Avery Phillips welcomed the crowd, announcing that there were going to be 13 different student-choreographed dances performed that night. 

For each performance, the stage’s projector briefly displayed the name of the song being performed and the name of the dancer who choreographed it. A few of the performances included a lyrical dance to Taylor Swift’s “The Lakes, a hip-hop dance to Beyonce’s “Hold Up,” a modern-style dance to Jax Jones’Out Out,” a tap performance to “Puttin’ On the Ritz” and a duet to “All We Ever Knew.” The grand finale was performed to Rhianna’s “Pon De Replay,” with the dancers in each grade taking a bow and all the dancers performing some last-minute moves to end the night. 

“An entire semester of work culminates to just a few hours of performing on show day, and when show time finally arrives, the energy backstage is always so high. Actually performing on stage is exhilarating — the audience cheering, the bright lights, seeing faces of friends and family in the audience — and it all goes by too quickly,” senior Kayla Furney said. 

There were two guest performances in addition to a 10-minute intermission during the show. The first guest performance included Vandy Tap That!, Vanderbilt’s student tap dance organization. This group added to the many pieces of the night as they performed a longer tap dance to “Let You Down” by NF, merging a traditional dance with newer rhythms. The second guest performance was the Bhangradores who perform at almost every Momentum showcase. Dressed in traditional Bhangra attire, they danced to pop music remixed with Bhangra music. These two categories of music coming together were eye-opening and incredibly enjoyable to watch. 

After 13 choreographed student dances and two guest performances, one of the seniors graduating this December, Malia Westlake, was given a poster and flowers for her time with the company. Other seniors in the show, Kayla Furney and Emmeline Wang, who joined the company in their first year at Vanderbilt, reflected on their time in Momentum. 

“Momentum Dance Company holds a special place in my heart, and I’m so grateful for the wonderful friendships it has brought into my life,” Wang said. “I love being able to dance in every choreographer’s unique style and perform alongside a community that radiates love and support.”

Furney echoed these sentiments and spoke about how Momentum provided a place to carry on a lifelong passion.

“Ever since freshman year, Momentum has played an extremely important role in my experience here at Vanderbilt,” Furney said. “From third grade to my senior year of high school, I was a part of a very tight-knit dance company, and I feared that I would not find that same community in college. After joining Momentum, that fear quickly vanished. There is something so special about sharing a bond through dance, and there is nothing I enjoy more than our weekly dance rehearsals.”

For many students, Momentum is an organization that allows them to build deeper bonds over the shared experience of performing together on stage. This extracurricular allows dancers to continue doing something they loved in high school. The production, rehearsal time, choreography and passion are unmatched. With Momentum, these students don’t have to stop dancing as they get older. 

If you’re a seasoned dancer looking for an outlet in college, tryouts happen at the beginning of each academic school year. Or you can be the happy dance mom spectator holding flowers for their friends at the end of each show, like me!

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About the Contributors
Grace Delmonte
Grace Delmonte, Staff Writer
Grace Delmonte ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science double-majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health & society. She is from Atlanta, Ga., and serves as a staff writer in the Life Section. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her running around Centennial Park, baking, working in her research lab or exploring restaurants around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Olivia Noell
Olivia Noell, Staff Photographer
Olivia Noell (‘25) is from Anniston, Ala., and is majoring in neuroscience, medicine, health and society and gender and sexuality studies in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys hammocking, spending time with friends and trying new restaurants around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
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Kayla Furney
6 months ago

Such a great article! Thank you for highlighting our beloved org<3