The auditorium was dark, and there were no signs of dancers. Suddenly, the stage is lit up by LED bracelets, and the dance begins. Although the performers are not easily seen, the lights are the focal point of the dance. The choreographer described it as “a rave on stage.” With a performance approaching on Oct. 24, Momentum Dance Company is gearing up to take their dancing to the next level.
Throughout her whole time time at Vanderbilt, Jillian Fuller, Momentum Dance Company’s president, has been a part of the group.
“It’s a little cliché to say, but Momentum is home. We have girls from so many different dance backgrounds that everybody has found their place. Momentum offers everyone a chance to express themselves.”
Fuller has always been dancing: “I would dance around the house when I was around two, so my mom put me in a class.” Later on, Fuller began to compete in competitions starting at age six, but felt a difference at age thirteen.
“I think that’s when it finally started to click and my technique actually got better. In high school, I kept dancing because, first of all, it gave me structure. I went to school, went to dance and did my homework.”
Fuller is passionate about dancing, but mostly loves being a creative director. “As I started to get leadership positions, I just really liked creating things for people, like formations are really fun for me and performing for people and making sure everyone looks good–I love that.”
Since the group is student-led, the dances are choreographed by its members. Momentum allows for open collaboration, which creates a great environment for new and veteran dancers alike.
“If you feel strongly about choreographing something, then you will sign up in a Google Doc and explain your vision. We’ve had girls who have choreographed pointe pieces. We’ve had tap pieces in the past, hip-hop as well. When you’re in high school, you have dance teachers telling you, ‘This is what you’re going to do,’ and [Momentum] is our space to let dancers figure out, ‘Oh, I like to do this kind of dance versus that kind of dance,’” said Fuller.
This fall’s showcase, in Fuller’s opinion, is “actually the most upbeat, jazzy show we’ve had since I’ve been here.” Many first-year dancers are choreographing, and Fuller could not be more excited to perform for the Vanderbilt community. As well as showcasing the dances for the Vanderbilt community, Momentum also has philanthropic efforts that extend beyond campus. The group has a partnership with Best Buddies and has a buddy come in to choreograph a dance and continues to seek more community outreach programs.
As Fuller reflects on her experiences with the group, she notes the importance of making Momentum an outlet both for herself and the audience. “I feel like in college, there’s so much going on that you don’t feel like you have time to express yourself. So, having a showcase or even just a guest performance and having that outlet has been really nice.”
Momentum Dance Company will be having its fall showcase on Tuesday, Oct. 24.