On the Friday and Saturday of sixth weekend, Carleton students gathered in Sayles for an hour and a half of outrageous dancing. Ebony II, Carleton’s dance performance open to dancers of all skill levels, takes place every term and is one of the school’s favorite traditions for organizers, participants, and audience members.
“It’s just a place where you can be yourself and not really worry about being a good dancer,” said Hannah Joy Wirshing (’13), a co-director of Ebony.
Each term, Carleton students choreograph and dance to songs of their choice and then perform these group dances on two consecutive weekend nights. This year, songs included “Starships,” by Nicki Minaj; “Hide and Seek,” by Imogen Heap; and “And We Danced,” by Macklemore. Dances were alternately sexual, goofy, and technical.
“It’s fun to see people you know dance to songs you can sing along to,” said Ariane LeClerq (’13). Ebony, which takes place in the Sayles-Hill Great Space for fall term, consistently attracts a large crowd of spectators who come to cheer on their friends.
The positive atmosphere associated with Ebony has much to do with its inclusivity. Although some participants do have formal backgrounds in dance, some only dance for fun and others have no dance experience.
Co-director Kristin Dooley (’13) said, “It’s unusual in that it’s open to everyone on campus…It’s really cool to get to know so many people and to see them progress.”
Although some students try out Ebony for a term or two, others remain committed to it throughout several years at Carleton. Rachel Clark ‘15, a choreographer this term, joked, “I’ve literally met all my friends in Ebony.”
Many also view Ebony as a vital activity for a student body that is very focused on academics. “Ebony has been so good to me. It has allowed me to have such a creative outlet. It’s not very cool, but I just think it’s so important as a creative outlet,” said Elizabeth Holohan ‘13, long-time Ebony choreographer.
Participants also stress the importance of having a good time with the practice and performance of Ebony. “You have to make it so fun, or else why would you do it?” Holohan asked.