By Harlee Ludwig
The girls from And What?! tore up the room, causing everyone to go into that strange yet familiar feeling of being completely shocked, enjoying the shit out of where you are, and of course, becoming overwhelmingly jealous of the dancers.
In between the dances, during what I assume were costume changes, three individual students recited spoken word poetry. The first, Taylor Johnson, dedicated her poem to her girlfriend, who was in the audience. Although I fail to recall the details of the poem, I do remember her stepping off the stage and feeling like someone had just read a poem for me in front of an audience of people. It was personal, beautifully written, and an overall great break from the hip hop dance styles of And What?!
The second poet, Luke Alpert, also dedicated his poem to his girlfriend who was in the audience (visiting from Brown). He, too, let out a personal vibe that, although I knew him before, made me feel much closer to him and almost proud of him. Between snaps and claps his beautiful diction was beyond enviable.
Last but not least was Jamie Gerber. To steer away from the pattern, her poem was about someone else, but an equally close relationship. It was about a current inmate at Grafton Prison and was so real and raw that at one point she had to stop and recompose her emotions. Hers, written like a letter, was just as beautiful as the past poems and evoked thought in every single person in the room.
In between the poetry and dances were the Umoja Steppers. Stepping has always held a big place in my heart; as a child in elementary school stepping was the hot thing to do. People who couldn’t step—like myself—were in a different league than those who could. Complete with a storyline, the Umoja steppers reminded me of something I always wanted to do but never maintained the skill to do so.
I can honestly say the night was beyond a success. Packed to its fullest, Warner Main held more energy in that hour than it does most days. The worst part about the whole night was leaving and feeling completely inadequate for not being a professional dancer. The feeling hung over my head for the rest of the night.