Georgetown has finally caught on to the reality television craze.
Sponsored by the Athletics Department, Hoyas Got Talent is a dance competition among five Georgetown dance groups — Georgetown University Dance Company (GUDC), Black Movement Dance Theater (BMDT), GU Jawani, the Step Team, and Groove Theory. Georgetown students, using an app on the Athletics Department’s Facebook page, can vote for their favorite dance group, and the winner will receive the chance to perform during a halftime show at a Georgetown men’s basketball game at the Verizon Center.
Each group submitted a video of a past performance this year for placement on the Facebook page, and each group will have the opportunity to perform at Midnight Madness on Oct. 12 to sway the ever-important undecided voters.
Erica Pincus (SFS ’13) and Kara Thomas (COL ’13), the leaders of GUDC, have been preparing for the competition to win one of the performance slots at the Verizon Center. “Ultimately, the competition is that the top three groups get to perform at the Verizon Center,” Pincus said.
GUDC has been practicing since early September in preparation. “We had two of our girls … choreograph it,” Thomas said. “They decided to do a big, high-energy piece. We had a bunch of rehearsals and taught almost the entire company the dance.”
The other dance groups haven’t been slacking either.
Jason Thompson (MSB ’14), the Creativity Director for Groove Theory, helped choreograph the group’s performances used to persuade students to vote for them. “We performed for the NSO Pep rally and Community Service Day,” said Thompson. “Once we had auditions so new people came on the team, we performed at the Homecoming tailgate and halftime at the Homecoming Game.”
Groove Theory has continued intensive training even after the Homecoming game in preparation for Midnight Madness. “Since Homecoming, we have kept up a steady stream of advertising (primarily through social media) to bring in votes,” LaTara McLemore (COL ’13), a leader of Groove Theory, wrote in an email. “And, of course, we are in the process of preparing for Midnight Madness … We will be in rehearsal every night this week to insure we deliver a quality performance for all the Hoyas present at Midnight Madness.”
BMDT prepared a new style to up the tempo in their performances. “We utilized more pop music and more mainstream music,” said Bernadette Nelson (SFS ’14), a performer for BMDT. “So the choreography is a little different from what you would see at a BMDT show.”
But the incentives for the competition are not just glory and the opportunity to perform at the Verizon Center. Nelson believes that Hoyas Got Talent gives Georgetown dance groups more visibility than ever before. “The Department of Performing Arts wanted to get more exposure of on-campus groups,” Nelson said. “I think it’s a really great opportunity for the on-campus performing arts groups to get more exposure not just through the shows we put on.”
The dance groups all hope to increase the popularity of performing arts on campus. “The dance and arts community in general on campus is so vibrant and so talented, but it’s not always the most recognized community,” Pincus said. “So I think it is great that the Athletics Department is collaborating with that community on campus.”
Not all dance groups, however, heard about the opportunity to participate in Hoyas Got Talent.
Sana Imam (COL ’15)—founder of Bindaas, a dance group that recently performed at the Mr. Georgetown Pageant—did not receive any notice for Hoyas Got Talent.
“The coordinators of Midnight Madness never contacted us,” she said.
The Sports Promotion department of Georgetown Athletics apologized for its mistake.
“We did our best to spread the word as much as possible through the Performing Arts Center, Student Activities Committee, posting on HoyaLink, and speaking to groups who performed at campus events,” the department wrote in an email to the Voice. “This opportunity was open to any and all performers on campus. We deeply apologize if any group was unaware of the contest.”
Imam claims Bindaas would have refused the chance to compete anyways. “Even in the event that they had contacted us we would have said no anyways because we just did auditions and got our new team,” she said.
In spite of the miscommunication between the Athletics Department and some dance groups, Hoyas Got Talent provides a valuable opportunity perform on a larger stage than is available on campus.
“We are just really excited because it is great to have an opportunity to get the exposure of a basketball game, because dance isn’t that big on campus,” Thomas said. “Not a lot of people have the opportunity to perform at a basketball game.”