Last Friday, Lawrence University’s Melee Dance Studio performed their annual Spring Dance Show. Melee is a K-pop dance troop that mostly focuses on performing the dance choreography from K-pop music videos. The group has made a comeback since dissolving during the COVID pandemic and has since worked to share their love of K-pop and dance with the rest of Lawrence. The group has been preparing since Fall Term to deliver a very fun night full of upbeat music and lots of energy, perfectly encapsulating the theme of “acceptance.”
While a majority of the performances were very high-energy, encouraging people to get up out of their seats, there were a few performances that focused more on the emotional and vulnerable aspects of self-acceptance. The first was Assistant Professor of Psychology Amanda Draheim’s performance of the song “Fall in Line” by Christina Aguilera featuring Demi Lovato. The performance was extremely moving, with other group members holding up signs like “slut” or “fat” — words that society uses to keep people, especially women, down. Professor Draheim spent a majority of the performance with her mouth duct taped shut before finally ripping it off and letting out a very satisfying and cathartic scream. Another performance was of contact improv, a form of improvised dance where two people essentially have a conversation through touch and full-body movements. The use of silence leads the audience to be hypnotized by the vulnerability of the performance.
Junior Cece Spruel, a member of Melee, talks of why the theme was chosen and why the message of acceptance of inner strength is so important. “Everyone struggles with body positivity, especially since most of the people in Melee are girls; we have to live up to these standards, which are very hard,” Spruel said, adding, “It is really important for us to be able to express ourselves without having to change ourselves.” Dance is a great way for someone to both move their body and feel confident, and shows like these do a great job of allowing people to express that confidence. Melee aims to make dance fun and provide an opportunity for people to share what they love with their peers.
The group is planning on adding a performance in Winter Term as well as Spring Term next year and is always looking for new members. If you love to move your body to fun music and goof off with friends, then Melee Dance Studio might be right for you. “[If] you don’t even know how to dance,” Spruel said, “we’ll teach you!”