It’s that time of the year when a select group of students trades in boots and winter footwear for tap and dancing shoes. The PureRhythM show is a display of PURE Dance Xtreme’s and the RhythM Tap Ensemble’s dedication and hard work throughout the fall semester.
PURE Dance Xtreme and RhythM Tap Ensemble
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets from $5
PURE Dance Xtreme’s jazz and ballet style will be paired with songs ranging from classical to modern pop. RhythM Tap Ensemble will be tap dancing to a similarly wide range of music, from Radiohead to Broadway hits. Both groups will share the stage and combine their forms of dance in the finale, accompanied by The Beatles’ “Come Together.”
“We try to do a variety of numbers to diversify our performance, as well as add an element of surprise,” said Nursing senior and Laura Langberg, director of RhythM. “You don’t normally see people tap dancing to a Radiohead song, but it works.”
Three other groups will also be performing: the Michigan Bhangra Team, an Indian dance group, Encore, a hip-hop dance group and Compulsive Lyres, an a capella group.
“We get invited to different student groups’ performances, so we like to invite others to ours,” explained Kinesiology senior and RhythM dancer Jessica Rapp.
Langberg feels a kinship with ‘U’ alum and co-founder of PURE Dance Xtreme Shelby Kaufman, who now dances professionally in New York City.
“Shelby believed that dance was the lost art of American youth, and strived to bring it back to campus,” Langberg said.
Both groups are largely made up of girls with intense dance backgrounds.
“I’ve been dancing since I was three because my mom is a dance teacher, so she inspired me to pursue it,” Langberg said. “The group is very advanced and is completely student run, and gives multiple members the chance to choreograph pieces for the performance.”
“I’ve been dancing since I was five, primarily ballet,” said Business senior and PURE Dance co-director Gina De Silva. “I danced all throughout high school, and during my freshman year of college I missed it and wanted to keep up my skills.”
Rapp, too, had a similar experience.
“I’ve been dancing since I was five as well, in all styles such as tap, jazz and ballet,” Rapp said. “My dance company in high school was focused on tap, and I had actually heard of RhythM before I came to Michigan, so I joined freshman year.”
In addition to their love for dance, PURE Dance Xtreme and RhythM Tap Ensemble hope to create a sense of unity within their groups.
“Joining this group is a great way to come in contact with people you would never have met otherwise, who share an interest for different kinds of dance,” De Silva said. “We have five freshmen on our team, so it’s fun to be their mentors and have participants from every age group.”
Both groups, however, sometimes struggle with finding funds for their performances, but use their creativity as a solution.
“(PURE Dance is) not funded at all by the University, so it’s really hard to pay for everything that comes along with a performance, such as renting out the theater,” De Silva said.
“RhythM is partially funded by the University, but we have to figure out our costumes and other factors by ourselves,” Langberg added. “We try to find various ways to use things we already have, look for cheaper items, or make things, because we don’t want people to feel pressured to spend a lot of money on costumes.”
“We try to keep our costumes very clean, and nothing too exorbitant,” Rapp said.
Both groups share unbridled enthusiasm for the upcoming PureRhythM show.
“We spend a lot of time practicing and we all love performing, and we hope it will be a great show,” Langberg said. “We’re very excited.”