Gee-Gees dance team celebrates anniversary at captivating annual showcase
They may not be the dancers you see while wandering through the University Centre in the evening, but the Gee-Gees dance team have an important and long-time presence on the University of Ottawa’s campus.
The competitive U of O dance club celebrated their 25th anniversary at their annual showcase, held at the Ottawa Little Theatre on March 13. The theme of this year’s showcase was “retrospect”, reflecting upon the team’s evolution over the past 24 years.
“This was our 25th year of having the dance at uOttawa… that’s why we did a slideshow at the end. We went as far back as we could finding pictures of old teams and old team members,” says Sidney Marshall, a third-year psychology and linguistics student at the U of O and the co-captain and coach of the dance team. “A lot of them still come support us at showcase and do a lot of stuff backstage for us.”
The show opened abruptly at 7 p.m. with the dance “Say My Name”, choreographed by former dance team member and U of O M.Sc. candidate Angelica Blais. The powerful opening number was performed by the whole team to a Destiny’s Child remix, starting the show off with an upbeat and lively performance.
The showcase put the diverse talents of the Gee-Gees dancers in the spotlight, featuring an array of different solo and group pieces, with everything from tap to hip-hop. One of the most exciting numbers of the night was a spirited jazz piece danced to a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Applause”, featuring nine of the 18 dancers.
Although many of the dancers showed off their skills in solo performances throughout the show, they began and ended the night with full team performances—two of the strongest pieces of the showcase—featuring synchronized moves and lifts, demonstrating the power of the dancers as a unit.
“We all love to dance and that’s why we’re doing it in university. A lot of people stop after high school, but everyone here, and even at our competitions that we go to where it’s all university dance schools, everyone is so amazing because they just love to be on the stage and they love to dance and that’s why they’re doing it,” says Marshall. “It’s a good group of girls to have fun with.”
The finale “Lift Me” was a compassionate and emotional piece, with the team dancing barefoot and in torn garb to fit the mood of the dance.
“We call it ‘desperado’. You kind of get to show different emotions on stage, which is also why it’s fun to dance. It’s like being different people in one night,” says Marshall.
The dance team performs at charity shows throughout the year, including Dancers Give Back in February, and compete in two competitions during the year, which they prepare for by practicing for two hours, three times a week.
They also normally dance at Capital Hoops, but the cheer team performed instead this year. Marshall did say, however, that they have discussed doing a collaboration next year to allow both teams to cheer on the basketball teams at next year’s event.
On whichever stage they find themselves next, the team’s strong showcase suggests that the Gees will continue soaring to new heights.