Eleanor Nolan, UNYK vice president, and UNYK President Gabrielle Cuellar have been members of the multicultural dance troupe since their first years at Augustana. Nolan discusses her involvement with the troupe as well as her choreography of the closing dance to UNYK’s fall show, which is to Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” while Cuellar discusses UNYK’s mission in the basement of the Westerlin Residence Hall. The troupe’s fall performance is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 in Centennial Hall.
VIDEO: NOLAN AND CUELLAR RUNS 1:30
Siming Cheng chose to choreograph a Korean pop dance for UNYK’s fall show, seeking to feature more than the performance’s typical hip hop routines.
Cheng, a junior from China, said that many multicultural dance troupe’s members are not familiar with Asian styles of dance, which means she has to put foreword more effort to teach them.
“It’s kind-of difficult, because it’s really different than what they are used to doing in American styles (of dance) and because a lot of dances in UNYK are basically classic American types of dance,” Cheng said. “So they’re not comfortable with doing it, so you first need to get them comfortable to the different style to teach them.”
UNYK will perform their fall show at 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 in Centennial Hall.
Cheng said there is a lot of strength put into movements in American style dancing, and this is not always the case in Asian dances that often feature more of a “soft” movement.
Her dance is to a song called “Bubble Pop!” by South Korean artist HyunA.
“I did a Chinese dance last spring, and I was trying to do something a little bit different,” said Cheng. “Last year I did a fan dance, which is very traditional, and I was trying to do something that was more modern. Koreans love great pop songs, so I decided to go with (that).”
According to the Augustana Observer & Rockety-I database, UNYK started in 1997 after a group of students called the “Talented Ten” performed in that year’s Homecoming Talent Show.
Eleanor Nolan, UNYK’s vice president, said this year’s show will also feature other multicultural elements, such as a Salsa dance as well as Polish, Chinese and African dances, as part of the show’s closing routine.
“We try to stretch outside our boundaries of the Augie bubble and learn about different cultures through dance,” said Nolan. “In the past, we have had Irish dances and Chinese fan dances, so it’s just kind of a little insight into how people around the world show their creativity.”
UNYK President Gabrielle Cuellar said the fall show will also feature the troupes’ 75 members dancing to hip hop routines to songs by Rihanna, Fergie, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and more.
For Cheng, UNYK is about dancing, having fun and meeting diverse people.“It is the biggest involvement for me on campus, and it’s the most interesting part of my campus life,” said Cheng. “I just love UNYK. It’s like a family to me.”