Student Activities held a closing social dance in the CAC that saw low attendance as more students packed the Aloha Center Ballroom for a free dance provided by Nina Foster’s EXS classes.
The SA’s Lights Out Formal was set to go from 8 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Dec. 2 and featured a deejay and food. The entrance fee was $5.
Yu Tsai Huang, a junior from Taiwan majoring in accounting, shared, “My boyfriend and I went to the dance because he got free tickets as a president of the Hong Kong Club. I pretty much enjoyed it in general.”
Yu said she enjoyed the food that was provided and said it was “unexpectedly good” and better than the typical option of pizza offered at most BYUH dances. The food included spaghetti, cake, and salad.
According to Aaron Baldomero, the Student Activities specialist of the event, it was the first time for them to plan a light out dance, meaning all the building’s lights were turned out and the room was completely dark with only glow sticks and flashlights.
However, students who attended the dance noted that other attendees were leaving to go to the Ballroom because of another dance going on. Leftover food was taken over to Foster’s EXS dance.
But Foster’s performance wasn’t the only other event happening that night. The Salsa Orchestra hosted a free dance and mini-concert in the Band Room with free food. Various student associations also had events, such as the Seaside Jesters Comedy Club’s final improv show of the semester and the Gamer’s Club’s closing social, both held in the HGB.
One student speculated the low attendance at the formal was because the other events were free. Another said it was because formal dances in the past have been held in locations off-campus and were more expensive, which they said made this dance’s low cost seem like it would be lower in quality.
However, some students said the formal dance was really well done. Amber Davidson, a freshman from California majoring in elementary education, said she had a good time at the dance, “I like how they decorated the environment and made it like a darker mood, which makes people dance more and express themselves. I liked how dark it was, but there weren’t many people.”
Referring to Foster’s dance performance, she added, “Maybe they should have the dance on a different date if there is another one going on.”
Jonathan Comeau, a junior from Boston majoring in accounting, said, “The formal was pretty cool but there weren’t that many people. I like the deejay, but I wish there were not two dancing events going on at the same time so that more people could go to this one. I would definitely come to this kind of dance again as long as they have more people.”
Sophia Shepherd, a freshman from California majoring in accounting, said, “I liked how dark it was and how much effort was put into it that makes it feel special. I feel like they could make it less formal so that more people would come.”
Davidson added, “I saw the poster of the dance in Hale 1 where I live, and that’s why we came. We were there for two hours. It was really fun and I felt comfortable dancing.”
Baldomero, a sophomore from Kailua majoring in marketing, explained, “The school wanted us to put on a formal and to come up with a theme. We wanted something that is out of the ordinary and would attract the students, so we thought of a ‘lights out’ formal where students can eat and dance when the lights are off. It gives them an opportunity to dress up in Laie, where it is a pretty laid-back and a down to earth place.”
Another student activity specialist, Brindlee Fullmer, a junior from Arizona majoring in accounting, said, “We have planned this event for a few months now. We held this so that every student can get to know new people and just have fun. Also, it is a safe environment for students to socialize on a Friday night.”
Foster, a dance instructor and choreographer for EXS 186, 288, and 289R, had her students perform a dance recital for their final. Following the performance, audience members were invited to join for a dance party themed “Jungle Fever.” The event went from 9 p.m. to midnight.
According to Foster, the purpose of the dance was to “prepare food and use our talents and whatever students learned from class to make a performance to serve the whole school” in order to allow others to relax from their busy schedules.
Foster said, “I feel like this type of performance - a smaller scale dance party held in the Ballroom instead of in the auditorium - can … bring students and the audiences closer.”
Kammy Hou, a freshman from Taiwan majoring in hotel management and a student in Advanced Dance (289R), said the three classes performed modern styles including hip-hop, ballet, jazz, and bachata.
“Some students didn’t know how to dance before they took the class, but now they all performed with us,” said Hou. “We are like a family, encouraging and supporting each other. That’s why it is successful…I know everyone could feel our passion and energy.”
The audience cheered excitedly as the performers did backflips and were thrown into the air.
Couples partnered together and danced to “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. Men spun their partners and dipped them in sync to the rhythm.
Foster explained, “There were solo parts where students with different dancing styles have the chance to express themselves.”
Three female soloists performed ballet and modern dance. The crowd cheered as one of the young petite soloists performed did the splits, trilled around, and demonstrated her flexibility.
At the end of the performance, audience members were invited to participate in a dance party where everyone danced together.
Samantha Sessions, a freshman from Utah majoring in exercise sports science, said, “I didn’t expect to see this kind of performance at BYUH and I didn’t know it would be that fun to watch. I really liked the ballet solo. She seems so professional. I also like one part where everyone comes out to dance together as it got everyone involved.”
She continued, “It is so cool to see different kinds of dancing in one performance and different people bringing out their own personalities. I like their funny faces when they danced. They also use their whole body to dance, which is how dancing is supposed to be.”
Liqi Deng, a freshman from China majoring in marketing, said, “I feel like they did a lot of practice and the dance was well-organized and dynamic. Not only were all the people who danced really skillful, but it is good to see that they still showed happy faces.”
Edmond Saksak, a freshman form Vanuatu majoring in political science, said, “I think I am going to sign up for this class for next semester.”