On Feb. 6, 12 dancers took to the stage to perform everything from ballroom and jazz to contemporary and hip-hop, proving that NYU can, in fact, dance.
The third annual “So You Think NYU Can Dance?” competition — a marquee event for Spring Welcome Week — brought a huge crowd to the Kimmel auditorium. The event was hosted by Tandon senior Malcolm Lewis and organized by all four Class Activity Boards in conjunction with the Student Resource Center.
Esteemed judges Tisch alum Karla Garcia, Tisch Director of Student Affairs Todd Pettiford and Steinhardt senior and TEDxNYU President Nasrin Jafari judged the 10 performances: Garcia is currently a “Hamilton” cast member; Pettiford has performed in productions such as “Rent” and “The Lion King” ; and Jafari won first place in last year’s competition.
Highlights of the event included Stern freshman Amy Dong’s Mongolian folk dance — complete with traditional costume — as well as the Kissing Brothers’ comedic yet heartfelt acting-and-dancing routine set to disco music.
While the judges deliberated, NYU’s own Synchronic Dance Team performed a showcase of three hip-hop and urban dances.
At the end of the night, it was Latin ballroom duo SPS junior Natasha Shevchenko and CAS freshman Mitchell Itkin, who earned the first place distinction and the accompanying $150 Visa gift card. This win added to their long list of accolades, including national and international awards and an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars.” The judges cited the pair’s unconventional but effective music choice, commanding entrance and crisp arches, extensions and points as impressive components of their routine.
Second place went to Tisch junior Matthew Taylor for a jazz performance Pettiford could only describe as having “impeccable execution.” Taylor’s high jumps, switch leaps and countless pirouettes ensured he made full use of the stage in what was the shortest performance of the night.
Tandon sophomore Akshay Savale placed third for his rousing hip-hop routine. The judges commended him for his showmanship, with Pettiford lauding his “flava, fever and ferocity.”
Update Sept. 24, 2018: A student’s name and quotes have been removed from this article upon their request due privacy concerns unrelated to the article.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 13 print edition. Email Sarah Jackson at [email protected]