Elevation climbs to new heights

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Elevation, SLU’s Irish dance team, presented its fourth annual showcase this past Saturday, March 21, in Xavier Theater. The showcase featured 21 Irish step dancers, 10 Elevation numbers and seven guest performances.

One of the biggest differences that this showcase demonstrated for the team was its growth in numbers. Eleven freshman dancers pushed their numbers up to 22, the highest it has ever been. During the first number, “Céad Míle Fáilte (One Hundred Thousand Welcomes),” which included the entire group on stage at once, this increase in membership was evident in the sheer amount of space the dancers took up on stage. More dancers meant it was more difficult to have everyone dancing at once, but it also made it more powerful when they did.

Like many of the members of Elevation, Morgan Dolan has been dancing since she was three years old. Dolan, one of the freshman members, joined the team after a few years away from dancing. She saw joining Elevation as a way to reconnect to something she had always enjoyed.

“I saw the opportunity to get back into dancing and could not wait to start back up,” she said. “Irish dancing seems to be in my blood.”

Colleen Mullane, the president of Elevation, said she is proud of how the group has been able to grow so much. “[It] was definitely a challenge, as it nearly doubled the amount of people on the team,” she said. “It’s always a challenge to take 21 people from different backgrounds and create a cohesive group, but we all worked together and got to know one another extremely well, which I think was evident in our showcase.”

Their performances throughout the night did highlight the community aspect of the team. Dances such as “Craic” and the senior sendoff allowed members to show off their individual dance skills, while numbers including “Reel Around the Sun” and “Elevation” showed more intricate group choreography. “Elevation,” which was the first number the group ever choreographed, when the group was founded six years ago, was performed by the group’s 11 freshmen.

Of the 10 numbers Elevation performed at the showcase, four of them were completely new to the group, and the others were altered from previous years.

The senior sendoff gave the spotlight to the five graduating seniors in the group, including Mullane, as well as Katie Healy, Jenna Ezzell, LB O’Lannerghty and Abigail Ganz. They danced together, and each showed off their individual skills.

The music and their dancing gave glimpses into their four years at SLU, as another member held up signs reading “freshman year,” “sophomore year,” etc. The rest of the team joined them at the end of the number, and the team was all smiles and hugs.

“The best part of joining the team was meeting new friends,” said Dolan.

“The best part of being on the team is spending time with an awesome group of people doing what we love,” agreed Rory Cusack, another freshman on the team.

This camaraderie is something Mullane values and worked to instill in the group.

“We are all on Elevation because we love to Irish dance,” she said, “so I just wanted to ensure that the team was having fun and creating relationships with one another, while still being able to dance.”

Irish dancing is still competitive, however. One freshmen, Maggie Clifford, will be traveling to Ireland to compete in the World Championship, at the end of the month.