Telling Stories Through Motion

Andrew Stez

Ante Up Shows Students How Dance Can Be Used For More Than Entertainment

When coming to Seattle Pacific last year, sophomore Mikayla Borromeo feared that one of her favorite pastimes, dancing, would not be available. However, when she arrived she found Ante Up, allowing her to fulfill her need to express herself.

On April 19, Ante Up hosted the “You Think You Can Dance” event, which featured dynamic performances from both the Seattle Pacific University community and from the greater Seattle area.

The performances went beyond just being entertaining by providing the performers an opportunity to tell a story. Dance can extend the meaning of music beyond what is within the lyrics.

“The important aspect to it is being able to tell your own story, not just by using words, but also by showing your emotion, showing your movements and presenting yourself in a way that words cannot describe,” said Justin Palaganas, a senior and member of Ante Up.

It is through this ability to tell a story that Ante Up finds its purpose.

“With everything we do, we want to tell a story whether it is like how much we love and enjoy people, it can be something super goofy and having fun or could be expressing our sexuality and feeling good about ourselves, or telling stories of heartbreak,” said Borromeo, the president of Ante Up.

One performance, Borromeo and Christy-Anne Villanueva’s performance based on the song “Bury A Friend,” by Billie Eilish, told the story of a struggling friendship.

In the dance, Borromeo’s and Villanueva’s characters struggle with their friendship as they fight throughout the dance to the austere words of Eilish.

More importantly, though, Borromeo said the performance was designed to tell a story that was up to the audience’s own interpretation.

“It was super up for interpretation whether that be like you and another person, I think that was more Christy’s battle of power. But for me, it was about wrestling these things in myself,” said Borromeo.

Borromeo also emphasized how the performance ultimately reflected both of the performers’ own struggles.

Students compete in the SPU think you can dance on Friday, April 19. Maileca Gontinas | The Falcon

According to Borromeo, the song reflected the struggle between people through friendship, while also reflecting her own inner struggles with being bipolar and dealing with one’s inner conflicts.

Another performance that had an underlying story behind it was “Galway Girl,” featuring the song by Ed Sheeran. The performance was choreographed by Borromeo and performed by sophomore Aseda Bekoe-Sakyi and senior Justin Palaganas.

Bekoe-Sakyi and Palaganas danced apart from each other for most of the song, until at the end where they danced together symbolizing the love someone can feel for another person.

The performance reflected young love, when everything is still peaceful in a relationship.

“No trouble in paradise yet,” commented Borromeo.

The event also featured interactive activities with the audience, to get the audience engaged in the storytelling process of dancing.

In one instance, the Ante Up team members split into two groups that would compete to see who could come up with the best performance, but there was a catch.

Audience members were called upon to pick what the dancers had to portray.

For example, one of these scenarios tasked the dancers with being Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh” crashing a wedding.

This activity, like the many performances of the night, only further allowed Ante Up to provide students and performers alike the ability to tell a story.

Borromeo stressed how Ante Up’s “SPU You Think You Can Dance” allowed students to watch performers tell stories based on their own experiences through the unique medium of dance. Dance serves as not only entertainment but as a universal language not bound by whether audience members know the music, which is something other ways of communication can’t achieve.

“It’s a universal language,” Borromeo said. “Everyone can understand every piece we did whether they knew the songs or not.”