Expressions Dance Alliance Honors 15 Years


The Fordham Expressions Dance Alliance has been a creative space for dancers to bond and showcase their talents. (Hannah Lyons for the Fordham Ram)

The Fordham Expressions Dance Alliance has been a creative space for dancers to bond and showcase their talents. (Hannah Lyons for the Fordham Ram)

The Fordham Expressions Dance Alliance has been a creative space for dancers to bond and showcase their talents. (Hannah Lyons for the Fordham Ram)

By Julianne Ferreira

This past weekend Expressions Dance Alliance held their Spring Showcase, marking the group’s 15th anniversary at Fordham.

“This very special milestone has made us reflect on how both Expressions and dance have evolved over the years,” said Katherine Kelly, FCRH ’17, president of Expressions. “For 15 years, Expressions has brought the art and athleticism of dance to Fordham.”

The 16-member company paid homage to Expressions’ history with 13 student-choreographed dances of varying styles, including a tap dance to “Bills” by Lunchmoney Lewis, a contemporary piece to Adele’s “I Miss You” and even a hip-hip routine to “Missy” by Missy Elliot.

Hannah Lyons, FCRH ’16, created her own Snapchat geotag for the showcase, a filter overlay that shows a location or celebration of an event. According to Snapchat’s geofilter submission guidelines, if a submitted geofilter is approved and selected by the social network application, it becomes available to those in the local area to share. An event must be deemed worthy enough for a filter.

During the girls’ quick changes between dances, campus a cappella groups, such as The Ramblers and The Satin Dolls entertained the crowd, and several Expressions alumni also graced the stage to reminisce about their time with the group.

“We usually have a number of recent alums come back, but this show had even more,” said dancer Hannah Lyons, FCRH ’16.

What is noticeable about the dance group is the closeness of its memebrs, who spend several hours a week rehearsing with one another.

“We’re such a tight-knit group of girls and we love hanging out outside of rehearsal, which is saying something since we already spend so much time together in [the dance studio],” Lyons said.

Father Dzieglewicz S.J., the group’s advisor for the last 15 years, reiterated this sentiment. “I have seen a camaraderie develop not only among current members, but across the years with previous members,” Dzieglewicz said. “Seeing so many of the original members attend the 15th anniversary show demonstrated this so well.”

Expressions began in 2001 when founder, Angela Paparone, GSB ’04, saw a need to create a space for talented students to bring together their unique dance backgrounds in order to express themselves.

Prior to its inception, there was no other dance performance group at Fordham. According to the club’s mission on its Facebook page, Expressions prides itself on welcoming dancers from all dance backgrounds including jazz, contemporary, ballet, tap, hip hop and more.

In an e-mail Paparone sent to the current group’s members right before their spring show, she detailed the struggles to get the club off the ground. She, and a small group of fellow dancers at the time, petitioned the university for a rehearsal space and filled out a proposal for “four or five different spaces around campus” while being kicked out of many rooms, according to Paparone’s account.

Thanks to the efforts of those founding members, a dance studio was created especially for Expressions in 2007 as part of the restoration of Keating Basement.

Keating B23 became their new home, complete with oak floors. Though the rehearsal space did not come to fruition in time for the original members to enjoy, this marked a key evolution for Expressions to create even better performances.

Current members said they have a special place in their heart for Paparone’s efforts. During one quick break between routines, Vice President of Expressions, Gianna Rosamilia, FCRH ’16, read aloud an email from Paparone what the girls received right before their performances.

“There was a girl who wanted to join Expressions when we first started, but she thought it was a better idea to suspend all possible dance rehearsals, shows and classes until we got the university to build us a space,” Paparone said. “We parted ways, differing opinions. We danced because we loved to dance. It didn’t matter if we danced in a hallway, an ancient theater with the oldest lighting panel ever or a classroom. We just wanted to dance. And 15 years later, look at all the memories, happiness and creativity that has come of it.”

As for the future of the group, Expressions will be losing four seniors. Lyons hopes the group’s legacy will continue.

“I would love it to continue to be as much fun as it is now,” Lyons said. “When I finished high school, I thought that I was done dancing forever, but I found Expressions and got to keep it going. I hope that the company gives more girls that same opportunity.”