By Lynsey Jeffery
Music blared and shouts of encouragement rang out in the dance wing of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on Friday night.
Balloons all over the floor and floating in the windows spelled out “L-N-A-E,” or Late Night Arts Explosion, an annual event hosted by the honorary dance fraternity, Delta Chi Xi.
This is the third year Delta Chi Xi has held Late Night Arts Explosion. Its purpose is to offer more dance opportunities to people both within and outside of the University of Maryland dance community.
“It’s just a great way to bring dancers from outside of the dance major community here into the performing arts building and see the things we do and give them an opportunity to take free classes,” said junior dance major Reyna Fox, a Delta Chi Xi member who planned the event.
The event consists of three hour-long blocks of dance classes. Each year, six different genres of dance are taught by undergraduate students. Classes are taught two at a time, allowing attendees to take up to three classes.
This year’s genres consisted of vogue, hip-hop, bollywood, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary.
Hip-hop instructor and senior dance major Gabriella Di Giuseppe said she used her class to push people out of their comfort zones, both in movement and character.
Many of the attendees were dance majors, but some non-dance majors attended, including non-dance major members of the Maryland Dance Team and other club dance teams on campus.
Freshman Afua Nyame-Mireku danced in the past but is a public health major at UMD. “It was nice because I really missed it,” she said. She plans to come to the event again.
The event has changed significantly since its starting in 2015. Last year, it was carnival-themed. The year before, the event included a scavenger hunt at the end of the classes. Other arts have been included in previous years, such as theatre classes, but this year the focus was solely on dance.
This year’s “decades” theme gave attendees an opportunity to dress up for the event. It was also part of the Delta Chi Xi spirit week that started Monday as a way of garnering excitement for Late Night Arts Explosion.
Fox said the planning for the event was organized, but she wished the decades theme had been more incorporated into the evening.
For dance majors, the event provided a relaxed environment to learn new skills, rather than the sometimes stressful university class atmosphere.
“In these fun social events we like to feel the satisfaction of moving rather than getting into the nitty-gritty,” said senior dance major Christina O’Brien. O’Brien is a Delta Chi Xi member and taught the Late Night Arts Explosion contemporary class.
Members and organizers were satisfied with the attendance and the flow of the night.
“We love this event because it’s a chance for dance majors, people involved with dance on campus and anyone who wants to try out a dance class to come to this event and have a new experience and have fun,” Delta Chi Xi president and junior dance and history major Emily Ames said.