Notre Dame’s Project Fresh dance group joined forces with other campus clubs for the annual Project Fresh show last Saturday. Held in the Stepan Center, this year’s show incorporated performances from ten campus dance groups, eight of which competed to donate to a chosen charity.

Founded by a small group of friends in 2004, The Project Fresh dance group, also referred to as “PFresh” or “The Project Fresh Nation,” has grown into one of Notre Dame’s largest and most recognizable dance organizations. Utilizing elements of hip-hop, modern, and street dance, Project Fresh can be seen performing at a variety of events throughout the year: Asian Allure, the Welsh Family Hall Dance Show, and even on the sidewalk outside home football games.

Members of PFresh discover this unique club in conventional ways.

“I saw the PFresh booth at Activities night, and everyone was so welcoming as I was walking by,” recalled sophomore Vy Nguyen. “I didn’t have any interest in dance, let alone any previous experiences, but my first practice was a blast. The atmosphere of the group made me keep coming back every time.”

“Coming into college, I knew I always wanted to be part of a hip-hop dance crew,” remarked senior Kevin Park, president of Project Fresh. “A friend introduced me to Project Fresh, and it’s been a big part of my college life ever since.”

This year’s performance, entitled “Life Support,” marks the fourth annual Project Fresh show.

“Originally, the PFresh show served as a showcase for members to present pieces to the larger ND audience,” explained Park.

“The presidents of the past also wanted to donate all the proceeds from the show to charity.”

The PFresh show continued this way for two years, until the officers decided to change the performance’s focus. “Our officers wanted to create the most diverse and biggest dance show of the year,” said Park. “Opening up the show to other dance groups attracted a larger audience and most definitely created a bond between dancers at ND.”

This year’s show saw its biggest crowd yet, raising twice as much money as last year.

Dance groups competing at Life Support included TroopND, Ballroom Dance Club, Filipino American Student Organization (FASO), Transpose Dance Collective, First Class Steppers, Dance Company, of Notre Dame, and Swing Club, The evening also included noncompeting exhibition performances by Ballet Folklorico and the African Student Association (ASA). Another special dance was performed after intermission by members of Project Fresh and the Boys and Girls Club, PFresh’s chosen charity.

The audience chose First Class Steppers and Swing Dance Club as the champions of the competition.

“The show was definitely a huge step up from last year,” says Nguyen. “All of the other performing groups were absolutely amazing, and we couldn’t have asked for a better show.”

“Dancing aside, I thought that the overall organization and execution of the show was seamless,” Park raved. “The officers and show commissioner did an excellent job in creating what I believe is one of the best dance shows on campus.”

“I really liked the performance,” said freshman Annamarie Dibley, a member of Swing Club. “It was really hard to sit still, because it made my friend and I want to get up and dance along with them!”

“It was so cool, and an excellent representation of the vast art forms on Notre Dame’s campus,” added freshman Michael Nolan, a member and choreographer for Transpose Dance Collective.

“It keeps our audience entertained by showing them many different styles of dance as opposed to just one or two styles,” added Park.

The positive reactions touch on the origin of this year’s Pfresh show theme: Life Support.

“During an officer meeting earlier in the semester, it hit us that Project Fresh as well as dance served as a very important part of our lives,” Park reflected. “Many of us in Project Fresh don’t consider it merely as a club but rather something more.“

Nguyen could not agree more. “PFresh always stresses, ‘school first, everything else second,’ so practices aren’t mandatory,” she said. “But as a student, even when I’m sitting in class, I’m thinking about how excited I am about practice that day or an upcoming show. Even if I’m stressed out about my workload, financing school, and anything else, I always have dance to clear my mind. When you’re dancing, you don’t think about anything else.”

“Project Fresh is an extremely big part of our individual college experiences, and dancing serves as an outlet when the burden of being a college student wears us down,” reiterated Park.

“Essentially, dancing is our life support,” she said.

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