“Music, let’s go!”, shouts the dance instructor, after which Beyoncé’s Ring the alarm echoes through the large theatre and a group of around 30 students – both experienced dancers and newbies – starts to move. Tonight, as part of a workshop in urban dance (a style closely related to hip hop), these students will learn to perform a particular choreography in under 90 minutes.
Besides this urban dance workshop, SKVR – a creative network that organises arts and cultural activities in Rotterdam – also offers the street photography and pop choir workshops during this year’s Eurekaweek. These workshops taught by SKVR in the centre of Rotterdam make up the Eurekaweek Arts & Culture Night, providing an alternative to the cantus that takes place in Ahoy at the same time. This way, students who don’t really fancy a night of beer and sing-alongs can still have plenty of fun.
New style of dance
“And five, six, seven, eight”, the dance instructor shouts over the music. The instructor first demonstrates the moves in front of the students, but once they pick it up, she dances among the group. “If I let you go!”, she joins in with Beyoncé.
Het Shah (22), master Strategic Entrepreneurship, is taking a quick breather. This is the first time he has tried urban dance. He has a lot of experience with dancing, but that was mostly with Garba, a traditional dance from the Gujarat region in India, where he’s from. “That has tons of people dancing around in a circle for nine evenings in a row”, he says. “That dance is part of my culture. But I was quite curious to experience a different style of dance.”
After the students have had enough practice, they form small groups and perform for one another. Het’s performance goes over well, with the instructor letting out an encouraging “Wow!” Cheers and applause all around. Still, Het is not sure whether he would return to the world of urban dance. “It’s interesting, but it sure requires a lot of energy”, he laughs.
Meanwhile, another group of students is roaming the city centre clutching their cameras. Their assignment: take three pictures that are all about the same theme. Crazy hairstyles, or men waiting outside a store for their partners to finish shopping, are among the examples given by the instructor.
Hagar Khermjioli (22), master’s People, Organisations and Change, has already picked her perfect theme: friends and couples. “But how do I keep things from being awkward when I try to take peoples’ pictures?”, she wonders. But shortly after, she’s successfully snapped her first photo of a couple after simply asking them nicely. “I don’t have any experience with photography, but I do like art”, she says. “Plus, I don’t like drinking beer, so the cantus is definitely not for me.”
The same goes for Carola Maria Puglia (22), who studies the master in Forensic and Legal Psychology. The cantus does not appeal to her one bit. She has signed up for a workshop on singing in a pop choir. “I’m quite introverted and anxious”, she says. “Large crowds scare me, so I don’t think I would last two minutes at the cantus.”
She is the only one who signed up for this singing lesson, aside from Giulio Gallo (22), who is starting in the master in Arts, Culture and Society. They join the singing instructor in singing songs like Elvis Presley’s I can’t help falling in love. “I actually like that there’s just two of us, because I was pretty nervous when we started”, she says. “But my nerves are starting to settle down now. Singing helps me deal with anxiety, also because you need to breathe properly to sing.”
Giulio had already been singing in a musical ensemble back in Italy, but he is keen to keep improving. He has already signed up for the WILDe theatre company, and plans to take singing lessons in Rotterdam. Other than that, he was ready to take it a bit easier after all the other Eurekaweek festivities. Laughing, he says: “I’ve had more than my share of parties this week.”