Almost 20 dance groups take center stage on campus


Daily file illustration by Carly Schulman

Northwestern has 17 dance groups — here’s a little bit about all of them.

Olivia Alexander, Senior Staffer

During past Wildcat Welcomes, students’ first experience watching on-campus dance groups is Rhythm Nation, a show featuring the talents of Northwestern dance groups. Ranging in styles from contemporary to burlesque, students with strong dance backgrounds and beginners alike can audition and be a part of the NU dance community. But we’re here to tell you more about some of the groups you may see — and might want to join. 

Fusion Dance Company 

The group’s choreography takes inspiration from many styles of dance including jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, popping and wacking. In addition to various gigs, Fusion performs at its own show in the spring as well as ReFusionShaka, a collaborative performance alongside student dance groups Boomshaka and Refresh. In the near future, the group hopes to take its talents to competitions across the country. 


As the University’s premier drum, dance and rhythm ensemble, Boomshaka combines dance styles like hip-hop and contemporary with percussion, using everything from sticks and buckets to hands and feet, creating a unique and energetic style. The ensemble performs alongside Fusion and Refresh in ReFusionShaka.

Refresh Dance Crew 

This team performs choreographed and freestyle movement in styles like hip-hop and open style. The group strives to be accessible while maintaining professionalism and holds weekly open classes and free choreography classes. Refresh invites dancers of all experience levels to audition for their shows.

Graffiti Dancers 

Trained in ballet, jazz, modern and hip hop, the University’s oldest and most eclectic dance ensemble of about 15 dancers performs multiple times throughout the year. During the pandemic, Graffiti held open classes on Zoom and presented its 46th annual spring show virtually in July. 


Founded in 2001, the tap ensemble performs at events for NU and Chicagoland audiences. Each year, TONIK produces two independent performances and strives for strong technique and dynamic choreography. 

B. Burlesque 

This group promotes body and sex positivity through teaching burlesque dance to students of color. B. Burlesque performs its annual show during winter quarter, offers workshops taught by professional dancers and takes trips to burlesque shows in the area. 

Dale Duro Latin Dance Company 

The team performs styles including salsa, bachata, merengue, flamenco, cumbia and reggaeton. The group invites dancers of all experience and skill levels. Its goal is to support its members in their growth as dancers and enrichment in Latin culture.


One of the only all-female competitive dance teams on campus, Deeva blends genres including Indian classical, Bollywood, folk, ballet, lyrical and hip-hop. Its mission is to promote intercultural dialogue through dance. Deeva does so by combining its members’ knowledge of various dance forms, mixing cultures and creating a form that is uniquely theirs.

Northwestern Raas 

The University’s co-ed Raas and Garba team utilizes styles that originate in the Indian state of Gujarat. The team of 15 performs at NU’s annual Festival of Lights and the South Asian Students Alliance show alongside other South Asian dance teams. Raas also hosts its own show in the spring.The team competes and has traveled to Indiana University, Purdue University and University of Illinois. 

Ahana Dance Project 

Opposite Raas, Ahana is a non-competitive South Asian fusion dance team. Ahana in Sanskrit describes the light first seen at dawn as well as each person’s inner light. The group encourages collaboration and growth in dance to spread love for South Asian culture. Its mainstage show takes place during Spring Quarter, but dancers also perform during Diwali and SASA shows throughout the year.

Northwestern Bhangra Dance Team 

This team performs the folk style bhangra to promote the culture of its place of origin, the Indian state of Punjab. The team performs for audiences in Chicagoland and across the country at competitions. 

Typhoon Dance Troupe 

Through highlighting dances of East and Southeast Asia, the group promotes more interest and appreciation for the region’s diverse cultures. Typhoon performs at a variety of off- and on-campus events including Celebrasia, the University’s annual Lunar New Year celebration. 

Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Northwestern: Ritmo de Mis Ancestros 

This group showcases Mexican culture through traditional song and dance performances on-campus and within the surrounding area. The group also seeks to serve as a catalyst for international expression and for students to take pride in their own identities. 

Northwestern K-Dance 

This K-Pop dance group is open to students of all experience levels through both casual and auditioned membership. Casual members participate in workshops and classes with the company, while auditioned members rehearse for filmed and live performances on campus and in the Chicago area. 

Steam Heat Dance Company 

Founded in 2009, the University’s premiere musical theatre dance company rehearses year-round in preparation for their annual spring show and a smaller fall show. Members delve into a variety of other styles present in musicals like classic jazz, contemporary, ballet and tap. Most recently, Steam Heat produced a virtual spring show.

New Movement Project 

As the school’s student dance board, the group operates under the goal of bringing performance and choreographic opportunities to the community. NMP offers programs like the Fall Dance Concert and hosts guest teachers in dance workshops. The board seeks to act as a liaison between the dance department, students and the dance community on campus. 

After reading up on all the University’s dance groups, you’re ready to (hopefully rhythmically) move your way around the different options. No matter if you choose to attend a performance, audition for a team or cheer on a friend, the dance community on campus is for everyone.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oliviagalex

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