Meet the Villanova Dance Company

Nicole Dinten

An interview with junior president Jen Jones and senior treasurer Thea Castronovo allowed us to step into their world of dance and find out a little about the life of a Dance Company member. Look out for upcoming Dance Company performances this Saturday at the St. Thomas of Villanova Day celebration and at their Fall Show on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. in St. Mary’s auditorium.

How long have you been dancing?

Jen Jones: Since I was in first grade.Thea Castronovo: I started practicing at a dance studio when I was 3 and competing at age 6.

Any new additions to the Dance Company that we should look out for this semester?JJ: This year, we are really looking to build our program even more. We have a really great group of dancers, and we’re so excited to keep growing!TC: We have a great new group of freshmen that just made it into the company: Nicole Lamprinakos, Melissa Dazo, Michael Calzolaio, Lindsey Kemmerich, Kathleen Mincone, Brittany Pietrunti and Amanda Escobar. We are so excited to have them on the team, and they’re all fantastic!

Dance Company has volunteered a lot on and off campus; how has that been?JJ: We are dancing at this Saturday’s St. Thomas of Villanova Day Celebration, Balloon Day and Special Olympics and are looking into another opportunity that would be for Breast Cancer Awareness, so we’re very excited about that.TC: In the past, we’ve gone to homes for disabled and elderly nuns and danced for senior citizens. Being there together makes it even more fun, especially because we get to do what we love most. Our audiences are always so excited to see us, and it makes it really special for the whole company.

What is your favorite dance that you’ve choreographed?

JJ: This is actually the first year I am choreographing a piece. It is a tap to Michael Jackson’s “Wanna be Startin’ Something.” TC: When I was a freshman, I choreographed a jazz dance to Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman.” The costumes and the dance were a lot of fun.

Best music to dance to?

JJ: Depends on my mood. Sometimes I really enjoy being cheesy, but other times I love to do hip-hop, so it totally depends!TC: Up-beat, Alternative music. Anything a little edgy and different is always fun to dance to.

Favorite dance move to bust out at parties?

JJ: I have my signature moves! That’s for sure!TC: The Jamaican Butterfly, for sure.

“Macarena,” “Cha Cha Slide” or “YMCA”?JJ: That’s tough. I might have to go with the “Macerena” though.TC: I’d have to go with the “Macerena.”

Any tips for aspiring dancers?JJ: Have fun! If you feel uncomfortable, it will show. Just put everything into it; if you want to improve, you have to push yourself.TC: Come and try out our open classes, which are held on Mondays at 7 p.m. and on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. It’s a great way to escape the stresses of college and just have fun while also getting some quality exercise!

Or better yet, any tips for those who lack a total sense of rhythm, like myself?JJ: Well, I think I have been dancing since I came out of the womb. It’s something that I just can’t stop doing. It’s natural.TC: Anyone can be taught to put a little groove in his or her step. Maybe we’ll start with the “step touch” for you and then make our way to the hip action.