Which Dance Crew is for You? All About Barnard's Dance Groups

Which Dance Crew is for You? All About Barnard's Dance Groups

Which Dance Crew is for You? 

After I was accepted into Barnard about a year ago, all of the nervous excitement about meeting new friends set in. When I stepped foot on campus, I immediately began connecting with dance groups and was able to find the communities I hoped for. Whether you have experience or not, dance organizations are a great way to release any stress, grow as an artist, and make lasting friendships here on campus. Below is a guide to some of the many dance groups here on campus. 

I’ll start with my own experience in the groups I joined this past year: 

COLAB Performing Arts Collective

  • Description: “CoLab is made up mostly of dancers and choreographers, but we love to incorporate art of all disciplines into our showcases. Past performances have included live music, visual art, photography, film, spoken word, and more.” - COLAB Facebook

  • Audition: yes; one each semester; anyone who auditions will be cast 

  • Performances: Generally, COLAB hosts one performance each semester

COLAB allowed me to broaden my horizons as a dancer and choreographer, and let me explore my artistry while working with other collaborators! This year, I performed in one of my peers pieces as well as creating my own piece in which I collaborated with one of my friends who is a poet. 


  • Description: “Born at Columbia University, ONYX is a NYC-based collective of empowered women united by a love for hip-hop dance. ” - ONYX Facebook page

  • Audition: yes; two audition dates are offered in the beginning of each semester

  • Performances: ONYX performs quite regularly during many different campus events as well as hosting their own Spring Showcase

ONYX was one of the first dance groups I was introduced to here on campus. I did not have much hip hop experience in the past, and ONYX introduced me to an amazing genre and a powerful community of young women that I am lucky to call my friends. 

RAW Elementz

  • Description: “Raw Elementz, Columbia’s oldest hip-hop dance collective, has been a dance powerhouse on campus for nearly two decades” - Lee Alexander, Columbia Spectator

  • Audition: yes; two audition dates are offered in the beginning of each semester

  • Performances: RAW performs often during many different campus events as well as hosting RAWCUS 360 

Our showwase, RAWCUS 360 is a unique performance set in a circle that attracts a huge audience (over 375 people) it brings amazing energy and is so gratifying as a performer!

The other amazing groups on campus: 

(some including testimonies of current group members)

CUBE - CU Ballet Ensemble

Genre: Ballet

“As a lifelong classical ballet dancer, the CU Ballet Ensemble allowed me to continue rehearsing and performing in a full-length ballet—one of the experiences I value most about the art form. Even more, I get to do it in an environment that is supportive and all-inclusive, as CUBE casts all levels of experience.” -Audrey Pettit, Barnard College, ‘22

Columbia Ballet Collaborative 

Genre: Ballet 

“I chose to audition for the Columbia Ballet Collaborative as I could clearly see that it is an incredibly professional yet supportive ballet company. Through CBC I've had the opportunity to remain extremely involved in the New York City Dance scene, all while surrounding myself with my incredible peers who are exceptional scholars and artists, a group of passionate individuals pursuing both dance and academia at the highest levels. CBC's relationship with up and coming choreographers and presentation of first rate productions is truly inspiring and I'm lucky to call myself both a company member and current Artistic Director of the group.” - Bridget Scanlon, BC ‘20

CU Raqs  

Genre: Bellydance

CU Gen 

Genre: Hip Hop

“Joining CU Generation my freshman fall was the best decision I could have ever made. Having such a tight-knit family of dancers was an integral part of what has made my college experience the most memorable so far!” - Kevin Wang,  Columbia College ‘22

CU Dhoom 

Genre: Bollywood Fusion

“I joined Dhoom as a junior transfer hoping to find some community, and what I found instead was a family. What makes Dhoom so special is that it’s inherently a fusion based team, and that  reflects not only in our pieces but also in the backgrounds of the members. Because of Dhoom, this last year I had a place to be goofy, to lay on the ground making stupid jokes with my team after a particularly tiring practice, and really just to be me. I really can’t imagine having transferred as smoothly and happily as I did without it.” - Meghan Shah, BC ‘20

CU Raas 

Genre: South Asian Dance

“I tried out for Columbia Raas on a whim and it ended up being the most exciting part of my freshman year! Traveling and competing on stages nationally is an indescribable feeling and acts as the perfect escape from midterms and college stress. Dancing with a group of people who I now call my best friends is only a small part of what makes this team so special to me. In truth, I found a family on campus, and our traditions, inside jokes, and endless memories are what really define the love that I hold for Columbia Raas and everyone on the team!” - Sabriya Khalfan, BC ‘22


Genre: Heels

“Spike is a space where I feel sexy in my body. Dancing in heels is definitely a challenge at first but it's one of the most rewarding and empowering feelings when you let your guard down and push the boundaries of your ability.”  - Zusi Ine, CC ‘22

CU Bhangra 

Genre: Bhangra

“I tried out for almost all of the South Asian dance teams when I came to campus because I was a classical Indian dancer my whole life and I knew I wanted to continue dancing in college. I chose Bhangra because the music was fun, but more importantly because I was drawn to the people. Although a rollercoaster, joining a dance team is still one of the best decisions I made in college. I can’t imagine not being on the Bhangra team. It was a huge part of college experience.” - Aashna Singh, BC ‘19


Genre: African Dance 

“Ijoya practice is always the best part of my week. There’s an inescapable joy in the room when we joke and dance for hours, a feeling I hold on to when returning to the grind the next morning.”- Mandy Wagnac, CC ‘22=

Columbia Dance Team 

Genre: Dance Team 

"I love to the sporting events and cheering on our school, while also getting to learn new choreo and bonding with my girls.” - Tamryn Hodge, BC ‘21

Columbia Repertory Ballet 

Genre: Ballet

“Columbia Repertory Ballet was founded in 2018 and performs a wide variety of classical and contemporary ballet repertoire. I love dancing with CRB because the time commitment is small relative to other campus ballet groups, and in one semester I had the opportunity to perform a big variety of rep -- a classical group piece, a neoclassical pas de deux, and a contemporary duet!”  - Clara Monk, CC ‘20

Ballroom Dance Club

Genre: Ballroom

Lion Dance Troupe

Genre: Lion dance

“Joining Lion Dance was one of the best decisions I ever made in college. They are genuinely some of the most welcoming, warm, and supportive people I ever met on campus and with them it was always so easy to be myself and feel like I belonged.” - Ji Lin Ye BC ‘22

Nu Dance

Genre: Contemporary  

“When I came to Columbia, I wanted to continue contemporary dancing, but I couldn’t find a group on campus that focused  solely on this dance style. NuDance is one of Columbia’s newest dance groups, created by students who realized there was a lack of opportunity for contemporary dancers on campus. NuDance gave me the chance to continue to learn and grow as a contemporary dancer in college surrounded by other talented supportive students.” - Emily Stone, CC ‘22

CU China Dance 

Genre: Chinese Traditional Dance

“Chinese dance draws upon several other dance forms yet stands unique in the wide variety of styles and forms that it encompasses. Through CU China Dance I have been able to further embrace and learn about my cultural heritage as well as spread the beauty of Asian art within the Columbia University community.” - Olivia Gong, BC ‘22

CU Bellydance

Genre: Bellydance

Columbia University Swing 

Genre: Swing

“As cheesy as it sounds, CU Swing has completely changed my life. I had been watching swing dance videos online for YEARS, and the warm, inviting, and all-around incredible culture of the club is what finally got me into swing dancing! Flash forward to now, and I’m dancing ten hours every week and I’m on the club’s e-board. All because the members immediately saw how passionate I was, despite my initial clumsiness, and wanted me to flourish! No matter your dancing skill set (mine was NONE), CU Swing has a place for you!” - Sophie Tobin, BC ‘22

Columbia/Barnard Tango

Genre: Tango

“I came to Barnard with no dance experience, but was interested in using dance as a way to connect with people on campus and throughout New York City. At Columbia-Barnard Tango, students of all levels learn to both lead and follow Argentine tango, milonga, and vals, as well as learning about musicality, códigos, and history. Through CU/BC Tango, I’ve found a welcoming, supportive community of people passionate about connecting with others through social dancing.” - Vivian Koltz, BC


Genre: All

“When I came to Barnard as a first year, Orchesis was the first place in which I truly felt at home. Orchesis provides student choreographers the opportunity to create pieces of all styles, and accepts dancers of all levels. Orchesis is more than a dance group, it is a loving community that creates the space for everyone who wishes to dance, create, and form friendships.”

 - Sophie Visscher, BC ‘21


Genre: Latin Dance

“I love Sabor because we all come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and academic interests but share a HUGE passion for Latin dance! From putting on an amazing fall show to creating a youth program in the spring, Sabor really makes an impact on both Columbia and its surrounding community.”

- Jordynn Lurie, SEAS ‘20

Shalhevet Dance Troupe 

Genre: Israeli Dance

“Being involved with Shalhevet has allowed me to grow as a dancer, a leader, and a lover of the Israeli Dance community. Rehearsals never fail to leave me laughing and I can’t wait to be dancing with my friends in the Fall!” - Sarah Eligberg, GS/JTS ‘21


Genre: South Asian Classical Fusion


Genre: Tap

“Untapped is the perfect group for anyone of any tap ability. As someone who has been at it since I was little, I was happy to discover a positive, relaxed place away from home where I could continue dancing while introducing newcomers to tap”. - Andrew Cummings, CC ‘22

Venom Step Team 

 Genre: Step Team 

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