Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Synchrony II lights up Cowling Gymnasium on family weekend

Lev Shuster ’24
Sychrony II dancers during the showcase


Synchrony II, a student dance group on campus, performed on Oct. 13 and 14 in Cowling Gymnasium. Their routines ranged from hip-hop to pop to disco, all with tongue firmly in cheek and joints popped and locked.


This term’s routines had a distinct cinematic flair, drawing from “Barbie” and “Shrek.” The Barbie dancers, led by choreographers Grace Gatewood ’24 and Taylor Canas ’25, performed stiff-jointed walks on stage before breaking into “Barbie Girl,” “Dance the Night” and, in an affecting interlude, “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish.

A student performing in the “Shrek” number (Lev Shuster ’24)

The “Shrek” dance, choreographed by Oliver Licht ’25 and Marta Kondratiuk ’25, was bathed in green light while performers gyrated, hip-thrusted and, of course, Synchrony-crawled to the greatest hits from the first two films, including “All-Star” and “I Need a Hero.”


Filling out the evening’s program was a dance inspired by the band Rush and choreographed by Margie Clauss ’24 and Eunice Gao ’24, as well as a dance titled “Alejandro,” choreographed by Alejandro Gonzalez ’24 and Ellis Kondrashov ’25.


This term’s performance itself was unique in many respects. As previously mentioned, the show had to be moved from Sayles to the Cowling Gymnasium due to the ongoing construction in Sayles. In accordance with the building’s rules, all shoes had to be removed before entering.

A snapshot of students performing “Alejandro” (Lev Shuster ’24)

Despite the location change, the show went smoothly: “I was initially pretty disappointed that the show was going to be in Cowling, but I think seeing the space set up with the lights and, additionally, seeing how many people turned up made me feel a lot better,” said one of the Synchrony II directors, Holly Lake ’25. “That was my main concern for this term: people not wanting to come since it wasn’t in Sayles and was more out of the way to get to. Honestly, I think it made it more fun for the audience that there weren’t chairs, too — they were closer to the action.”

Lake, Claudia D’Auria ’24, Taylor Canas ’25, and Grace Gatewood ’24 co-lead the group, organizing rehearsals, performances and social events. This is also the first time in recent memory that a Synchrony II show took place on Family Weekend. There were some more mature faces in the crowd this past weekend, and despite the show’s suggestive content, few, if any, pearls were clutched. 

Multiple Synchrony II members highlighted the group’s accessibility, including Sophie Quinn ’25, who said, “Synchrony brings together people with any kind of dance background, even if it’s none at all, to enjoy dancing, letting go, and putting on a fun show.”

Another student dancing in “Shrek” (Lev Shuster ’24)
A student mid-performance (Lev Shuster ’24)

Synchrony also has quite a few traditions. “Each dance must also include the infamous ‘Synchrony crawl.’ I don’t know how long this has been a tradition, but it was what I was told by the previous directors,” said Lake.

Other traditions include the group dance, which includes the members of all the previous routines and occurs at the end of each performance, with choreography only revealed at the final dress rehearsal; and the greeting, “I’ll see you tonight!”, traditionally shouted at top volume to other Synchrony members the day of a performance. 


While it has developed long-standing traditions, Synchrony has evolved significantly from its original form. It was originally called Ebony II and founded by Debra R. Hard-McCray 76 as a dance group celebrating Black heritage. “I created Ebony II as a result of a request to be part of Black History Week at Carleton College in February 1973. Ebony was created as a medium to communicate. Ebony II began as a group of Black students with varying experience and exposure in dance and choreography,” said Hard-McCray in a 2001 Carletonian article.

However, in 1983, group leaders moved to allow all students to join. While the exact origins of the name Synchrony II are unknown, its first use in the Carletonian’s digital archives was in a 2016 Bald Spot article called “What Sayles Food Are You?” If you want to join Synchrony II next term, stay tuned for a campus announcement about the group’s first meeting, which usually occurs first weekend. The group welcomes dancers or choreographers regardless of experience.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *