X-CELL Sets the Bar High and Turns Up the Heat at Family Weekend Performance


Saturday, Sept. 24, X-CELL dance team had their first performance at Stewart Plaza during the festivities of Family Weekend. This performance set the tone for what students should expect from the rest of their performances for this semester as this first performance featured both a high-energy, carefully choreographed first routine and a sensual and sultry second routine to their respective dance mixes. These dance mixes included the latest recognizable hits such as Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” and Capella Grey’s “Talk Nice.”

X-CELL President Nathaniel Swanson ‘23 spoke about this first performance being an introduction for X-CELL to the start of a new semester on campus as well as the process that went into preparing his team to perform for their Saturday afternoon performance. 

Swanson said, “I think [the performance] went well, [and] the crowd was more than I expected. Also, this performance was designed to kind of be a soft introduction to X-CELL, so what people can expect from X-CELL, and also to our dance members because some of them have no dance experience. Some of them have never performed, and I didn’t want their first instance to be the Fall Showcase where they would have a minimum 20 plus songs and it’s a packed house, the nerves, all of that jazz.” 

He added, “They learned all of these dances within two weeks, and they drilled and got comfortable with the expectations from our [executive] team. Our [executive] team got comfortable working with each other with a full team, so this was really to set a benchmark from what people who will see us during the showcase can expect.”

X-CELL Dance Coordinator and Parliamentarian Inaara Sultanali ‘23 also spoke on prepping the new dancers for their Family Weekend performance.

Sultanali said, “Family Weekend was our first performance as a new official Fall team. The process involved a lot of encouragement and jitters from members which [are] completely fair. However, our executive team, a team of nine talented members, [had] created a very inclusive, fun, and critical foundation for students to truly learn about their individual self-expression and how they can embody such impressions through dance.”

DePauw’s COVID semester was an adjustment across the board for the revival and start of previous and new organizations and clubs, and the X-CELL dance team was not the exception.

Sultanali, who was X-CELL’s president in previous semesters, shared her excitement about having a fully committed team this semester. After previous semesters, the team dealt with its COVID stages and made accommodations for students who couldn’t commit full-time.

She said, “DePauw’s X-CELL dance team has officially returned from its COVID stages. We have an official team for the Fall semester. As president last year, I navigated the team as it was a club so that it could be more accessible to students who couldn’t commit full time. This year, however, we have a full committed team! You can expect to see more members X-CELL has seen since pre-COVID, larger thematic performances, and an exciting showcase at the end of the semester that will culminate all of our semester’s work.”

For this semester, Swanson gave a teaser as to the nature of what students can expect from performances X-CELL will come up with in the future without revealing too much, of course.

He said, “Without revealing too much, we are playing with narrative. Singular, not just plural [for this semester]. We are interested and invested in curating our performances within a certain genre and within a certain feel.”

The members of X-CELL prove to be dedicated to bringing members together in not only creating choreography students of all levels can learn but also bringing productions to DePauw students.

Sultanli also shared what she loves most about the X-CELL Dance Team: creating a production.

“Creating choreography and leading a team through [the] discourse of dance has been one of my favorite activities I have been a part of at DePauw,” she said. “I’m looking forward to creating more critical and rigorous choreography for the team so that we are able to present to campus not just a show, but a production.”