Five dance performances that embody meaningful storytelling through entertainment

July 21, 2015

Sometimes, the entertainment industry has a negative connotation of being shallow and insignificant. However, there are times when performances inspire audiences with thoughtful messages and even have lasting impacts on different groups of people. These five dance performances in particular stand out in the way that these groups show how entertainment can not only showcase talents, but also tell a meaningful story.


Ordinary People by Cookies (San Diego, California)

In 2011, at one of the world’s most anticipated dance competitions, Cookies changed it up and danced to “Ordinary People” by John Legend, which consists of only piano and vocals. The performance puts into perspective the impact that individuals have on the various, seemingly insignificant strangers that we pass by every day, and challenges us to think about the way that we treat them. They emphasize “taking it slow” and treating strangers with kindness, as we never know their stories and struggles.

Now or Never by The Company (Daly City, California)

In 2013, The Company took home second place at a competition with the team’s clean, feel-good performance. The Company danced to a combination of “Now or Never” by Kendrick Lamar and spoken word at the beginning and end of the performance. The team’s message stated that “the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others.”

Stay by EPIC Motion (New York, NY)


In 2013, representing the east coast, EPIC Motion showed that contemporary dance can be powerful and dynamic. Dancing to a cover of “Stay” by Tim Halperin and Macy Maloy, the group tells a love story of a young girl, cleverly using its own dance members as props to create beautiful imagery.

Up by Praise Team (British Columbia, Canada)


Earlier this year, Praise Team entered its first big American dance competition and has immediately become a fan favourite. Using a remix of “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne, Praise Team recreated the story of Disney Pixar’s “Up” in around six minutes, immediately capturing the audience, as evident in the crowd’s reactions.

Orphans by Cookies (San Diego, California)


In the same competition as Praise Team, Cookies took meaningful entertainment to a new level. Dancing to the emotional song, “Brother” by Matt Corby, Cookies' performance tells the story of a group of orphans. In addition to moving the audience with their powerful, dynamic performance, the group also won the competition and donated all of their earnings to World Vision, an organization dedicated to tackling poverty worldwide. Inspired by Cookies’ actions, the teams who took second and third place in the competition donated their earnings as well, proving that entertainment can truly move audiences and create meaningful change.












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By Bonnie Zeng