For the 13 members of Unbound, a club dance team at the University of Maryland, the start of May isn’t only about exams and a summer countdown. Instead, it’s a once-in-a-semester opportunity for members to showcase their talents with some of their best friends

Unbound, formed in 2004, was created for students to continue dancing in college outside of a competitive atmosphere. Today, group members perform at numerous campus events, according to sophomore human development and psychology major Kate Pohner. 

“I really, really missed [dancing], especially coming to school and being stressed out about my academics,” Pohner said. “It was pretty important for me to find something similar but also a different dynamic that I could kind of let my stress out.”

[‘Are We At War Yet?’ narrates the turmoil of war]

While Unbound doesn’t enter competitions, the club still hosts auditions for prospective members at the start of each semester. Once it’s in full swing, the team hosts practices twice a week to prepare for its end-of-semester showcase.  

The group practices every week and as the event approaches, the rehearsal process gets more intense and becomes longer. Soon, the club begins to hold practices on the stage they perform on and repeatedly run the numbers in order.

The team focuses not just on dancing, but on forming a tight-knit relationship between team members.

“[It’s a] group of girls that I found that I can say ‘hi’ to on campus,” Pohner said. “Other than my friend group that I met freshman year, they’re definitely my closest friends.”

The team’s final showcase will be on May 3 at 7 p.m. and features the dances worked on throughout the semester — including two numbers featuring all the members, according to Carson Francis, the club’s president.

Team members can perform in and choreograph smaller numbers, allowing the dancers the ability to prove their range, Carson, a senior criminology and criminal justice and government and politics major, said.

[‘Challengers’ serves up a dizzying tale of love, manipulation]

This spring, the team invited friends, family and other dance groups on campus to the showcase. It features 10 pieces by Unbound, spanning styles such as hip hop, musical theater, tap and large group contemporary and jazz performances.

Multiple guest performances from other dance teams on campus will be featured, including Forward Motion, Terrapin Tap Troupe, Ballet Company M, Ballroom at Maryland and Maryland Irish Dance, Carson added.

While dancers may focus on different dance styles on each team, they all bond over their love for dancing.

“It makes the dance community on campus feel a little less spread out and a little closer,” Olivia David, a freshman hearing and speech sciences major, said. “There’s just so many different styles and techniques that you don’t realize when you’re doing your own thing that you can learn from from other groups.”