Rider Dance Ensemble pivots to online performances

By Tori Pender

Rider Dance Ensemble has become creative, adapting to the pandemic while keeping the warm environment for its club members and reminiscing on the past.

Victoria Williams described that behind the red curtain of The Yvonne Theater, members of RDE encircle and in the middle stands the president of RDE with a hat on.

Next, the president performs a freestyle dance to a randomly selected song. Once the president’s freestyle is done, the hat is passed to another member for them to continue the freestyle. The traveling hat goes around to everyone in the circle.

“We call it, ‘Pass the Hat.’ It’s a really great time and helps everyone lift their spirits and energy before the show,” said Williams, a junior dance major.

Williams has been a part of RDE since the spring semester of her freshman year and will continue to until she graduates.

Williams’ fellow RDE members described the closeness of the club. Alayna Rubach, RDE treasurer and sophomore dance science major, has been a part of RDE since fall 2019.

“My favorite part about RDE is the family that the club has created for me,” said Rubach. “I feel so welcome with everyone in the club, and I feel as though this club has given me friends that I will have for the rest of my life.”

Since the transition to dancing via Zoom, RDE has been posting dance pieces from previous years for ‘Flashback Friday’ and hosted a paint and sip movie night.

“RDE has been doing online workshops every other Friday night, as well as having meetings every other Monday night in order to stay in touch with members of the club,” said Rubach.

The transition from in-person dance to online dance has been difficult for some.

“I miss the connection and feeling others’ energy in the room when dancing. Being at home and isolated inside with dance feels so limited when dance is truly limitless,” said Williams.

“The most challenging part about going online has been dealing with the fact that we can’t physically dance together,” said Rubach. “One of the biggest things that I know I am missing is physically dancing with others and being able to feed off of the energy of those around me.”

Ryan Alger, a junior technical theater major and president of RDE, further explained, “The hardest part of transitioning to being online was thinking of ways to keep our members involved while not being able to physically dance together.”

However, Alger and her team are staying on their toes.

“My executive board and I are constantly thinking of new ideas to try to keep things fun and exciting. Stay tuned for a lot of fun surprises next semester,” she said.

With the team motivated by their passion of dance, many remain hopeful to bring back some normalcy to the club.

“Hopefully we will be able to do some kind of online performance next semester,” Rubach said.

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