By Jennifer Chiarello
Contrary to popular belief, the Rider Dance Team performs more than just the half-time show at the basketball games. On Feb. 25, the team took first place at the East Coast Invitational Hip-Hop Dance competition held by the Dance Wit Me Network at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
“We saw some fierce competition and competed against six really good schools,” said Alisha Tricarico, a freshman dance team member.
Though the shining trophies on display on the second floor of the SRC are a testament to their commitment, being part of the dance team is more than just winning competitions. It takes a lot of intensity and dedication.
“A lot of hard work goes into our practices. We practice every Sunday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” said junior Jackie Ehrenkranz.
Additionally, the process of earning a place on the team is very challenging and aggressive. Most girls have been training for years.
“When I auditioned, there was somewhere around 60 girls competing for five spots,” Tricarico said. “My spot on the team isn’t secured either. I have to re-audition again next year, and only after making the team for two years do I have a guaranteed spot.”
Yet through all the intensity, the girls still thoroughly enjoy being members of the team.
“It is the only thing that keeps me sane,” Ehrenkranz said.
On the other hand, Tricarico said she loves “the friends, the performances, and the spirit of being on a school team.”
In addition to basketball games and competitions, the Dance Team also performs at Rider’s summer orientations, Family Day, Relay for Life, Meet the Greeks, the MAAC Tournament and events put on by various Rider clubs such as the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) variety show and the “ASHA: Hope for New Beginnings” talent show. With all these different performances and broad audiences, the team usually dances to popular, upbeat songs typically heard on the radio.
In addition to these events, the Dance Team is putting on an end-of-the-year showcase. In this show, the team will display more than just its typical hip-hop dancing.
“We are currently hard at work choreographing sick routines for our audience to experience and enjoy,” Ehrenkranz said. “The dance will display our other talents, like lyrical, jazz, tap, Broadway, reggae, etc.”
The show is scheduled for April 17 in the Yvonne Theater. Ticket prices will be determined at a later date.
“I encourage anyone who has a passion for dance to try out,” Ehrenkranz said. “A lot of time, effort and talent goes into our hard work, but it is absolutely worth it. DTG [Dance Team Girls], as we call ourselves, is our own Rider University family. At the end of the day, we truly do love each other.”