Dancers show their originality

Free at Noon will benefit the non-profit agency HomeFront, which provides services for impoverished families.

By Audrey Yeager

The Rider Dance Ensemble will spotlight more than choreography next week.

On May 5 at noon in the Yvonne Theater, the team will hold a free dance concert benefiting HomeFront, a non-profit agency that provides a range of services to poor and homeless families in Mercer County. It is open to all Rider students and the surrounding community.

“I hope people will come out to see our show and donate to this cause,” said freshman Angela Romansky, a dancer who will be performing. “It is incredible what HomeFront is doing for those who need somewhere to go, something to eat and someone to care.”

Last year, almost 14,000 heads of households came to HomeFront asking for assistance. Many were single parents struggling to make ends meet. The organization works to get these families back on their feet by providing them with food, shelter and services like day-care programs, educational programs and emergency assistance. In the past year, HomeFront fed and housed 280 families weekly and allowed 145 children to attend an eight-week summer camp free of charge. HomeFront also helped 76 welfare recipients obtain employment and aided 17 people in obtaining their GED/high school diplomas. Fifteen people went on to college in the past year after receiving help.

Many of the dancers appearing in Free at Noon, including Romansky, have participated in several dance performances in the past two semesters. This show presents a unique opportunity for the Rider Dance Ensemble members, allowing them to collaborate, generate new ideas in a relaxed setting and, most importantly, have fun doing what they love.

“All of our dancers are working very hard in rehearsals,” said senior Kellie Ortmann, current president of the ensemble. “The show allows dancers who have not had the chance to present and perform their own choreography.”

Next year’s dance ensemble president, sophomore Marissa Desantis, is looking forward to the last dance performance as she transitions into her new role.

“I am ecstatic to see this year’s concert come together,” Desantis said. “This is the second year the show is being produced, and I am privileged to be able to work with such great people on a daily basis. In the fall I hope to develop a greater presence for the club on both campuses here at Rider. ”

The performance will feature original choreography by Rider students Taylor LaBau, Jenna Schottlander, Ryan Maffai, Stephanie Agin, Amanda Morales and Katie McCambley, as well as Rider alumna Jennifer Gladney.

In lieu of money in exchange for a ticket, audience members must instead bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to HomeFront. For more information, contact Marissa Desantis at

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