Rider Dance Ensemble struts its moves

By Alyssa Naimoli
The Rider Dance Ensemble (RDE) will take the stage from Dec. 6 – 7 for their fall production, Strut, a performance that the dancers are hoping will be their best yet.
The show will feature an array of dance styles that highlight the theme. Ashley Miller, junior elementary education and dance major and RDE president, explains how the show’s title came about.
“The show is named Strut after one of the pieces in the show, which is actually going to be opening the show,” Miller said. “This dance was choreographed by RDE junior (elementary education major) Liz Smith and is to the song ‘Strut’ by Adam Lambert. We are using the word strut to represent the power and fierce qualities of the pieces and dancers in our diverse show.”
This particular performance will showcase everything from hip-hop to ballet.
“We have jazz and contemporary dances, but we also have tap, hip-hop, some musical theater and even pointe dances,” said junior graphic design major and public relations chair for RDE Bridget McAlinden. “We look over the dances that were selected and see if there are any that would make for a good show theme.”
Each RDE performance supports a different charity, selected by the organization. The show, which runs at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 7, is free, but there is a suggested donation to this year’s charity, the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC).
“BCRC is a great organization that helps those who are currently battling the disease,” McAlinden said. “In the past we’ve donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Restore the Shore and Homefront.”
Deanna Doyon, junior secondary education major and RDE treasurer, said that many of the dances communicate various meanings.
“People can expect to see a wide variety of styles, levels and stories,” Doyon said. “Every piece sends a different message.”
Miller and her fellow RDE members look for ways to challenge themselves and choreograph something unique for the audience for each performance.
“When my vice president and I pick pieces to be featured in our shows, we look for dances that are unique and different from one another,” Miller said. “Our goal is to put on the most diverse and entertaining show as we possibly can, and that involves us picking dances of many different styles.”
The dancers have been hard at work for months from weekly practices to full dress rehearsals.
“As an organization, we really put everything we have into this show,” Doyon said. “Dancers can be in up to three different pieces every semester, and every choreographer practices at least once a week, if not more. We have been rehearsing very hard, and I think it will definitely show.”
RDE is a diverse group of dancers who gather to share their passion with each other through performances. RDE holds auditions at the beginning of each semester and happily welcomes new members.
“No one is turned away from RDE; everyone who auditions is cast in at least one piece,” McAlinden said. “Auditions are more of a placement to see what dance you’ll be in. We have students who have been dancing their entire lives and people who just started dancing. Some dancers are ballerinas and some dancers are the fiercest of hip-hop dancers. There is no style that RDE won’t take on. We’ve had Irish step dance and even an Afro-jazz dance performed at our shows. Everyone is accepted, all that matters is that you love to dance.”
Doyon promises an array of unexpected twists from the different performances.
“Pay special attention to the tap pieces this year,” she said. “We have some unique twists that you won’t want to miss. I don’t want to give it away, but just know that it will be fierce.”
Miller is confident that Strut will be another success for RDE and is excited for the performances.
“RDE’s shows have always been a hit throughout campus and Strut should be no different,” Miller said. “I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reaction to the show and all of our hard work.”

Printed in the 12/4/13 edition.

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