Rider Dances showcases routines through the Bart Luedeke Center

Dancers Kristy Alexander, left, and Christy Box have been practicing relentlessly in order to make this year’s performance of Rider Dances Everywhere one to remember.

By Alyssa Naimoli and Rena Carman

An entirely new performance experience is coming to Rider with Westminster College of the Arts’ production of Rider Dances Everywhere. This innovative show will mark the celebration of Rider Dances’ 10-year anniversary.

The show, taking place on March 8 and 9, will feature a variety of unique routines that include hip-hop, tap, contemporary and a unique afro-jazz routine. The performance was put together not only to demonstrate the dancers’ talents and abilities, but also to show the audience just how dedicated the dancers are.

“What is unique is that we are dancing in four different locations,” said Stephanie Lewis, sophomore elementary education and dance double major. “The audience comes in and will be directed to one of three locations: the Pub, the Fireside Lounge or the Cavalla Room. There will be two dancers, dressed in silver, at each location to take you from place to place. Then, the finale will be held in the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) Theater.”

For its anniversary, Rider Dances invited any and all alumni to perform, participate or choreograph for the show. A few surprise guests have been invited to join as well.

The show will not only have diverse routines and a consistently changing backdrop, but it will embrace Rider’s go-green initiative as well. To save paper, the performance’s program will be available online and instead of tickets, guests will receive stones.

The dancers have had only a couple of weeks to learn the choreography and put the show together. The dancers began rehearsals around the first week of classes this semester and “have been rehearsing every week since,” Lewis said.

The dancers tend to rehearse one to two times a week, depending on the cast and choreographer.

“Extra time may be needed, not including the time used in the theater for lighting, spacing and full dress rehearsals,” said Jennifer Gladney, a choreographer for the show and returning 2006 alumna. “Usually we have a week to accomplish what we need onstage. Prior to that, we are in various dance studios.”

The hectic rehearsal schedule brought the dancers to an even greater level of unity. They have created long-lasting bonds with their fellow dancers and have learned a lot about each other in the process.

“There is something for dancers and choreographers that share creativity together, sweat together, laugh together, push each other harder, that makes the process become personal,” Gladney said.

Minus the first few years, past performances each had a theme, Rider Dances with the Band, Rider Dances for Africa and Rider Dances with the Ghosts, to name a few. Rider Dances Everywhere is expected to be a must-see that “will change the way you view dance,” Gladney said.

Instead of the typical five to six dances in previous years, this year there will be nine to 10 dances, Gladney said.

“Each show is about 20 minutes long. Once you finish at each location, you will see the final performance in the BLC Theater with the afro-jazz routine, alumni collaboration and, lastly, the finale,” Lewis said.

Gladney hopes that students’ opinions on dance as an art form will shift after seeing the performance.

“The dancers hope Rider Dances Everywhere will make you think differently about dance, that it will bring you somewhere else, if only for two hours,” said Gladney.

Instead of being the usual annual show, Rider Dances Everywhere is meant to be a celebration of dance and its dancers.

“It is our 10-year anniversary,” Lewis said. “It is an event, not just a performance. It is our medal anniversary. This is a big thing for us and we want it to be known that we do far more than dance classes. This is our time. We are not only dancers. We are performers and we are artists. Expect to experience an entirely new performance experience.”

 

Printed in the 3/5/14.

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