Last school year ended in disappointment for many of the dance majors on campus. The cancellation of Spring into Dance, a professor-choreographed show put on by the dance department, stopped the senior dance majors from having their last chance to showcase their talents on the Reardon stage.
For dance majors who did not graduate last year, the optimism of another school year remained.
Meredith Haskell, a senior dance major, shared her enthusiasm for returning to campus after the long break.
“I am so grateful to be back dancing in a studio and being back together as a department,” Haskell said. “It was heartbreaking to not have a final performance with the seniors last year and not getting to perform the pieces we had been working on for 3 months, but I think everyone is excited for our upcoming performances and being back in class after a long break of no dancing.”
Preparation for upcoming dance performances will look noticeably different for the dance department, as professors and students have had to find unique ways to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
Haskell explained the various ways the new COVID-19 protocols have played a role in classes already.
“Our professors have done a fantastic job making sure that we are staying safe in and outside of the studio, adding social distancing tape lines in the studios, providing extra sanitizing equipment, and of course wearing our masks the entire time while dancing,” she said. “Dancing and rehearsing in a mask is not an easy task, and although it’s been a learning curve for everyone in the dance department, we are simply thankful and excited to be back in a studio dancing with our friends rather than our living rooms and garages at home.”
Although there is a tangible excitement that comes with being back on campus, there are still obvious obstacles that students have to deal with. For Elissa Weisz, a junior dance major, it is dealing with masks in a major that requires continued movement and activity.
“I think we’re all feeling hesitant about doing intense cardiovascular training, but we have been instructed to practice exercise in a mask and bring multiple masks because we’ll probably sweat through them,” explained Weisz.
The end goal of working with the new protocols, Haskell explained, is to revive last year’s cancelled Spring into Dance.
“Since our spring performance, which showcases professor-choreographed pieces, got canceled last year, we are currently reviving and revisiting some pieces from last spring, while also creating some new faculty works to be shown in a livestreamed performance this November,” said Haskell.
Haskell went on to explain that the dance department is planning another performance for this semester, titled Evening of Dance. The event will be an in-person performance that will take place in York Hall in October, and will showcase both student-choreographed works and professor-choreographed works.
“Although this type of performing will be very different with masks being worn by performers and not dancing for an audience, I think we are all just excited to get back to dancing and appreciate the opportunity to still perform on a stage despite our current situation,” said Haskell.