The annual “Fall into Dance” put on by AU’s Dance Program will still be taking place this year, but it will look slightly different than it has in the past.
Fall into Dance will take place in Reardon Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and will only be open to family members due to social distancing requirements, but members of the public will be able to watch the live stream.
Senior dance major Meredith Haskell explained that she is encouraged by the ability to have a small audience present.
“We are fortunate to have a limited live audience just for the dancers’ family members along with the entire show being live-streamed, so although it won’t be the same with our incredible audiences that support us for each show, we are grateful to still this at a smaller scale by having our family members see us perform,” commented Haskell.
COVID-19 regulations are not the only things changing Fall into Dance this year. Given the cancellation of “Spring into Dance” last year, the dance program has decided to perform parts of last year’s “Spring into Dance” during this show.
“‘Spring into Dance’ has traditionally been a performance of faculty and guest artist pieces, while ‘Fall into Dance’ is normally a showcase for student choreographers,” explained Assistant Professor of Dance Erich Yetter. “This year we have flipped that paradigm.”
All in all, the dance program at AU has been in high spirits and is excited to be able to perform “Fall into Dance.”
“The dance program at Anderson University is in full swing and the dancers are in high spirits, even though we are facing the challenges which the pandemic poses,” said Yetter. “We started with ‘DANC: AUgust’ as dance majors returned to campus a week early to train, rehearse, and safely socialize before the semester began. The number of incoming freshmen dance majors doubled this year from last year, in spite of the virus outbreak, so everyone is very busy.”
Junior dance major Elissa Weisz shares the same excitement for being able to get back to dancing and performing this year.
“I am excited to be on stage again after dancing in my kitchen for so long,” said Weisz. “Dance is not meant to be experienced alone, and I’m excited to share it again.”
To keep the dancers and faculty safe, the dance program has instituted several precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. Erich Yetter explains some of the precautions that all of the dance program has taken.
“All the dance faculty have been proactive and wonderfully supportive of efforts to maintain social distancing, increase sanitizing and wear proper face coverings,” said Yetter. “Studio spaces have been taped into large squares to remind students and instructors to stay apart and everyone must wear a mask at all times.”
In addition to these precautions, the dance program has had to take certain special precautions.
“The floors are being cleaned regularly with special COVID killing disinfectant. Because dance floors are special surfaces, we cannot use just any commercial cleaner on them,” explained Yetter. “Also, special HEPA filtration systems are running in all the dance spaces to help circulate fresh air and kill virus particles throughout the studios during technique class periods.”
Although, with all the changes, being a dancer this year and performing in “Fall into Dance” does not come without its challenges. Meredith Haskell explains the difficulties that come with COVID-19 regulations.
“Wearing masks during rehearsals and classes has been a big challenge physically and emotionally as we prepare for our show this Fall,” said Haskell. “A big part of Dance is being able to emote and tell a story with your face, and now that we are performing with our faces half-covered, it has been challenging to emote at that same level by only using our eyes.”
“Fall into Dance” may be different this year, but Haskell explained that the dancers are ready to put all of their hard work on display.
“I am so grateful and excited to be performing these pieces that we have been working so hard on since last semester,” said Haskell.
Photo by Nouhad Melki