By Samantha Reed
Rider Dance Ensemble is a completely student run organization that has been on the rise at Rider University for some six odd years. When current president Kate Mina (’13) initially auditioned her freshmen year, there was roughly thirty students in the company; now Mina is the director of over 100 talented young men and women.
RDE, as its known for short, puts on two completely student run shows per year (one for each semester). Completely student run means that they supply their own costumes, they choreograph the numbers, they have a student director, sound coordinator, lighting coordinator and backstage crew. Although they have an advisor which is required for any organization on campus, Ms. Cher Barbone, is their for the moral support and technical helps they might need on campus, such a reserving a space for performing and rehearsing.
Each year the ensemble elects a board just like any other student organized club on campus. At the beginning of the year they hold auditions open to anyone, and everyone who auditions is automatically chosen to be in a least one number of the showcase. The directors of the show then receive numerous submissions from other members of the ensemble requesting to choreograph a number. This year, they received over thirty ideas and had to turn quite a few down. They managed to keep the show down to 23 numbers, running roughly two hours long with a fifteen minute intermission. The ensemble doesn’t charge an entrance fee to any of their productions, they only ask for donations. This years foundation of choice is the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and they will also be collecting any donations, physical items or monetary, for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Because of this, the ensemble is on a very tight budget. They are allotted a certain amount of money from Rider’s SGA (Student Government Association) that the dancers use solely for costumes. Many of the performers use their own money to buy their own costumes that they can keep, which can range from a simple dress from a a store at the mall to full on tutu’s from dance outlets online. This just goes to show you how truly dedicated these dancers are.
The theme of Home has been selected for the Fall 2012 production, under the direction of President Kate and Vice President Diana Gebbia. The cast was full of giggles as they prepped for their final dress rehearsal, though they quickly subsided and switched into extreme professionalism to get the ball rolling. The show begins with the song Home by Vanessa Carlton and ends with bows to Home by Phillip Phillips. In between the two you’ll find classics for everyone such as Don’t Rain on my Parade and Smooth Criminal, along with some more modern tunes like Edge of Glory and I Was Here.
This isn’t your ordinary dance recital. It’s clear that these performers have made the dedication to dance. No one is rewarding them for being here; they take the time out of their busy lives to put this on for others to enjoy. Students of all different shapes and sizes are in the ensemble; talents range from those who dance recreationally to those who have professional
credits, such as Michelle Figueiredo ('13) who is a dancer for the 76ers, and Aly Giampolo ('14) who is a member of Vissi Dance Theater in New York. Students of all different ages and majors are members of the ensemble; most of them don’t even study dance - President Kate is a sociology major.
Home was an important theme to the organization this year, seeing as many of the students are seniors and are leaving RDE, which has become their home at Rider. President Kate, who is also a senior, also stresses they want the freshmen to feel at home in their new places in the company as well. She continues, “My favorite part about RDE is the fact that it truly has become my home at Rider. RDE is such an incredibly talented and caring group of people, and they make all of the hard work SO worth it. RDE brings together so many different people with different dance backgrounds and talents, and it is always so fun to see the shows come together”. She’s also relieved to finally be performing her production; there was a scheduling conflict this year with another production at Rider so the showcase was postponed to perform during Hurricane Sandy, which was then even further postponed. This wonderful production is long overdue and ready to shine.
Home will run this Saturday, November 17th 2012 at 3pm and 7pm and Sunday, November 18th 2012 at 3pm and 7pm in Rider University’s BLC Theater.
For more information on dance at Rider, click here.
Rider Dance Ensemble
Rider Dance Ensemble
Rider Dance Ensemble