CONTRIBUTED BY CAROL DAVID
The pulsating sounds of music, lively chatter and spirited laughter used to fill the studios where members of dance clubs gathered to perfect their routines. This year is different.
With in-person events on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dance clubs such as Popcorn, Lux and Cantico have been forced to find new ways to create performances as a group and encourage bonding among team members, while also fostering individual creativity.
Popcorn, a K-pop cover dance group, led by captain and junior Emerson Lin has been finding new ways to showcase their performances via social media.
“We are following a more loose online format where we have everyone film themselves individually, and we can put that together,” Lin said. “Participation is optional and members can choose what they want to do.”
Other dance clubs are still in the process of planning what the year will look like.
Lux, a club welcoming all types of dance, has been running for two years. Led by co-captains and juniors Joy Xiang and Linsey Brookfield, the club has just begun to brainstorm how to create performances in this challenging environment.
“I’m kind of inspired by what Popcorn did on their Instagram where they learned a little phrase and pieced each person’s part together in a video,” Xiang said. “We might be doing something like that.”
According to senior Carol David, Cantico, a hip-hop and contemporary dance club, is also planning to perform through online platforms.
“We’re thinking about doing some kind of hip-hop dance video, where we could have smaller groups film sections of dances to make a cool cohesive video,” David said.
Amid the uncertainty regarding the pandemic and performances, dance clubs have adjusted their usually tight choreography to be more lenient and instead strive for personal creativity.
Although clubs are still hoping to perform, the intense focus on flawless routines has been reduced.
“You can just learn the dance and do it however it feels good to you,” David said. “It’s a time to have fun and try things out, not trying to let it be perfect and in sync with everyone else all the time.”
David said the sense of community that dance clubs create has always been highly valued by the team members.
“It’s a place where people can be very honest and open. In addition to being a great dance community, it’s a place where people do feel comfortable and talk about how they’re feeling,” David said. “You never feel pressured.”
Brookfield said inclusivity and building a strong community are qualities that have been key to creating cohesion and improving performance within the dance clubs.
“Dance is really a group sport. Nobody ever really considers it to be like that, but when you’re dancing in a group you have to trust everyone and trust that they are in the right places at the right times,” Brookfield said. “You have to have faith outside of dance and have faith in the people around you.”
With current circumstances, dance clubs are finding it more challenging to create a sense of community as they can only communicate with new members virtually. Through determination and perseverance the dance groups are looking to strengthen bonds.
“It’s a lot harder to get to know people,” Brookfield said. “But I think that if we put enough work into it, which we definitely are, we will get to a point where we will be close to the new members.”