Dance clubs find new ways to perform together

With social distancing still in effect, WSU’s dance clubs find ways to keep their members engaged online

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COURTESY OF TALIA SAMPSON

Hip-hop dance group Krimson Kouture is now holding two meetings a month; one for teaching choreography and one for team bonding.

JOEY FRANKLIN, Evergreen reporter

When Gov. Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order on March 25  almost everything shut down and many of WSU’s clubs and activities had to adapt to social distancing rules. 

Detour Dance Company at WSU is a student organization that performs a wide variety of dancing styles from hip hop, lyrical and breakdancing. The group had to halt meetings from last spring until now due to COVID-19 restrictions and health guidelines.

The pandemic has shifted how the Detour Dance Company functions, moving from dancing together to a more socially-distanced approach.

 “Right now, we are trying to do more Instagram posts related to dance and find new people for next semester,” co-captain Ciera Lallemand said.

The dance company is focusing on its branding aspect for now and is looking to set its sights on future semesters when it is safe to get in groups.

“We’ve been focusing on what people see on the outside … the social media and the website, making sure people are still informed,” co-captain Kelsey Dearing said.

Detour is making sure it recruits new members to dance with them and to keep its social media presence up to date and enticing for potential members. Dearing also said they have plans to collaborate with the WSU Jazz Society.

“We have been evaluating where COVID-19 is at, seeing where we want to be practicing and are hopeful to practice this semester,” Dearing said.

Members of the Detour Dance Company will record themselves dancing to sections of the WSU Jazz Clubs’ composition. It will be put together in a video compilation that combines videos of dancing and the jazz club playing their instruments.

“Whether it’s choreographing or watching videos and learning from those, whatever we feel like doing … we can have that same group to connect with, dance with and bond with,” Dearing said.

Krimson Kouture is another dance team at WSU, specializing in hip-hop dancing. They have faced similar issues due to the COVID-19 shutdown and restrictions.

The dance group is now meeting over Zoom, cutting down on its practices from 12 per month to just two. One of the practices every month will be for learning choreography while the other will be more relaxed like a game night or mental health check-in, co-captain Lenisha Bryant-Hamilton said.

“I feel like [the dynamic] hasn’t changed too much … I still felt like I was dancing right there like we usually do at the Chinook. I personally don’t think a lot has changed; it is just the difference in terms of being close,” co-captain Talia Sampson said.

The only struggle Krimson Kouture has seemingly faced is teaching their members the dance moves.

“For starters, [teaching] is mirrored … everyone lags, too. Also, I tried to create choreography for the first practice, and teaching that was difficult when it comes to turning around,” Bryant-Hamilton said. “I wish I could show [the dancers] there are some things you don’t have to think about when teaching because [the dancers] can see it.” 

Krimson Kouture’s captains create their own choreography for new songs and throwbacks. They also let teammates teach the groups to dance.

“We are going to be having meetings every other week, and some of those days will be days where we hang out or chill,” Sampson said. “We have ideas for games and a lot of them are not even dance-related, but just doing simple things with everybody else on the team is fun and it allows us to connect.”

This year has looked very different for both dance programs, but they are finding ways to adapt and proceed with their meetings through the COVID-19 pandemic.