Many kids attend dance classes as kids.  At some point along the way most people realize that they’re not destined to be a world class dancer, for a number of reasons. Despite this, people still enjoy dancing, but maybe don’t have access to the proper facilities to continue practicing and learning new routines.

“That was one of my main factors when applying to the University of Rhode Island,” Maria Senerchia said, the current president of the URI Dance Company, “is making sure that they had some sort of dance program that I could still be a part of and still be practicing.”

The URI dance company consists predominantly of a group of diverse women who are interested in dancing. Despite the current lack of them, men are encouraged and welcome to join the group. The instructors are usually veteran dance company members with enough spare time to come up with routines.

When a teacher decides to finish up instructing at the end of the academic year, another student from the club can take over the position the following year. To do this the member has to either perform or provide a portion of their routine in a video to showcase the style of dances they would like to teach. The current teacher then picks who will replace them, Senerchia said.

Credit: Sampson Jacobs/The Good 5 Cent Cigar
Credit: Sampson Jacobs/The Good 5 Cent Cigar

The classes build to a dress rehearsal and show at the end of the semester in Edwards Auditorium. The atmosphere in the the classes is best described as playful, energetic and focused. The end of the semester brings a final show to the audience who consist mainly of friends and family. Admission can usually be covered with a donation to a charity chosen by the group. In the fall the company usually likes to do a toy drive.

“We had six huge bags of toys we could donate this past semester for our toy drive,” Senerchia said.

The dance club prides itself in the fact that they do not compete, and that they are only true objective is to dance for the sake of dancing. Senerchia started in the club as a freshman and over the years worked her way into an officers position. Anyone from the club can become an officer and move up to president, no matter one’s experience as a dancer.

“I never expected to actually have an officer’s position and that was not my intention coming into dance company,” Senerchia said. “It was kind of nice how gradually through the years that you can become more involved in dance company.”

With the exception of tap and point – ballet that puts you on the tips of your toes – no experience is required to join any of the classes offered. The only requirement is that by the “drop date” students decide whether or not to make the commitment and stay with the company through to the end of the show.

Dance company classes meet Mondays and Thursdays between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. You can get more information by emailing the group at uridancecompany@gmail.com. Classes range from tap, jazz, lyrical and more.