The University of Rhode Island’s Dance Company continues to encourage its members to foster their passions for dancing and performing this semester, inviting new members to sign up for their various classes.
Dance Company President and fourth-year student Alyssa Fraleigh is a psychology major and Vice President and fourth-year student Maelis Knobloch is a marketing major. The two are from Massachusetts but grew up in different towns, and they both have danced for about 16 years. Fraleigh and Knobloch both came to URI because of its proximity to the beach while also not being too far from home.
Fraleigh decided to join the Dance Company in her second year of college. She said that she took a break during her first year to collect herself and try to figure out college on its own. Knobloch, on the other hand, was slightly different.
“I never took a break from dance and really couldn’t imagine life without it; once I got accepted into the University of Rhode Island, I started looking into the different clubs the school has to offer for dance,” Knobloch said, who joined the Dance Company in her first year of college.
When the pair joined, they said that they went into the process alone. While they didn’t make friends immediately, Knobloch and Fraleigh said that they felt like the teachers, environment and other dancers were incredibly supportive and welcoming and immediately felt as if they were both at home.
Being that they each hold positions of leadership, the two of them, along with two other officers and a team of administrators, oversee and organize the practices and the different events that they host. While Fraleigh and Knobloch are involved with the coordination of the classes, they also participate.
The Dance Company has their practices every Monday and Thursday with a variety of different styles such as ballet, hip hop, tap, lyrical, jazz and pointe. There are over 100 people involved with the organization, so depending on what class dancers want to attend, they are placed into one of the days with classes only being about 45 to 50 minutes.
“For dancers who wish to continue in a stress free environment, Dance Company is the place to go,” Knobloch said. “Everyone tries their best to make it a welcoming environment and make practices fun.”
While the two girls aren’t directly involved in the choreography process, they said that the teachers that show them what to do take a lot of inspiration from the other dancers. Even though everyone has their own roles, they all work as one big team and family. Fraleigh said they all keep a constant flow of open communication in order to hear out everyone’s ideas. To account for those who don’t have a lot of experience with dance, the dances are all intermediate level and try to keep in mind everyone’s skill levels and encourage any new skills to be showcased.
“Boys, girls, genderfluid; anyone is welcome to join,” Fraleigh said.
Knobloch and Fraleigh agreed that new people are not only welcome, but encouraged to check out the Dance Company. The Dance Company has their spring showcase coming up on April 20 at 1 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium for $2 per student to watch.