The 150 students in the University of Rhode Island Dance Company have been honing their tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop skills for 10 weeks and — now they are ready for their big semester-ending show.
They will perform Anatomy of a Dancer, Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium. The student club is supporting Children’s Friend and Services, and is asking patrons to bring a new toy for admission. Admission for those who do not bring a toy is $5 and $3 for students.
“We wanted to do something for charity this year because times are so hard,” said Kim Saccoia of Smithfield, the president and an instructor with the club.
The club took that step even though it collects only $10 in dues from each member to pay for costume accessories and other items. In addition, the instructors are club members who volunteer their time to teach the various classes.
“Our 150 members (all women) are wonderful, and we are all very close. We have very strong friendships. I am going to miss it,” said Saccoia, who has been dancing since she was 3 and will graduate from URI in the spring. “After this event, I will only be part of one more recital.”
She said the title for the fall event is a play on words in that the dancers will be performing to musical numbers that mention a part of the body.
“We’ll be dancing to such numbers as Shake Your Tail Feather, Shake Your Head, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Hands in the Air, Corner of Your Heart, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, and Heartbreaker. This is going to be a fun show, and all ages will enjoy it.”
The elementary education and English major said the dance company is the second largest club on campus and practices Monday and Thursday every week. Six student instructors direct the six separate disciplines – tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop and Pointe.
“Since there are no auditions, we get experienced dancers and some who are taking lessons for the first time. Everyone is eligible to participate," Saccoia explained. "Sometimes it is challenging, but it all comes together for the show, and everyone dances.”
That welcoming attitude is one of the reasons why dance company alumni show up each year for the show that fills the 800-seat auditorium.
“When we perform, you can see the audience reacting, as some of them tap their feet or sway in their seats,” Saccoia said. “We feed off that.”
Information provided by the University of Rhode Island Department of Communications and Marketing.