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ND Dance Company to host annual showcase with COVID-19 safety precautions in place

| Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Notre Dame Dance Company will host its annual showcase 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday in Washington Hall, following COVID-19 regulations.

Dance Company president, senior Rachel Bartnett, noted that this is an impressive feat.

“It’s been a really chaotic year with lots of back and forth on what rules can and can’t happen,” Bartnett said. “To be able to pull this off is kind of incredible. It’s kind of a miracle that we’re pulling it off.”

Senior Jadrian Woods said coordinating this year’s show isn’t only notable because of the constraints of the pandemic, but because of how quickly it came together.

“I’m just excited that we’re able to have a show this semester, and we were able to pull it off in six weeks, which is awesome because normally it’s anywhere from eight to 10,” Woods said.

Junior Ana Tisa, a member of the Dance Company, said wearing masks has proven to be a new challenge during rehearsals.

“We can’t touch each other or be close to each other,” Tisa said. “Obviously, we have to wear masks — which, surprisingly, I didn’t realize how hard it is to breathe in a mask. This is recreational; I don’t get how professional athletes are actually doing it. It must be so difficult.”

Woods said there is a limit on how many dancers can be on stage at once for physical distancing purposes. Contrary to previous years, there can only be 12 or fewer dancers in each number. 

“Normally, we could let the choreographers have as many people as they wanted,” Woods said. “So that’s something that’s been very different this semester, but I think it’s also worked out really well because a lot more people have had more of an opportunity to dance because of that.”

Dancers will need to maintain 10 feet of distance between each other at all times, as opposed to the traditional six feet. Tisa said this will change the ways the formations and interactions between dancers look this year.

According to Bartnett, the audience will only be at roughly 40% capacity to allow for social distancing. Tisa said there will, however, be a livestream to allow for those who cannot attend, such as off-campus students and family members back home.

Bartnett said the coronavirus has impacted the community aspect of Dance Company in both positive and negative ways. Although it can be harder to connect right now, she has seen how people go out of their way to form and maintain relationships.

“[On Wednesdays], we’ve been doing dinners before rehearsal starts in either on a quad or in the dining hall,” Bartnett said. “So that’s been a really fun way for some of our new members to get to know some of the old kids. Just looking around at the tech rehearsal last night it’s very apparent that everybody seems to feel at home.”

In a time of persistent change, Tisa said Dance Company has been a constant to her life.

“We’re all just really excited to make this work, even though we don’t have our usual costumes and our usual audience and everything,” Tisa said. “It’s definitely been a nice sense of normalcy, a good constant semester to be like, ‘Okay, I can go dance with my friends,’ when a lot of other things have been canceled.”

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