Dance group Prowlers continue practicing


Sophia Hedley Photo credit: Kate Nuelle

If not for COVID-19, clubs, teams, and classes would be in full swing. Due to organizations having to adapt to new guidelines and make adjustments accordingly, many organizations have been split in two. Those who are learning in person, and those who opt for a remote option. This has been no different for the Prowlers as they have made the transition into the ‘new normal.’

“Practices have been different but good,” Rachel Peters, senior and Prowlers co-captain said. “It’s just great to get to dance in a group setting again even if it’s over Zoom.”

The Prowlers have made safety an important priority for their meetings. They been hosting their in-person practices since early October and their virtual practices have been happening since September. For the dancers who are on campus, they are of course held accountable for following the university’s health guidelines in order to continue meeting.

“Once we received approval from the school, we started doing in person practices,” freshman Sophie Hedley said. “Before practice we have to complete the TU health screening and present our green badge. Everyone dances six feet apart. We also have to practice with our masks on, which can be quite uncomfortable, but is worth it for the sake of health and safety. After practice we disinfect the studio, and we repeat the process every week.”

For the remote members, their option to connect through Zoom is very similar to what practicing in person would have in store for them. But like so many of us, Zoom has been able to garner a few concerns from the team.

“Zoom is pretty much the same as practicing in person,” senior Tiki Selvan said. “It’s a little different to where you could experience connectivity issues sometimes. At the same time, you get to see your friends. Of course it’s different seeing them in person. Sometimes I dance here in my room, but I have no space. And in typical dance practices there is a lot more people there, so you feel a lot more anxious because you’re by yourself.”

Along with the technicalities that come with making the in-person to Zoom transition, there is also emotional aspects that arise as well. The majority of clubs and teams can say that there is bond between the members that is familial in a sense. But with the team divided by social distancing and computer screens, the morale could fluctuate.

“Dancing in a dorm room is not the easiest, but doable,” freshman Emma Turner said, “I would say the most difficult part for me is just getting to know the other members. As for the team, being my first year, I’m not entirely sure what normal really means, so I can say exactly how this transition has been challenging.”

Though the new normal for The Prowlers isnt exactly ideal, their current method of practicing seems to be supported by the notion that dance is something that can bring people together in and of itself.

“It’s definitely been hard to feel that bond we have between our members since we are not practicing as much and we’re spread apart,” Peters said. “But, we’ve had a few social events like Netflix Party nights and we will be having a virtual secret Santa party to celebrate and bond as a team.”

Members attribute the art of dance to be therapeutic in a sense. Though COVID-19 may impact the format in which they are able to dance, the fact that they are able to dance as a team remains constant, even if they are not physically together.

“I think that it’s a really great outlet for having some sense of normalcy,” junior Beth Bachman said. “I spend most days sitting in front of my computer, as many people are. Especially on the days where we are meeting in person, even though we are social distancing and wearing masks, it’s still really nice to be in a room with other people and just moving your body. You know, sometimes you just have to run across a room and do a bunch of leaps. And just having that as an outlet has been really helpful for my health.”

Just like other forms of art, dance allows for expressionist and interpretive flair. Just like an artist placing emotion into each stroke of a paintbrush, dance allows for members of the Prowlers to convey their emotion while doing something that they all enjoy, whether it be on the floor of the Bell Center or on the floor of their homes.

“Dance is different for every person,” Bachman said. “I’d say for me personally, it’s about beauty, and finding that beauty in yourself, in your body, and finding that connection between your body, your mind, and your soul. Oftentimes we can feel just stuck in one place or not really living life. But when I’m dancing, it’s like an expression of whatever emotions I’m feeling and get it out. It’s a lot of things for different people.”