EIU Dancers ready to put their dance shoes on again

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

Years ago, Eastern had a large dance group that combined Eastern’s various talented dance groups, one group being the EIU Dancers, a dance team that is known to perform at home athletic events as well as various events on campus and in the surrounding community.

In 1981, EIU Dancers was officially founded. Today, EIU Dancers is known for its dedication to promoting the understanding and appreciation of dance in its many forms within the university and the community.  

At EIU Dancers, one can learn how to dance in various styles including jazz, hip hop, tap, contemporary, and more. Because there are so many types of dance, the styles practiced every year is determined by the preferences of the dancers. 

Kali Bolton, a junior mass communication student, is one of the three co-directors of EIU Dancers who helps run the RSO together.

Being a three-year dancer and choreographer, she has had plenty of experience dancing. Even though she, along with other members of the RSO, has had experience dancing, she emphasizes the fact that one does not need to have experience dancing to join.  

“No one needs to have dance experience in order to join our team, and all the girls are super nice so we help the newbies learn the basics,” Bolton said. “Anyone can join our team! No experience is required, but we also welcome experienced dancers.”  

EIU Dancers would usually hold auditions at the beginning of the fall semester and at the end of the spring semester, giving Eastern students interested in dancing the opportunity to try out. 

Pre-Covid, EIU Dancers used to hold in-person meetings at Eastern’s McAfee Gym that typically started at around 7:00 p.m. and ended at around 10:00 p.m.

During this time, time slots are designated for each of the dancers to practice their part of a dance number.  

“Each dancer will have an hour to learn parts of the routine or to go over what was learned, then when the next hour rolls around is when the dancers for the next routine show up. Once we start getting closer to the showcase, we go through our dance line-up and do every single dance together,” she said. “We will even practice with our costumes on and try to practice our quick changes. It’s honestly such a fun time.” 

In the past, EIU Dancers has performed at many events throughout the school year, being an active organization in the Eastern community.

The organization has performed at homecoming pep rallies, football games, and at their yearly showcase.  

The showcase is one of the most exciting performances EIU Dancers does, with the event giving them the opportunity to perform, choreograph, and design a full production every year.  

“We usually will have a showcase in the spring semester where we have one general theme that all our dances fall under,” she said. “It’s super fun. Our first year, [the theme] was ‘Emotions’ and each dance depicted a different emotion. Last year, we were going to do one on the 7 deadly sins and 7 heavenly virtues.”  

Because of Covid and all the guidelines set in place to prevent the spread of it, EIU Dancers was unable to have their showcase last spring semester.

Although they have tried to find ways to still have events, performances, and activities, living in a post-COVID world has prevented them from doing so.  

“Due to Covid, EIU Dancers has not been able to meet this year so we are not too sure what is in store [for this school year],” she said. “Some other RSOs got to meet so I’m not too sure why we weren’t allowed.” 

Despite the fact that EIU Dancers have currently been unable to hold auditions, have meetings, and perform as normal, they hope that soon they will be able to do so. They hope to possibly have a small showcase or to record some dances to post online for people to see.  

Bolton is very passionate about dancing and has a lot of love for EIU Dancers.

“EIU Dancers is a wonderful organization. Dancing gives me a place to express emotions through dance and t’s so freeing. I danced [while in] high school and was going to stop until my freshman-year roommate, Alex, who is also a director, decided to audition,” she said. “I’m really happy with the decision I made because the girls I met while dancing have become lifelong friends and I have already been invited to two of the girls’ weddings. EIU Dancers is way more than an RSO to me, and I am very thankful for every girl I got to meet along the way.”

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]