By Brooke Schultz
A passion for dance brought together the Nu Delta Alpha Dance Honor Society and Heron Point Retirement Home for a line-dance series activity to “get moving and share some laughs,” said senior and Historian for the Dance Honor Society Emily Klein.
The Dance Honor Society typically tries to include a Community Dance Day each semester, but the dancers have previously had a class with children for a couple of hours. Working with Heron Point was new for the group.
“The residents were absolutely lovely. They were lively and cheerful and very quick to crack a joke. They made the Nu Delta Alpha members feel right at home,” Klein said.
Spending time with the residents hit home for Klein, who has a grandfather in a similar type of community for the elderly. “I think coming together as a community like this is extremely meaningful and important, and the residents seemed like they had an absolute blast,” she said.
To be inducted into Nu Delta Alpha, students have to have an involvement in dance events, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and accrue at least 30 points within the dance point system. NDA recognizes students, educators, and professionals for their achievements in dance, which includes performance, choreography, scholarship, and technology.
Being a part of the Dance Honor Society gives students a chance to participate in events like Community Dance Day, where the members have the opportunity to engage with the community and teach them about dance for about an hour.
This particular event at Heron Point was a line-dance series, and it was an exciting change for members of NDA.
Sophomore and Secretary Anna Gjertsen said that working with Heron Point was significant because it allowed the members to reach the opposite end of the age group.
“It gave us the opportunity to pay previous generations back for all they’ve done for this community and others,” she said. “Music and dance are forces that hold us all together, regardless of age, cognitive impairment, race or gender.”
Senior and Vice President Kendall Davis described the line-series as rewarding. “The experience was great. I love sharing my passion for dance and bringing any joy I can into others’ lives,” she said.
Calling the line-series a class is perhaps too strict. NDA invited the residents to either watch them dance or join them on the floor. They had prepped a CD with eight songs and had a member of NDA leading each dance.
Junior Brooke Burghardt explained the relaxed structure of the activity. “About half of our members and soon-to-be-members chose a line dance to teach. The person introduced themselves to the residents and taught the basics of the dance, then we played music and everyone followed along,” she said.
Most of the residents were excited to watch NDA perform, but Davis said it was a bit of a struggle to get them to actually participate. “There were definitely a few that were eager to move, but most were perfectly content with cheering us on,” she said.
Burghardt agreed that the reactions were positive, and mentioned some excited participants. She said, “There were two older women who kept dragging people into the room to come watch the event which was funny but also made the event to be a great turn out. A great deal of the residents participated, even if it was just sitting in their chair.”
Burghardt is confident that not only did the Heron Point residents enjoy the event, but the members of the Dance Honor Society did as well.
“I feel strongly enough to say that for all of the NDA members who attended the event, [they] had a great experience. At first we didn’t know how good of a turn out we were going to have, but with high spirits from the residents and fun dances to teach, the event was a great success,” she said.
The Dance Honor Society is planning more Community Day events for the fall and spring. On Nov. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., they’ll be in the studio teaching children who love to dance.