‘We dream of seeing IDC alive even after years:’ Illuminate Dance club speaks on rebirth


Photo courtesy of @illuminate.danceclub on Instagram.

The IDC members, West Haven, Dec. 11, 2022.

“To continue the tap dance form, the Illuminate Dance Club came into being,” said the Illuminate Dance Club (IDC)’s president, Mallory Rothweiler, a junior interior design major. She and secretary of IDC, Sadie Fraser-Read, a junior hospitality and tourism major, spoke more on the dance group. The IDC is a recent addition to the university that was started in October 2022 by Rothweiler and Fraser-Read, with three additional members on the executive board. The inspiration behind forming this club was to continue the legacy of tap dance at the university. Rothweiler and Fraser-Read, in unison, expressed how they enjoyed being part of the university’s tap club during their sophomore year; however, the club became inactive soon after.

During its inception, IDC comprised 11 members, which according to its founders, was an impressive start. Rothweiler said, “We were majorly satisfied with our group members as we did not have enough space on the stage to accommodate a huge crowd, and we could also simultaneously manage the additional procedures hassle-free.”

The club’s secretary then spoke about the aura and environment and described it in one word: “friendly.” To further explain this word, Fraser-Read said, “We, as the founders, do not believe in creating a strict or nervous environment for the participants. As we meet for practice sessions, we assure them that their ideas are extremely important to us; hence, we try to work as a group of friends rather than a strict club. It has been exciting to see the number of friendships built here with one another, which fills me with satisfaction.”

Upon exploring the other segments of IDC, the founders spoke about their plans for the spring 2023 semester. Rothweiler said that she aspires to see more dance clubs in and out of the university coming together and having a showcase. Both founders talked about their plans for building this showcase and planning for it to happen this year. They also added their motives for organizing open classes, workshops and meet-ups in the present and coming semesters.

Rothweiler and Fraser-Read talked about the future of IDC and stated that they wish to see this club alive, even years after they graduate. They said, “We both are going to graduate next year, and therefore, our sole motive is to see the IDC grow more and get handled by phenomenal enthusiasts. Currently, we only practice tap, jazz and lyrical, but we will be extremely proud and happy to see more styles in the future. So basically, we are building the foundation in the present, and we wish to see this group enhance and become more renowned in the future.”

The duo also talked about using Instagram’s vote feature to finalize the name of the club. As inspiring the word “illuminate” is, they found this to be the best fit for the club’s name. Speaking about some of the challenges so far, the president-secretary duo said that one of these challenges was managing everyone’s schedules and finding a space to practice in that time. IDC and its members meet on Sunday afternoons and evenings, considering everyone’s availability. Their mentorship is beyond the set times, and the IDC members ensure being there for its club participants is a priority. They make it a point to have recorded videos handy for the group members and spare time if anyone needs more practice.

As the dance club has now begun growing, the founders are getting involved in displaying additional efforts to make IDC a successful club, long term. Rothweiler spoke about the club’s future and how it can emerge into a more renowned dance club in the years to follow with the support of funds from the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) and with more promotions. However, she also mentioned a space crunch that the clubs at the university were facing and stated how it would be more helpful if dance and activity clubs would get more area. Fraser-Read added, “A designated dance space is something that we would love to see happening on campus. As we usually perform in the German Club or the Recreation Center, it is sad that availability is sometimes difficult. Besides, even the space stage is quite small, adding to the complexity of accommodating everyone while teaching the pieces. We would love to see a special space for the tap dance as it requires special flooring. We currently have a small roll-on floor for the tap, but we would love to see this change in the years to come.”

The duo also stated they would want a maximum number of 20 members in the group. They explained their statement and said managing schedules, spaces and personal interactions would become slightly difficult. The president said, “We would love to give attention to everyone, which may not be as possible if the club fills with large numbers. Therefore, we would love to encourage dancers to seek their spots in their desired dance groups, and if we cannot take more members, we would love to recommend them to several other dance clubs at the university.”

The Illuminate Dance Club, run by two young enthusiasts, is in its formation and seeks support from several other dancers. They are incredibly open to interacting with others and would love to see the talent of many others at the university. To know more about joining them or cheering for them, they can be contacted through email at [email protected]. The IDC is also settling its presence on social media and can be followed on Instagram @illuminate.danceclub.