Dance team thrives during the pandemic, expanding from a winter only sport to a year round one


photo courtesy of coach Melanie Barber

After spending the season working on routines, the dance team filmed their final performance to be shown at Kabbalat Shabbat.

Gili Schisterman, Guest Writer

Through difficult circumstances, the CESJDS high school dance team has used team practices as a way to stay connected with their friends and classmates through distance and now hybrid learning. Although the team typically only has a winter season, this year the team practiced in both the fall and winter seasons, and they plan to practice in the spring as well.

Junior and captain Zoe Wertlieb is among the nine dancers who come to school to practice.

“Being able to see my friends and also see new people was a great way to socialize and I trust JDS and their policies are good, so I felt comfortable doing this,” Wertlieb said. 

The social benefits extend to everyone on the team, especially those that find themselves suddenly in a brand new environment. Freshman Abby Greenberg is new to JDS this year, and the dance team has helped her adjust to her new school.  

“At the school I was going to go to, I was going to try out for their dance team,” Greenberg said. “And when I decided to come to JDS and I found out they had a dance team, I knew trying out for the dance team was a good way to make more friends outside of my grade.”

Greenberg is a huge fan of hip hop and always makes time for it. She is glad she is on the dance team because their style is very similar to what she enjoys doing. 

“I love hip hop because there are so many different ways of executing the style and there are different styles within it. With hip hop, there is something for everyone. I find it easy to exude my passion and emotions through it,” Greenberg said. 

Coach Melanie Barber is in her second year at JDS but has danced for over 29 years. She said that practices have continued to go well, especially with the recent move indoors. In previous years, the dance team had to compete with other teams and groups for indoor space.

“It is kinda weird because I am so used to being around more people and not being able to use the gym and cafeteria but now that we are kinda the only ones inside, it’s been nice,” Barber said. “So there’s been pros and cons.” 

As the dance team is taking precautions by social distancing and keeping their masks on, the pandemic has also affected their performances. While the team usually performs live at Kabbalat Shabbat, the team now has to pre-record their performances.  

According to Wertlieb, the dance team’s first pre-recorded performance did not work as they had hoped due to some lagging in the video.  However, the dance team is performing again at Kabbalat Shabbat next week on Mar. 5.