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Grab your ballet slippers and head over to Keating for Jetés practice! The Fordham Jetés is a student-run, all-gendered, classical ballet club on the Rose Hill campus. They hold auditions every semester, teach classes, as well as put on one full production per semester in Collins auditorium. Prior to the pandemic, they even did community outreach work, including performing at local schools. 

I got the chance to sit down with Jetés Vice-President, senior Caroline Wilser, who spoke passionately about her performance skills. Ever since she was five-years-old, she knew dancing stimulated her interests in self-expression and storytelling.

 “I’ve always done ballet but also other types of dance like jazz, tap, and contemporary but ballet was pretty much always my favorite and where I excelled the most. I love the idea of creating a narrative and performance art.”

Wilser says she wanted to try out for the Jetés after seeing them advertise themselves at the club fair her freshman year in 2017. She felt reinvoragated to share her passion for ballet at the Fordham community because she never expected to continue ballet after high school. A strictly ballet club was now home. 

Wilser became the Vice-President just this year as a senior at Fordham. She takes part in assisting, delegating, or overseeing every task and project. She coordinates with the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), casting their semester show, creating rehearsal schedules, drafting and uploading social media posts, ordering costumes, designing programs and posters, and arranging team and individual photoshoots. 

She attributes her success as VP to the assistance of her supportive peers on the Jetés executive board. With VP Wilser, the executive board consists of President Maria Zarcone, Treasurer Taylor Davis, Publicist Annabelle Soto, Secretary Emily Huegler, and Costume Mistress Alexi Obillo. Wilser explains the collaborative process with her e-board, saying, 

“For example even though we have someone on the e-board who is the costume mistress, we all help with costumes. I might help pick up costumes and organize them. The communication and collaboration is so productive.”

Wilser attributes a great e-board to Jetés’s easygoing atmosphere. 

“Ballet stereotypically can be very serious and even toxic. We don’t want that for Jetés. We are there because we genuinely enjoy dancing. We work hard and put so much effort into our performances.”

Jetés works hard to spread awareness as a new club. Jetés began at Fordham in just 2015, thereby making it a goal to amp their production level, choreography, costumes to the next level each year. 

“I want each show to top the next,” says Wilser. “We have a lot of dedicated freshman and sophomore club members who I think are capable of that. Also they hold that easygoing energy that I hope never fades for Jetés.”

Interested in trying out for Jetés? The club holds auditions in Keating B23 each semester where they also practice. Tryouts are judged on technicality and ability to pick up choreography under a limited time.

Once a member, social events are key to group fitness and communication. Friendship and reliance on each other keep the new group as a great success to Fordham dance clubs. In the pandemic, however, Jetés members were unable to do in-person meetings and hangouts. This made preparing for the Spring Showcase in April all more difficult.

The whole club was rarely together. Masks on, a Jetés would see a teammate if they were in the same dance in their practice room. However, the brunt of the work was done during their tech week to prepare for the recital on April 10. Tech week was held in the Collins auditorium, with performance-like scheduling, lights, and costumes. 

Jetés’s Spring Showcase on April 10 included eleven powerful performances, including to popular pop songs like Lorde’s “The Louvre,” Chris Brown’s “No Guidance,” and Taylor Swift’s “Gold Rush.” Jetés breaks down the stereotypical string music, providing fresh unique bops to excite the audience and ballet as performance art.

When asking Wilser why not the traditional ballet music, she puts simply, “Jetés wants to represent who we are as college students and what excites us to dance. We are members of today.” 

Emily Dwelle

Fordham '21

Fordham University Senior. History Major and Marketing and Journalism Minors. Preschool Volunteer and interests in social issues and entertainment. HerCampus Tutor, Writer, Photography Director.
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