Meet the Dancers of New Jersey: TCNJ Student-Run Dance Troupe

Who are the Dancers of New Jersey?

'Dancers of New Jersey' is a student run organization, founded in January of 2018 by president Abby Littero. The organization hosts a variety of dance classes in TCNJ’s Recreation Center every week, leading up to a showcase in April.

The club is open to students with all levels of dance experience, from beginners to experts, and offer a range of styles including ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, contemp-hop, conditioning (where dancers target areas such as core strength, leg extensions, etc), and hip-hop. The Executive Board, which consists of three members, work together to discuss budget and fundraising ideas, as well as other organized functions from teacher selection, coordinate any social events, to seeking community outreach opportunities to keep the club functioning successfully.

From left to right: Cara Hunt (Vice President and Jazz instructor), Abby Littero (president,founder, and lyrical instructor), Maddi Talbot (ballet/pointe instructor), and Eric Hedlund (Treasurer)

 

The teachers, members of the executive board, as well as some students were asked questions about their experiences and involvement in the club, and here’s what they have to say:

What inspired you to create DoNJ?

Abby:When I came to TCNJ, I found there to be a lack of dance clubs that focused on all styles and were non-audition based. Through my love of dance, choreographing, and performing, I wanted to create a club where anyone could come to either continue their dance careers or learn how to dance. I am very proud to say that since January 2018, when the club was first recognized, we have put together our first spring showcase and tripled the amount of members we have!” How do you decide who gets to teach?

Abby: Teacher spots are open to anyone who has an interest. Because teaching a class weekly requires more of a knowledge of dance and a bigger commitment to the club, we do hold an audition process. It is a very simple audition; we ask anyone interested in teaching to show us a short combo they have created in their style of choice.  

What inspired you to teach?

Maddi: As one of the fellow founding members of DoNJ, I knew I wanted to play a larger role in the club, which teaching allows me to do. I spent so much of my life training and studying ballet, and I love sharing that knowledge with other dancers!

Cara: I teach dance to children at my old studio during the school year, so when the opportunity presented itself for to teach more intense choreography, I knew I had found the perfect opportunity for me.

 

What kind of fundraisers do you do? What do the funds go towards?

Abby: As of now we do mostly bake sales and our ticket sales from our spring showcase as our fundraisers. The funds we raise go towards costumes and shirts for our shows.

Maddi: The money we raise helps fund our showcase, which we held for the first time in the 2019 spring semester! We’d like to make the showcase annual, and the money we raise  helps up fund this event!

Abby: In the next couple years I hope to expand our fundraisers to some of Campus Town’s businesses!

 

Lastly, what does DoNj mean to you?

Cara: DoNj is a place where I can express myself through dance in a safe and productive environment

Alisandra Weaver (student): DoNj is my safe place or escape from reality. It’s the best place for me to lose myself for a few hours.

Eric: I love that I was able to try something new at a club where it isn’t about being there every week, but to be there to learn something new. I’ve never danced before until I came to this club, and I love how it encourages me to try something completely out of my interests, and now I come every week because I love it.

 

Dance has always played a huge role in my life. Thankfully, I have found a judge-free and safe community that not only allows me to freely express myself and my love of performing through different classes (and even a class of my own), but to create a bond with beautiful individuals who share a love and passion for dance. 

If you are interested in joining, feel free to email this address to be notified of our fundraising and other activities, as well as class scheduling notifications: [email protected]