Student Dancers Conquer COVID with Drive-In Performance


Students rehearse for the drive-in dance performance in parking lot 5 behing the Sports Center. Photo: Susan Allen/ Stockton University

Galloway, N.J.  – The Stockton University Dance Company will present free, live, COVID-19 compliant drive-in dance performances on March 11 on the Galloway campus.

The collaborative project between Associate Professor of Dance Rain Ross and Stockton students was developed as a way for the dancers to share with an audience their own emotions and experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

drive-in dance rain ross“As we continue into months of social distancing due to the pandemic, we are missing community, we are missing being able to come together and experience live performance,” Ross said.

The performance lasts just over 15 minutes and will be performed at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. in parking lot 5 behind the Sports Center, weather permitting.  A rain date is scheduled for March 18.

Audience members must register in advance and arrive by car to create a circular perimeter around the performance space.  Audience members will remain in their cars during the performance.

The dance, titled “Together Again. Apart.” was developed through Zoom sessions with the nine participating students. It begins representing the experience of loss during the pandemic, and the desire to be with friends and family, and to be in the community.

“It then explores the ideas of connection, and how we are all still here for each other, helping everyone get through these times,” Ross said.

The dancers are holding a few in-person rehearsals and were thrilled with the opportunity to gather in person, even if it meant wearing masks while they danced.  Ross said the dancers need the opportunity to work on spacing and timing for the group performance.

“It is not easy to do this,” Ross said as they gathered on the Sports Center parking lot. “We’ve done all we can on Zoom. They have been so willing, and coming together brings energy to the process.”

drive-in dancerSenior Holly Halligan of Medford said it has been a challenge to work at home, but it has also pushed her to think more about her dancing and the space it occupies.

“It’s so nice to be outdoors and not worried about kicking anything or stubbing my toes,” she said.

“It’s just nice to see everyone in person and not have to look at a screen,” said sophomore Irenonsen Eigbe of Galloway.

Senior Samantha Panek of Somerset said so many events have been cancelled, that she feels it is a privilege to be able to do something live, even with precautions in place.

“It’s just heartwarming to be here in person,” said senior Marisa Evola of Medford. “We’re like little kids, just feeding off each other’s energy.”

As seniors, the students are looking at an immediate future where jobs are on hold, or revamped to adapt to the pandemic. For now though, they are just looking forward to dancing for an audience.

“I really want to share what we are trying to show and express through dance,” Halligan said. “The memories you make are with an audience. This is my senior year, so at least I will get to perform.”

The nine students involved are: Holly Halligan, Samantha Panek, Marisa Evola, Alexa Angelucci, Irenonsen Eigbe, Destiny Everett, Brooke Butler, Abigail Bell and Alexandra Ribuffo.

Space is limited and reservations are required for each performance at:

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Diane D’Amico
Director of News and Media Relations
Galloway, N.J. 08205