the show must go on for Orchesis

Orchesis Dance Company holds annual gala at Oster Regent Theatre


It seems nothing nowadays has been untouched by COVID-19. From work, school, hobbies and extracurricular activities, everyone is living in a new normal. The Orchesis Dance Company is no exception. On Sunday, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m., Orchesis hosted its annual gala at Oster Regent Theater in Cedar Falls. While the event was sadly closed to the public due to COVID-19, the students performed as if the theater was packed to the brim. Those who were given tickets to the show witnessed a beautiful show of 26 different dances, ranging from modern, tap, jazz, hip hop and improvisation. There were 22 student performers as well as a facility performer who partook in the Gala.

While the Gala’s original performance date was set for April 3rd and 4th of this year, it had to change due to COVID-19. The organization did not let this down their spirits, as the dancers spent the rest of the spring and all of the summer training and honing their skills to perfection. While it wasn’t always easy practicing through video calls, the dancers pushed through and it was clearly shown in their performances.

President of the UNI Orchesis Dance Company, Melissa Lemke, who is a Graduate Student studying Health Education with an emphasis on Health Promotion and Fitness Management as well as a certificate in global health and humanitarian studies, shared the difficulties she and her dancers had to go through, “We have had many changes to the Orchesis Dance Company due to COVID,” Lemke said. “I would say our biggest impact would be the University’s decision to cut the company as an academic course. We are still the oldest student organization on campus and will continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards.  Our annual gala in which you attended was also postponed due to COVID, leaving us in a whirl of emotions not knowing if we were ever going to perform these pieces in front of a live audience, let alone at all. It was a huge relief and sense of major accomplishment to get everything we have been working for on the stage last weekend.”

After the performances, the 2020 graduates were given a round of applause for their breathtaking performance. The recipient for the 2020-2021 scholarship was given to Maddie Engelke, a senior majoring in marketing with an emphasis in advertising and digital media.

The dancers came out and ended the night with a well-deserved bow. While there was much uncertainty about when and if the show would go on, it turned out to be a wonderful success. The members hope future performances from the company will be open to the public.

The organization currently has 27 members present for the fall 2020 semester. Anyone who wishes to be a part of the Orchesis Dance Company, or would like to gain more information can contact Artistic Director Mandy Masmar for more information.