Champlain's dance team

Champlain Dance Team Releases Socially Distanced Music Video

The Champlain College Dance Team releases an annual video.

This year, majors in the CCM Division were three of four members who choreographed the socially distance dance. Communication majors Brianna Newman (co-captain) and Lauren Materia; Professional Writing major Whitney Baine, and Visual Communication Design major Lyn Smith choreographed a dance to Rina Sawiyama’s “XS”, in collaboration with co-captain Sadie MacKinnon. The song and resulting dance are a commentary on how detrimental capitalism is.

The video was shot at the nonprofit Arts So Wonderful and other locations inside the University Mall in South Burlington. Their “XS” video also premiered at Nation’s United, Champlain’s international celebration.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s practices looked quite different than usual. The Dance Team began planning their socially distanced practices early, and as a result, they were the first club allowed on campus in person. They set up a giant grid on the gymnasium floor of six-by-six boxes so each dancer had nine feet of personal space. All the dancers wore masks, and they also livestreamed rehearsals so remote students could attend as well.

With the music video, the team wanted to show the world you can still do fun things while following COVID regulations. But they also wanted the video to have a message. Dance Team’s visual aesthetics coordinator Lyn Smith suggested the song, which pokes fun at materialism. The dancers portray mannequins in some parts of the video—appropriate, given the topic and setting of the video.

Communication major Brianna Newman (center) is a Dance Team co-captain and “XS” choreographer

Newman said that the video was “a process that involved every team member—not just the captains, not just the leadership, not just the coach. People could make up their own components…it is all hands in.”

This semester, the club also practiced new dance styles and performed at spirit week. The team worked on choreography for their spring showcase. Co-captains Newman and MacKinnon said they’re preparing for the possibility of a virtual spring showcase.

The Dance Team is accepting new members. No audition is required, and experience levels range from complete beginner to competitive dancer. “That wide range of experience really adds to the opportunities within Dance Team for learning and supporting each other and growth of different levels,” said Newman. MacKinnon added that the team’s goal, and their coach Jenna Giguere’s goal, is “to get us involved in the Champlain community but also get us involved in the Burlington community because there’s such a rich dance scene here.”

Students who are interested in joining can reach out to the Dance Team on Instagram at @ccdanceteam or email either of the co-captains: brianna.newman@mymail.champlain.edu Sadie.mackinnon@mymail.champlain.edu

List of Dance Team members:

  • Coach: Jenna Giguere
  • Sadie MacKinnon, co-captain
  • Brianna Newman, co-captain
  • Lauren Materia
  • Whitney Bain
  • Lyn Smith
  • Elizabeth Martell
  • Cassie Melchior
  • Abby Caldwell
  • Ayanna FhagenSmith
  • Georgia Warren
  • Katie Hopkins
  • Maddie Spire

Erika Skorstad ’21—Contributor