Marianna Buseman

Several women gracefully move across the floor as they dance to a powerful beat. It all appears effortless. An a cappella chorus begins to sing. The voices are resounding and strong, much like the dancers. Suddenly, the music changes, and it is replaced by an upbeat rhythm that you might hear in a Miami nightclub. It’s full of horns and drums, and the dancers really get into the beat. This is just a small sampling of what you’ll experience in the production of Rider Dances with 10 Hairy Legs, which will be presented Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater on Rider's campus in Lawrenceville.

Rider Dances is an annual event that brings in professional dancers to collaborate with students. This year, 10 Hairy legs, an all-male company, was chosen. They will perform two pieces from their repertory. Additionally, Randy James, artistic director from the company, and Robert May Burke, a company member, will each be setting their own pieces on Rider students. The opportunity to work with professionals in the dance world is always exciting and important for Rider students. Kim Vaccaro, director of this Rider Dances production, noted how particularly this experience is.

“Working with men choreographers and dancers has a different dynamic and energy. This company is fierce and in top physical shape,” she said. “They work hard, as professionals, and demand the same input and drive from our dancers…they are driven and an excellent example of the real performance world.”

10 Hairy Legs is quite the company to be reckoned with. They aim to further the position of men in the world of dance and their repertory is impressive, full of impactful numbers that captivate audience members.

Vaccaro went on to further describe the experience of students being able to work these talented professionals. “These dancers are performing with Randy James along with other esteemed dance artists in the New York area,” she said. “How they train, stay in shape on tour, network and create in this current milieu is of vital importance and interest to the Rider dancers.”

The work that the Rider students and 10 Hairy Legs members have created together is mesmerizing to watch, full of energy and life. It is hard to look away from these pieces. The audience will really be able to see that even the littlest details were cared for in making of this show.

Vaccaro also discussed the importance of this production. “In our world, words can often be used as divisive tools,” she said. “Several pieces in this show speak to things that words can’t. Feelings and movement can often transcend words and unite us. Dance is not as constrictive as words are. You are not being told what to feel. Everyone can have their own interpretation.”

She also talked about what she hoped audience members would walk away from this show with. She said, “Randy and I would like to help audience members understand dance as art, which is different from pure entertainment, competition and what is usually seen on TV.” She also brought up the current, changing perspectives on gender and that “it is a perfect time to reflect on men in dance…and draw attention to the fact that for every 100 girls who experience the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual joys of dance every day, only one boy does the same…why is that?”

Photo: Slapstuck.  Choreography by David Parker.  Courtesy of 10 Hairy Legs.