When sophomore Becca Zaletofsky joined the Haverford Latin Dance Club during her first year at Bryn Mawr, she had been dancing for over 15 years and had five years of choreography experience under her belt. She liked the club, which is aimed at beginner dancers, but was also looking for something more advanced.
“I wanted to do something more performance-driven and wanted something a little more choreographed and performed, [something] directed a little more towards intermediate and advanced dancers,” Zaletofsky said.
HaverRitmo was originally a Haverford club, hence the name, but was on hold last year because of COVID. Zaletofsky then teamed up with Bria Nixon BMC ’22, another dancer looking a challenge, to revamp the club and make it open to Bryn Mawr students as well.
Last summer, they prepared for auditions and spent countless hours on choreography and drills for the group’s first performance from their separate homes. “We Facetimed to choreograph all summer long for setting up for auditions,” said Nixon.
At practice, which, this semester, is held Fridays from 8:30-10:00 p.m. in Bryn Mawr’s Denbigh Dance Studio, they teach and drill choreography as well as having fun. They teach bachata and salsa, as well as hip-hop. “We’ve slowed the song down to half speed to try to get movements correctly,” said Nixon. “We’ve played Beyoncé, and we’ve strutted around. Overall, we try to both have fun and try and see our dancers improve over time.”
Last semester was the club’s first since before the pandemic, and they had one performance at the Fall Student Dance Concert in Haverford’s Marshall Auditorium on Nov. 30. The auditorium had around 150 Tri-Co audience members that night. They had choreographed dances to two songs: a bachata dance to Bella Dose’s “Luna” and a hip-hop dance to “Your Plug” by Angelica Vila. “We were the first act, and it was a full theater,” said Zaletofsky. “The amount of love, energy, and applause in the theater was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. We could’ve sworn we felt the ground shake.”
This semester, they anticipate at least three times as many performances. They have already been invited to perform in the RnM Showcase in May, ECC’s Legacy Day in April, and the Mujeres Culture Show on April 23, among others. Nixon rejoices in all of the invitations, saying, “That’s just so amazing to hear that we were on someone’s mind and they were certain that they wanted our team to be there, when not even six months ago this was just an idea.”
“I never imagined leading a whole dance team as a sophomore,” said Zaletofsky. “My favorite part is not only choreographing, but seeing our visions come to life. Watching the club grow and evolve and seeing the dancers perform honestly just means everything to us.”
If you’re interested in joining HaverRitmo, show up to practice on a Friday night or reach out to the club on Instagram @haverritmoofficial.