Relentlessly Dancing Despite Struggles

Relentless Dance Crew is trying to get their feet off the ground, but having been denied club recognition on campus, the group is taking baby steps to get there.

Relentless began as an effort to create more growth and collaboration among its members. When asked for a charter, however, Relentless was told they were too similar to other teams to be recognized as their own club.

“Other dance teams didn’t have the mix of styles that we wanted, so we started our own,” Dominique Jordan, a third-year communication disorders major and president of Relentless, said. “It’s all about individuality and creating growth.”

Dancers on Relentless said they felt frustrated their voices weren’t being heard. They said they hadn’t been expanding their horizons beyond their previous dance experience, so they came together to start something new.

Relentless dancers have backgrounds in hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, contemporary and break dance. Their diversity helps shape their next move. They said dancers are able to learn a style they aren’t as familiar with, and Relentless provides them with a democratic environment where they can make suggestions and step outside their comfort zone.

First-year psychology major Mike Geisel said he joined Relentless because he wanted to make a difference.

“We’re trying to make it more fun to be part of a team,” Geisel said. “We’re more willing to work with you.”

Similar to Geisel, second-year electronic media production major Alex Klouse was looking for a place to step up, and found Relentless.

“This is something worth doing as a dancer,” Klouse said. “It’s based on your passion.”

Without a club charter, however, Relentless is limited as far as funds and practice space go. Not being a recognized club, they are unable to schedule a time and place to practice and are not given funding for their own shows. This also makes it difficult to get themselves known around campus, said Jordan.

“We’ve had to practice in dorm lounges and the gym when it’s not being used, and it’s frustrating,” Kyle Ducham, a second-year philosophy major and co-creator of Relentless, said. “We want to dance and we’re gonna dance. We have the knowledge and we want to share it.”

Although they’re not a chartered club, Relentless said they will keep dancing simply because they love to. They hope to gain enough support to make the campus recognize their talent.

“New Paltz has always prided itself on giving students the opportunity to be their own leader and start something, but then when we try to, we’re denied,” Jordan said. “I thought I could make my own standards here, I guess not. We’re just waiting for our shot to make a mark on this campus.”

In the meantime, Relentless is scheduled to perform in April for Relay for Life and will be featured in the New Paltz Dance Team’s show. They hope this exposure will help them make a name for themselves as a chartered club.

“Relentless is about the passion of wanting to dance and to be a part of a team,” Klouse said. “Here, you’re allowed to express yourself, because, really, that’s what dance is all about.”