April 22, 2024
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RKYHS Girls Dance Team Wins Rikudiah Competition

For the first time, the 16-member Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School Dance Team captured the top prize for dancing at the annual Rikudiah competition in Livingston.

Eleven Jewish day schools representing every part of the New York metropolitan region came together at RKYHS on Saturday, December 17, for the dance competition. Participating schools were Flatbush, Frisch, HAFTR, HANC, Hillel, Ilan, Magen David, SAR and Westchester.

Rikudiah is an inter-yeshiva, women-only dance competition. This year was the seventh annual competition hosted by Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. During the Rikudiah performance, competitors performed dances in any of several dance styles, using creative themes and props, before a group of well-qualified female judges who themselves are dancers in their daily lives and have trained and performed at world renowned institutions and dance companies. The goal of the Rikudiah competition is for girls to be able to express themselves through dance in a women-only setting. Each team came up with a creative and well thought out dance that they practiced intensely throughout the year. As the year progressed, the teams developed a strong sense of camaraderie, built their dance and grew together as a team. Each team worked together beautifully, putting their spirit into the dance and expressing themselves in a unique and special way.

This year everyone in attendance also had the opportunity to watch a group from the Brooklyn Jewish Dance Institute perform a ballet dance about two ballerinas who were learning from their teacher. One of the highlights of the event was the conclusion of the program, where the girls from all the dance teams as well as the spectators danced together. It was a beautiful scene to watch over two hundred yeshiva high school girls from different schools dance and sing together to contemporary Jewish music.

This was the seventh year for the Rikudiah event, but for the RKYHS dance coach, Kathy Pucci, it was the second year heading the team. “We have such a great team of girls and captains who are truly amazing,” Pucci said, noting that the group spent three months of training two nights a week. “The girls are very dedicated and committed, and it paid off.” Dance captain Nina Kahn and co-captain Eliana Tajfel and the rest of the RKYHS team arrived to the event with nervous excitement. Once they were all together they got into costume to enhance their routine. Their costumes were jungle themed and their whole look embodied that theme. “Presentation is everything,” explained Pucci, who has been an adjudicator for regional and national competitions and heads up her own dance team at Pucci Performing Arts Centre in Livingston.

Before long they were heading to the RKYHS gym with the adrenaline pumping. “A little nervousness is good,” said Pucci, a former professional dancer, “It means you care about the result.” After all the performances the winners were announced – first place for RKYHS, followed by Hillel in second place and SAR taking home third place. All of the teams displayed tremendous skill, talent and effort with beautiful performances filled with creative themes and complex choreography.

Congratulations to all the winners and to all the teams on a truly unbelievable performance and evening.

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