Riptide Dance Crew, the official hip-hop dance group at The University of Alabama, is an inclusive group of individuals with a shared passion for dance, entertaining others, and having fun without pressure. Many students may not have heard of Riptide before, but it’s a hidden gem among campus organizations.
Riley Edmondson, current president of Riptide, explained that “a lot of times dance commitments become very stressful, and so we are trying to be more fun and we want you to like what you’re doing.”
Riptide conducts auditions on a semester basis, so those interested don’t have to wait a calendar year to join. The group performs at events they’re invited to by clubs and organizations on campus, such as UADM, spinathon, and UA fashion shows. While they’re a hip-hop group primarily, Riptide welcome sall types of dance and allows all members to choreograph what they want.
“It is much less stressful; it is low commitment and more focused on having fun. You don’t necessarily have to have experience prior to being on the team, we are really just looking for people who have rhythm and enjoy what they’re doing,” PR officer for Riptide Cassandra Thomas said.
Both Edmondson and Thomas seemingly stumbled upon Riptide, but they found it to be one of the most rewarding parts of their college experience thus far.
“I wasn’t necessarily looking for a dance group, I was just looking for something to get involved in, but I saw Riptide Dance Crew, and they happened to be having auditions that same night,” Thomas said.
“I came here, and I didn’t know anyone, and I have danced my whole life, so I looked through every single club this campus had, and I found Riptide Dance Crew,” Edmondson explained.
Finding your People
Aside from being a great way to continue pursuing passions in dance and moving your body, Riptide is a welcoming environment where members feel at home and can make strong, lasting friendships. Current Riptide members believe that students who are struggling to find their place can meet new people and build a community at Riptide.
“I’ve made all my best friends through Riptide,” Edmondson said. “It was everywhere I went, I found so many friends.”
“If I hadn’t joined Riptide, I don’t think I would still be going to school here. My freshman year was rough, and I am not good at making friends. I did not know anyone, but Riptide was a way for me to come out of my shell. We are a group of random misfits, but we all get along,” she continued.
“It’s rewarding to see new freshmen come in every semester and they’re almost in the same position that Riley was in, trying to make friends, trying to get involved in things and meet new people, and then they form some of their own best friendships that last years,” Thomas added.
When asked if they could tell any students interested in Riptide one thing, Edmondson said that “it’s not as scary as it seems, that’s what I wish I knew. We are all very nice and welcoming, I like to think we are a really good place to find people with similar interests and people you never would’ve been friends with before.”
Riptide Dance Crew is welcoming to any and all UA students who have a passion for hip-hop dance. Auditions are done on a semester basis, and veteran status is achieved after two semesters, with the option for veterans to return at any time.