Three Years Have Passed, and SDA Finally Returns!


Screenshot taken from the 2021 Virtual SDA Production by Wayne Hills TV!

By Stephanie Tulpan, Staff Writer

The 2023 Student Dance Association (SDA) production is almost here, we are relieved to say that all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Starting in 2020, New Jersey mandated rules in an attempt to keep its citizens as safe as possible from the COVID-19 virus. Some of these restrictions consisted of mandated masks and a limited number of people allowed in public gatherings.

Fortunately, COVID-19 cases have continued to decrease rapidly since then. According to an NJ Spotlight News report from March 6, 2023, there have been 345 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the state of New Jersey recently, which is far fewer than the 894 cases reported per week in April of 2020.

The high number of cases in previous years called for changes to the SDA program. These changes took place in 2021 after the COVID-19 virus hit New Jersey hard in 2020, and the Wayne Schools District wanted to ensure all SDA participants would be as healthy as possible.

However, this did not include pausing the program completely. There were many restrictions to SDA, including limiting the number of dancers in each dance, holding virtual practices, mandating masks for all dancers, and not allowing viewers to watch in-person in the Gifford Gym, instead rather online. 

White Tap Captain Leah Kleinstein expressed how difficult it was for SDA participants during the height of the virus. She said, “It was a bit annoying with all of the restrictions, but they were meant to keep us safe. We did have to wear masks during practice which made the girls very tired, and we couldn’t see the girls’ facials until the show which was definitely a negative.” 

Some of these restrictions were lifted during the 2022 SDA season, however some still applied. Up until March 6, 2022, all New Jersey students had to wear masks while at school, and this included sports and extracurricular gatherings such as SDA. Dancers had to wear masks at practices, during the performances, and all viewers who attended in-person as well.

Another improvement made last year included not limiting how many dances each participant could be in. This meant that dancers could sign up to be in all four dances, however there was still a capacity of only thirty dancers per dance.

This year marked a complete breakthrough from all COVID-19 restrictions to SDA. As of the 2023 season, dancers can attend in-person practices without having to wear masks, and the limit to how many dancers can be in each dance increased to forty. 

Now that all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in the SDA program, the dancers are relieved to show everyone what a “normal” SDA is like. White Tap Captain Julianna Lombardo said she cannot wait to show parents how the show usually runs: “I am excited to perform in front of everyone and to see everyone’s ideas come to life!”

The show is almost here, and the participants are ready to let the jam-packed gym know what SDA is all about.