By Sasha Shanker ’22
In spite of the pandemic, the community service club Rhythmic Rams has continued to persevere and be active in the community. Rhythmic Rams is an MICDS community service club that normally visits retirement and nursing homes to teach dances to elderly residents in order to boost their health through exercise and fun and make meaningful connections with the students. This club was established by Sasha Shanker ’22 under the guidance of Ms. Summer Beasley, the head of the MICDS dance department, and Ellie Gira ’22 and Hailey Kim ’22 are the other co-heads of the club. The club is known for organizing fun events at nursing homes, and most recently, leading the virtual charge to adapt the program into a COVID-safe and digital way.
COVID-19 presented many challenges in achieving the mission of the club. Those living in retirement homes were especially vulnerable to mental and physical hardships, so Shanker, Gira, and Kim did not give up. Filming solo dances outside and in front of a green screen, the Rhythmic Rams Holiday Special was born, taking viewers on a journey-of-a-lifetime through holidays and vacations commemorating the winter into a fun and easy instructional video that the elderly can dance along to. The video also integrates other cultures by collaborating with the non-profit Indian cultural organization Balvihar, which seeks to promote Indian culture among children. Laura Greenberg, the community engagement manager at the Crown Center for Senior Living which the Rhythmic Rams used to visit in-person said, “I love the narration and guidance throughout as well as the variety of music and backgrounds.”
The group hopes to produce another themed dancing video. Gira explained, “I had a lot of fun filming and editing the first video. Although it is something small, I think we as a club can make a difference reaching out a virtual hand to these communities that we would be frequenting if not for COVID-19.” The club has reached out to many retirement homes and elderly communities all over the world: “We hope that this video can be an opportunity for us to spread the joy of Rhythmic Rams outside of the St. Louis area, which is especially necessary during these difficult times. Although the video was really hard to film with the COVID-19 restrictions and took hours to edit, the work was all worth it knowing the joy it will bring to the elderly. The online world has no boundaries, so with these videos, we can have an even larger outreach,” Shanker said.
You can check out the Rhythmic Rams Holiday Special here: