Featured Athlete: Abigail Riechman


Nohemi Rosales

Abigail Riechman

By Sports & Health Reporter

Abigail Riechman, a freshman dance major, is an active member of the Renegades POMS team. She began dancing at age 3 because her mother signed her up for classes against her will, and she said she despised the classes and costumes until her second year. She fell in love with dance after being cast as the lead princess in her studio’s rendition of Thumbelina.

In high school, Riechman was a cheerleader and softball player until her sophomore year, when she fractured her spine in a cheerleading accident. She was in a brace until the summer before her junior year. Despite her severe injury, she recovered and decided to follow a career as a dancer. 

Riechman is an aspiring choreographer who enjoys working with jazz and contemporary styles. She said she enjoys dancing because of the physical aspects involved, as well as having the opportunity to perform. 

Aside from dance, Riechman also enjoys spending time with children, especially her nieces.

The Chronicle spoke to Riechman about her passion for dance, her inspiration and challenges she has overcome throughout her blooming career. 

THE CHRONICLE: What do you find most challenging about being a Renegades dancer?

ABIGAIL RIECHMAN: My biggest struggle is long days, rehearsing a lot. I have a 9 a.m. class and that goes for three hours. Then I have a half an hour break, and then I have another three hours, and then night classes on the days I don’t have practice. Sometimes I have two more hours of the Renegades dance team [practice]. It’s very physically exhausting and challenging. 

What do you like about competing on the POMS team?

I like that it’s something to do outside of technique classes. It’s something to do outside of the studio. They have a lot of dancers starting to join, so a lot of my classmates are on it, too.  

What are your career goals?

I want to be able to travel with companies, open my own dance school, train and choreograph for big pieces. [In five years, I want to be] somewhere warm, dancing all the time. I see myself with a company, maybe in California, hopefully working with kids. I love kids. 

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My mom inspired me because when I was in high school and she started to realize how much I really liked dance, she started to think about my future. At first, she didn’t like that I wanted to go to school for dance, but I can’t really think of anything else I would do. She’s happy that I’m enjoying what I’m doing.

Why did you want to major in dance?

I didn’t figure out that I wanted to dance until early in high school.  [When I fractured my spine,] my doctor said I probably wouldn’t be able to walk normally again, so when I recovered so well, I was surprised that he said I could go back to a couple sports but that I should probably just pick one thing and stick with it. I decided, as I was laid up for a year, I realized how much I missed dance. I started looking into it. Once the physical therapy was done, I would drive an hour away to go to this great studio to compete with them. That’s all I did the last two years of high school. 

How did the challenge of recovering affect you?

I think if I can get through that, nothing’s going to stop me from dancing unless they tell me, “Your back is done.” I do a lot of outside work—I do a lot of physical therapy. If I want to dance, I have to do my work. This semester, I tore a hip muscle. I also have tendinitis in my foot and I haven’t sat out from one class at all. I just keep dancing.