Photo courtesy of Daviel Schulman.
The Connecticut College student-run dance club was officially added to the club’s sports roster this year. Although dancing is very athletic and requires body strength, most people tend to think of it as an art form rather than a sport. Dancing is unique because it allows people to express themselves artistically and exercise at the same time.
The Connecticut College Dance Club is a fully student-run organization that focuses primarily on preparing for a performance at the end of the fall semester. This year’s show will take place in the Martha Myers Dance Studio (converted into a black box theater) and feature dances choreographed and performed by approximately 50 students in total. Student choreographers can create dances of any style; this year some of the styles include modern, jazz, and tap dance. The students will also take care of the sound and lighting of the show. Although Dance Club does not require auditions, students must audition to participate in the fall show. Everyone is thrown into a dance; the auditions simply determine which dance students are placed in.
The current Presidents of the Dance Club are sophomores Jocelyn Lewis, Haley Michel and Zoe Zitner. Traditionally, presidents are sophomores, as many juniors plan to study abroad, and senior dancers often work on capstone projects. The news that the Dance Club has become a club sport this year came as a surprise even to the presidents, who found out during one of their student advisor training sessions over the summer. In the past, Dance Club had some interactions with the athletic staff at the Connecticut College club, but this was primarily under the supervision of general club staff. Zitner explained that the Dance Club had never had to attend club sports meetings, sign injury compliance forms or schedule their “practice times” before this year. While it is not clear exactly why the Dance Club became a club sport, according to the presidents the rationale for the school was that there is a high level of risk associated with dancing because it is so sporty and dancers are often injured. Perhaps making the Dance Club a club sport was one way of recognizing it. Dean Norbert, Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and New Student Programs, explained, “We recognize the athleticism and talent it takes to be a dancer and so there are similar policies that the club dance must follow which are the same as our sports club. teams. However, we recognize that they are very different from a competitive team sport. We work with the club to make sure that the expectations and processes are meaningful to their club and their unique needs. “
Michel is happy that Connecticut College sees the Dance Club as “as important as the other sports at the club.” She added: “Our show is as important to us as tournaments and games are to other sports.” Lewis agreed that it feels “good to be recognized” because the Dance Club is so big but has been left out of the communication loop between club sports before. Despite the benefits, Lewis, Michel and Zitner noted that dancing is an art form and they are hopeful that this change does not take away the artistic identity of the club.
After learning of their new club sport status, dance club presidents immediately began receiving emails for club sport officers. Lewis said they felt “a bit out of place” at the Zoom meeting required for all of the club’s sporting officers. The presidents indicated that a key difference between dance and other sports is that dancers repeat, while the athletes practice. They’ve been asked to send their “practice schedule” to athletic club manager Rachel Loughran, but the Dance Club is made up of smaller groups who create their own rehearsal schedules. Michel stated that the Dance Club operates in the same way as the Connecticut College MOBROC (Musicians Organized for Bands Rights on Campus) club. Dance Club and MOBROC are two large clubs made up of several groups led by students. The dance club presidents plan to follow MOBROC’s model of creating a Google calendar for all groups to keep track of their rehearsal times. Despite the uncertainties about Dance Club becoming a club sport, Lewis, Michel and Zitner look forward to growing their club and getting more support from Connecticut College staff throughout this school year.
The Dance Club show for the fall 2021 semester will take place November 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. and November 7 at 2 p.m. at the Martha Myers Dance Studio (located on the third floor of the Center collegial de Crozier-Williams).
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