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From the Expert: Looking at Dalhousie University Dance Club

DalDance

Last month, blogger Jennifer Pandelidis looked at Brock University, this month I was able to look east and explore what Dalhousie University has to offer for dancers!

As the academic year continues on, I too continue to take a look at all the amazing dancing opportunities that are available for post-secondary students across Canada.

Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia was established almost 200 years ago and is known for their medical school and long history of academic excellence. Besides the books and classes though, Dalhousie also offers students an opportunity to pull out their dancing shoes, put on some tights and take a class or two, when they join the student run society, DalDance Society.

Speaking with the secretary of DalDance, Christina Dwyer a fourth year Sociology major, I was able to understand what made this club unique and what made Dal students want to dance! The goal of DalDance is to offer a student run society that is an affordable option for students, faculty and members of the Dalhousie community to learn how to dance.

Offering between 20-23 classes per semester, DalDance provides classes for dancers of all levels and skills, but does not offer competitive classes. Unlike some other clubs that require a yearlong commitment, DalDance allows students to sign up for individual classes for a semester (4 month period) at a time. The reason is to allow students to try dance and hopefully encourage new dancer to give it a go. Each class is 25 dollars and they meet for an hour or hour and half each week.

“We get a lot of people who wanted to dance in high school, but couldn’t afford it or didn’t have the time or for various reasons couldn’t get involved. It’s really good for people who have never been involved in dance” Dwyer explained the opportunities that DalDance offers to new dancers. “People always tell us that they are really, really thankful that we give them that opportunity to try dance as a beginner and start their skill base in dance.”

For Dwyer and her fellow council members, who all act as the governing body of the society, DalDance has offered an opportunity to become a leader at Dalhousie and enrich their university experience. “Because it’s a student run society, I have been able to see, that what you put into something you get out of it. It’s been a really rewarding experience,” she told me.

When I asked Dwyer why students love DalDance and why they choose to join this recreational society she said because, “It’s not competitive, members do just take it for leisure and to improve themselves, really it’s all about having fun. Our focus is on having fun, having a social outlet and we try not to focus on who is the best, who can do the most, how many turns can you do, but rather just an opportunity to show that you love dance and want to try and get better. We are really a non-judgmental society [at Dalhousie] and so we try to say that to beginners and that’s why people have fun here and love it.”

If members choose to join the winter semester then they get to be part of a yearend recital in March, this year it will take place on March 24 at the center for the arts on the Dalhousie campus. This offers members an opportunity to perform a solo if they choose, but also to showcase their dances from the classes.

How do they make an impact on the east coast? DalDance had an opportunity to dance in and walk as part of the Halifax Gay Pride Parade this past summer. As Dwyer noted they hope to continue to support the community and as the club grows have more opportunities to help the community of Halifax and give back.

As I finished speaking with Dwyer, I got the impression that DalDance is a growing society on campus that thrives on new members. DalDance seems to have offered a place for members of the community to dance, make friends and learn a new skill.

My final question for Dwyer was what makes her want to dance and she responded with “for me, as ridiculous as it sounds, if I don’t dance I become anxious because it seems so natural to me. I have been doing it since I was young and it’s helped to shape who I am. It’s really central to my identity. But besides that its also social, the friends you make through dance, you become so close, you share this bond that isn’t like anything else.”

To find out more about DalDance, visit Dalhousie University clubs site for contact information. Stay tuned for my upcoming posts where I take a look at competitions, a recital and speak with an inspirational young studio owner from Smithers, BC.
Posted: Mar 05, 2013 By WantToDance.ca | with 0 Comments

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