Seattle University’s support for dance is currently limited to student-run clubs and the Seattle U Dance Team. Despite the lack of accessibility to resources on campus, students have continued to pursue their passion for different types of dance through a variety of outlets.
Second-year marketing major Veronica Garcia, who has been dancing for 13 years, travels 1o miles north over three to four times a month to attend classes at Westlake Dance Center.
“I don’t go as often as I like to but, if I could go every day, I would,” she said. “I always leave around two hours before the class so I can be there on time. You do it because you love it and you have to.”
When Garcia is unable to make the two-hour journey to Westlake Dance Center, she walks over to Velocity Dance Center on 12th Ave. to rent out studio space and take hip hop and contemporary classes.
“I like to rent out studio space to freestyle, choreograph or think about different projects I want to do,” she said. “I also like to take their hip hop class because the choreography is different and [the choreographer] does a work out before class [to warm up] your body before you actually dance.”
Garcia does not attend classes at Velocity Dance Center as much as she attends at Westlake Dance Center because of the heavy contemporary focus Velocity Dance Center has.
“Velocity is intimidating. There are so many levels of contemporary and a lot of classes are usually with older adults. [The older adults] do this because they either want to continue dancing or they [are working on] their own projects in the city,” she said.
For Garcia, Westlake Dance Center is more about the learning process. The studio offers classes to people of all different ages, beginning from the elementary school age to someone in their 30’s. Garcia says the two studios are similar in that they both foster a dance community.
“The people in both places are very open and accepting. The point of going to a dance class is for fun,” she said.
First-year environmental science major, Piper Klinger, also attends dance classes to have fun and to meet new people. Two to three times a quarter, Klinger dedicates her Sunday night to swing dancing at Century Ballroom.
“[Century Ballroom] does an introductory lesson, beforehand, for half-an-hour where they teach a little bit of Lindy hop,” she said. “Swing dancing is very social so you meet a lot of people. There’s a lot of college kids that I have met there, some from UW and some from just around.”
Beyond the community building swing dancing encourages, Klinger continues to dance because it keeps her in high spirits and swing dancing specifically, promotes free flowing atmosphere.
“Before going swing dancing, I didn’t consider myself a dancer but, I like to dance around my room,” she said. “My mom put me in dance classes when I was little but, I was never really one for super structured dance.”
To find her dance community and continue dancing in college, one of the captains of the Seattle U Dance Team, Kori Okamoto, joined the Seattle U Dance Team last school year.
“It’s one of the only outlets if you want to dance in college here. [Seattle U] doesn’t offer just normal dance classes,” she said. “For me it was mostly just about wanting to continue to dance in college. Coming in I didn’t really know it was going to be a lot of cheering.”
The Seattle U Dance Team performs pom and jazz routines at women’s and men’s basketball, soccer and volleyball games. This year, the team has been trying to incorporate other styles of dance like hip hop and contemporary into their repertoire.
Tiffany Myers, another one of the dance captains, said the dance team is open to any student who wants to join. She encourages anyone interested to attend their dance clinics beginning May 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the North Court.
“It’s really fun [because] you make strong relationships with your teammates,” Myers said. “People should be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone. [There are] a wide variety of girls on the team and you get comfortable in your setting.”
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