By Kate Morano | February 6, 2023
The UAlbany Dance Council at their Fall 2022 showcase
Photo Credit: UAlbany Dance Council / @ualbanydancecouncil
With the popularity of reality television shows like “Dance Moms,” many tend to think of dance as a toxic, ultra-competitive sport, but the atmosphere at the UAlbany Dance Council is anything but.
The Dance Council offers a more relaxed experience than traditional competitive dance; there are no competitions, only showcases at the end of each semester. Lauren Russell, President of the Dance Council, knew she wanted to dance in college but didn’t want to do anything too serious. The Dance Council’s casual, welcoming atmosphere was what made her stick with the club.
“Everybody has a spot where they fit in, no matter where you come from, how you were raised,” said Russell.
Anyone is welcome to join the Dance Council. Members range from freshmen to seniors, and no prior dance experience is necessary. Some members of the club, like Vice President Felicia Medici and Treasurer Sophia Hofer, have danced since childhood. Others just started dancing in their first semester of college.
“Whether you’re first starting [in dance] or you’re continuing from high school, there’s a place for you here,” said Hofer.
There are several different dance styles to choose from, including jazz, tap, hip hop, acro, and afro beats. Dances are choreographed by members of the club throughout the semester. Choreographers also host workshops throughout the semester as fundraising. The workshops are held in a variety of dance styles and are open to anyone on campus.
“We create an environment that’s inclusive for everybody so everyone can join,” said Medici. “Everyone brings their own unique creativity.”
Professor Camelia Lenart, advisor to the Dance Council, said that the club’s diversity and inclusivity are its greatest strengths.
“Dancing alongside people from different backgrounds and cultures prepares the UAlbany Dance Council’s members for the real world,” said Professor Lenart. “It creates friendships, gives them social skills, and is a source of strength and joy that enhances the students' lives while on campus and also after graduation.”
This kind of commitment to diversity enriches the experiences of not only the dancers, but the University as a whole. Participating in dance is a fantastic way for students to stay physically active and interact socially with other students, especially for incoming freshmen or transfers who may not know anybody at the University yet. Dance, especially, is a great way for students to connect with cultures and backgrounds different from their own.
For members of the Dance Council, “dancing is more than a body movement,” said Professor Lenart. “It is expressing their past, present, and future.”
To join the UAlbany Dance Council, students can follow the club’s Instagram, or send them an email to email@example.com