A new club formed on campus this semester, allowing students to connect with dancing and their bodies.
The Unity Dance Alliance was founded by junior Art Education major Emily Mitchell, who wanted to combine her love of dance and love of teaching to create a space for people on campus to dance without pressure.
The idea for the club sparked when Mitchell wanted to take dance classes at Taylor, but couldn’t fit them into her schedule alongside her education placements.
Mitchell choreographs and teaches all the pieces taught in the classes.
“I love teaching,” Mitchell said. “Even as a dancer in the competitive world and taking my own classes, that has just formed me to want to teach this to other people.”
Mitchell started the club on her own, advertising on Instagram and to her friends by word-of-mouth.
She named the club Unity Dance Alliance because she wanted to emphasize the bond the community has not only as dancers, but as God’s children.
“I think the one thing that brought me and probably a lot of people to Taylor is the community,” Mitchell said. “One, how diverse we are but also how we're all one with the Father. That has to do a lot with the name because even though we're all different, we have different moods, we are from different places, I think being one with the Lord has a lot to do with it.”
The classes are open to all skill levels, from those who have danced for years to those who have never taken a dance class before.
Sophomore Eleanor Cooper described her experience with Unity Dance Alliance as someone who has not had any formal dance training.
“When I first heard about it, I was really excited because I grew up in musical theater, but I never really had any actual dance training,” Cooper said. “This is the first time that I've danced just to dance, which is really freeing. It feels so low pressure, which is what makes it enjoyable.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the class can be beneficial for those who have dance experience and are missing the studio environment.
Freshman Anna Middlesworth has been dancing for twelve years and loves the environment of Unity Dance Alliance and the opportunity to express herself through dance.
“My favorite parts are all the exercises and being able to express how I'm feeling that day as well,” Middlesworth said. “Just getting my emotions out during that class is also key.”
Mitchell chooses to incorporate a lot of opportunities for dancing improvisation so that the attendees can move their bodies in ways they might naturally move.
The class also gives people an opportunity to connect with their bodies and de-stress.
“At the end of the first class, there was a section in the music where she just wanted us to improvise,” Cooper said. “I'm still working on getting comfortable with improv for dance. So I was just kind of watching other people there. It just looks so cool. It's kind of an inspiration to get more comfortable with myself and the way my body moves.”
The class incorporates elements of different dance styles, like contemporary, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical.
Unity Dance Alliance meets from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays in the Aerobic Room. Mitchell urges anyone, no matter their dance experience, to come join the community.
“It's really fun. Even if you’re a dancer and you just want to come watch. Please do,” Mitchell said. “It's just a fun community.”