Do What You Love: WC Dance Club: Hard work and dedication pay off as dancers prepare for another concert

By Aubrey Hastings
Student Life Editor

The only way to do something well is if you enjoy it and your heart is in it. In other words, do what you love. The world needs you to do what you love, even if it turns out that it is only meant for you. Passion is a must in this world, for any endeavor. Some passions will turn into professional careers, while others will never amount to anything more than a dream. Nevertheless, you are the only one who can count the cost. If at any time that it made you smile, you know that it was all worth while.

One group in particular at Washington College is full of such passion and love for what it does. The WC Dance Club continues to progress with new show stopping dance routines. Despite math problems that will not solve themselves, labs that must be worked through, and papers piling up week after week, the dancers at WC manage to rehearse and take class each week for hours on end.

Dance has not always been a part of WC. Professor Karen Smith started the club 43 years ago. Prior to that, there was no dance at WC.

“When there were 500 students, there were five to 15 dancers depending on the year. Most of the time I did all the choreography and sewed as many as 52 costumes in one year,” said Smith. “Occasionally, a student who came here with previous experience would choreography a solo, duo, or trio. In the 1980s, the group began to grow, and more students did choreography. Up until about 10 years ago, I also taught all of the dance club classes in the afternoons and evenings after the usual academic classes for PE. Fortunately, we’ve had a continuous influx of more and more talented dancers and choreographers who have been skilled enough to take over teaching and I’m delighted that so many of them want to choreograph.”

Senior Ally Happel has been involved with Dance Club for all four years and has been the president of Dance Club for the past two.

“The most challenging thing about being a member of the Dance Club is finding enough time in the week for academics, dance classes, rehearsals, and concert preparations,” she said.

However, if a dancer meets this challenge, he or she can become a member of Nu Delta Alpha, the National Dance Honor Society. The honor society is open to students who maintain a 3.0 GPA and show outstanding ability in dance technique, performance, scholarship, choreography, literature, and/or production.

Senior Rachel Dittman is this year’s President for WC’s NDA chapter.

“NDA allows dancers to be involved in a dance organization with an academic base, recognizing members for their achievements in the classroom, the dance studio, and the community,” said Dittman.

Senior Jenny Hobbs, who has been a member of NDA since her freshman year, said, “Being a member basically entails spending a lot of time dancing, and also using dance to give back to the community. We hold a Community Dance Day every semester where kids K-8 can come to the LFC dance studio to take an informal class and learn some really short routines they get to show to their parents at the end of the day. The parents are extremely appreciative and the kids are always really excited. It’s a lot of fun, and NDA members definitely look forward to it.”

Junior Sarah Hartge stumbled upon dance when she came to WC. “I had no plans at all to join the dance club. I had done ballet when I was young, but quit to dedicate my time to horseback riding. The last time I had danced was during my sophomore year of high school when I took a Modern Dance class. Megan Gentry and I were looking for clubs to join and decided on a whim to join dance club. During our first few classes, we felt really over our heads, but we persevered, practiced our leaps down the hallway in Reid, and eventually got to a point where we were choreographing with other dancers. Now I am vice president of Nu Delta Alpha and am minoring in dance. It just goes to show that life can surprise you and you cannot predict the future.”

2009-2010 was the first academic year that WC offered the opportunity for students to take up a minor in dance.

Junior Megan Gentry is among one of the first WC students to take advantage of this new course of study.
“When I first came to Washington College I didn’t think I would be in the Dance Club, let alone a dance minor,” Gentry said. “My friend and I decided to go to the Dance Club meeting on a whim, and now we both love dance. There are many different styles one could choose to learn in Dance Club. And even better, the students get to choreograph dances and teach classes. I’m teaching a contemporary/modern class now and it’s so awesome to create something and see your friends be a part of it. It’s sometimes hard to be able to go to the dance classes and complete all you’re schoolwork. Dancers choose to go to classes four to five times a week; and with outside practice and choreographing, we work just as hard as some sports teams. I think it’s definitely time for Washington College to notice and appreciate the Dance Club.”

WC Dance Club will hold its annual dance concert in April 2011. Showtimes will be available on Thursday, April 28, Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30 in Decker Theatre.

“The concert in April is more work than most people imagine, but we always have a wonderful turnout, and it’s great to see the support we get from Washington College and the Chestertown community,” said Hobbs.

Dittman said, “I’m super excited for the spring dance concert! Everyone always compliments us for putting on a great production, so each year we try to put on our best show yet and make it new and exciting for the audience.”

Be sure to come out and support the ever flourishing WC Dance Club in April, the concert is always sure to be a great show. The smile on each dancer’s face reflects the hard work and passion he or she each holds, and in the end they are all able to say that it has all been worth it.

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