Going into college, most students have an activity or passion that they can’t imagine not being in their life. For some, it’s playing a musical instrument, for others, practicing a sport. For me, though, and for many others at UC Berkeley, it’s something in between.
I spent as much time as I could dancing while I was growing up. When I was a toddler, I was twirling in tutus, but as I grew older, dance, and in particular, classical ballet, became a huge part of my world and a time-consuming commitment. I went from dressing up and skipping around a room to literally dancing on my toes, rehearsing for hours on end, and participating in dance competitions across California and the country. I absolutely loved it.
After getting into Cal, I couldn’t really fathom not having dance as a part of my weekly life. I was so used to taking classes, moving, and having a creative outlet.
Luckily, I was quickly able to find a home in the Berkeley Dance Community. Consisting of multiple organizations and over 800 dancers, the Berkeley Dance Community encompasses all dance clubs and groups on the Berkeley campus. Groups on campus range in styles from Hip Hop to Urban, Jazz to Contemporary, Swing to Tap and to Ballroom. There are options in BDC for seasoned dancers as well as very beginners, not just to have an opportunity to gather and dance, but also to find a sense of camaraderie and friendship.
I have found this friendship in one such club, the Ballet Company at Berkeley. Consisting of mostly seasoned bunheads like me, BC@B meets every Monday and Wednesday evening with student taught classes and rehearsals for a culminating show at the end of each semester. This semester I was also able to join the multi-style organization Danceworx, and will be performing 2 Jazz/Contemporary pieces with them.
Dance organizations offer an extremely niche and rewarding opportunity for leadership development on campus as well. As a part of Ballet Company, I am proud to have choreographed and led an outreach workshop for the Berkeley community, and am in the process of directing both a piece featuring my original student choreography, and a classical piece for our show this semester. Creating a project out of nothing, with the whole package of developing movement, interpreting music, staging formations, directing dancers, and really, designing a vision, is an opportunity lost to many college students.
I have also learned that working on dances with others creates a special bond between students and sparks the strongest of friendships. Dance requires discipline, practice, attention to detail, and artistic sensitivity. There’s a reason that so many Berkeley students find it a natural, productive, and fun way to direct their energies together outside of class. Everytime I dance I find a sense of peace and can express myself in a unique way. It is truly an experience I genuinely enjoy, every time I do it.
Whether you’re a rusty ex-ballerina or dance team member, you love to watch hip hop sets on Youtube or just dance in your living room, the Berkeley Dance Community and one of our many dance organizations is the perfect place for you to explore at Cal. It is here that we students balance being active and artistic, and find friendship and community in doing so.