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Spirit of Movement: Series One

by Katerina Yang

Photography courtesy of Noor Naser

American colleges often remind people of those popular sports teams that are representative and symbolic of their student lives. However, there are other groups of kids that are as cool as athletes and they are the dancers. There are over 20 clubs on campus for dance lovers to choose from. This series focuses on two dance families, Vibes and Ballroom, and is intended to give you an overall and comprehensive insight to each group.

Vibes—Home to “Baddies”

Vibes is an all-girl hip-hop dance team with members who have their own style and personality.

“We’re all encouraged be ourselves,” said Carey Lin (COM ’20), a member of Vibes.

According to Lin, although Vibes members have to be uniform and sync while dancing, they are encouraged to bring in their own personality, attitude and individuality.

“I think that’s what makes dancers shine the most—when they are comfortable, having fun and just emanating confidence and character,” said Lin.

Vibes is a comfortable space to be yourselves because all members are females. This gender exclusiveness makes girls open to each other, sharing things about their unique quirks.

The atmosphere in Vibes is always loving, caring and supportive. Amy Rivera (COM ’19), co-creative director of Vibes, claimed that Vibes is like a family to her. This small group of 15 girls come together because of their shared passion for dance. Dancing is not the only thing that brings everyone together, but getting to know each other outside the practicing time is what strengthens the team bonding as well.

Similar to what Lin said, Rivera mentioned that everyone on the team has different personalities and sometimes their personalities clash. As an E-board member, Rivera believed that communication is the key to solve the problem mutually. The E-board makes an effort to know their girls and emphasize the girls “vibe” with the team’s flow. Some girls are extroverted while others are shy, but overall, they are all strong, independent and fierce women, according to Rivera, who often referred to her girls as “baddies.”

Believing in yourself and staying positive are rules to survive and glow in this dance team. Lin said sometimes members doubt their dance skills and experiences, but they keep a positive mindset and stay confident in overcoming obstacles during practice.

“Dance is as much of a physical activity as it is mental,” said Lin. “[But we all have] the strength to keep dancing.”

Team is their priority and they have gradually learnt to understand and accept each other.

“Doing something that you love is fun, but doing something you love with people you love is a lifetime reward,” said Rivera.

By watching Vibes’ choreography and attending their workshops, you not only see dynamic and flexible hip-hop dancers, but also see bold women.

Ballroom—Forever Classy and Noble

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in the basement of GSU and the third floor SAO dance studio, you will see ladies in high heels holding their partners’ hands circling around the room to the rhythm. As the melody reaches its climax, you don’t see the clear distinction between male and female anymore because they bond as a singular unity so tight and inseparable. All of a sudden, fire and ice melted into one—that is the essence of ballroom dance—a combination of masculinity and feminism.

Ballroom dance is a social dance. In BU, this community offers a platform for people to make friends and expand their social circle. Ballroom dancers feel comfortable dancing in this environment because the atmosphere there is relaxing: people can swing their bodies with the music. There is no rigid rule or strict formula. It is a varied dance form that dancers can decide whether to emphasize their hip movements or hand gestures.

Helle the instructor, who club members call “Mama,” is a warm and kind-hearted woman with a great humor. During class, she pays attention to details and sets high targets to every dancer. After class, she likes to tell jokes and makes fun of people in a good way.

“Ballroom is a close-knit community,” said Mike Dever (CAS ’18), a ballroom member. “My Ballroom teammates are a diverse set of incredible individuals. They are some of the kindest, friendliest people I have ever met. They have been so welcoming to everyone who joins Ballroom and they are an invaluable resource for practice tips.”

Dever said he wanted to join this family when he was studying abroad because he wanted to improve his dance skills. Initially he wasn’t sure if he would fit into Ballroom, but he was hooked in the first few classes. He loves competitions despite the exhaustive process of waking up early to catch the bus. However, the result of winning tons of colorful ribbons made him very happy and is excited to participate in more competitions in the future.

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