Ballet club chassés onto campus

After+being+officially+approved+as+a+club%2C+ballet+welcomes+dancers+with+a+variety+of+experience.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Yuko+Tanaka+26%29

After being officially approved as a club, ballet welcomes dancers with a variety of experience. (Photo courtesy of Yuko Tanaka ’26)

The ballet club was approved last Thursday after presenting to Student Government that it met the new club requirements.

First-year president Yuko Tanaka had the idea to form the club after other students had expressed interest in and experience with ballet. While there are other dance clubs on campus, this club is strictly geared toward ballet performance and technique.

“There’s a couple other dance groups like the salsa club, Caribbean dance and the Pardettes, so we wanted to have a ballet-focused club where we can do some classical acts,” Tanaka said.

This club allows students who felt discouraged trying to get back into or started with ballet an outlet to practice. First-year Jenny Davis, who is the secretary of the club, said that because she lacked experience, it was not ideal to try dancing with those who have been since they were children.

Before Student Government approval at the beginning of the semester, there were about 10 students consistently coming to classes, which run three times a week. However, during the time in which the club had trouble gaining approval, they began having difficulty getting practice space.

“I think we were active for about a month or two, and then we couldn’t get past the student government voting, so we lost access to the studio space in the Rec Center,” Tanaka said.

“When I found out that we actually weren’t approved, we had to shut down all operations. We didn’t have anywhere to dance, so it kind of just put everything to a stop,” Davis added.

Tanaka said that there was some miscommunication between Student Involvement and Recreation Services – who had approved the ballet club – and Student Government, which was in the process of renewing the club approval process at the time. Student Government initially had some concerns that the ballet club was too similar to the already existing Dance Company.

The club eventually grew to meet the Student Government guidelines, allowing them to gain approval.

It has currently 20 active members — which is the amount of club members required to be registered on OurCampus — and an additional 10 or so students who have shown interest in the club.

As per the new requirements, the club also now has an advisor: visiting assistant professor of music Akiva Zamcheck.

Another requirement is that clubs must have at least four executive officers, and this club’s executive board is made up of all first-years: Tanaka, Davis, vice president Anna Fitzpatrick and treasurer Ciara Troy.

Now that the club is officially approved, members can have access to rehearsal space and may receive funding in the fall.

“Being approved is really nice because we can actually have that space where you don’t have to have any specific level of experience, and you have your peers being able to teach you something that maybe you haven’t gotten the opportunity to try before,” Davis said.

While the club does not need much equipment, ballet shoes posed a challenge. Student Government no longer supports funding of personal objects that cannot be shared between members, so Tanaka said that most members will bring their own shoes. However, she said that shoes are not required and some people dance in socks.

“We actually have a lot of new dancers, so a lot of our club members are new to ballet or they’re just new to dance in general,” Tanaka said.

In a typical class, the club starts with stretches, moves onto bar combinations and then works on turns and jumps.

In the future, the club hopes to put on a performance that includes some excerpts from “The Nutcracker.”

“We just really want to increase engagement in the club and see if we can get more interest,” Tanaka said.