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Dance like no one’s watching with the MSA’s new Emerge Dance Club

Get ready to bust a move, because the Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA) has introduced a new dance club to the current list of clubs and communities. The Emerge Dance Club is open to students of all different skill levels, and classes will take place every Saturday evening from 6-8 in the David Bradley Athletic and Recreation Centre (DBARC) yoga studio.

The Emerge Dance Club is the first dance club at Mohawk College, all thanks to MSA student lead and dance club president Shakirha Frasco. Frasco says she wanted her college experience to include dance.

Three group members photographed at their club carnival booth.
Emerge Dance Club president Shakirha Frasco (centre) and two other club members ran the booth at the Clubs and Communities Carnival.

“I checked the Mohawk College website to see if there was a dance club that I could join but there wasn’t one,” she said. “I was sad because I thought I wouldn’t have the chance to dance in college. When I joined the MSA as a student lead in the programming department, I saw this as a chance to start a dance club. Not only for my own interest, but also for other students who want to dance. I felt that I needed to step up and motivate others to join the dance club.”

Each week, dancers gather in the studio to learn a choreography led by different members of the club. Members with experience in a specific dance genre can teach the class a routine of their choice. The class begins with a warmup that stretches and prepares the body for movement. Upbeat music plays throughout as students prepare to learn the dance routine.

Three people on floor doing a butterfly stretch
Dance members begin each class by stretching out their entire body.

The first week, students got their groove on by learning a variety of Latin dances including Salsa and Bachata. The following week, students learned a modern contemporary number to “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol.  The dance was choreographed by Mohawk College student Brooke Jordan who led the class through a series of simple 8-counts without music to familiarize the students with the movements.

“It was a wonderful experience,” club member Ayann Abdi said. “It was my first time learning contemporary, and Brooke was amazing and very patient. Some of the moves were a little difficult for me but this has encouraged me to increase my flexibility.”

By the end of the class, the group had completed half of the routine, and recorded their progress for members to practice at home. The unfinished routines get revisited in a couple of weeks to make sure members are getting the chance to experience other types of dances.

“I loved seeing everyone’s smiles and seeing a group collectively make art together,” Jordan said.

Four dances hunched over during contemporary dance.
Dance club students practiced an emotional and expressive contemporary number led by dancer Brooke Jordan.

The dance club gives students an opportunity to be physically active, learn fresh moves, socialize, and meet other students. Frasco says joining any MSA club is a good idea because it can help students release stress.

Many of the dancers are experienced in ballet, acro, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, or dance hall, along with African and Latin dances. Members can volunteer to teach the class any type of dance they’d like, to help encourage diversity and inclusion.

“We want everyone to have the chance to experience what it feels like to express your emotions through dancing,” Frasco said. “To achieve that, we meet up at least once a week to witness the beauty of dancing in different genres.”

For students like Brighton Idisi, dancing is an everyday hobby that’s effortless.

“I have been dancing since I was a kid,” he said. “It’s my life and I can’t go a day without moving my body. I can dance afro, contemporary, hip hop and even do some of Michael Jackson’s moves.”

Frasco says she hopes to have a performance ready by the end of the winter semester to showcase to the college. The club initially started out with 23 members and has grown to include 42 participants. Frasco expects these numbers to continue to grow throughout the semester.

Students signed up for the Emerge Dance Club at the MSA’s Clubs and Communities Carnival.

“Students don’t need to worry about levels of experience because we are here to encourage, support and boost their confidence,” Frasco said. “Engagement, friendships, family and happiness are the things you can get from joining the club.”

Students interested in joining the Emerge Dance Club can do so by following the Instagram account @emerge_msaclubs or signing up at www.mohawkstudents.ca/get-involved/clubs-directory/.

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