We have all experienced dance in one way or another – whether you are a nightclub enthusiast taking centre stage at Club P, a slow swayer at a T&L show, or a private midnight mover in front of the mirror, dance is an expressive, self-reflexive and engaging experience.
As the semester draws to a close, we can take a breather from our own dancing and take a seat in Convocation Hall to watch the Mount Allison Dance Society show all of us up in its impressive annual showcase.
Not to be confused with varsity dance, Mt. A’s Dance Society offers recreational classes to students while the varsity dance team is an internationally recognized competitive dance group. Talking to some of those involved in the society, it quickly became evident that these are both special groups.
Third-year student Sarah Levandier has been dancing since she was five years old and can’t imagine her life without it. “To me, dance is all about being part of something bigger [than yourself] and something that brings so many people together in a positive way. I think that is really special,” Levandier said.
As Dance Society President and vice-president of varsity dance, Levandier is excited for the showcase because the event has consistently been a huge success. “It is so exciting to see so many creative ideas all come together in a display of dance. The passion and the energy brought to the stage by all the dancers is so positive and [the executive] are so happy to be part of it.”
Second-year student Noah Perry has been a dancer for 10 years and plans to continue his dancing career. For Perry, the Dance Society has a strong sense of camaraderie, which has made his university experience a positive one.“We create a family,” he said.
Dance has been a mentally restorative and healing process for fifth-year sociology and philosophy student Caroline Kovesi. Kovesi explained how dance helped her deal with deep depression last winter and how it has continued to act as a positive outlet for her. “Dance means everything to me. There’s no other way to put it. It is the only thing I have that lets me get out of my head, and one of the few things in my life that lets me experience true joy. I need to dance,” she said.
Since the song “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks had a great influence on Kovesi’s healing process, she knew that she had to choreograph a piece to it for the Dance Society. “It is the most personal piece I’ve ever choreographed, and the process of coming up with the movement, sharing it with my dancers through teaching, then actually dancing it with them has been more healing than any therapy I’ve done,” she said.
Kovesi explained that she choreographs works of art, that these dance pieces are not solely for fun. The emotional and mental labour put into pieces is as intense as the required physical effort, she finds.
It’s easy for someone with no formal dance training but a desire to join the society’s family to get involved. “Dance Society is such a warm, welcoming society. As a member of the executive team, it’s our duty to keep it that way so that people aren’t intimidated, but excited to join,” Perry said.
The society offers beginner and advanced classes to satisfy everyone’s experience levels. Levandier encourages people with no experience to join. “Whether you are continuing a hobby or trying it for the first time, there is no pressure to be the best. It is all about having fun and learning new things,” she said.
Mt. A is lucky to witness and have access to a group so dedicated to its art form. The Dance Society continues to keep its rhythm and its collective energy has us wanting to join in. The end-of-year showcase will take place on at Convocation Hall on Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 25 at 2 p.m.
On behalf of the society, Perry hopes to see you there. “All of our dancers have been putting blood, sweat and tears into this performance, and it’s going to be absolutely fantastic.”