The last issue of The Point News featured a very eloquently written opinion piece attempting to expose the beams of the cherished St. Mary’s Dance Club. The opinion is respected; however, the claims are extremely generalized. Is it fair to paint the “mole hill” problems of a minority into a “mountain” of a problem for the whole organization? I think Tyler Perry would disagree. It is important to remember before venturing further through the fields of this response that hearsay is not knowledge. One would hope that when publishing a piece of journalism—opinion or not—that both sides of the story are accounted for. Being that the “other side” was slightly skimp in the previous issue, let this rebuttal fill in the blanks and vacuum the dust blown about by the last article.
The song of “favoritism” seems to be a recurring melody. During auditions, dancers are chosen by choreographers based on a few factors: how many dances they request to be in, previous experience in the respective genres, and a “first past the post” type of selection by the choreographers. Many choreographers select dancers who they feel can best exercise their vision regardless of prior relationships. Choreographer Holly Callan says, “In my two dances that had many technical aspects to them, I had at least five girls who have had almost zero dance background before. This is the beauty of dance club, because it brings all sorts of people together.” All dancers that audition are given equal opportunities to display their talents and hard work. Dance Club only gives helping hands to its dancers, no “fingers.”
A very crucial part of the process when preparing for the show (and this semester’s show drew over 800 people) is the critique process. There are two progress checks during the semester where the Executive Board gets a chance to monitor the progress of the routines and a round of critiques during the rehearsals leading up to the show. Critiques are never crafted to be catty, “Maury-like” personal attacks. They are delivered like “improvement sandwiches.” The Executive Board always tries to couch respectful critiques that call for improvement with honest words of encouragement. Yes, at times there is yelling, but with music blasting so loud, at times one must attempt to match the volume to have their comments heard. Dance Club officers are human, but the intent is always aimed towards positivity and building dancers up, never tearing them down. Though Dance Club is not the “New York City Ballet,” one of the foremost dance companies in the world, Dance Club still has standards. The Club maintains a level of decorum and professionalism that gives the club legitimacy; we have a blast while still managing to take our craft seriously.
The previous mud-slinging opinion piece accused Executive Board members of being disrespectful to the valued volunteers that run the actual show. Just as the dancers are praised for their dedication and hard work, so are the volunteers. Let’s not mistake being held accountable for one’s actions as being disrespected. Imagine if Batman decided that because he wasn’t getting paid, and that his life didn’t depend on it, he should relax. Gotham City would be in ruins! So, no, we shan’t relax. There is nothing wrong being passionate about something and taking pride in your work.
Dance Club, just like any other organization, has its flaws, but it is not the “green monster” that it has been made out to be. In the house of Dance Club, dancers forge bonds and life-long friendships while using the outlet for creative expression. Dance Club is an invaluable escape for so many who need to just breathe and dance it all away.
This community has patience for miles and this fellowship has shaped the college journey of so many who experience the club on the stage and in the audience. All are encouraged to come join us to experience this amazing, growing St. Mary’s institution for yourselves. And remember, sour grapes make a horrible pinot grigio.