Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Saturday night fever

Freshman Ariella Chavez had no idea what she would be getting into when she signed up for Appreciation of Dance this fall semester. 
“[Professor Clarence Brooks] gives you a lot of work,” said Chavez, an undecided major. “I didn’t expect the class to be like this.”

Students in DAN 2100 are required to see four dance productions at the Miami City Ballet and the Kravis Center, which are theaters for the performing arts. They have two major exams: a midterm and a final. As part of their final, they are required to perform in Dances We Dance, a showcase performance in which all dance classes and clubs present in at the end of the semester. 

Chavez, who was surprised about the amount of work required for the class, doesn’t agree with seeing all of the required performances.
“I’m not happy about it at all,” she said.

Although some students may not consent to the idea of spending additional expenses for performances, to Brooks, professor and dean of the Arts and Letters Dancing Department, seeing the required performances is essential to the class. 
“The big thing is seeing [dancing] live and experiencing it yourself,” explained Brooks, “You can’t experience dance in videos.”

Because Appreciation of Dance exposes students to different cultural dances, students are not just getting lectures; they are performing dance for a grade.

Some students may not be timid toward the idea of dancing in front of an audience, but Brooks explained that, eventually, everyone warms up to the idea.
“I had the class close their eyes, and asked them, ‘Who is afraid of dancing on stage?'” said Brooks. “About 15 raised their hand.”

To get students accustomed to performing for an audience, Brooks has the class break up into small groups, giving each group a card with a word of movement. The students then came up with simple dance movements to correlate with the word.

At the end of the class, he had the students close their eyes again, and asked them if they were still afraid. 
“Only three people still raised their hand,” said Brooks.

Appreciation of Dance is not just for dance majors or students who have previous experience with dance.

Freshman Kristy Tyson has been dancing for 15 years and still finds the class difficult. The class teaches students about dances from all over the world, which can be hard to grasp at first.
“Learning the new types of dancing is challenging,” said Tyson, a nursing major. 

Brooks pointed out that the majority of the students taking the class are freshmen. Appreciation of Dance is one of the humanities classes needed for graduation, so most students end up taking any of the appreciation classes within their first two years of college.

Brooks hopes that students who are enrolled in DAN 2100 not only learn about themselves in the class, but also expose themselves to different cultures.

That’s Dancing

Clarence Brooks has danced for over 30 years

Clarence Brooks claims dancing is a uniting force which brings people and different cultures together. Brooks is not only a dance professor at FAU, but also a traveling performer.

“I am celebrating 30 years as a dancer, and 45 years as a performer,” explains Brooks. “I feel like we’re not only talking about my career, but everyone’s.”

Brooks has danced with more than 55 dance companies and performed in about 130 productions.

According to Brooks, he not only teaches dancing movements, but also teaches his students about different cultures.

“We don’t know how much we have influences from India or Spain; everyone is affected by dance,” explains Brooks.

He hopes his students learn how to connect to their identity by exposing them to various forms of dance.

His Appreciation of Dance class is only “a jumping point” for additional dance classes he offers. He claims after taking DAN2100, many students end up taking additional performing classes such as World Dance, where students learn about Celtic movements, and Bharatanatyam taught by a professional dancer from the Association of Performing Arts of India.

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