Cultural Dance Series celebrates many backgrounds
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 15:08
Diversity — it is one of the values that UCF protects and uses to educate its students on a daily basis. The university often puts on workshops and various events through different organizations on campus to educate students about the values of others and the outside world around them. One such event that has been successful over the past couple of years is the Cultural Dance Series at the Recreation and Wellness Center.
This event is put on by the Multicultural Student Center in partnership with the RWC in order to help educate students about dances that are performed around the world by different cultures while promoting a healthy, active and fun lifestyle. The first of three parts for this fall semester’s dance series will be belly dancing.
Ashley Hathcock, the fitness coordinator at the RWC for the past two years, looks forward to hosting the series at the gym again this year. Her department tries to emphasize diversity, reaching out to different organizations on campus to help educate and promote use of the RWC and its resources.
During last year’s dance series, a belly dancing event almost filled a group exercise room with a maximum capacity of 40 people. Hathcock looks forward to having the same success this year and hopes to fill the room with people who have come to learn something new.
“Trying something new is always good for your personal development, but also it will be a great, fun way to get some exercise in and meet some new people,” Hathcock said.
Hathcock uses an outside dance production company, A Magi Dance Studio, which contracts dancers to events. She said that it is good for students to see an outside perspective and to have professional instruction on not just the dance, but the history behind it.
“It is good to see people come into the facility that might not otherwise come and try these different dance styles and just being able to help people live a healthy and active lifestyle no matter what that looks like, whether that’s lifting weights or running or dancing,” Hathcock said.
The MSC is one of the big partners of this event that is held every year; it provides the funding and promotion for it. Tomi Bachar, a senior psychology major and the RSO relations coordinator for the MSC, helped organize and chair the series this semester through her passion for dance and guidance from the MSC. Last year, the MSC had great success with the classes and it has designed this year’s program the same way to continue the series as a staple event for the organization.
“MSC is all about different cultures and raising diversity awareness, and I think dance is something that brings a community together,” Bachar said. “Our main point is to attract an audience — not only to get a name for MSC but also to educate people on different styles of dance,” Bachar said.
Shimmy Knights, an organization on campus that teaches belly dancing and the history behind it to students, reached out to Hathcock about attending the event with its members in order to help promote the event along with its club.
Jason Nemeth, a senior restaurant management major and the officer of public relations for Shimmy Knights, looks forward to being able to attend the event and help promote belly dancing as a form of fun and fitness. Nemeth hopes it will be a way for people to gain a greater knowledge and understanding about this unique dance and also educate people about the history and fitness behind it. He likes that belly dancing is a communal dance that brings people together and builds confidence, and hopes this is what people will get out of coming to the event.
“I hope that they understand that belly dancing is a great dance for fitness because it involves a lot of isolation and muscular work,” Nemeth said.
The belly dancing class is one of three classes of the series this fall semester; the other two are Latin dancing and Bollywood classes, which will occur in October and November respectively. The first class in the series will take place on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. and no preregistration is necessary. It will be held in the group exercise room, room 245, inside the RWC. For more information visit rwc.sdes.ucf.edu.