Kwantlen students are showing they have a Passion for Dancin’.
Passion for Dancin’ is a new club at Kwantlen that allows students who like to dance the opportunity to learn a variety of cultural dances, including bellydancing, salsa, bachata and merengue.
Meirna Said created the club only about a month ago, although she has been seriously thinking about it since last year.
“What I got from [the club members] is that they wanted a workout and learning how to dance, and that’s what I want to give them. I want to give them fun, enjoyment and learning with it,” Said said.
The Dance Towards Peace Organization, which Said represents, was what inspired her to start the club. The organization “tries to promote peace through dancing. And especially through children. So we used to try to teach children how to dance. We used to go to the cancer hospitals…and teach them how to dance. And we found out it was great because with dancing you can do anything,” Said said.
Next week, club members will be learning how to dance salsa and they’ll be going to a salsa night somewhere in town during the week, to see first-hand what salsa dancing is like.
The club meets every Thursday night from 7 to 8 p.m. at the yoga studio on the Richmond campus. A fee of $30 is charged for the club for the whole semester, and goes towards the Breast Cancer society.
By Stuart Gallacher and Lucas Meneses-Skoda
Three-dollar beers and an empty dance floor? Preposterous.
On Oct. 9, the KSA hosted a Lady Gaga-themed “Monster Ball” dance in the Conference Centre on the Richmond campus, which sadly suffered from a lacklustre crowd.
With professional lighting and a live DJ, free cans of Coke and bottled water on top of $3 cans of Molson Canadian and Heineken, the KSA did well in providing what had the potential to be a wild Tuesday night.
Perhaps students don’t see Richmond as the campus for extra-curricular activities or social events. Perhaps Kwantlen students have a poor outlook of the KSA. Either way, the effort to bring the student body together outside of class was there.
Just before Halloween, the KSA organized a similar event on the Surrey campus and filled the venue.
“Well, in the end, the reason I feel a lot of people aren’t showing up is not because the promotions are wrong, it’s not because the setup is bad, it’s not because the alcohol is overly priced or anything along those lines,” said Luke Arathoon, Kwantlen’s Volunteer Co-ordinator.
“To me, personally, I think the Richmond Kwantlen campus has a different culture and a different feel to it, than say a campus like Surrey.”
Unfortunately, it seems like Kwantlen students think that “good” events can only happen at the “good” campus. For the KSA, this has become a frustrating issue. The KSA is eager to cultivate a social vibe, but it is difficult when the student body doesn’t show enthusiasm.
“I didn’t want to go, because I didn’t think anyone else was going. I didn’t want to be the only person there,” said Sarena Mann, 20, who studies general arts.
“I think [the KSA] has done a really bad job of making the Richmond campus a student community. People come here just to study and that’s it,” said Jonathan Hubele, who studies accounting.
Arathoon says that for years, students have nagged the KSA for a school dance.
“I think there is a big disconnect between complaining and giving valid criticism. You know, like constructive criticism, versus like ‘Oh well, the KSA doesn’t do anything for me.’”
Arathoon hopes that students will change the way they think about these events, and help to build more optimism around the campus.
If negativity leads to more negativity, then the opposite must be true as well. Essentially, the more students who approach these events with an open mind, the more likely they are to thrive.
The fact is, school is meant to be a social environment, and we’re all interested in hanging out and letting loose. So the next time there’s a dance, shindig or celebration, don’t ask questions — make a point of going with your party hat on and leaving your study cap at home.
They say the third time’s the charm, and for Kwantlen student Nathalie Heath, her third audition to be on CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance Canada landed her one of the coveted top 22 spots.
And she isn’t looking back. Now a part of the show’s top 14, Heath is living her dream and forging her future.
“It’s been awesome; I’ve had such a good experience,” she said.
The 23-year-old Surrey-ite is two years into her business management degree, but has taken time off from Kwantlen to pursue her opportunity.
“I just really wanted to make the most of it, and whether I win or not doesn’t really matter,” Heath explained.
She is no stranger to fame and exposure. Heath was a lead dancer in Michael Bublé’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” music video, and danced in the 2010 Olympic opening ceremonies during Sarah McLachlan’s performance. However, she says her experience on So You Think You Can Dance Canada is unique.
“When you’re doing a music video or you’re doing a job, […] you’re kind of like wallpaper. Like at the opening ceremonies, I was dancing for Sarah McLachlan and obviously the cameras were more on [her] than they were on me,” Heath said.
“[This show] is definitely such a great way of exposing yourself to people and film and TV, and to network.”
Jean Marc Généreux, a permanent judge on the show, agrees that the show provides dancers with numerous opportunities.
“I think it’s an amazing platform,” he said. “It’s pivotal in their lives and instrumental for their futures.”
But the experience doesn’t come without difficulties: Heath has been in Toronto for six weeks, away from family and friends. And rehearsals are relentless.
“The most difficult aspect is the fact that we never get a break. We dance every day, and we never have a day off. “I’ve learnt that I’m a lot tougher skinned than I thought I was. [But] I haven’t really had a breakdown,” she joked.
Heath’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Généreux, a seasoned ballroom dancer who has won all of the major ballroom championships in North America and has competed in 10 world championships, sees Heath’s potential.
“People will remember her. She’s on the show to stay. This girl is going nowhere. She’s here, we want her, we’re going to keep her, and is an amazing [performer],” he said.
So You Think You Can Dance Canada airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on CTV: Dancers perform their routines on Wednesday, and Thursday is the voting results show.
And voting is crucial. Each week, the three dance couples with the fewest number of votes is placed in the bottom three, and are put at risk of being eliminated from the show.
Regardless, Heath knows it’s the experience that counts.
“This show doesn’t define me,” she said. “We get to really be in the spotlight and we are the show and we have a fan base and we get to showcase our personalities and it’s so much fun. [But] I honestly just want to dance.”
The Kwantlen Bhangra club has been practicing and competing since April 2009, yet it is only now getting some attention.
“It takes time to build up a name. We wanted to make sure we were at a level that would attract some more attention,” said Karamvir Saini, co-founder of the club.
After competing in several competitions last year, the club has grown to include a co-ed group as well as a male group.
Saini started the club in April 2009, because he felt that there was a large number of Punjabi students at Kwantlen and he found that a lot of them were going to SFU to join its bhangra club. He thought that if he started a club here, the students could stay at Kwantlen and be a part of the club at the same time.
All of the members get together and choreograph themselves. The team agrees that the club gives them a group of friends that have similar interests and some of the same goals.
Bhangra’s competitive season is just finishing, so the club is currently working on what they will be competing with next year when the season starts up again in early spring.
And, while the season has ended here, there are still a couple of competition in the United States. Kwantlen’s team is waiting for the event to send out programs, so they can sign up and possibly travel to compete.
“We are always looking for more members, and we encourage anyone that is interested in joining to contact us,” said Saini. The club is currently practicing three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.