By Jillian Haguisan
For the first time, OBHS now has a dance club. The club meets every Wednesday from 2:30-3:00 pm inside the gymnasium. Currently, the club ranges from grades 7-9, but all grades (and even teachers!) are welcome to join.
Contrary to what some may believe, one does not require any dance experience to join the club.
“It’s about dance culture,” says Ms. Luciano, the club’s advisor, who has been dancing for six years at Rythmology, a sance studio located in Westbury. “I’ve always wanted to dance,” Ms. Luciano comments. “It’s just when I was young, my parents didn’t have money for lessons, but now I’m able to take dance lessons.”
Ms. Luciano has participated in numerous competitions, and her most recent one was at Salsa Congress in Toronto, Canada. She was a part of two of the eight divisions, where she won 1st in Advanced Meringue and 2nd in Intermediate Meringue.
Though Ms. Luciano is the advisor, the club was created by 8th grader Athena Stamatiou, who has been dancing since she was five. In addition to leading the group, she also choreographs most of the songs.
“There was nothing for dance in this school, and I thought there should be. If you don’t like sports, you can join this club and express yourself through dance,” Athena states.
When it comes to choreographing songs, Athena explains, “I find a song that would be good. Like, if I wanted to do jazz, I would pick a jazz song. I usually do it at home; I kinda just think of moves that would be suitable for the song and go from there.” At the beginning of each meeting, members have to warm-up, which consists of jumping jacks, laps around the gym, and stretches.
As for genres of music, the dance club mainly dances to jazz, contemporary, ballet, and Latin music, with Ms. Luciano teaching Latin dance movements. Currently, they’re experimenting, and later they plan on fusing these types of genres to make a song of their own.
The club also plans to invite a professional dancer who could teach/improve their techniques.
In addition to inviting professional dancers to help their members improve, they hope to use their dance skills for fundraising as well. “We plan on creating workshops where you can learn different styles of music, and we would charge people depending on the type and amount of lessons they attend,” Ms. Luciano explains. In the future, the club hopes to perform for a board meeting or a school assembly.
Currently, there are a total of ten members, but the number changes weekly. Some of the members occasionally have to miss a meeting or leave early, and sometimes random students come in for one day to have fun or get some exercise.
One of the members, 9th grader Katherine Pinnock, adds, “I like it. I like the freedom the club gives, and it’s just fun.”
If you want to express yourself through dance, or you just want to have fun while you exercise, then feel free to stop by the gymnasium on Wednesday after school and join the dance club!