Making History Through Dance

Meghan Mullaly and Madilyn Moore

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High school students in Seward have very limited options for expressing themselves through dance. While there are a few local dance lessons available, many are for younger or older people and cost money and time that not all high schoolers have. So how can this change?

This was the question Devon Campbell and Paola Baez have been asking since their time in middle school. They talked about watching dancing videos on various social media platforms, and being inspired to start a dance club. However, they were let down by a lack of leadership and participation at the middle school. Without the support, they eventually lost faith in the project all together.

Now sophomores in high school, Devon and Paola’s idea has resurfaced, and with it, the confidence to speak their minds to the principal. “Why don’t we have fun activities like other schools have? People want to express themselves in many different ways. We have drama and music, but what about dance?” Paola asked. With this question in mind, they began speaking to fellow classmates and teachers about their idea of starting a dance club. After only a couple days, they were pleasantly surprised that 25 students and 6 teachers signed a petition in its favor. With this support, they were able to confidently propose their idea to the principal.

Devon and Paola want to make it clear this is by no means a professional dance club. They don’t want money or to compete; they just want to have fun dancing. Although, if people want, they may even choreograph a dance number or two that can be performed for a school pep rally or at halftime during a sports game.

This is what was confirmed during the group’s first meeting on September 26th. Sixteen students gathered in Ms. Swander’s room at lunch to share their ideas about dance.  It was discovered that there are some students who have ten or more years of experience, some with only four or five, and some with none. “However, don’t let the lack of experience fool you,” commented Ms. Swander, the activity’s sponsor. “The students were very excited. One of the questions we asked them was ‘Why are you interested in joining?’. The students said they love dancing, and it sounds like fun”. She believes their interest is sparked by a new activity that is so different than anything else offered at the school.  

While many details still need to be ironed out, like whether it will happen after school or during lunch, Devon and Paola are confident in their new club starting. All they want to do is make history in their school and give their fellow students a place to express themselves.

If people are interested in checking out the group, they are welcome to talk to Devon, Paola, or Ms. Swander.