GLBTA Pride Center hosts first gender-free dance with MAHPLS

Sam Correia
Staff Writer

Dancing is not just limited to the stage anymore, and new groups are getting in on the fun. Dance is on the rise at Bridgewater as an art form, exercise, and even future career path.

On Feb. 4, the GLBTA Pride Center held a gender-free dance lesson in the RCC Ballroom, where a two- hour lesson was given by professors from the Movement Arts Department. About 25 people gathered to learn dances such as contra, tango, merengue, and square dancing.

Deborah Stringham, Sam Baumgarten, and Guillermo Rivera-Pagan are all professors from the Department of Movement Arts, Health Promotion, and Leisure Studies (MAHPLS) who led the dance lesson and worked with the students and faculty who attended.

During the dance lesson, students were given different colored name tags, and dance roles were assigned based on the color on the name tags, not on gender. That way, students were given the opportunity to learn about dances from different cultures in a relaxed environment, surrounded by their peers.

Lee Forest, director of the GLBTA Pride Center, worked with the professors from Movement Arts to make this event happen.

Forest stated that it was great to work with such patient professors and be able to learn something new “where gender did not play a part.”

Students got to learn these Latin American and folk dances for free, and it was a great opportunity to have fun, be active, and relax.

This gender-free dance lesson was the first time that the Pride Center got to work with the Movement Arts department for an event.

However, this interdisciplinary teamwork is not the first time that the Pride center has collaborated with another department.

“Over the past 10 years, the Pride Center has worked with almost every department” said Forest about the involvement with other departments and organizations. The collaborations are usually for the many different events that the Pride Center holds, and for LGBT SafeZone trainings to make classrooms more inclusive.

The Pride Center will continue to work with other departments for creative and informative events in the future.

Dance programs have really taken off at Bridgewater State since the beginning of the school year. Dance is now being offered as a major, according to a post on the News and Events page on the Bridgewater State website on Feb. 9.

BSU started offering the major back in September of 2015. Prior to September, dance was available as a minor and a concentration, but never as a major, according to the post. The Department of Theater and Dance offers Theater and Dance as minors and concentrations, with Dance Education and Theater Education as majors. The Movement Arts Department offers majors such as Athletic Training, Health Studies, and Physical Education, and through MAHPLS, dance is offered as a concentration.

Professor Stringham, Professor Baumgarten, and Professor Rivera-Pagan all teach dance classes, and encourage students to sign up for dance classes to learn more about dance as an art form and a way to stay healthy.

The Pride Center is also looking at possibly holding a Queer Prom event for students. Student workers at the Pride Center recently brought forward the idea because they felt they wanted to give all students the experience and opportunity to go to prom. The idea is currently in the planning stage and might occur sometime in the next school year.

Sam Correia is a Comment staff writer.

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