Getting the groove back with “Discorama!” class


Shedeene Hewitt / The Record

The class came to an end with a Soul Train line, giving students a chance to show off what they learned.

Shedeene Hewitt, Associate Culture Editor

Casting Hall Productions invited students and faculty to get their groove on while hosting an instructional disco dance class during Bengal Pause Feb. 26. Students from various majors came to learn and dance to a mixture of soul and funk in honor of black history month. Professor Carlos Jones, chair and associate professor in the theater department, teamed with associate professor Janet Reed, to host this program.

Side by side, each professor explained how the idea of disco moves beyond the dance floor.

“Disco is freedom, joy, self-expression, togetherness and community,” Professor Jones said. “This dance program has been going on since the 60s. However, Professor Reed and I have revamped it over the past ten years or so to move outside the boundaries of just modern and ballet.”

This dance program now goes on to include various dance forms including afro-centric dance, musical theater, social dance, and the list continues. According to Professor Jones, the goal is to “move beyond and expand the boundaries of it.”

Over 20 students attended the program, where they were able to learn  what made disco such a social dance.

Senior theater major Shameed Wright was one of the various students who were in attendance at the dance program. Wright, who has attended various past programs, gave light to why the program might appeal to students.

“I’m a theater major and a senior and I came out to represent. I wanted to show everyone that this is an open program and that anyone can come. Unity, coming together shows that it’s very diverse and it’s just about having fun. No dancing, no classes. There is always something going on here every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:15.”

For Professor Reed, disco allows you to let loose of everything and have a great time. “You can start with the feet sometimes, it depends on what it is. Then, you let your own body take control and make is so much fun.”

Like most dances, disco contains partners. Each student paired with another, and each couple went through the instructional routines together as both Professors Jones and Neal demonstrated for them. Within disco, there is a sense of energy flow where one partner feeds off the next.

“For disco there has to be a certain amount of control for the woman. She doesn’t relinquish all her control to him. He leads into what is going to come next, but she is the accent of what he does.  It is a 50-50 partnership in its own way,” Professor Reed said.

When the program was coming to an end, students formed their own soul train line where each student showed off their best moves alongside their partners. In the end, this helped to show that disco is about fun, companionship, and the art of letting loose.

“Disco came from a period of self-expression and people really trying to break their confines. We were coming off of a war.” Professor Jones said. “I think it gives disco life because people were just letting go.”

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