Dancing helps students’ minds and bodies in Dance Coalition

The Lantern
Members of Dance Coalition exercise their bodies, minds and create lasting friendships. Credit: Courtesy of Roy Wang

Dance Coalition provides a space where students step away from stress and exercise their minds and bodies through dance.

Dance Coalition, a non-audition dance group at Ohio State in which members can express themselves through dance, offers a space for students to find belonging in the dance community, according to the group’s website. Beyond its community, members said they notice the physical and mental benefits from consistently dancing with the group.

Students choreographed a variety of dances for the group’s upcoming showcase on April 2 at 1 p.m. in 131 Hitchcock Hall, Chloe Parker, a second-year in marketing and president of Dance Coalition, said. The group will also be a special guest in Stylez dance group’s showcase later that same day.

“Dance Co. is meant to be something fun where you can come, hang out with your friends, dance and move, get to really enjoy that space, and we gather because we love to dance,” Parker said.

At the showcase, Dance Coalition will perform contemporary dances, lyrical dances, belly dances, an upbeat Jazz-like number and a K-pop number, Parker said.

With no auditions required to join, Dance Coalition is a more relaxed environment than other competitive groups, Gabriella Matheny, a Ph.D. candidate in microbiology and vice president of Dance Coalition, said.

“We’re in it because we like to dance. We don’t compete, but we do perform because we want to show people this is what we’ve been working on,” Matheny said.

Whether students are new or experienced dancers, Dance Coalition is all-inclusive. Everyone is welcome to join and choreograph a dance, with members on the executive board choreographing first and the newer members after, Parker said.

According to Everyday Health, any type of movement, dancing included, can be a way to de-stress. As a low-pressure environment, Parker said Dance Coalition allows students to take a break from academics.

“I do think that dancing, especially with Dance Co., is very beneficial because it can be tough and have more difficult moves, but we always make sure that if you have limits you are still able to do everything with the group,” Parker said. “I think that having that exercise, knowing you can only do so much, so you’re not pushing yourself too far can be really good exercise, and I think that it’s healthy.”
According to Everyday Health, dancing can be physically beneficial because it boosts cardiovascular and bone health, builds core strength, improves flexibility and helps with weight loss.

For members of Dance Coalition, dancing is not only beneficial to one’s physical health, but it provides a sense of accomplishment and a healthy social component, Matheny said.

“Practice is that time two times a week I can go and worry about nothing else,” Parker said. “I’m just hanging out with my friends like nothing else is happening outside of that dance room,”

Parker and Matheny said they’re most excited to see the new members perform in the upcoming showcase.

“I just love seeing all the hard work come together,” Matheny said. “Specifically with the small groups and stuff, there’s stuff I haven’t seen yet. So, when we see their performances, I can peek out and be like ‘That was really cool.’”

Although Dance Coalition is a club that provides students with a physical and social outlet, dancing has another benefit, Matheny said. According to Everyday Health, dancing and choreographing can aid in preventing memory loss because it requires learning specific moves.

“I find that with dance, not only is it working my body, but it’s also working my brain because I have to remember what comes next,” Matheny said.

Parker said almost all of her friends were made through Dance Coalition, and it’s one of the biggest positives in her life.

“Dance Co. was the first club that I joined on campus, and it’s given me some of my closest friends. I think the social aspect is just incredible because it is a more relaxed environment,” Parker said.

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