The Renegade Rip

Dance class helps build confidence

Elizabeth Gregory

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Bright plaid clothing, funky hairdos and tennis shoes express a new style of dance, according to Bakersfield College dance instructor Eve-lyne Thomas.

That style was expected to be exhibited during a recital Thursday when her modern dance class was slated to perform in Campus Center.

“Modern dance doesn’t really say a certain story,” Thomas said. “It’s an expression of a story. Texture, movment, curves or design is what you see. As long as you feel and think while you dance, everyone sees dancing in a different light.”

At the beginning of the class, students in Thomas’ class were assigned a dance partner.

“I structured the dances,” she said. “They, the students, choreographed the movements. So visually, the dances are aesthetically pleasing.”

Wearing bright clothing and tennis shoes is untraditional in modern dance.

“Martha Graham helped found modern dance,” she said. “Usually in modern dance you have bare feet, but we wear shoes.”

Aside from a change of costume, Thomas said that modern dance is leaving its traditionalism.

“In this generation, a lot of choreographers are merging ballet with hip-hop to modern and even jazz dances,” she said. “It’s kind of sad because what is going to happen with the raw modern dance?”

Yet it is Thomas’ goal to keep the tradition of modern dance continuing while she is teaching at BC.

“My job is to keep dance alive,” she said. “A lot of people think modern dance is hip-hop but it’s abstract, creative and artistic.”

Giovanni Folresta is a student in the dance class and said he has learned a new lesson on thinking.

“I love this class,” he said. When we start out, I don’t think a lot of us (students) know how to express ourselves dancing. But after this class we know how to.”

The dance class also helped establish confidence for dance student Brica Shoatz.

“This class is smaller compared to other classes,” Shoatz said. “The things we learn help build your confidence. For example, the instructor will tell you to feel blue and perform that expression in front of everyone. But once you are over that, nothing is too hard.”

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Dance class helps build confidence