Walking into a Dance Horizons (DH) dance class for the first time, I was filled with anxiety—was everyone a professional dancer? Was I just going to make a fool of myself?
Turns out, not everyone has years of dance experience and thankfully, I didn’t fall flat on my face.
When I walked into that free week class, I was immediately greeted by unfamiliar (but friendly) faces who helped me register. They answered my millions of questions about the cost of membership, commitment, the differences in styles and level types, and even gave me suggestions for what classes I should take with my experience and willingness to commit.
Before we started, I chatted with another student who also seemed new—being nervous was such a great icebreaker. We joked about how our “old” bodies would probably give up halfway through the routine and general anxieties about not having danced for a really long time.
By the end of the class, I was sweating profusely, but I had succeeded in my mission to pick up new dance moves—I felt like I could’ve blended into a music video. It was definitely worth the soreness in my thighs the next day.
Shake off those nerves
Trying a new activity for the first time can be a bit nerve-wracking. I find that dance is a perfect low-commitment sport for not only getting active but also for training your brain to process information in a different way through choreography. If you have trouble picking up choreo, don’t fret! The dance community here at UBC is filled with the friendliest, most diverse, and passionate people. They are more than willing to help you out.
Dance moves for everyone?
In the DH office, I chatted with Carlene Ho, 4th year Science student and president of Dance Horizons. Originally, she joined one of the training teams, DH Company, as a way to further develop her background in jazz and meet new people outside her program. Besides drop-in classes, DH offers 3 training teams for people looking to develop their skills and perform.
“Most of my friends here at UBC are from DH, and it’s the people who make this club special,” Carlene shared.
When it comes to her vision for DH, she explained it this way, “DH strives to be all-inclusive. Inclusive of all styles and all levels and backgrounds. We don’t like limiting people. We want people to develop their skills.”
Founded in 1984, the club started between a group of friends mentoring each other. Now, they recruit highly esteemed dance professionals to teach students from all dance backgrounds and faculties. DH is one of UBC’s oldest dance clubs and the only one that offers a wide variety of classes. It’s apparent from the environment of their classes that the members of DH have a passion for dance and being part of this community.
Still on the fence about joining? Take Carlene’s advice: “Just try it out! A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I don’t dance’, but that’s all the more reason to learn. People aren’t looking at you—they’re looking at the teacher. Dancers are more often than not willing to help you out if you seem like you’re struggling.”
If you want a sneak peek of the dance world
Right now, you can catch Carlene and the rest of DH preparing for their mid-year show. There’s definitely a sense of excitement in the air about it, which is a great break from the stress of papers and midterms.
The show is open to everyone, and the dancers would love to get support for all their hard work. Plus, this is a great opportunity to check out their styles and use that as motivation to join the upcoming semester!
If you’re interested in checking out what DH has to offer, I highly recommend checking out the free week in January and taking as many classes as you can! DH is always eager to accept new people into their family and a $30 membership includes discounted rates to their classes, events, and even to Harbour Dance Center if you want to try practicing your moves off-campus!