In order to give students a place of freedom of spirit through dance, an OU student started a dance club.
UO public relations manager Darcy Mantel started the Hip Hop Dance Club last year after realizing she missed dancing but wanted a place to go where she didn’t need to. experience.
“I didn’t want to go to a dance studio and find and sign up for expensive classes, because I just wanted to do it for fun,” Mantel said. “So the idea came to me to create a club where people can come and learn a dance for free.”
College students deal with an overwhelming amount of stress, and Mantel said many members find the club to help them cope with their stress.
“I mean dancing is a huge stress reliever for me, and I know a lot of other people can relate to that,” Mantel said. “It’s also almost like a quick hour-long workout.”
A study published Sept. 6 in the journal Depression & Anxiety found that three out of four college students reported experiencing at least one stressful event in the past year, and more than 20% of college students reported experiencing six or more stressful events. more. in the last year.
In the study, stressful events were defined as exposures that the student felt were traumatic or difficult to deal with. These included finances, family issues, studies, personal appearance, death of a family member or friend, health issues of a family member or partner , career-related issues, intimate relationships, other social relationships, personal health issues, or sleep difficulties.
Dancing can have positive effects on a person’s mental health because “the physical exercise of dancing increases the circulation of blood carrying oxygen to the muscles and the brain as well as altering the level of certain chemicals of the brain” and can “dissipate muscular and emotional tensions”. and induce a sense of well-being and liberation,” according to a study by Judith Lynne Hanna, an affiliate research professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland.
Along with this, previous literature regarding dance and its healing properties has shown that through dance a person can gain a sense of control related to stress and pain due to the physical, emotional, cognitive and cultural dimensions of dance, according to Hanna’s study.
“Dancing for fun definitely relieves stress,” said Hip Hop Dance Club member Emma Powell. “It’s a fun way to train.”
HHDC member Madison Servin points out that HHDC is important to the campus because it allows many different people to come together and dance. Since you don’t need to be experienced, you can dance for your own enjoyment without judgment.
“HHDC has been very beneficial to my life,” Servin said. “It’s allowed me to meet amazing people here on our campus, relieve stress and learn fun hip dances. Everyone is so stressed out about school and life, so it’s a great place to drop your cool and have fun.
The club’s goal is to hire a hip hop choreographer once a month and charge members a fee to pay upon entry, according to the HHDC website. Mantel said she asks people to bring $1 to meetups to raise enough money to hire a professional dance instructor.
Anyone can join HHDC, whether or not they have dance experience, and past encounters have taken place at The Huff.
Since the club is so new, it only met a few times last year. However, there are about 80 members, and about 70 showed up for the first dance class and 30 for the second, according to Mantel. Both meetings took place during the spring semester 2018, one in February and the other in March.
“The first time we met at the Huff and rented a studio, and I had learned a dance from the internet, and then I taught them,” Mantel said. “The second time we met was at the same place, but I hired a choreographer from a dance studio in Norman, and she came to teach us a dance.”
However, Mantel plans to hold more dance classes throughout the year and hopes his club will continue for years to come.
“I really want (HHDC) to continue even after I graduate,” Mantel said. “So, I hope to have a lot of dancers this year.”