Pictured Above: (Left to Right) SF All Stars Dance E Board of Directors: Vice President Lauren Obrador, Treasurer Andrea Garza, President Lexi Rizzotto, Production Manager Mclain Miller, La secretary Mya Bouie.
Courtesy of Emily Bogenrief
By Emily Bogenrief
It was the love of dancing that brought the students together on Tuesday when the South Florida All Stars Dance Club kicked off their second week of in-person meetings.
The South Florida All Stars Dance Club offers students a chance to learn a variety of dance styles, fostering a fun and supportive environment that everyone can be a part of.
The club board is excited to be reuniting with students for in-person classes after hosting virtual classes for the duration of 2020.
“Through COVID-19, it was difficult,” said Treasurer Andrea Garza. Andrea is a junior marine biology student and has been part of All Stars Dance since 2019. She is majoring in Latin dance and taught the students salsa and bachata when she met.
Despite the challenges of hosting dance lessons virtually, Andrea felt like putting it all in the club when she witnessed the dedication of her teammates.
“When I saw the students coming to every meeting, participating and having fun, it was worth it,” Garza said. “Now, seeing where we are at, it makes me emotional. It’s amazing how it turned out to be what it was. Now what motivates me is everyone; I want everyone to have a good time, I want everyone to have fun.
The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Ballroom three at the University Student Center. Each week, club leaders focus on a specific dance style to teach the class.
Tuesdays are all about learning and perfecting the technique, while Thursdays feature a ‘combo’ or little dance, which the club learns depending on the style it covered on Tuesday. Latin dance, jazz, ballroom dancing, and contemporary dance are just a few styles they plan to cover this year.
Production manager Mclain Miller wants students to know that the club is not only open to beginners, but experienced dancers as well.
“We make sure to tailor all of our courses to apply to all experience levels. For experienced dancers there is the potential for challenges at this club, ”Miller said.
A high school graduate, Miller has been studying ballet for 10 years and will focus on teaching him in the classroom this week.
Secretary Mya Bouie has been in the club since 2020 and is passionate about hip-hop dance. Its history reflects the inclusive and welcoming environment that the club offers to the student body.
Starting relatively new to dancing, her teammates recognized her potential and encouraged her progression.
“I didn’t understand the steps… but they explained it to me,” Bouie said. “I felt like I could be a part of something on campus, which I never thought possible. And now I am part of the E-board.
Club members can deepen their dance skills as far as they want with the club. Many students audition for regional dance competitions. Alternatively, some members rely on the club to relax from everyday student life.
“Your studies, your tests, your homework… it always comes first. We will never penalize you for missing a class, whether it’s to study or complete an assignment. It’s to get away from homework, ”Garza said.
In October, the club rehearses for its Retrouvailles show. The dance style of the show is based on the theme of Homecoming. Vice President Lauren Obrador choreographed a Wizard of Oz-themed jazz dance for 2019.
With in-person activities resuming, Lauren can’t wait to choreograph another performance.
“I am delighted to have this experience of performing and choreographing again,” said Obrador. Lauren has a degree in marine biology; she was vice president last semester and continues in her leadership role this year. “[Homecoming 2019] was exciting, because the girls I teach got it figured out and look so easy to do.
In addition to Homecoming, the club features a Spring Showcase, where members are encouraged to contribute choreography and perform solo and group dances.
“The showcase is about everything we have been working on all year,” said President Lexi Rizzotto. Lexi is a senior in political science and joined the club in 2019.
The South Florida All Stars Dance Club invites other campus organizations to participate in the
“Other clubs can use it as a platform not only to promote themselves but also to show off what they’ve been working on while we’re in the back getting ready for our next dance,” said Garza.
The club also offers students a chance to get involved in the community. Each year, members perform at the town’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade.
“You just have to want to dance and want to learn,” said Rizzotto.
“We would love to have anyone join our team,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter your gender, your sexuality, your height. We want everyone to join. If people think there are limits, there aren’t.
Emily Bogenrief is a history student at USF St. Petersburg
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