Despite Tech’s technological and scientific emphasis, members of the school community have taken the initiative to establish a flourishing performing arts scene.
Before coming to Tech, Lauren Horst, second-year ENVE and the current president of Dance Company at Georgia Tech (DCGT), had been a competitive dancer for nine years.
She found that in college she was “ready to give up the commitment of competitive dancing, but not her love of the sport and the meaningful connections it brought her.”
Thus, she soon found her place in DCGT. During her first lesson, Horst found a community united by “their love for dance and desire to try something new.”
Differentiating them from a typical team, DCGT is run entirely by students. For Horst, the shift from a traditional dance studio to a student-led organization was challenging yet rewarding. The members of the club curate a collaborative atmosphere, providing “support between officers and [bounce] ideas off of one another.”
She joined the club during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Horst’s experiences, dancing is a sport that requires a lot of in-person attention, but “the then-leadership was very impressive in their efforts to keep the club functioning.”
The leadership used a variety of methods to give their members plenty of opportunities to keep dancing and learning.
“They ran classes virtually. Each dance was choreographed so that it could be done in a small dorm room. When the weather was nice, classes were cautiously hosted outdoors,” Horst said. “On occasion, we had the opportunity to partake in small and socially distanced classes in the Exhibition Hall.”
Everyone that teaches a class at DCGT is a student. In addition to attending and studying for classes, those that choose to teach also choreograph their own routines. Alumni will occasionally volunteer to instruct classes.
Horst relayed that a recent Tech alum, Habiba Elshazly, IE ‘20 and MS Analytics ‘21, often stops by to teach ballet lessons.
The creative process for choreographing a lesson looks different depending on the individual. For Horst, she “enjoys being in an open space and frequents the CRC to try different movements.” She will stay there until she feels that the movements are perfect.
Moreover, the organization identifies as a “broader and welcoming dance club.”
DCGT offers traditional classes like ballet, contemporary and hip-hop to more specialized ones like that of musical theater and Latin dance. On occasion, they will even offer a yoga course. DCGT is always open to new genre suggestions.
DCGT extends the opportunity to partake in classes to anyone, regardless of experience, level or age. In a lesson, one may encounter a seasoned dancer like Horst or a newer one wishing to try out the sport.
She encourages anyone who may be even remotely interested to check out one of their classes.
“We teach new dancers and experienced dancers. All levels and ages are welcomed,” Horst said. “Though I don’t believe any faculty members or graduate students currently attend our lessons, they are also welcome. We don’t limit ourselves as to who can dance.”
Throughout the year, DCGT hosts a variety of events. Most notably, they host a fall show. “For our fall show, we begin recruitment early on in the school year. We set up a table during the organization fair to seek out new members,” Horst said. “We also make sure to re-engage with those that have participated in our events in the past.”
After recruiting members, DCGT begins their classes and sets a schedule to rehearse.
“We grant a two to three week grace period to allow whoever to participate in our classes and see if they want to be in the show,” Horst said. “When this period ends, we lock down. Rehearsals take place over a span of six weeks.”
Additionally, DCGT participates in a spring show wherein they collaborate with other dance groups in the Tech community. The spring show is hosted by DanceTech Performing Company and will take place on April 15 at the Ferst Center. It will feature a wide range of styles and dance teams.
Though the recruitment period for these shows this semester has ended, DCGT continues to offer opportunities for those who are interested in other events.
Most recently, DCGT hosted a spring dance workshop. In the workshop, attendees were provided with an introduction of their jazz, ballet and hip-hop classes. They also collaborated with Gold Rush — another dance team here at Tech — for a performance.
Furthermore, DCGT offers three classes per week. Each class differs in genre, but ballet, contemporary and jazz are taught mostly frequently. Horst reiterates that these classes are available to anyone, regardless of age or experience.
Outside of dance workshops, classes and shows, DCGT also hosts events to raise money. To allow for the club to continue providing low cost dance classes and performance opportunities, DCGT hosted a Chipotle fundraiser in February.
To get involved with Dance Company at Tech, students, alumni or staff may contact [email protected]. All classes begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall. Class themes, schedule and updates for each week are updated on Instagram at @danceco.gt.