Dancing Around the World Combines Fun, History and Culture

Dancing Around the World

For the second year, the Staff Senate Diversity Committee will partner with the student ballroom dance club, Dancing with Wolves, to host Dancing Around the World. The initiative aims to create an inclusive environment and address diversity resistance by drawing students and employees through the common interests of music and dance. All campus community members are invited, including students, staff and faculty.

Chinese woman dancerSabra Stipe, chair of the Staff Senate Diversity Committee states, “Many people shy away from sources that openly declare goals involving diversity, believing these groups favor one race or marginalized group over others. As a result, we see a lack of willingness in people to directly engage others in a relaxed, open manner. Multicultural efforts that appear to tout the benefits of diversity often do not reach the people most likely to benefit. For that reason, we are taking an indirect approach to support the goals of diversity through music and dance.”

Dancing Around the World is an exciting venue offering fun, food and the opportunity to hear and learn about new music as well as share music with one another.

Darlene O’Cadiz discusses the impact of dance in her book, Dance and Cultural Diversity: “…dance is much more than a form of entertainment or artistic expression.” O’Cadiz demonstrates that dance also has the power to provoke intellectual thought, promote the communion of people from all social classes and walks of life and reveal the undeniable commonalities of the human experience, while also serving as a valuable tool for expressing cultural diversity. “Dancing provides opportunities for multi-culture inclusion and bonding through learning and teaching dance experiences in a relaxed setting.

What You’ll Experience

Pair of dancers in evening dressStudent dance groups provide short introductions to their style of dance followed by demonstrations with mini lessons to teach the basic steps of selected dances from around the world (such as shag, salsa, waltz, hip hop or Chinese dancing). Employees and students are invited to attend for free and food is provided.

  • The program encourages participants to have fun while they’re exposed to the diversity of dance around the world and taught about the historical and cultural origins of the dances.
  • Participants partner with and enjoy conversation with NC State community members from a wide variety of backgrounds while enjoying music and dance.
  • Attendees must successfully partner together to achieve the basic steps of dances. Experienced dancers help beginners. The dance is a unique opportunity for a cross-section of NC State to mingle in a non-academic, non-competitive and non-threatening environment.

Previous Events

The inaugural event was held on February 16, 2017 in Witherspoon Student Center with 100 attendees, including students, staff and faculty. The energy was high, the food delicious and the attendees came from all over the world and all areas of campus. Students and employees mingled, danced, ate and laughed. Feedback indicated interest in gatherings each semester and during lunchtime.

Eleven dances from around the world have been presented, including student dance groups Dances with Wolves Ballroom Dance Club, the Pack Cloggers, Mei Yang Chinese Dancing and the Shimmy Squad Belly Dancers. During open dancing, students gave impromptu Bollywood dance lessons.

The McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, the CALS Diversity Office, the Intensive English Program, and the Confucius Institute provided support.

Next Event

This year’s first Dancing Around the World event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. in the Coastal Ballroom, Talley Student Union.

Sabra Stipe is an NC State staff senator for District 11, chair of the Staff Senate Diversity Committee and a pre-award proposal consultant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.