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Students dance past basics

Dance instructor Sarah Grusmark teaches Contemporary Social Dance class, which includes country line dancing, West Coast swing, salsa, cha-cha and nightclub foxtrot. The one-unit class meets from 1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in room C 200 of the Athletics Pavilion. Grusmark has been teaching social dance at ULV for 10 years. / photo by Andrew Vasquez

Ashley Lyn Sourapas
Staff Writer

Students at the University of La Verne are learning much more than just new moves from this semester’s Contemporary Social Dance class.

Instructor Sarah Grusmark has taught dance at the University for 10 years and is excited to see the class grow.

“Most people love music and dancing, but are just afraid to try it,” Grusmark said.

The class is offered in the fall and spring semesteres, and January term. It meets twice a week for 50 minutes and is worth one-unit.

Grusmark teaches a variety of dance styles including line dance, West Coast swing, salsa, cha-cha and nightclub foxtrot.

The music genres consist of pop, rock, country, funk and blues.

She spends roughly three-to-four weeks on a given dance style, depending on the group’s lexperience and understanding.

Whether a beginner or an advanced dancer, Grusmark welcomes all to share in her passion.

Students in the class also learn how to read sheet music, understand the basics behind each dance and discover how similar the dances are, but with different rhythms and counts, Grusmark said, adding that she encourages students to come up with their own line dance.

“She starts out with simple movements and then progresses,” said senior Elizabeth Harris, who has taken the class.

Grusmark believes that dance is an invaluable asset to a college student’s experience and is something that they can use for a lifetime.

“It’s a sport and keeps you healthy, and allows men and woman to work together,” Grusmark said.

Both men and women seem to find this class liberating and a great way to relieve stress.

“I come from a Mexican and sports loving-family, but when I dance I feel free,” said theater major Travis Snyder-Eaton.

The variety of talent and personalities in the class seem to make it a fun environment to learn and experience new things.

“Everyone is shy at first, but after we start dancing people open up,” Harris said.

During the semester, Grusmark has her students switch partners so they can experience how to lead and follow with a variety of people.

“I hula dance, so I’m used to hip movements, but salsa has been a nice experience and change,” said Rojhane Navarrete, a biochemistry major.

“Switching partners and experiencing the difference in personal styles is really cool,” Navarrete said.

This class offers an extra unit, some new moves and much more.Students come out of the class with a new appreciation of dance, different cultures and their fellow students.

Ashley Sourapas can be reached at ashley.sourapas@laverne.edu.

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