Dear TKS Editorial Staff:
On behalf of Terpsichore Dance Collective past, present and future, we would like to extend sincere thanks for the article in the Jan. 28 issue of The Knox Student regarding our beloved, flawed dance space, the Auxiliary Gym. Kiannah Sepeda-Miller’s journalism was excellent, and we appreciated her willingness to so thoroughly contact students, faculty and staff in her process.
As the executive board of Terp, it is our job alongside other dance-focused clubs to ensure a lively dance scene on Knox’s campus. We appreciated your article for its attention to detail and for its integrity, but also for the spotlight it shone on the dismal condition of a building we call home. Our safe space. Our happy place. The Aux is the butt of many a Dance Department joke (with good reason!) but it is ultimately crucial to the success of almost every endeavor we attempt. It is where we rehearse. Where we collaborate and critique. Where we take class. Where we spend upwards of 10 to 15 hours out of each week. And even TKS’s beautiful coverage failed to shed light on specific issues.
As though rumors of hauntings and creaking floors were not enough, our radiator spits boiling water across the dancers’ lounge. There is no air conditioning, which endangers us as athletes at the beginning and end of each academic year as well as makes the Aux unfit for use during the summer. There is mold, which endangers the artists whose studios are in the basement. The back stairs, which ostensibly act as a secondary, emergency exit route, are rotted almost all the way through, shrinking the Aux’s capacity to just 50 people. This is particularly grievous given the Aux’s original purpose as a performance space for informal shows, which was ended by a fire code inspection. The lack of a safe, functional performance venue necessitates our department’s sharing spaces like Harbach and Kresge for major events, which is as unfair to us as it is to the Theatre and Music Departments, who generously let us use stages that should be solely theirs. Rumors abound that alumni and parents have donated specifically to us, but even that money which is allocated to the Dance Department is sitting untouched, as though the college were waiting to grace us with its potential. But we don’t need the promise of future improvement. We need change. We need enough faculty members to support the number of people who study dance. We need to feel valued as performers, artists, students, and we need it now.
Let this letter thus serve as a platform for two statements:
We, Terp Exec, thank The Knox Student staff for their choice to feature our space and its pitfalls so publicly and sincerely. We thank them also for their consistent, stellar coverage of our performances and events. We love what you do.
And we, Terp Exec, ask the student body, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and administrators to come move with us. We ask you to attend our shows, listen to our stories, try our classes, take note: We are one vocal group representing a small piece of the beautiful dance culture at Knox, and we deserve to feel valued in and proud of our space.
Terpsichore Dance Collective Executive Board, 2015-16