Students looking to catch onto growing fitness trends like barre and power barre classes might find a good fit in senior Hannah Steele’s Dance Conditioning classes.
The class combines dance technique — after all, it is offered through the Terpsichore dance collective — but offers different fitness challenges like tricep dips and planks. Steele began the class around the same time Terpsichore began offering student-led dance classes. She’d been dancing since age eight, and was looking for a class where she could work up a sweat, but she realized that class wasn’t offered. “So I said ‘I know, I’ll just teach it,’” Steele said.
Three years later, Steele’s still teaching the class. Since she started the class, she says she’s become more comfortable teaching. She’s also comfortable teaching to various fitness and technique levels. Some of her students are trained dancers, but some are beginners. “Because of the nature, it’s easy to teach to a multitude of levels,” Steele said. Right now, her class has between seven and nine students, but she’s open to drop-ins. Students can expect an hour of various exercises, but when Steele has more time, she’ll sometimes add a half-hour of choreography at the end of class. “It’ll make you feel better, and dance is a good outlet to give your brain a break and body energy. It’s a worthwhile thing,” she said. “You’re not just going to the gym by yourself.” Steele teaches dance conditioning every Tuesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sophomore Claire Cody didn’t always want to teach. But when she came to Knox and realized there weren’t any ballet classes, she decided to start the class herself. “I couldn’t part with it,” said Cody, who’s been dancing since she was four years old. “If it’s not offered to me, I’ll do it.” This Winter Term is her third term teaching ballet, and she says she may switch to jazz next term. For her, ballet is a reflective practice. “It’s like yoga, how it’s meditative and serves to center me, because you’re working on precise shapes and details,” Cody said. Like Steele’s class, ballet attracts various experience levels. “You want to challenge people with ballet experience but not lose the inexperienced ones,” Cody said.
This term, she has between four to five students, but the group has been different every term. When she started, she had between two to three regular students. Cody, who’s a chemistry major and dance minor, says it’s sometimes a challenge to be a teacher to her peers, but she enjoys dancing with them. “I get to share it with them,” she said. “I have to come up with choreography and what exercises work to strengthen and stretch.” Cody teaches ballet every Sunday between 4-5 p.m.