Master class engages students with challenging choreography

Joe Bulwidas — Contributor

The SCSU Dance Team hosted its first master class. The class, focusing on street jazz, was taught by Daniel Ramos.

“My goal for this class was to just bring a really different style of dancing to the dance team,” said Ramos. “I just wanted to bring more of a different stylized kind of jazz and challenge them with more technique.”

Ramos said he danced his entire life. His first inspiration to dance came when his family brought him to see the nutcracker ballet, but he did not begin formal dance lessons until age 15. Ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz,
lyrical, and hip-hop are just a few of the dance styles Ramos has formally learned.

The master classes are the idea of the new head coach Madison Correia.

“It’s just to improve [the team’s] dance abilities, improve their skills and expose them to different things they’ve never done before,” said Correia.

The class also gave the opportunity to those outside of the team who had danced in the past to come, dance and have fun.

Correia is a graduate of SCSU and was captain on the dance team for all four years of her undergraduate schooling.

Correia and Ramos have known each other since he took dance lessons at her mother’s dance studio, Connecticut Dance Conservatory, located in Stratford.

According to Ramos, the goal of the class was to have fun and make them all feel like rock stars.

During the master class, the attendees began by warming up with some cardio. Upbeat and modern music was played as the attendees did a mixture of jumping jacks, jogging and high knees.

Soon after the cardio, warm up exercises began to get everyone dancing.

From there, Ramos demonstrated the dance routine that everyone in attendance was going to learn. The routine was a mixture of classic jazz and street jazz.

“Street jazz has been around for a really long time,” said Ramos. “I’m just a huge fan of that style and the craft of it.”

The atmosphere of the class was a very relaxed and supportive environment. Often, head coach Correia could be seen cheering on members as they learned the new style.

Psychology major Jelise Nimmons, a sophomore, and member of the dance team and said she found the master class challenged the team and had them thinking outside the box.

Nimmons has been dancing for 15 years and found her previous experience with jazz helped her to learn the routine.

At end of the event, all attendees got the hang of the multi-stepped dance routine. There was no competition at this event, as everyone was enjoying the experience of a new dance style, and fun routine.

Correia said she hopes that master classes will be offered once a month by the SCSU Dance Team. The next class is being planned for October with another dance instructor.

Photo Credit: Joe Bulwidas

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