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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Dancing popular, following TV show

By Judi Maulsby/reporter

Tara Munjee leads her dance class through warm ups. Dance classes have gained in enrollment because of the popularity of Dancing with the Stars and because people have found it to be good exercise.  Photo by Jonathan Deaton-Lee/The Collegian
Tara Munjee leads her dance class through warm ups. Dance classes have gained in enrollment because of the popularity of Dancing with the Stars and because people have found it to be good exercise. Photo by Jonathan Deaton-Lee/The Collegian

Emmitt Smith’s happy feet winning last season’s TV ratings’ sensation Dancing with the Stars has proved America is hooked on the universal language of dance expression.

During a Collegian interview, Tara Munjee, dance instructor on NE and NW campuses, said dance’s increasing popularity is apparent at TCC. She said the district’s dance classes have more than tripled during her tenure at TCC.

“People are finding that dance is available to study for recreation and enjoyment or for whatever fits their needs,” she said.

While many of her students are dance majors and grew up dancing, Munjee said others enroll because they want to try something new.

“There are some students who do it to fulfill a fine arts requirement or just for the fun of the experience,” she said.

Munjee said most of the students are female, but the department encourages male participation and hopes their numbers will increase.

“In terms of the breakdown, we have people of all ages,” she said. “And we even have faculty members.”

One such faculty member, Bobbi Stringer, NW professor of speech, said dancing was her life growing up. After marrying and starting a family, her ballet slippers became just fond memories for almost 40 years.

“Now as a senior citizen, I am blessed to have the opportunity to dance once again,” she said. “And it has blessed me beyond words.”

Stringer described the benefits as therapeutic, both physically and mentally, including better coordination and greater stress relief.

“The best part is it brings pure joy to give expression to feelings that the music stirs,” she said.

Munjee said students work hard throughout the course.

“At the end of the semester, we have a showcase that features all the different dance classes that we’re doing,” she said. “Some of the dances have been developed out of class work.”

Lauryn Brown, a showcase participant and NW ballet student, said dance has influenced all aspects of her life.

“It’s made me more confident, disciplined and more able to accept challenges in my life.”

For example, Brown said mistakes happen in dance and something may go wrong, but the dancers just keep going to maintain the continuity of the show.

“It’s like that with life where you face the little oops and keep moving on,” she said.

Brown, who also teaches dance at a local studio, said the strength she has gained from dance throughout the years has helped in her horsemanship abilities also.

TCC’s dance class offerings include jazz, modern dance, ballet, tap and dance performance. Each of these is taught at different levels.

Jeffrey Kaplan teaches dance on SE and South campuses, and Gypsy Ingram also teaches dance on South Campus.

Information for dance classes on any TCC campus can be found in the school catalog. Each campus offers its own schedule of classes and times. NE also offers some Saturday classes.

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