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The Collective: Gliding on the Dance Floor

Written and Interviewed by Ashley Lavalle

Photography by Ayush Gupta

Dance is a stunning art form that is constantly moving and changing. It can invoke an endless stream of emotions just through the simple twitch of a hand or brush of a leg. Oftentimes, though, the art tends to be inaccessible to many, whether it be the pricing of classes or just the anxiety that arises when attending one with others who may have more experience. The Collective at Pace University is trying to change that.

We caught up with them to find out more about how their club operates. Keep reading to discover the motions that fuel their love for dance.

First things first, tell us a bit about The Collective. How did you guys get started? Why was this club created?

The Collective was created by two students (who are now alumni), Abbie and Taliah, to provide dance opportunities to students who otherwise wouldn’t have the resources, and to bring together dancers of all backgrounds to share their love for dance.

You all seem to have this incredible love for dance and it is so captivating! What drew you personally to The Collective?

Kendall - I had a really challenging time adjusting to college my Freshman year. I was searching for a place to make friends and also do something that I love - dance. My Sophomore year of college I was able to attend my first Collective class and, ever since, I can’t imagine my college experience without it. Through The Collective, I have met some of my closest friends and made some of my best college memories.

Faith - After being forced to stop dancing because of covid, I came to Pace desperate to find a way to start dancing again. I stumbled upon the club through instagram and I was really intrigued by the environment of the classes and the low-stakes of it all. The Collective revived my love for dance and it continues to serve as my outlet.

Nola - A friend of mine initially told me about The Collective. I took one class and I was hooked! It was so nice to get to dance with people who were like me, looking for a place to dance after finishing highschool. There isn’t much of an outlet offered for dance at Pace so I was incredibly thankful to find The Collective!

Jace - One of my professors told me about The Collective and after one semester in the club I was eager to become more involved. The Collective provides a supportive and inclusive space for every dancer and I think this stood out to me the most.

Madison - A friend of mine who was attending Pace while I was still in my senior year of high school told me about the club, so when I committed to Pace, I was excited that I still had this outlet for dance. After taking a few classes, I knew I wanted to help the collective grow and become more.

Hannah - The moment I saw the Collective at the school club fair, I was instantly hooked. My first class was with Abbie Pace, one of the cofounders of The Collective, and I found out we had a similar interest in a convention we went to growing up. I started to go to more classes and realized that a lot of the dancers have had the same experience as I, which made me feel connected to a community at Pace.

The Collective seems to bring a lot of people together from all different avenues of life. What is your favorite part about being involved of this club?

Kendall - I love how The Collective provides a judgment free zone for those wanting to explore dance. Everyone is so positive and the energy in the studio is truly like no other class I have been to. Everyone is there to support and lift up one another, which is something I value highly.

Faith - My favorite part is the sense of community it has provided for me. I have met some of my closest friends because of this club and the uplifting environment that’s present at all of the classes is something I always relish in.

Nola - My favorite part has definitely got to be talking and dancing with new people every class. I feel like every class I’ve managed to meet some amazing people at Pace that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It’s a community that goes beyond just a dance class.

Jace - My favorite part of The Collective is the platform that it gives us. I think it is so cool how we are able to choreograph our own pieces and just share our creativity with a genuine family of friends.

Madison - I love giving others the chance to perform again, or even just to be able to take classes! Not many school dance clubs are able to offer consistent and new classes and I hope we continue to be able to provide more, especially since this school is filled with talent!

Hannah - Being in a city immersed in talented artistry, can sometimes be intimidating. The Collective provides dancers to express their passion and love for the art of dance, without any pressure or judgment. Being able to cultivate a community that creates this environment is why I continue working and expanding this organization.

Now, do you need to have any dance experience to come take a class?

There is no dance experience needed to be part of The Collective! We want to make sure that everybody feels welcome to come and dance with us - no experience necessary.

Do the classes that The Collective hosts cost anything to attend?

Our weekly classes have no cost, but we are planning to have a master class with a Broadway Dance Center Teacher which will have a price that is cheaper than a class at Broadway Dance Center would be.

More often than not, The Collective’s classes are taught by fellow students. If someone were to want to teach a dance class, how would they go about inquiring on that?

We have a link tree on our Instagram that takes you to the Google Form titled “Teaching Interest Form”! Anyone is welcome to sign up, however, we do have limited spaces so we try to be as fair as possible when it comes to rotating with styles!

Besides attending classes, what are some other ways students can get involved with The Collective? (ie: attend meetings, check out social media, etc.)

We have a Spring Showcase that will be held in April! Again, it is open to anyone who wishes to sign up! Even if you do not wish to dance, we have backstage and technical opportunities for those interested in working lighting, staging, etc. We keep our instagram updated with other performance opportunities for our club members that will happen throughout the year. Besides performing, we are also working on other big events, such as master classes with professional performers and are open to taking suggestions.

Personally, whenever I attend a class that is hosted by The Collective, I have so much fun and feel so safe! What do you hope that The Collective can do for people who may be a bit nervous to go to a dance class?

We want to remind everyone that we are a community! Everyone has different experiences with dance and we want anyone who joins to feel comfortable and a part of something.

We want our club to pose as a safe place where people feel free to express themselves in any way they wish to. There are no expectations, no judgment, and no stakes involved with The Collective!

If someone does want to take a class with The Collective, how do they sign up for one?

Join our Band! It is a new app that we are using to keep track of all of our classes, events, and where we post all of our class photos and videos. The link is in our Instagram bio (@thecollectiveatpace).

One final question before we wrap up: what do you guys have planned for the future of The Collective? (ie: showcases, different performances, etc.)

We have a showcase planned for the Spring! And, as mentioned before, we are currently trying to plan a masterclass with a Broadway Dance Center teacher in order to connect members of The Collective with outside teachers and allow them to have that experience. We are also trying to plan a few collaborations with other Pace Clubs to expand our outreach and form connections with other organizations!

If you’re interested in getting involved with The Collective, check out the their links below!

Written and Interviewed by Ashley Lavalle

Photography by Ayush Gupta

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