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Being a dancer at Emmanuel is not as easy as many may think.
“We rehearse in here two hours a week, but we normally get kicked out by study groups,” a junior student revealed to me during her dance practice in St. Joe’s basement.
She’s a student choreographer for the COF Dance Project, and says she has no choice but to meet in the cramped common area. Since the renovation of the Administration Building, dance space has been hard to come by.
“My freshman year, we had the Emmanuel dance studio, and two at Simmons,” she said, packing up her shoes, clothes, and portable sound equipment. “Now, Simmons lost one of their studios and we all fight over the three hours a week EC students are given for their main studio. Scheduling’s a nightmare.”
Student choreographers aren’t the only ones struggling, either.
A fellow classmate on the EC Dance Team expressed frustration over their lack of practice space. She said that during their competition season, they have to leave campus for excessive amounts of time to practice, and get no recognition for the compromises they have made. Even worse, they’ve been told outright that no plans have been made to create a space for the team, which has won multiple awards and gained a copious amount of recognition for the school in the past years.
What’s worse? Both students that I spoke to specifically asked they remain anonymous for fear of backlash for complaining.
This lack of space has affected the entire Colleges of the Fenway. There are three for-credit dance/movement classes for Emmanuel, and multiple free dance classes for the COF Dance Project.
“Lack of space hasn’t affected enrollment, but the program has changed,” this student said. “Last semester, we only had six student-choreographed pieces; we usually have around 14. Many students were disappointed by the lack of space and quit. COF now uses space at Tudbury, a hall at Wentworth, and BodyScapes, a fitness area, but those spaces aren’t conducive to group work: there are no mirrors, dance floors, or sound systems.”
Clearly this is an issue that should be solved. However, numerous inquiries to both Emmanuel and Simmons administration have all received the same reply: at the moment, there is no foreseeable space being built for COF dancers.
“We’re hopeful – really, really, hopeful,” she said. “At the moment, we’re getting by.”
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