UNO offers free dance class to students

Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

Jeff Turner

There’s a lot that goes into dancing. Technique is far more important than the average person gyrating at a night club might think. There’s a lot predicated on reading your partner, understanding them, considering them.

Like many fields, the practical lessons a student would gain are taught abstractly. A student could learn a lot on how to conduct relationships, on how to think and move quickly and how to communicate, all from dancing.

University of Nebraska at Omaha offers a free class in dance Monday nights from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The class is not taught callously; these two hours are similar to taking a dance class in the dance program.

Every session focuses on a different style of dancing. Each different style is complex, and the faculty advisor Marty Hebert goes through it step by step without condescension and
with plenty of enthusiasm.

There’s a nice sens of candor between students. Due to the fact that partners rotate, by the time the session is over, everyone will have danced with each other. It is easy for one to make banter, and even befriend fellow dancers. It’s a calm environment, a fun environment and a nonjudgmental one at that. There’s no pressure.

While Hebert is a pro, as are also all of the people helping run the club and a small minority of the students taking the class, but most are novice, and plenty are beginners. There is plenty of camaraderie for students new to dance to find.

Classes such as this are not available everywhere. Creighton doesn’t offer it for free. Doane doesn’t either. University of Nebraska-Lincoln doesn’t even offer it for free. Despite this, the people running these meetings want to welcome in as many as possible. There’s no push to be “exclusive.”

There are even opportunities to win amenities for students who bring friends. There is a raffle, and for every extra person students brings in to participate, they get their name added into the raffle.

This whole group was started because a few students thought it would be good idea and took the initiative to file the necessary paperwork. All it takes is an idea and paperwork.

“I had done recreation classes on campus since about ’88 or ’89 and some of my recreation students wanted to start a club so they filed the paperwork and became an organization on campus,” Hebert said. “We were originally using other spaces around campus.”

The class now has a fixed weekly location and time, which Hebert said has helped increased attendance.

“We use the dance lab here; we meet regularly,” Hebert said. “We’ve done different things at different times, but for the past several semesters it has been Monday at 8:30.”

Meetings are Mondays 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at HPER in room 228. Lessons are followed by an hour allowed of free.