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Recreation Center brings new hip-hop dance class to SEMO
The Recreation Center at Southeast Missouri State University offers many ways for students and staff to get active. The hip-hop dance class is one recently added to the Rec Center.
Shani Ray, a junior at Southeast, is the instructor for the class. She said she has always had a soft spot for dancing and plans to own a dance studio someday.
“Dance has always been a passion, and teaching dance makes me love it even more,” Ray said. “I started dancing competitively when I was four years old at Metro Sports, a gym in Illinois.”
The students in the first class she taught were friends she made around campus. Ray advertised her dance class throughout the campus in places she thought most students would look.
“I was nervous especially since it was my first dance class at SEMO, but seeing familiar faces was comforting,” Ray said.
Southeast senior Darren A. Williams Jr. said he found out about the class through Ray’s efforts promoting the class.
“Shani and I are really good friends, so of course I was going to go to her dance class,” Williams said.
The support Shani is getting from her peers and other students is due to her creating a welcoming and fun environment.
Williams said Ray is a great dance instructor because she makes sure her students understand the dance step-by-step before moving to another part of the routine.
Ray practices her routine repeatedly throughout the week. Her classes are offered every Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:20 p.m.
Ronald Wilkerson, a sophomore at Southeast, said he doesn’t mind embarrassing himself if it means he can be with friends every Wednesday.
“I just like jumping around and being goofy when beat drops on the song,” Wilkerson said.
The purpose of the class is to get students involved with others and learn other dance routines from the ones they find scrolling through TikTok.
“Repetition is key. I like to go over the dance as many times as the students need just in case they forget certain parts in the routine,” Ray said. “The class is open to anyone who is interested in learning new hip-hop moves to current upbeat songs.”
Her goal is to challenge herself to make new dance routines weekly, and with the help of her peers, she said she will stay motivated.