Dance club keeps moving year after creation

Published 2011-08-29T19:39:00Z”/>


Michaela Boggan

Through dance, one can express emotions of pain, joy and anger, but for many student dancers, this outlet was lost in fall 2009 when the Chico Dance Theatre program was cut.

Amanda Tempest, Tory Taylor, Jillian Tustin and Kim Baker were left with only one option, and that was to keep dance alive. In spring 2010, they created a club of their own, called Momentum, to take the place of the Chico Dance Theatre.

Momentum is a student-run club on campus that gives dancers of all levels the chance to share their eagerness to learn and passion for dance in an end-of-the-semester showcase, said Tempest, a senior graphic design major. The club is looking to expand and is holding auditions Friday.

The main purpose of Momentum is to continue helping students grow as choreographers, dancers and leaders, Tempest said.

“You can’t do that if you don’t get on the floor,” she said.

The decision to cut Chico Dance Theatre came down to dividing the core classes from the production programs, said Sue Pate, chair of the theatre department.

“We all would love to be teaching more dance, but at least we still offer technique classes,” Pate said.

Tempest was initially unsure how popular Momentum would be since it was a new club on campus. She still remembers the club’s first show for the community at the Bell Memorial Union in May 2010.

She didn’t think anyone would come, but as she stepped onto the stage to greet the audience, she saw the seats filled, audience members standing and people still being welcomed through the doorways, Tempest said.

“The success of the club has kept dance alive on campus,” she said.

Momentum is going into its fourth semester and members are excited to see new and returning dancers, said Sarah Rupley, a junior liberal studies major and president of Momentum.

In the past, Momentum has had 65 dancers and will hopefully continue to grow, she said.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to do something that they love,” Rupley said.

Momentum has been open to all students in the past, but it has been difficult for those that don’t attend Chico State to get involved, because practice was held in the Wildcat Recreation Center, she said.

This semester, students from Chico State and Butte College can participate, because practices will be held in Acker Gym, Rupley said.

“People say you can’t make everyone happy, but I really do try to understand and accommodate to their needs,” she said.

Momentum offers opportunities such as being able to dance at a low cost, she said.

The club requires a $15 fee, which goes toward a club shirt. There are also fundraisers that help pay for vendors, stage managers and lighting crews during the showcase, she said.

To many students, one of Momentum’s most appealing aspects is that it gives students the chance to choreograph a piece for the showcase, Rupley said.

Stephanie Sherdel, a junior liberal studies major, has been a part of the club since the start and has choreographed for three semesters.

She has been dancing for eight years and has done many styles but did not have the courage to share her passion for choreography until she started with Momentum, Sherdel said.

Because Momentum is a club, she felt there was less pressure, and it was more of a learning experience, she said.

“I really enjoy it now, and I can’t imagine not choreographing for the show,” Sherdel said.

Being able to share her pieces and get feedback from the dancers and the community has helped her become confident about her choreography, she said.

She has the opportunity to teach all different levels of dance and it has impacted the way she views the art, Sherdel said.

“It is the best thing to see people grow and really want to learn how to dance,” she said.

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<strong>Michaela Boggan can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>


  1. Momentum Dancers