Portland State students come to school to enhance and expand their academic skills, but they can also learn dance steps. Portland State offers a variety of dance classes for students to let loose. The one credit classes are offered Monday through Friday at various times. Students can learn moves from flamenco dance, Brazilian capoeria, Mexican folk, swing, belly dancing or even hip-hop.
Most dance classes are offered every term through the physical education department. There is a $41 dollar fee for locker room use in all dance classes.
The dance classes are for people of all shapes and sizes, said instructor Rachel Lidskog. Along with the shapes and sizes comes a variety of age groups. People who are old and small or young and tall have smiles on their faces during their dances.
Many of the instructors, such as Lidskog, have been dancing for many years. The swing, Latin and Argentine tango instructor has been teaching at Portland State for four years and dancing for 15.
Sitting in on the swing class brings a new perspective to one’s view on dancing. At the start of the class, Lidskog had the men and women separate; the men went to the lead side and the women to the other. This gave the students a chance to practice their steps on their own and not worry about bumping knees or stepping on toes. After practicing the new steps several times on their own, the guys and gals came together and put their new steps to use.
Working with a partner adds a few more complications, such as getting your partner to turn the way you want. But, with a few more tries together it’s time to add in some music.
Once the music starts, students begin to loosen. Some even start to ham it up, dancing their own made up steps while waiting for the class to get ready again. After each dance you can hear the laughs coming from the couples. When the class looks to have those steps down the music stops and it’s time for a few new steps and moves.
Karnes, a pre-dentistry student, is very glad she took the class.
“I needed another class and always wanted to learn swing,” Karnes said.
She isn’t alone. Partner and new swing student, Dominice Herrick was also looking to fill a credit and now wants to take more of the dance classes.
“I’ve only taken this one, but I want to take more of them now,” Herrick said.
Several of the students in the swing class have taken it more than once, some up to six times. Others, like freshman Elijah Olsen, have been leaning to swing since high school. Some of the students catch on faster than others, Lidskog said, but almost everyone enjoys it.
“We have a good time,” Lidskog said. “Sure it’s boy meets girl, but it’s still great fun. Dancing is one of the best forms of stress release.”
All dance classes are listed in the PSU Bulletin in the Physical Ed. section.