When I made the decision to pursue academics instead of performing arts, I was anxious that my days of performing were behind me. I wasn’t sure what options there were for me to continue dancing while keeping up with school. Luckily, U of T has extracurriculars that cater to almost any interest you can imagine, and I was able to find a variety of ways that I could keep my love of performance alive. In this post, I’m going to focus on a few things I did specifically during first year, however there are a ton of options that I haven’t listed here, and I would recommend doing a bit of digging to find clubs, teams, or classes that suit your needs.
Vic Dance – University Clubs/Teams
Vic Dance is a non-competitive dance team run through Victoria College. They are open to members from all colleges, and from a variety of experience levels. The team is student run, and they hold a show once a year for friends and family to come watch.
My experience on Vic Dance has been really wonderful. We met once or twice a week from October to March, and we put on a performance just before spring exams. Members of the team are given the opportunity to choreograph routines for the show, and the performance culminates with “mash up”, where each team member gets to create a part of the finale. Being a part of the team showed me that I could find a group that matched my needs in terms of time commitment, ability level, and desire to perform!
Check them out here: @vicdanceuoft
Sports and Rec. Barre Classes – Student Benefits
U of T Sports and Recreation runs Barre classes four times a week, and the schedule can be found on the Sports and Rec website. Many Sports and Rec programs, including Barre classes, are free to current U of T students. I highly recommend taking advantage of the facilities and programs available to you as a U of T student. I took Barre classes in first year to remain active and keep up some level of dance technique, and I found them super fun! In addition to the free Barre classes, there are also free Cardio Dance, Pilates, and Yoga classes, which might appeal to dancers as fun and familiar ways to exercise.
National Ballet Drop in Classes – The City is Your Campus
As a U of T student, the city is your campus. There is a vibrant arts scene in Toronto, and a wide variety of places to take dance classes from. I tried the National Ballet’s drop in classes last year, and really enjoyed them. They offer a variety of different classes, but ballet is obviously the focus. The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable, and taking class from them is a wonderful experience. Not many people get the chance to dance in the studios of one of the worlds top ballet companies, so I highly recommend seizing the opportunity. The flexible nature of drop in classes means that you can fit them easily into your schedule, and there is no long term commitment, which makes them perfect for students.
Long story short, there are a lot of great resources available to U of T students, either through the University or simply by being located in a major city. Don’t be afraid to get out there and try new things, and experiment until you find what works for you and your needs. It can be daunting with so many options out there, but a quick google search of your area of interest + U of T or Toronto should help you get started!
Good Luck and Have Fun,