Another in the UniLife clubs series. For this article I decided to come along to a meeting of the club. I had no recording device and had not yet learnt shorthand, so this slowed down the interviews as I was writing down responses in a mixture of my own shorthand and longhand. I had to write the article that night before memories of quotes became hazy.
Following the thundering music into a City-East basement would lead you to one of the only places on a Friday night to see quality dancing; the UniLife Freestyle Dance Club.
While many are out at pubs and clubs vaguely trying to copy that one guy who’s got some moves, members of the Freestyle Dance Club are learning styles and manoeuvres from each other. There are no set lessons, with other members sharing their knowledge on a one-on-one or small group basis.
The club was started by Tien Pham last year to give his dance crew a place to train, and he opened the club to everyone after other students started showing interest. There are now around thirty members, with people coming and going throughout the night.
The first few weeks at the club teach the basics, and after that people are free to be as involved as they want. Some prefer to put headphones on and do their own thing; others spend their time teaching or being taught.
Arlen is a first year Visual Communications student and became involved after meeting one of the club members during orientation.
“I decided that I wanted to do something. Some physical activity at the end of the week.”
The reasons for people joining differ from member to member. Trieu, still in high school, became involved through his brother and sees it as an exciting way to get fit. Many members were like Arlen and became interested after seeing the club on orientation day. Meg, a second year Nanotechnology student at Flinders, probably has the best story on how she got involved.
“I went to HQ and my friend thought it would be funny to push me into one of the (dance) battles. They though I was ok and asked me to come along to the next training.”
Meg has been there for about a year and is now training others. She has a background in dance, and doesn’t feel intimidated by a mostly male membership because “none of them can do what I do.”
When asked whether she sees any of the members outside of their Friday meetings she points to the only shirtless person in the room and says “well I’m dating that one.”
The Freestyle Dance Club offers training on two types of dance, popping, which is like doing ‘the robot’ but looks better, and ‘b-boying’, also known as breakdancing.
Organiser and clear leader of the club, Tien Pham, is in his final year of Physiotherapy and will continue to be involved once he graduates. For him the year-round weekly meetings have the secondary advantage of applying to his course, but he can see why the members, including many international students, get involved.
“It’s another avenue for them to release their stress and have fun.”