A Veritable Supernova:

“Dancing With a Star” Classes at Campus Recreation Continue to Grow in Size and Popularity

One of the Latin and Ballroom dance courses, led by the prestigious dancer/teacher, Donatas Nacajus.

The Latin and Ballroom Dance classes, which are held at the Student Campus Recreation Center from early February until mid-April, have acquired a growing popularity and student fan base since their initial inception during the Spring of 2010, proving to be a positive alternative for students to spend their Thursday nights during the semester, while subsequently posing as a powerful marketing tool for the facility.  With the current sessions soon coming to a close, the students, under the guidance of professional dancer Donatas Nacajus, are preparing their final event on May 2nd, which includes free lessons at 8 P.M., followed by an open dance and dance performance. The event will be held inside of the Student Center Ballrooms, with music being provided by DJ Ridd Da Kidd.

Who is this “star” that has been able to procure such a solid student fan base? He is Lithuanian-born Donatas Nacajus, a dedicated ballroom dancer/teacher whose appetite for the art has been insatiable since the age of seven. Multifarious at the very least, Nacajus, apart from recently running classes at his studio in New York, as well as the Student Recreation Center, has been on a life-long quest to perfect his craft: he has travelled around the world for decades either to compete, coach, or be taught, usually by some of the most prestigious dancers known. His dedication to every aspect of his art form is salient through his teaching: students gain not only hands on dancing experience, but also some idiosyncratic knowledge that otherwise would be hard to obtain.  When asked what qualities he thought important to possess as a successful teacher as well as performer, Donatas replied: “Passion: in what you do…patience with yourself and others, and knowledge: knowing the history and evolution of dances helps facilitate better understanding”.

Carolyn Garrone, the Coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports at Campus Recreation, immediately jumped at the chance to book the classes last semester with the aforementioned Nacajus . “I’ve always liked watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’. One day I checked my voicemails and by chance Donatas called and asked about setting up a program here. I ran it by with Romayne (Director of Campus Recreation) and she thought it sounded like a great idea. A colleague and I then called in Donatas to give him a tour of the facility, and from there we started working on putting together the program. I’m very proud of how the class has progressed. At first it was difficult filling the classes, but this semester we surpassed our expectations!”

Ms. Garrone is not the only one who has been pleased with the classes; the students who have been attending have also felt very positive in general about their experiences, including Chantal Rivers: “I have met a great group of individuals whom I consider my friends while attending the Latin/Ballroom dance course(s)…we (the students) have the opportunity to meet, converse, dance and help each other progress in the course.”  This is not River’s first class: she has been to the ones offered in the past, and was quite emphatic in regards to the activities associated the program, including their outings to Club 412 in New York: a scene in which to show off their newly honed skills. They will be attending another event there on Saturday April 30th called Swing n Salsa.

 In regards to the final showcase, River’s commented: “Performing in front of my friends is extremely fun and I would not change a moment of the experience”. For those of you who have not considered becoming part of the “nebulae” forming at the Recreation Center’s dance classes, perhaps this final fun-filled event May 2nd at the Student Center will spark your interests!