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The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

In the Spotlight: An Interview with Clark’s Dance Society

A Dance Society performance in the Daniels Theater. Photo by Natalie Hoang ’25.

Last year, amid the final stretch of the 2023 fall semester, I had the opportunity to interview the co-directors of Clark’s Dance Society, Ellie Karabetsos ’25 and Wynnie Gross ’24 to gain insight into the world of dance at Clark. Now, as we wait for the curtains to open on this year’s performances, this interview highlights the incredible dedication, passion and hard work already taking place behind the scenes.

Karabetsos and Gross were each introduced to dance at a young age and developed a steadfast passion that eventually led them to cross paths at Clark. Reflecting on the beginning of her dance career, Karabetsos said, “I started dancing when I was two or three, and I danced because I would always try to join my older sister’s dance classes. I love the emotional expression that dance gives. It sounds cheesy, but when I am dancing, I do not have to worry about anything else that is going on in my life.” 

“I started dancing when I was two,” said Gross. “My mom put me in dance classes because, at all my little league soccer games, I used to ask my coach to be subbed out so I could stand on the sidelines and be a cheerleader and spin around,” she said. Gross has been dancing ever since. “I have met my best friends through dance, and it really is a strong, tight-knit community. It makes me feel at home.”

As an expressive outlet that fostered positive relationships, dance quickly grew from a childhood hobby to a dedicated craft, following Karabetsos and Gross into college. In their first semester at Clark, both auditioned for Dance Society, Clark’s oldest dance group. Dance Society members perform in a variety of styles, including contemporary, jazz, tap and modern. 

As co-directors of the club, Karabetsos and Gross organize and oversee practices and performances. Though the pair lead most choreography, they noted that each performance is a collaborative effort.

“After their first semester on the team, any member can choose to choreograph a dance and other dancers can choose to sign up for it,” said Karabetsos. With each member bringing their own flair to each performance, each of Dance Society’s routines are colorful and unique.

A combined performance from Dance Society and Variant Dance Troupe. Photo by Natalie Hoang ’25.

The group practices weekly to prepare for their shows. Dance Society puts on one performance per semester. The fall show is always a collaboration with Clark’s Variant Dance Troupe, said Karabetsos, because of the groups’ overlapping styles. Many of the groups intersect, too, because their members participate in multiple dance teams. This makes Clark’s dance community supportive and tightly-knit, according to Karabetsos. 

Gross and Karabetsos are also members of Hip Hop Collabo. “It’s really cool how all of the groups overlap with one another in terms of members,” said Gross. As a dancer, Gross especially appreciates how celebrated the art form is at Clark, especially through the International Gala. “The dancers on campus really get excited about it,” she said of Gala.

Even with so many of Clark’s dance groups working well together, Gross and Karabetsos share a gratitude for always having the smaller Dance Society community to return to. “Everyone enters the dance space and knows it is safe, and we all lean on each other a lot for support,” said Gross. Karabetsos said that she met many of her closest friends through the club.

The support among members that Karabetsos and Gross acknowledged is vital to the success and well-being of the group, especially given the challenge of balancing dance with classes, work and other obligations. To illustrate the time commitment of the Dance Society, Gross outlined their typical weekly schedule. 

“Dance Society has one main two-to-three-hour practice on Mondays to go over announcements, stretch, and condition, and then work on our main dance that everyone is in. Then, each choreographer that semester has an hour-long additional practice for the people who want to be in that dance throughout the week. So, if you are in a lot of the dances, you practice many hours a week,” she said.

The ability for members to sign up for as many or as few dances as they like allows everyone to create a schedule that accommodates their other responsibilities, helping to relieve the stress of prioritizing. And while Gross admitted that balancing dance with school can be difficult, she explained that the group looks out for one another and helps each other stay on track with schoolwork so they can successfully show up to each space they occupy, whether it be the stage or the classroom. 

Overall, the performances that the Dance Society puts on each semester for us are products of incredible passion, commitment, community and collaboration. As an audience member or onlooker, it is important to acknowledge all that goes into these performances so we can better appreciate the performers and the beautiful art they share with us.



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