Last night I realized what I had been missing during my entire first year at St. Kate’s: dancing my heart out until I’m too tired to continue! After the much-awaited International Potluck, many remained for the after party. It was so joyful to dance and celebrate with other wonderful St. Kate’s students, under the purple and pink lights, on the floor of the Rauenhorst Ballroom.
There are very few chances at St. Kate’s to go out and dance with your friends while staying on campus. My friends Kingsley Zheng and Amy Li, two Chinese exchange students here for the semester, hadn’t had the chance to go to a party or even just dance until the night of the annual International Potluck. It was truly a shame. While the college experience is, on top of all things, about studying and advancing your skills (and staying up really late at night to finish your overdue essay), it should also be about putting yourself out there on the dance floor and seeing the experience of what it’s like to dance and party with other college students.
During my first semester at St. Kate’s, I felt very alone. I didn’t live on campus, and most weeks I would just come to the campus to attend class and then leave immediately because I didn’t have any friends to chat with or people to see. I wish there had been a way to fill up my weekends and make friends with other people from St. Kate’s so that I felt a stronger connection to being here and wanted to stay more often. I thought in college I would be going out more and having a communal experience with other St. Kate’s students. Having a Friday night dance just for the reason of dancing would’ve been really exciting.
In reality, the options for going out dancing when you’re under 21 are pretty bleak. I’ve had many Friday nights researching the clubs that bring other college students together, when I really just want to dance with my other St. Kate’s friends. I definitely feel the most at ease and comfortable dancing around with students from St. Kate’s. Also, I’ve found that the act of dancing has the power to bring people together more than anything else.
Most of the alternatives to go for dancing include adults that are much, much older than college age, or are very specialized forms of dancing that most aren’t familiar with. Most of the time, I don’t really feel like being the only young person at a contra dancing gathering. “What’s contra dancing?” you might ask. I didn’t know until I had exhausted all the other options from my Google search of ‘Best places to dance in the Twin Cities’, and ended up with a very specialized folk dance that consists of long lines of couples that switch up and down as the dance goes on. I’ve never taken the chance on it.
Going to other 18+ clubs in the Twin Cities has been an alright experience, but the unwanted attention and looks from strangers can be very uncomfortable.
St. Kate’s is, for the most part, a safer and more inclusive space than you would find in most other clubs or college spaces. With Queer Prom, St. Kate’s was able to offer a safe space for LGBTQ students to dance and come together.
Dancing with other St. Kate’s students, for me, has been a place where I don’t have to worry about unwanted attention or embarrassment. I’m not sure where to find such a supportive space anywhere else in the Twin Cities. And, it would be a great way of meeting new people and having something to do on Friday nights. Regular dances at St. Kate’s would better the “college experience” that students on our campus deserve, and give us an excuse to look and feel cute with our friends by our sides.