Some FAMU dance organizations are out of control

Photo Submittes by Kylii Clay.

Many organizations on campus, such as dance troupes, take themselves very seriously. New members are considered to be “on-line.” It may look easy enough, but there is much more than what meets the eye.

On-line is the same terminology that Greek organizations use to refer to their neophytes. A term used to refer to a new member of the National Pan-Hellenic council association who has not paid their dues.

A neophyte’s time on line can be onerous. While the difficulty of the process is not expressed verbally, we all have some idea of what goes on. My father, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, has stated that his process was one of physical and mental challenges that required him and his brothers to think outside the box.

My question is, why put people through a similar process if they are trying to express themselves and pursue a form of art? The roots of both a dance organization and Greek organization are contrasting: one was started for the purpose of self-expression, while the other began as a response to racism and exclusion.

Black Greek life was created a century ago, while many of the dance organizations are fairly new in comparison. The purpose of organizations are to expand your connections with people, pursue a common interest, and make memories, not test your limits to see how you will go to prove yourself. Some people are fully willing to prove themselves, however these dance organizations run the risk of losing prospective members with their “methods and processes”.

I feel that if people want to dance, they should be able to do so without grueling workouts as punishment and late practices well past midnight.

The constant worry of messing up choreography in front of an audience is more than enough compensation.

 Prospective members should be able to audition, pay their dues and carry on as a member. There should not be a need to prove loyalty or commitment beyond the aim of the organization. The willingness to audition should be more than enough.

I have personally experienced the “process” with a dance organization, and I dropped out. The late practices were taking a toll on my grades and I didn’t appreciate the constant reminder that I was expendable.

I just wanted to dance, not be belittled and called out of my name at any given moment. I appreciate the experience and the friends I have made along the way, however, it was not worth the constant worry of making the wrong move or saying the wrong thing. It should have been about expressing a vision and empowering its members. That is what I dance for, it should be the reason others dance too.