Dance dynamics: UB club offers a variety of dance classes open to anyone


Marissa Smith always had a passion for dancing, but because she is a health and human sciences major, she couldn’t take academic dance classes at UB.

Academic dance classes at UB are not open to students who are not dance or theater majors. Students who start their college careers and do not major in dance often give up a lifelong hobby.

That was until Impulse Dance was formed.

Impulse Dance is a student-run club that offers dance classes for people of all majors and skill levels.

Impulse Dance was formed in 2004 and offers classes of different styles, including jazz, lyrical, tap, hip-hop and ballet. Students are the choreographers. The dance routines taught in class are featured in a showcase held at the end of fall and spring semesters for friends and families.

“Most people who are in the club are people who have been in dance studios since the time that they could walk,” said Smith, president of Impulse. “This is an opportunity for people to extend on that experience of dance studios but in a much more relaxed [way].”

Smith said having students as choreographers adds to the fun and laid-back environment.

“We’re all learning how to do things. When I started choreographing for Impulse, I’d never choreographed a large group piece and set it myself. So you’re exchanging ideas [with students] and it’s almost a collaborative effort,” Smith said.

The club encourages students interested in choreographing unique styles of dance to get involved. Impulse is always looking for new genres of dance that are not found in the typical dance studio setting. In the past, the club has offered classes in belly-dancing and South African dance.

Choreographers do not need experience to teach their own class. Those who are interested in choreographing have to let the board members know at the informational meetings in the beginning of the semester.

The club will then figure out a class for new choreographers to teach. There is no auditioning process or interviewing; auditions are only necessary for the advanced classes, which require both choreographer and student auditions.

For general dance classes, nobody is required to audition. The classes are open to teach and take by anyone interested.

Elise Martin, choreographer and former club president, said if it weren’t for Impulse, she wouldn’t have come to UB for college. She decided to get her degree at UB because giving up her passion for dance was not an option and there was a dance club here.

Martin, a biomedical engineering major, has been a member of the club for seven years. She has been choreographing since her second semester at UB, where she fell in love with the art form.

“I was president of the club my senior year,” Martin said. “Before I stepped up there was only 25 members, but now there’s over 70. When there were less members I didn’t really feel like Impulse was a real club. But now that we have more members and we’re holding more events I think we’re a real functioning club.”

Liz Schlent, a freshman biomedical science major, takes two Impulse classes a week. She was a dancer up until she went to high school, but missed being in the studio.

When she came to UB and heard about Impulse, she decided to take some classes just for fun.

“Impulse is a great way to get involved in campus,” Schlent said. “It’s less competitive than dancing at a normal studio and many people are taking it just for fun.”

There is a variety of skill levels in every class and some people have never taken dance before, which makes this club a stress-free way for people to come and dance together.

Impulse holds social events throughout the year and takes part in many community service opportunities. The club recently donated baby clothes to the Harvest House and participated in the crisis services drive through at UB.

Smith said that as president, her top priority is to get members more involved in making decisions for the club because that is something that she wishes she could have done as a member.

Miranda Albini is a staff writer and can be reached at