Dance Company looking for practice space

The Suffolk University Dance Company cannot seem to find a safe and appropriate space for practicing. Thus far they have had practice time in various facilities, but they believe it is time for a place of their own.

“Everywhere we’ve practiced has had a pole or a rug, or it’s been too small,” said junior Amber Zanella, captain of the team. “Nothing’s really been a good fit.”

The team is usually at their dance studio near NESAD until 9 p.m. on Sunday nights, and some girls have expressed worries about walking home. Sophomore Antjelina Newman said that biggest issue with walking home was the lack of confidence many girls felt. But Zanella believes there are more pressing issues, saying that most girls walk with their friends.

“The issue isn’t really walking home,” she said. “It’s hitting your arm on a pole.”

This year, the team has also had practice space at the Beacon Hill Athletic Club for two hours every Wednesday, but the space is too small.

The team is most interested in a place on campus that has mirrors, which they can all fit into comfortably, and that doesn’t have poles in the middle of the room. There are local dance studios in Boston, like the ballroom studio they practice in now, but they would prefer a place on campus.

“Ideally, we’d like a new place with Suffolk rather than other companies,” said Newman. “But I don’t know if that’s realistic.”

At a recent Trustee meeting with the Dean, attended by Newman and another member of the team, they discussed these issues of practice space.

“They seemed to be concerned [with this problem],” said Zanella. “This is the first time that I’ve even heard of them acknowledging that we have issues.”

However, she did admit that these issues weren’t vocalized. Newman was in agreement. “We’ve known,” she said. “But it hasn’t been talked about.”

Newman said that a proposal for funding has gone through, but she doesn’t know if it has even been considered. She acknowledged that the school’s budget is tight, saying that all of the dance groups needed more funding and space.

“We should have a space on campus that we all can have practice in,” Zanella explained, referring to the other dance teams at Suffolk. “You have to take what you can get; everyone wants the good rooms.”

The dance team has considered the Ridgeway gym, but has encountered difficulty on that front as well.

“It’s hard at Ridgeway because so many need gym time,” she said. When the team applied for a practice slot, they were given only two days at inconvenient times. However, Zanella expressed that it was not an ideal space.

“There are no mirrors, but those we can live without,” she continued. “Mostly, it’s because we can’t hear our music in the gym.”

This doesn’t mean that there is no space available. In the past few years, the team was allowed to practice every Wednesday in the Tremont basement. This year, any one team is not allowed to book the Tremont basement for more than eight times per semester, even if there is nothing going on at the time.

“A new space is necessary, and would be greatly appreciated,” Zanella added.

The biggest issue for the team is that of safety.  This fall semester, there was a pole in one of the studios they were practicing in. Zanella recalled that while one of the dancers was doing her routine, she threw her arm and it hit the pole. When she went to the hospital, she was told she had suffered nerve damage, and the arm was put in a sling.

Carpet is also a safety hazard. Newman told a story of two girls twisting their ankles while practicing in the basement of 150 Tremont.

“We want a space that we can keep up ourselves and make it safe,” said Newman. “It would be awesome if Suffolk would create a place; other teams could use it too.”

The team is hoping to get a handle on a place to practice in the near future, but they aren’t sure when or where it is possible.

“I don’t know of any current plans,” Newman said. “Just hope.”