Ramapo to offer dance classes in spring semester

Photo courtesy of Sandra Antognazzi

During the spring semester, tango and basic modern dance classes will be offered as four credit courses to students of all levels and experiences with dance.

Teaching as an adjunct dance faculty since 2002, Sandra Antognazzi has taught a wide range of students of different backgrounds. Dance classes are a natural extension for students who aim to be professional performers, but they are also an opportunity for students who want to learn a new art form.  

“Dance class is not just dance class,” said Antognazzi. “Yes, you will be learning a certain dance, but when you dance you are really in tune to who you are and it really pushes you to be connected with yourself and others.”

Students who have taken dance classes with Sandra Antognazzi in past semesters have told her that the benefits go far beyond learning dance moves and unique exercises. Walking away from the classes, students often say they feel more focused and strive to be more in the moment.

"The only class that I looked forward to coming to was modern dance. In this class I felt I belonged someplace,” said alumna Shadaji Williams. “Not only was this class helpful for the bettering of the individual, but also helpful for engaging with classmates and working as a team.”

Throughout semesters, Antognazzi observes her classes as students transform from acquaintances into tight-knit friend groups. Through dance, students learn to bond and connect with others easily, as they connect with their own bodies as well.

“Many tell me it’s a class where they can relax, they can calm down, focus on their breathing and connect to their bodies. For many it’s a journey to accepting and learning to love their bodies,” she said.

“I have had teachers in the past who would almost give up on certain students, but professor Antognazzi was extremely encouraging no matter how small the progress, which was extremely helpful,” said senior Lia Russo.

She added, “I know that most people in our class did not have much prior dance experience, so what she was able to create in our final dance was impressive and I am so thankful I got to be a part of that class.”

Originating in Buenos Aires, the tango is a cultural dance that has spread all over the world in only 100 years. In 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared tango as an intangible cultural heritage.

Modern dance began as a theatrical dance art form that originated in the United States and Germany over a hundred years ago. Modern dance emerged as a rejection of ballet when dancers desired to free their bodies by dancing in loose clothing.

“Both are art movements that have been around for about the same time, but very different as to where they were born,” she said. Although both dances have evolved into many different schools, both classes will explain the role history plays into the phenomena of the dances.

During the spring semester, modern dance will be taught Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:55 to 11:35 a.m. and the Tango I class will be held on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:50 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.