By Angelica Coleman
More than 70 grade school students from the Boston area participated in dance workshops at Simmons on Nov. 18th, as part of a field trip organized by Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) with help from members of the Simmons College Dance Company (SCDC).
“It really empowered me to see these girls so engaged in expressing themselves through dance,” said junior Kelly Sweeney, a SCDC choreographer. “They really embraced their individuality by adding their own style to what we choreographed.”
The SWSG field trip event consisted of three separate workshops focused in theatre, writing, and dance, which the girls could rotate through in smaller groups. The day culminated with a “dance party,” where all the students came together to showcase what they learned in the dance workshops.
According to senior Felicie Carroll, the SWSG field trip coordinator, this event offers the girls a chance to see the college environment of their mentors, and to engage with other students and mentors in a large group.
“The girls had such a positive energy from the beginning,” said junior Erin Lawrence, a SCDC choreographer. “We were nervous that they would be hesitant to dance with us, but they turned out to be very enthusiastic.”
Carroll expressed her appreciation for SCDC’s willingness to collaborate on this event. “The dance workshop offers a great way for Simmons student mentors to bond with the girls in a more fun and relaxed way,” she said. “Here, they get to dance around and have fun, which is a little different than their usual mentoring sessions on site.”
Sweeney and Lawrence both feel that the goals of SWSG align well with the values of SCDC. They believe both organizations are committed to the idea of women’s empowerment, and both recognize the role that movement can play in developing strength, independence and self-expression.
As next year’s co-presidents of SCDC, Sweeney and Lawrence look forward to continuing and expanding the company’s involvement with SWSG. “We would love to have more company members participate in events like this, and maybe even send dancers to the school sites,” said Sweeney.
At the end of the day, the girls showed their appreciation to the SCDC members by teaching them their official SWSG cheer: “I am strong, I am proud, I am not afraid to shout out loud!”
The Simmons chapter of SWSG sends mentors to schools in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain to work with third through fifth grade girls, with each Simmons member mentoring a couple of students.
Carroll shared her thoughts on how she would like to see SWSG at Simmons develop in the future. “I would love to see the organization expand, both in terms of diversity and the number of Greater Boston schools we are able to interact with,” she said.
“This starts with increasing involvement in SWSG at Simmons, and collaboration between organizations is a great way to start achieving those goals,” Carroll added.