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Success of dance class prompts call for more staff activities

Thursday 4 February 2016 8:27pm

summer-dance-image
Happy participants in the Ōtākau Summer Dance Intensive for University Staff held during January.

A dance class held for University of Otago staff in January was so popular the organisers are looking to run similar classes throughout the year.

The Ōtākau Summer Dance Intensive for University Staff was hosted by the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences and taught by Senior Lecturer Ojeya Cruz Banks and teaching fellow Sofia Kalogeropoulou, both members of the Dance Studies team.

Dr Cruz Banks says 24 people signed for the week-long daily dance programme – more than the pair expected – so they decided to run two streams.

"The staff of Otago University need quality extracurricular activities … in the same way students do, to keep them feeling happy, involved, engaged and valued."
“Participants commented on how it provided a greater sense University community, on how fun it was, and that it was a quality extracurricular activity for University staff.”

She believes the giving the class the heading “for University Staff” helped encourage people who might otherwise have felt they were not dancers.

“The University staff dance class I think was inviting because it sent the message that the class was geared to them. Most people love to dance, but might have the barrier of intimidation or fear.”

Dr Cruz Banks says the School is looking to run more classes for University staff throughout the year, while the participants themselves would like to see a greater range of classes offered.

“The staff of Otago University need quality extracurricular activities such as the Summer Dance Intensive programme, in the same way students do, to keep them feeling happy, involved, engaged and valued,” said one.

Dr Cruz Banks says Ms Kalogeropoulou, who ran the dance class with her, did a “brilliant job”.

“She is part of the reason why the event was such a success. I also want to acknowledge the School and its Dean Professor Doug Booth for supporting such an enriching University community initiative that has the potential to grow and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our staff.”

Interested in getting involved?

Contact Ojeya Cruz Banks, Email: ojeya.cruzbanks@otago.ac.nz