Introducing cultures through new dance classes

Country-western and iconic folk dance classes now offered on campus


Adjunct Lecturer in Humanities and dace instructor Jane Blum teaching her class some moves from the Hokey Pokey. Photo by Tessa Arnold

Tessa Arnold, Staff Reporter

Jane Blum has been teaching dance classes at IU Southeast for 17 years. For 16 and a half of those years she has been teaching Ballroom dance, but this semester she is branching out into new areas of dance.

First time for everything

For the first time Blum has introduced her country western line dance and iconic folk-dance class, starting this semester.

Blum’s new class is held on Wednesdays from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. In just one class period they covered the Cupid Shuffle, Electric Slide, the Hustle, the Hokey Pokey and Achy Breaky Heart dance moves.

“It’s just starting so I don’t think very many people know about it, that’s kind of an unfortunate thing because I would like twice as many people than I have in here. I’m hoping by next semester as the momentum grows for this that I’ll have more people in here,” Blum said.

Variety of Cultures

The plan for the rest of the semester involves a sequence of international folk dances starting with Eastern, Western and Central Europe, then moving to the Middle East, then far east and Asia.

“I include a Lebanese dance and an Indian dance because I want to give a nod to various cultures, we’ve got an English dance, a Plesimur from the middle east and an Israeli dance,” Blum said. “I like to pick the more popular songs for things that people have already heard.”

“All of these dance moves have significance, that’s why I chose them. They’re iconic for a reason and they will last forever.”

— Jane Blum, dance instructor

Destiny Abell, a psychology senior, is taking Blum’s class for the first time. This is Abell’s last semester at IU Southeast and she has never taken a dance class before.

“It’s nice getting physical exercise while also earning a college credit,” Abell said.

Abell wanted to take ballroom dancing last semester but it conflicted with her school schedule. She said has enjoyed learning the more iconic dance moves and said the class makes her feel less guilty for not exercising regularly. Abell said she would definitely recommend this class to other students.

Future hopes for the class

This class is packed for the entire semester with dances students may already know, may be familiar with and dances they may not know exist.

“I want my students to just enjoy it, I don’t want them to feel terribly burdened or hassled by it, that’s the last thing I want,” Blum said. “I want them to enjoy what they’re learning.”

At the end of the semester, Blum’s students will choose one dance they would like to perform for their final and she will also  choose one. They also have online quizzes and Blum states that she is always willing to work with her students and practice with them outside of class as well.

“I enjoy the challenge this new class material gives my students. We talk about education being useful and this will give them something they can relate it to,” Blum said.