Why walk when you can dance?

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A dancer show off his skills.

Did you know dance is the only thing that spontaneously activates the neurons in your brain?

Or that dancers are known to be disciplined, focused and high achievers who tend to be successful students and hard workers?

“Dance is a window of yourself in a sense that you are able to express yourself,” said Valerie Gnassounou-Bynoe, or Ms. G as her students call her, the head dance instructor for Delta College’s Dance Department.

Gnassounou-Bynoe describes dance as a way of communicating with people. Someone can tell what someone else is feeling through dance.

The department offers a majority of classes where “people can find themselves.”

The classes include jazz, modern, ballet, choreography and more. For those starting out, there’s also a class called Intro to Dance.

The department is also planning to build the curriculum by adding African Caribbean, West African and Latin dance, in an attempt to relate to the diversity of the college.

“I’m taking modern dance and ballet,” said Jose Razo, a student in the dance program.
“It’s really fun and really creative. I’m really happy I have something to look forward  to every day.”

Razo compares dancing to doing homework: you need to work on it every day to get better.

“It’s really fun and there’s nothing to be scared of and you’re going to learn a lot. Dancing is excellent exercise and you get to express yourself.”

Adrienna Ulang, who acts as Gnassounou-Bynoe’s reader and assistant started dancing at age 6, but it wasn’t until she came to Delta when she decided this was the path she wanted to follow.

“I can tell a story with my movement, I can express how I’m feeling with my movement. Because sometimes a lot of people aren’t really good with words or even writing on paper. Dance gives us another option of expression.” said Ulang. “Coming here to Delta and seeing how hard Ms. G works, I realized that’s what I wanted to do and that this is my passion.”

If one is not sure about taking a dance class, the department also offers a production class.

The production class is a class where you don’t have to know how to dance to be part of the show, said Gnassounou-Bynoe. In the production class students can work on hair, makeup, costuming, sewing, video,  marketing and basically everything needed to put on a show.

Dance students will perform at “The Gospel Extravaganza” on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Atherton Auditorium on the Delta Campus. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Questions about the department or performances can go to Gnassounou-Bynoe at (209) 954-5273 or vgnassounou-bynoe@deltacollege.edu.