Make It Your Own
Blossom Barrett, founder of Kenyon's dance team, remembers asking admissions dean Jennifer Britz about student groups that performed during half-time shows. To her surprise, there weren't any.
"I was like, what? not even a pep band?" recalls Barrett, a member of the Class of 2008. "And Jennifer told me: 'If you want it, you can make it.'"
And so she did. When Kenyon students want to see a new campus club, they just go ahead and create it, just like that. Barrett rounded up a few dancers. After applying for funding, getting approval from the basketball team, and choreographing a new half-time show, the Lovely Ladies were ready for a performance.
Ladies? Don't think "demure." Ladies and Lords are the names of Kenyon's athletic teams, a nod to the British nobles whose financial support helped the College establish itself in 1824. At Kenyon, "ladies" implies skill, strength, sweat, and spirit.
Two years after the dance team made its debut, the eight-member group includes dance majors, former high-school cheerleaders, and students whose previous dance experience was limited to the basement of Old Kenyon. "We're open to anyone who wants to have a good time and can hold steady to the beat," Barrett says. Members collaborate on choreography, so their routines incorporate a broad range of dance styles. They're still something of a novelty on campus, but they do have an enthusiastic fan base.
A double major in drama and history, Barrett enjoys getting involved in campus life. She has been a student manager of the Snowden Multicultural Center, a mentor for the REACH program, a peer advisor in the Office of International Education, a discrimination advisor, and an actress in campus productions.
The dance group isn't about audience size so much as the process of performance, she says. "When the team went out for our first half-time show, I thought, 'This is our group, our dance. We made this.' It was a thrill to share something that was totally our own."