Spring Class Spotlight: DANC 188a

December 23, 2016

For any university student that wants to explore International Standard, International Latin, and American Style ballroom dances, DANC 188a with Professor Jay Fuentes “emphasiz[es] partner connection, communication, and creativity, with the practical application of dance within a social setting.” No experience is necessary; this two-unit course introduces ballroom dance to all levels. We asked Professor Fuentes a little bit more about it in the questions that follow.

Who is this class for? What types of people/audiences would enjoy learning this material?

JF: This class is designed for non-majors, however it is fast-paced, and I cover a lot of material. I challenge students with moves that are probably too advanced to teach beginners, but once I break it down it becomes clear. I was a student at USC myself, and I know how manic it can be. I see my class as a haven where students can forget about their overwhelming day and enjoy moving and learning something new, all while having fun.

What is the most important thing that a student in this class would learn?

JF: I think most students are surprised by the life lessons this class teaches. Partner dancing requires a different set of skills because it is centered on the idea of a two people working together (which in itself can be a challenge). It also allows for discovery of interpersonal skills, interests, socializing and expression.

What’s the most fun and/or cool part of this class?

JF: It’s hard to pick out what aspect or what dance is the most fun, but the two most popular are Swing and Salsa. When a student discovers they can dance, they discover they can in all fields.

When is this class? Is it open to majors, minors, or all university students?

JF: Fortunately this class is open to all university students. It is offered three times on Monday and Wednesday and once on Tuesday and Thursday. There is also a B level for those who have already have a developed sense of ballroom. Here we focus on the technique, style, frame, advanced steps and choreography.

Do you have a fun anecdote from previous semesters of this class? If so, would you mind sharing it with us?

JF: As a 24-year veteran of teaching at USC, I have come to recognize that each semester–each class accrues organically–is different for each individual. I try to stay topical to make them laugh–I have been known to throw myself on the floor to make a point. My classes are current and fluid with social aspects that bring the students together through dance and every field of interest they pursue.

Read more about DANC 188a on the USC Schedule of Classes.