Learning the Steps
Most students know Ed Kain as a sociology professor. But hundreds of students have also learned something else from Kain – dancing.
Kain has been teaching a Social Dance class off and on at Southwestern since 1987. The class is one of a variety of classes that students can take to satisfy their FRA (Fitness and Recreation) requirement.
This semester Kain has 76 students in the class, which meets every Monday and Wednesday afternoon in the Walzel Gym. While 76 students may sound like an enormous class by Southwestern standards, Kain has had as many as 110 students in the class − almost a tenth of the student body at the time.
“The Social Dance class is immensely popular, with double the enrollment of our other FRA classes,” says FRA Coordinator Hannah Long. “It is a great addition to what we offer students and several staff members have expressed an interest in taking the course as well.”
Kain says he developed a passion for dancing while he was in college himself. After breaking a knee in a gymnastics elective, he decided to satisfy the rest of his required fitness classes with classes in ballroom, folk and modern dance. By the time he was a senior, he was already teaching others to dance.
Kain says the class he teaches at Southwestern is designed to teach skills that students can use in a variety of recreational and social settings. In the class, students learn the basics of dances such as the foxtrot, waltz, jitterbug, tango, cha-cha, rumba, samba, merengue, two-step and polka.
“I’m actually surprised by how much I’ve learned over the course of this semester, and it’s only February,” says senior Kelsey Kisor, who is among the current students in the class. “I had no dance experience whatsoever, but Dr. Kain makes picking up the various dance styles so easy.”
Kisor says Kain has also taught her that there is a lot to be learned from communicating with others through dance.
“If you dance with someone who lives across the world and speaks a different language, no matter where you are, you will speak the same dance language so that even if you don’t know this person, you’ll know how to dance with them,” she said.
- Daniel Dumitru