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Dance program rehearsal

The Power of Dance at San José City College

As the body of research about the healing power of dance continues to grow, we’re learning more about how essential dance is to the well-being of our society. Not to mention how TikTok is reshaping collective dance through “social dancing” on a global level.

No matter who you are or why you want to dance, San José City College welcomes everyone to dance class. And our growing Dance Department offers both an Associate of Arts in Dance and a Dance Teaching Certificate if you’re looking to become a dance instructor.

If you’ve always dreamed of a dance career or you’re looking to attend adult dance classes for fun, SJCC is the place for you. Let’s explore the power of dance and how you can make a meaningful creative career in this field.

“I have grown so much as an artist.”

Minakshi Singh, former SJCC dance student
San José City College's Spring Concert, Danceology 2015.
San José City College’s Spring Concert, Danceology 2015.

Dance is a Critical Art Form

Most would agree that dance is a distinctly human form of self-expression, present in even the most ancient societies.

“Dance is a powerful impulse,” says Britannica. It is “the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.” But it has even greater potential as an art form.

Dance Can Inspire Change

Dance is universal. From your teenage cousin learning the next viral move to your mom dancing in the kitchen. But dance as an art form can do much more than lift your spirits (though that is crucial too). 

The art of dance is that impulse channeled by skillful performers into something that becomes intensely expressive and that may delight spectators.” While this is certainly true, dance can also shift your world. Because it has the ability to shape culture and inspire audiences to take action.

“I wholeheartedly believe that art, in many ways, is the impetus for social change,” said Kevin Gaytan, an SJCC graduate.

Dance serves as an essential artistic platform for artists, activists, and healers. The link between art and social movements is so strong that degrees like Arts and Social Change or Performing Arts and Social Change are becoming increasingly common. But like we said, it’s universal.

Dance is Dynamic and Deeply Personal

There are so many reasons to study dance or to simply take dance classes. Whether you’re seeking healing through Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT), looking for a fun hobby, or an artistic career to channel your creativity. 

“I believe dance can be many different things to people. Some people connect through their own culture with dance, some connect to different cultures through dance, and some dance as a form of self-expression or physical joy,” said Amber McCall, dance faculty at SJCC.

Our instructors know that dance is personal. More importantly, they know that Dance enriches everyone’s lives. That’s why SJCC’s Dance Program is wholly dedicated to creating meaningful spaces for dancers at every skill level.

“It does not matter your age, skill level, physical ability, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation; you are welcome to dance with us!”

Amber McCall, SJCC dance faculty
San José City College dance faculty, Amber McCall.
SJCC dance faculty, Amber McCall.

SJCC’s Dance Program is Proudly Inclusive

At SJCC, anyone who wants to join a dance class can do so without an audition.

“It has always been a priority of mine to build a dance department which is inviting, supportive and inclusive. I want ALL people to feel like they belong in our program,” said McCall. “It does not matter your age, skill level, physical ability, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation; you are welcome to dance with us!”

Competitive dance spaces can be exclusive and intimidating, often requiring an audition. SJCC graduate and former dance student, Gaytan, commented on how SJCC’s inclusive program makes a big difference, especially for those who face extra levels of exclusion from the dance world.

“I would not have been able to become a professional dancer if it wasn’t for this level of accessibility,” Gaytan said. “As undocumented immigrants, often, these opportunities are not accessible to us.”

So if you’re hesitant to take a dance class for any reason at all — at SJCC you have nothing to fear. Here, you’ll find a warm and encouraging dance community that will welcome you without hesitation.

Our Growing Dance Department Cultivates Successful Dancers

In the last five years, the SJCC Dance Department has grown significantly. Now it offers a much broader range of dance classes, including Hip-Hop, Choreography, Pedagogy, and more. But of course, it remains as inclusive as ever.

Here’s what you can expect when you join SJCC’s Dance Program.

“I would not have been able to become a professional dancer if it wasn’t for this level of accessibility.”

Kevin Gaytan, former SJCC dance Student
Dance class at San José City College.
Dance class at San José City College.

Learn the Foundations of Artistic Movement 

SJCC dance classes teach the fundamentals of dance and how to create profound connection and artistic expression through movement.

In an interview, McCall, who holds multiple degrees and certifications in dance, commented on some of its guiding principles. 

“The SJCC Dance program prepares students to be creative problem solvers and to build skills of cultural competency, self-expression, and movement literacy. The dance faculty get to work with students individually and in small groups to nurture each student’s growth and academic goals,” said McCall.

“With SJCC dance, I received the foundational dance training that I needed to be accepted into the dance program at San Jose State, which was quite competitive and audition-based,” Gaytan said.

Minakshi Singh, who already holds a bachelor’s degree, decided to return to school to pursue dance. Singh recently completed her Certificate in Dance Teaching at SJCC and plans to pursue a Masters in Dance. In an interview, she spoke about her memorable experiences with the SJCC Dance Department. 

“I not only got to explore the various forms of dancing but I also got to explore its history, production, teachings, and more,” said Singh. “I have grown so much as an artist.”

“Lessons were always dynamic and fun, and it is here that I made lifelong friends.”

Kevin Gaytan
San José City College graduate Kevin Gaytan dances on campus.
SJCC graduate Kevin Gaytan dances on campus.

Find Belonging in Dance Class

SJCC Dance will teach you the technical skills, styles, and tools you need to succeed as a dancer. But the confidence you’ll gain and the community you’ll find may make an equally significant impact on your life.

“What seems to draw students to the dance program at SJCC is the sense of community we build,” McCall said. “I know, for some students, being a part of the dance program gives them a sense of belonging and boosts their academic success.”

“Lessons were always dynamic and fun, and it is here that I made lifelong friends,” Gaytan said. “The dance department, in many ways, feels like a family, a support system outside of the home.”

The guiding principle of inclusivity in our dance classes makes it a safe haven where students can explore, discover, and realize their goals.

Enjoy Plenty of Dance Opportunities for Community College Students

In addition to brilliant instructors and a nurturing community, dance students at SJCC can enjoy all the opportunities we offer as a vibrant bay area community college.

Historically, our dance department has participated in lots of extra-curricular dance events. Here are a few of the most popular.

At these conferences, performances, and events, students can gain valuable dance experience that has the potential to shape their future. They perform in shows, take masterclasses, and are introduced to the world of professional dance. Many students, including Gaytan, cite the ACDA Spring Conference as particularly formative.

“I had never been a part of something so unique, I had never traveled anywhere before. This experience allowed me to solidify and find a career in Dance. After attending ACDA with SJCC, I knew I wanted to make Dance a lifelong career,” Gaytan said.

“My goal is to become a dance therapist.”

Minakshi Singh
San José City College graduate, Minakshi Singh.
SJCC graduate, Minakshi Singh.

Pursue a Meaningful Dance Job or Transfer to University

With the rise of Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT), dance jobs are on the rise. And of course, professional and artistic dancers will always be essential to our society.

No matter what route you choose (a Teaching Certificate or an AA Degree in Dance), with a dance education from SJCC, you’re sure to make a positive impact. Both Gaytan and Singh have plans to do just that.

“As an undocumented immigrant that’s also a member of the LGBTQ community, you often find yourself in the intersections of instability and crisis. Dance was always the haven that I could come to and forge a new reality with,” Gaytan said. “I plan to set up a dance company and begin creating meaningful work, particularly work that causes conversation for social change.”

Singh hopes to become a dance therapist after she completes her Masters in Dance.

Other dance careers include: choreographer, dance performer, and dance instructor. And of course, with our Associate of Arts Degree in Dance, you can always transfer to a 4-year university to continue your education.

Move Brilliantly with SJCC’s Dance Program!

At San José City College, we’ll teach you to channel dance in positive ways that will reverberate through your personal and professional life.

So if you want to learn how to move brilliantly, check out SJCC’s Dance Programs today! And if you’re interested in other artistic fields, explore our transfer degrees in studio arts and theatre arts.

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