As I wrote about in a previous Alumni blog post, I was floored when I first moved to New York by just how many people I met that had dance backgrounds just like mine. And, whether they were still dancing, transitioning into barre and yoga teachers, or even launching their own dance cardio startups, I started to see an incredibly powerful network we had as Alumni of the dance community. The only problem was, we were all doing such different things. I wanted to find some overarching way to bring us all together, and do something greater together than what we could separately apart.
Then on a trip to Colombia last summer it came to me. Exhausted yet still buzzing with inspiration on a long layover back home, I was reflecting on some of the things that left an impression on me, one of which was the vast contrast between the tourist and local neighborhoods I experienced. The former, specifically an area called Poblado, was filled with so many juice shops, salad bars and artisan coffee shops that you could hardly tell the difference from downtown Santa Monica. But if the latter wasn’t getting its first gym in the neighborhood (ever), it could hardly get the produce its own residents cultivated shipped up to the high and narrow peaks of the barrios themselves.
Of course this isn’t just a problem in Colombia, the same thing is happening down the street from you and me. When boutique fitness studios, meditation retreats and juice cleanses have surged in popularity in major cities like New York and San Francisco – and I would argue to a largely positive effect – unfortunately many of the trends still have such high barriers to entry that they have not spread evenly across all communities.
Thus came the idea of Class for a Cause – with this dormant network of friends doing their thing across the industry, why couldn’t we find a way to do something we love so much, and do good at the same time? So this year we’re launching the very first National Fitness Day on May 10 as a day for friends all around the country to take class – be it dance, spin, pilates, or something else - and then buy a Class for a Cause shirt to fundraise for Girls on Run, an after-school program empowering girls in many underprivileged communities through running and team-based activities.
Alumni are getting involved across the country, from Kelsey Whallon who is teaching our National Fitness Day barre class in New York, to Clara Ma, who is working with BollyX to donate proceeds from class that day. Even Claire and the Bay Area Alumni are organizing a group trip to LINES to take Lynn Brilhante’s Int/Adv Contemporary and Micaya’s Int/Adv Hip Hop class from 6:00-7:30pm if you can make it!
Sign up here if want to join the SF crew > https://goo.gl/forms/uc1DoiDFe1fiPTcw1
Buy a shirt here to donate to Girls on the Run > http://bit.ly/2nCXFOO
And that’s it! It’s truly amazing to see where everyone has ended up after college. I myself never imagined that I would be taking my foundations in dance to start something on my own, but there’s absolutely nothing compared to having a community as passionate as the one I took from Berkeley and my fellow dance Alumni to feel supported and connected by.
Don’t forget to tag your pics with #ClassForACause and #NationalFitnessDay, and hope to see you out there May 10!
For more information or to get involved with Class for a Cause or National Fitness Day, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Bielak, Class of 2013