On Friday, April 17, NeuroLawrence sponsored a mind and body health event at the Gilboy fire ring, located next to the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden, to enjoy the meditative power of dance.
NeuroLawrence is a student organization dedicated to studying areas and uses of neuroscience, and analyzing how it can be both valuable and harmful to sociocultural structures. The event, open to all community members, explored the ways that dance and rhythm engage the mind.
The student percussion group, Sambistas, was originally going to provide classic Brazilian samba music for dancing. While Sambistas ultimately did not play at the event, the music selection did include rhythmic pieces featuring drums and other percussion instruments.
The event began when the bonfire was lit and the music started. Attendees danced in a free-form style. People danced in a circle around the fire pit and on the stone ledges while others stood swaying to the beat of the song. Some individuals played on a hand drum and two shakers made from nutshells tied to a handle. Stickers and paint were also available for attendees to decorate themselves.
Junior and NeuroLawrence President Zabdiel Ek was in charge of organizing the event. Ek said he wanted to share the power of dance and movement with people, hoping the bonfire would further attract people to the event.
While the people at the event came and went, there was continual movement and dancing around the bonfire. When the flames of the bonfire began to fade, Ek would fan the fire and send sparks into the air.
Student reactions to the event were positive. Sophomore Liam McCarty, a member of the Sambistas group, said, “I’ve never done anything like it before.”
“I think it was fun,” said freshman Electra Arnade, a member of NeuroLawrence, “I just like being around bonfires in general, [and] I like the music.” Although the NeuroLawrence event is new at Lawrence, Arnade says, “people should do more different things [… and] come to events that they might not feel like they understand completely.”
In the future, Ek hopes more people will hear about the event and come. NeuroLawrence is planning other dance-related events, including an Aztec dancing demonstration and practice. The Aztec dancing demonstration will take place on Friday, May 22. The practice will take place on Saturday, May 23.