Firstly, part of the reason I founded Clements Rhythm was because I enjoy volunteering in the community, which in turn helped me build upon my ideals such as compassion and leadership. For instance, in my junior year of high school, I created a health-oriented club, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), to help familiarize my classmates with potential careers in the healthcare field. However, I realized that I not only wanted to make a positive impact on others through academics but also through the arts, another area that I was very fond of. For this reason, I created the organization Clements Rhythm in my senior year of high school to introduce my peers to a variety of dance forms.
The idea of creating Rhythm came to me when I thought about how Clements High School only had an official dance group, STARS, where individuals had to try out and where they performed mainly classical and jazz genres. I created an ‘everyone-was-welcome-to-participate’ club, so that anyone, no matter how little their experience with dance, they could participate. To me, dance is meant to bring individuals together who enjoy the beats and rhythms of music, as dance is also a form of expression in which the individual can showcase their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. With this ideology I started off the first meeting with an introduction to all forms of dance, whether it be salsa, meringue, ballet, bharatnatyam, chinese classical dance, hip-hop, etc. By teaching them the fundamentals of various dance forms, the club members gained a fresh perspective on the cultural significance of each style of dance. I paid emphasis on the importance of learning different types of dances because each style of dance has many influences on other styles, and learning about the different techniques in each style can help strengthen the dancer’s moves, no matter what style they prefer to dance in. For example, my knowledge of Bharatnatyam, the Indian classical dance form that I had learned for 9 years previously, helped strengthen my hip-hop moves tremendously.
Along with creating awareness of the diversity that dance offers, I also helped choreograph and teach dances to member’s who wanted the whole experience of performing. From performing during lunch time to performing at an Lunar New Year’s event, students were able to learn dance moves and showcase their talents to the other students at our high school. These events not only inspired the Rhythm members that they could and were able to perform in front of an audience, but I also hoped to inspire the students watching that nothing should stop them from being on stage performing something that they are passionate about, whether they believe they are good at it or not.
Clements Rhythm organization is still very active and strong at the high school. Although most of the dances are related to the hip-hop and break dancing genre but they still inspire students from all backgrounds to come and try it out and see if they discover their passion in dancing.
By Puja Gandhi
Puja Gandhi is at Emory University right now majoring in Human Biology and Anthropology. Her passion includes learning about different cultures and understanding the human condition. One of the main things she wants to accomplish before she leaves this world is to make an impact by spreading the ideals of peace and humanity. Very inspired by parents, Puja’s father is an internist and family practitioner who is the driving force for her to be a doctor, and her mother who is an Ayurvedic physician always reminds her to be humble and learn from the good of others.