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Rec introduces new series

Bethany Blair

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Each day, students flock to the Student Recreation Center to participate in its group exercise classes; students can kickbox, cycle, and even tone their hips, butts and guts.

But the Rec is offering its members another set of classes including belly dancing, therapeutic yoga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These classes, called the Discovery Series, cost between $40-$99 per person and meet weekly, lasting anywhere from four weeks until April 27 during the spring semester, according to the Rec Center’s website.

Leigh Darilek, manager of Group Exercise and Non-credit Instruction, said the Discovery Series classes serve as another non-credit extracurricular opportunity for students, faculty and Rec members. She said class structure and consistent attendance differentiate between the Discovery Series and regularly scheduled group exercise.

Darilek said the main benefit of attending a Discovery Series is that it’s the same people every week, and they can progress at a faster different rate than with drop-in classes where you have all different levels and people every week.

“For example, with belly dance, they can learn the moves and really progress into an advanced piece of choreography because it’s the same group,” she said. “Whereas, if belly dance was drop-in, the progression would be much slower and more focused on working out because the instructor needs to meet the needs of all participants. Discovery Series are based on learning a skill versus getting a workout.”

The Discovery Series’ wide variety of classes attracts faculty and staff, students and Rec members from around campus who are interested in learning these skills, Darilek said.

“It’s a really good mixture of students and faculty and staff and members – both male and female,” Darilek said. “Belly dance has been one of our most popular and attracts women of all ages. The martial arts varieties tend to attract more males. One of our newer Discovery Series, Body Blast, seems to attract lots of faculty and staff. Another newer Discovery Series, Dare 2 Dance, has really pulled in a great mixture of women and men, mostly students.” Kristen Stockdale, the Dare 2 Dance instructor, agreed that her class draws in mostly students. Her eight-week class, which is mostly choreography-based, is geared toward both dance majors and people who love dancing. Stockdale teaches the technique and fundamentals of hip hop, lyrical, lyrical hip hop and jazz style dancing throughout her class.

While mainstream hip hop is the primary focus, Stockdale said she tries to broaden her students’ horizons by introducing them to music on the cutting edge.

“I use mainstream hip hop mostly,” Stockdale said. “I tend to focus on what’s hot, but also what they haven’t heard yet. I want them to be excited about what they’re dancing to.”

Along with helping participants perfect their dancing, Stockdale said group exercise forges friendships and helps students connect with one another.

“I think the more classes you try and go to, the more people you’re going to meet,” Stockdale said. “I know that’s true for my hip hop class – they’re like a little family and they even get together outside of class.”

For more information about Discovery Series schedules, times and costs, visit the Rec Center’s website at urec.sa.ua.edu/fitness_discoveryseries.cfm.

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Rec introduces new series