January 27th, 2014 (Jupiter, FL)—At Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, students are encouraged to become involved in their community and to seek out opportunities to engage in service. However, this year one group of students has found a new and innovative way to put their time and talents toward helping others. The Owlettes & Co. Dance Team is working hard to prepare for their spring performance set to take place on Friday, March 21st at 6:30 PM in the Lifelong Learning Society’s auditorium on the Jupiter campus. The performance will not only be a showcase of artistic skill, but also give students and community members a chance to support a variety of charitable organizations. This year the dancers are committed not only to performing their best, but to making a difference while they do it.
Sarah Sax, the President of Owlettes and a senior at the Wilkes Honors College, hopes that this year’s dance show will be the best yet. The club’s mission is to be an all-inclusive dance experience, based on the belief that everyone has dance potential and can contribute in a unique way to performances, regardless of prior experience. This will be the 6th annual Owlettes Dance Show, and will involve over forty student performers in over a dozen pieces. The acts chronicle a passage through the twentieth century, with each dance representative of a different decade. The family-friendly performance is free and open to the public, and the wide variety of styles and techniques promises to be entertaining for visitors of all ages. For the dancers, the show allows them the opportunity to learn from each other and get to know students with whom they wouldn’t normally interact. “The club attracts people from many different disciplines,” says Sax. “We don’t require any of our members to have prior dance experience before joining, and we have no coaches outside of Honors College students and faculty. Every dance is choreographed and organized by students themselves.” This cooperation between students creates a sense of camaraderie and focus, and during this semester up to ten different dance practices take place each week so that each student can prepare for the acts he or she is a part of. “Even our professors get involved,” notes Sax. Dr. Meredith Blue has donated her time every year to choreograph and teach a belly dancing piece for the performance. “It’s really cool to watch how the team comes together every year,” Sax explains. “This is one of the most diverse clubs on campus, and we offer an active recreational activity that anyone can be involved in. We go through the learning process together, and we all progress together.”
However, the impact of this year’s show will reach far beyond the club itself. “During our intermission, guests will have the chance to purchase ‘kisses’ to send to performers backstage,” says Sax. The proceeds from those sales will benefit the Dizzy Feet Foundation, which is an organization dedicated to providing after school dance instruction in low-income areas around the country, as well as scholarships for motivated dance students. “It’s such an important cause,” Sax insists. “Being involved in dance teaches you autonomy; you learn to depend on yourself, and to gain control of your body, and kids should have the chance to see that through discipline and control they can learn to do incredible, beautiful things.” The Owlettes will also be partnering with several other student organizations to further their service goals. “Corn Maya Club will be selling handmade Guatemalan jewelry and crafts during intermission as well, and the proceeds from those sales will benefit both the Dizzy Feet Foundation and El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center.” Sax feels that serving the local community is just as important as contributing to a national organization. “El Sol impacts people living right here in Jupiter, so we want to help them continue their work as well,” she says. “While we aren’t charging admission to the show, we’re asking that our attendees bring a can of non-perishable food to donate to El Sol’s food pantry.” In this way, even guests who don’t make purchases during the intermission will be able to help impact the community.
Preparations for the show are well under way, and the performers are excited to take the stage. Everyone is welcome, and the club hopes to see many of the Honors College students and faculty come out to the performance. For the senior members of the troupe, this performance will be bittersweet. “I’m so excited for the show to happen, but I’m not looking forward to it being over!” says Sax with a smile. “Owlettes has been such an important part of my time at the Honors College. I hope to see the club continue to grow and make a difference not just for the students, but for the community as well.”
About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu