ASUC Senate bill aims to provide campus dance groups more practice spaces

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A bill proposed to the ASUC Senate aims to support the dance community on the UC Berkeley campus.

The bill, SB 213, is sponsored by Student Action Senator Rosemary Hua and Student Action Senator-elect Lauren Week and will help dance groups on campus find spaces to practice. Hua, a dancer herself, hopes the bill will raise awareness of the issue.

“Hopefully, with this bill we’re showing the school that there’s a huge need (for practice space),” Hua said. “Our community is suffering.”

According to Hua, there are more than 15 dance groups on campus, encompassing approximately 600 students. Primarily, these groups hold practice on Lower Sproul, in front of Haas Pavilion and in Hearst Gym.

However, scheduling time for the spaces in Hearst Gym is often complicated, said Week, and with Lower Sproul closing this year for construction, available dance spaces will be increasingly difficult to find.

“Currently, dance groups have been forced to dance in the parking structures underneath the RSF and Underhill Field, which is dirty and unsafe, especially at night when most of our groups practice,” said Week in an email. “This is why SB 213 is so crucial.”

Hua negotiated a $33,000 contract with Recreational Sports Director Michael Weinberger to open up Strawberry Canyon Recreational Area for dancers during the current school year.

Weinberger said that working with the ASUC has been a great experience and that Rec Sports would be willing to continue working with the dance community as long as the ASUC can continue to supply funding.

“We’re very much willing to continue (the contract),” Weinberger said. “We just need to cover staffing. That’s where the money is going.”

Despite the addition of Strawberry Canyon, some members of the dance community still expressed concern about finding sufficient practice spaces. Although Strawberry Canyon has been helpful in alleviating the problem of limited space, Berkeley Ballroom member Caitlyn Keith said it can be difficult and inconvenient for larger dance groups to find transportation to Strawberry Canyon, and space is still limited for all dance groups.

Hua said she hopes the bill and the agreement made with Rec Sports will foster a positive relationship between the campus and the dance community.

“I’m hoping that this bill will also show the Rec Center that we’re thankful for what’s happening,” Hua said.

SB 213 will be discussed in the senate’s external committee on Monday then voted on during Wednesday’s senate meeting.

Contact Jennie Yoon at [email protected]