By Ethan Hogan
“I don’t see anyone touching!” said Adalgisa Barison to a room full of students eager to learn about interpretive dance.
Last Thursday MOSAICO put on an interpretive dance class in the Wildcat’s Den at the MUB as part of Sextober.
Barison, a psychotherapist and interpretive dance instructor originally from Brazil, instructed the students through a range of dance and communication exercises meant to make them more comfortable with touching each other.
“If we don’t get enough of [human contact], it affects our self-esteem,” said Barison.
The night began with simple breathing exercises and quickly progressed to sporadic trust demonstrations where everyone would run around the room and pass by each other very closely.
After getting comfortable with each other’s personal space boundaries it was time to dance.
“Let’s explore,” Barison said, turning on the sound system.
Students were then partnered up and ready to dance. But there were some requirements by Barison. Students were encouraged to touch each other, but without using their hands. Additionally, one partner was supposed to remain rigid and strong while the other danced more fluidly.
“No hands!” said Barison.
At one point partners were put back-to-back and one student would lean forward while the other leaned back. Soon the room was filled with one partner squatting and bending over with the other partner lying on his/her back.
Advertised as “the best date night on campus” on the flyers, the event promised a speed date social and an aphrodisiac potluck but, to no one’s disapproval, the interpretive dancing stole the show.
Emily Abdelmaseh, a women’s commission intern and one of the main organizers, explained its purpose and the main mission of Sextober.
Abdelmaseh said that Sextober is made to “promote an open dialogue about sex on our campus.”
“After high school, Sex Ed and talking about sex went out the window,” said Abdelmaseh.
“People were obviously having a lot of sex but they weren’t talking about it in ways that were necessarily productive.”
Women’s Commission, MOSAICO, Diversity Support Coalition, The Waysmeet Center, Cornucopia Food Pantry, Slow Food UNH and The Organic Gardening Club sponsored the event.
When asked why the event had so many sponsors, Abdelmaseh said, “We don’t receive any funding ourselves, we have to go coordinate with all of the student orgs to gain an audience and to give us any budget,” she added
Abdelmaseh explained that the event was a huge collaboration and that she was very happy with the 20 or so participating students.
One student who participated in the whole night of dancing, Cecilia Martins, said that at first it was awkward but eventually she relaxed.
“Honestly, I’ll probably talk to my friends and I’ll tell them about it,” said Martins. “I will share what I learned.”