M&T students are involved in a number of clubs and organizations across Penn’s campus. We asked Katherine Li, Class of 2020, to tell us about her involvement with Penn’s Pan-Asian Dance Troupe.
I started dancing long before I came to Penn, taking my first class when I was about 12. Before dance, I was always involved in the arts. I spent a lot of time drawing, painting, playing piano, and even tried ice skating for a bit before switching to dance. For me, dance is fun and expressive, and I really enjoy performing.
When I came to Penn, I knew I wanted to continue dancing in college. Even though I enjoyed dancing, it was never the focus of my extracurricular activities in high school. I wanted to join a dance group at Penn to improve as a dancer and learn new styles, and Pan-Asian has definitely given me a chance to do just that.
Dancing with Pan-Asian
Pan-Asian Dance Troupe is a group on campus that combines various traditional Asian dance styles with more modern styles such as hip-hop and contemporary. Many of our members have backgrounds in Asian dance, martial arts, or other dance styles. But, we also take people with no dance experience, so anyone can join! Each year we put together one annual show. We also stay involved on campus throughout the year by holding workshops, performing in gigs, and collaborating with other performing arts groups.
To get ready for our annual show in February, we usually practice about five to seven hours a week from the beginning of the year until the show (here’s our most recent show: https://youtu.be/FjUEkRpaArw !). Other than our annual show, we perform in gigs about once a month, usually on campus, but we sometimes travel off campus for performances, too. We also spend a lot of time at social events or just studying and hanging out together, so the troupe definitely feels like a family.
Dancing as an M&T
With that kind of commitment, it is a challenge to balance dance and schoolwork, but I’ve found it to be manageable and even beneficial to my academic career at Penn. Don’t get me wrong – it can be a little overwhelming at times! But, having a busy extracurricular schedule forces me to manage my time well and be cognizant of wasting time. That helps me develop a good work ethic. Plus, the five hours of dance each week help me de-stress, forget about schoolwork, and refocus.
Dance is a very important part of my life here at Penn. It’s something I enjoy and I think there’s a lot more I can learn from the people in the dance community. Pan-Asian Dance Troupe has also given me a family on campus and I’m very grateful to be a part of it! You can watch our recent performances and find out more about the Troupe below:
Katherine is a computer science major concentrating in finance and marketing. She is a member of the Class of 2020 and is exploring the many post-graduation opportunities she has as a Penn and M&T student. Her favorite thing about the M&T Community is how easy it is to reach out to alumni, upperclassmen, or anyone else in the community for advice.