happyfeet.mac: Happy Feet

Happy Feet is a student run club at Macdonald Campus, McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec. Our typical activity consists of organizing weekly dance lessons in various international dance forms. Our participants and our instructors are also typically International students, many of whom are beginning to call Canada their home. In nearly two years of activity, we have organized lessons in Salsa, Merengue, Bollywood, Bachata, Zouk, Ghanian dances, Koli dance, Kuthu, Dapankuthu, Tango, and many others. We also organized a ‘flash mob’ in September 2011, a first at McGill University.

While the basic dance activity provides a social and convivial atmosphere on a relatively-isolated campus, the philosophy is aimed at social inclusion. Through the activities of Happy Feet, we aim to create an atmosphere where the world in not divided by languages or differences. The world is rather united by a universal language of dance. Our participants find themselves able to understand and appreciate foreign cultures, and also feel appreciated for their cultural affiliations. Rather than let our different backgrounds divide us, we celebrate the differences and learn from one-another. Although the basic activity consists of dance, we emphatically welcome non-dancers and first-time dancers. Our activity has helped many an International student feel less homesick, it has also created an atmosphere or camaraderie and conviviality. Each week the group finds resonance in each-others’ energies, and the positive atmosphere is vivid.

Our format is increasingly relevant in the current world circumstance, where each of us is a global citizen contributing to the cultural and human diversity of our context. We believed the format of Happy Feet can be successfully emulated, and will contribute to encouraging cultural tolerance and harmony the world over. We hope that other groups will be able to emulate the simple but tremendous format.

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