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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The culture of campus clubs

    A full-scale battle erupts as two medieval arts and combat teams face off in a fight to the death.
    A full-scale battle erupts as two medieval arts and combat teams face off in a fight to the ‘death.’

    The artistic spectacles of tomorrow will be held by today’s students, and the movers and shakers in the art community can be found in the wide range of artsy clubs on the UA campus. We have everything from fire-dancing and Middle Ages reenactments to break-dancing and throwing pots.

    Some students may get caught up in the focus on readying themselves for a career, and forget to relax and do something constructive yet fun with their time. Plenty of campus clubs offer artistic outlets and bring diverse groups of people together who otherwise would not have congregated.

    College of Medieval Arts and Combat

    This group is dedicated to the reenactment of cultural events from the Middle Ages, like tournaments, wars (camping trips), feasts, various ceremonies and demonstrations for schools.

    “”We go by persona names because it helps us to play the game,”” said Kelli Daher, psychology junior and club president.”” For my specific persona, a Turkish noble living in the Ottoman Empire, she wouldn’t go by the name Kelli Daher.””

    The Medieval Arts and Combat club meets to practice sword-fighting at Reid Park every Wednesday from 7 to 10 p.m.

    Culture Rhythm Dance Crew

    This club aims to break the negative stereotypes associated with hip-hop and break-dancing.

    Members can practice their street dancing styles.

    “”People think that we’re all criminals, that we don’t have a future,”” said Marquez Johnson, a senior majoring in communication and dance. “”A lot of people are doing it to have some free time. Some people (in the club) are actually professionals going to business school. Most people would believe that we’re just hanging around rousing people.””

    Culture Rhythm meets from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays in the Ina Gittings building, Studio 4.

    Art Clayworks

    This group is dedicated to the creation of three-dimensional ceramic art.

    “”We provide space for students, whether or not they’re an art student,”” said Art Clayworks president Lane Garrison, a senior majoring in East Asian studies. “”We offer instruction and at the end of the semester they can show some of the work that they’ve made.””

    For a $10 fee members have access to recycled clay, glazes, tools and the kiln in the UA Ceramics Studio.

    The group meets in Suite 114 on the corner of East Helen Street and North Park Avenue for open studio work Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m.

    S.O.S. Productions

    The S.O.S. stands for Students on Stage, and they produce student-run plays, musicals and cabarets to be performed on campus. All elements of theatre are incorporated in this club such as actors, directors and costume designers. This semester they have started taking plays written by students.

    S.O.S. Productions was started in August 2006 by seven musical theatre majors who wanted to create an environment where students felt free to create.

    “”In the theatre program very few people actually get the chance to study roles and we wanted to give more people the opportunity to learn a role,”” said club president Richelle Meiss, a musical theatre senior and founding member of the club.

    S.O.S.’s next production is in August with Patrick Marber’s “”Closer”” and last semester they performed the musical “”Lucky Stiff”” with music by Stephen Flaherty.

    “”If you’re doing shows that the school produces, you are put in a box because they have to cater to the people who buy tickets,”” Meiss said. “”You feel more like you’re doing this for a grade, you have to do things a certain way because professors want it that way, but for our club people get to do what they want. We can do shows that push the boundary; you can play a character that you may have never gotten to play.””

    This group has weekly meetings Fridays at 4 p.m. in the Harvill building, Room 332B.

    Street Performance and Incendiary Arts

    Veteran fire-dancers, jugglers and performers have been teaching these mystical performing arts since the club’s founding in 2002. It offers to train people to be crowd-pleasers with fantastic spinning, tumbling, twirling and coordination skills.

    If you’ve ever marveled at someone dancing with two balls of fire connected with a chain, or stared in amazement as someone ate fire, you should check out what this group has to offer.

    “”We meet every Sunday night from 8 to 11 at the main stage on the Mall. People can come and watch. Some people get really interested and we end up teaching them how to do it. We love to teach anybody,”” said club president Valerie Seeton, a senior majoring in English. “”I was at a medieval event at Reid Park and then I saw some people just practicing and I literally went up to them and said I wanted to learn. They took the time to teach me and they were very gracious, thank God, because I wasn’t a quick study.””

    The club is often hired for events such as Greek Life functions, city festivals and weddings.

    “”The wedding threw me off a little. I was like alright, if someone for a funeral hires us we’re saying no,”” Seeton said.

    For little or no cost ($2 if you dance with fire, free if you don’t) this club offers to share their materials and expertise to help you learn a dazzling skill.

    “”It teaches you to be more aware of where your body is because if you’re dancing with fire you need to be aware of how your body is moving. You learn a lot more about yourself and how your body functions,”” Seeton said.

    The Street Performance and Incendiary Arts club will perform at the main stage on the UA Mall at 8 p.m. on April 26.

    Wildcat Book Club

    The title is self-explanatory but this club is fairly new to campus. It was founded last February by Matthew Gipple who is, surprisingly, not an English major. A finance senior, Gipple decided to start the group because he enjoys reading and knew that other students did as well.

    “”I think it’s important because students always have their textbooks to read but people need to realize that reading can be fun too,”” Gipple said.

    The club reads one book a month, and then meets to discuss the book and decide on the next month’s book. The club was recently invited to a movie premiere of “”The Other Boleyn Girl”” based on the book by Philippa Gregory to provide feedback on the similarities and differences between the book and the film.

    “”My favorite thing is that the club gets me to read,”” Gipple said. “”When I’m in school I always want to read but I get stressed out and busy. In the club you know there are people who expect you to read the book and they’re like your conscience.””

    Thickening Plots

    This club is a resource for writers who hope to have their work published. Club members workshop each other’s fiction work and give feedback.

    “”We have always been a small group,”” said Virginia Holmes, founder and club president. “”But that was the point – a small group of writers creating a place where we could work on and receive feedback on our fiction.””

    Unfortunately, this semester things have been a little different for members of Thickening Plots. “”We have been unable to find a time (to meet) and resorted to working on our pieces and trading them online,”” Holmes said.

    Thickening Plots is the only club on campus that deals strictly with fiction, and they welcome any sort of fiction writers to share their work.

    “”It’s a great accessory to the creative writing program because we only have three fiction creative writing classes and you can’t take them twice. That was the only opportunity as an undergrad to have our work looked at and be involved in a community of writers,”” Holmes said. “”Even in the classroom setting we only get two stories work shopped in a semester, but with our club you can have four or five done in a semester.””

    If you are interested in joining, e-mail Holmes at

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