By: Paige Griffee

Enthusiasm, energy and empowerment are just a few words that describe the environment of Missouri Western Dance Company (MWDC) practice.

Jay Alford, a senior public relations major, founded MWDC in October 2017, in hopes of creating a safe and positive environment for students to express themselves through dance.

“There’s so much diversity, and I think it’s a good representation of our campus, showing that we work better together,” Alford said. “We have black, white, male, female, hispanic and even more. It’s just a big dance melting pot.”

MWDC features several categories of dance including STEP, majoret and lyrical praise dance. This gives members multiple different forms of expressing themselves through different genres. Alford said that the team centers what they do around three main attributes: passion, style and excellence. This can be seen in the way they execute their dance moves, their attitude about being there, and the endless hours they commit to working on their dance routines.

“I want us to try and be leaders and engage in our community,” Alford said. “We’re really a family, and our chemistry is incredible.”

This chemistry is clearly seen during their performances. There is clapping, shouting and the coordinated sound of pulsing feet dancing to a rhythm.

Cameron Price, a cinema major, is a core member of MWDC.

“MWDC adds a student organization to Missouri Western that is more predicated toward the arts,” Price said. “It opens the doors and allows people to learn more about themselves and what they love.”

Alford encourages everyone to tryout for auditions, which take place every April.

“When it comes to trying out, the fun of it takes away the nerves,” Alford said. “I would take someone who is a great performer over technique any day.”