New mini-courses teach exotic dancing, card tricks

Exotic Dancing for the Everyday Woman is just one of the classes offered. (Delisa O’Brien / Staff Photographer)

Approximately 20 female students took their shirts off to the Pussycat Dolls’ “Buttons” on Thursday in Brower Student Center room 202.

No, Campus Police was not called.

On Friday night, six students practiced their card flourishing techniques in BSC room 210.

No, this was not Valentine’s Day bingo.

Exotic Dancing for the Everyday Woman and Card Tricks are just two of the 13 BSC Mini-Courses being offered by the Brower Student Center. Each class is taught by a student hired by the College. The classes are funded directly by the Student Center, according to Seth Zolin, the manager of the Student Center.

The Student Center received about 80 responses from students interested in teaching a course. Of those students, 20 received an offer to teach, Zolin said.

Students were required to register for the BSC Mini-Courses, and each class has a limit to the number of students permitted. On the first day, students were given a syllabus outlining the lessons. Each week, attendance is taken.

Sophomore biology major Chika Akparanta finds these classes as a good way to de-stress.

“It’s so fun and is a good reliever from everything outside,” Akparanta said about Exotic Dancing for the Everyday Woman.

According to Sara Wellington, a junior chemistry major, “It builds confidence and you’re free to express yourself, to be sexy.”

Zolin explained how the courses go beyond helping the students directly, and create a better atmosphere for the Student Center for the campus community.

“(The Mini-Courses are) important to the Student Center as part of our ongoing efforts to make the Student Center a more engaging and desirable location for our student population,” Zolin said in an e-mail. “It’s not just a place to come get a coffee, or grab some lunch and sit in the food court. It’s a place where you can stretch your wings to try new things. A place to deepen your involvement in the institution and develop a more meaningful collegiate experience.”

Card Tricks, which was changed to Card Flourishing with the permission of the students, taught moves like “fan,” “dribble,” “spring” and “one-handed cut.” Frank Sung, the instructor for the course and a sophomore special education major, has been performing tricks like these for five years.

“A lot of it is self taught,” he said.

Sung created his own YouTube channel, frankispeace, to show off his card flourishing skills. He films and edits videos of himself doing tricks like the ones he teaches in his class. Card flourishing is a small internet-based industry, with only about 2,000 to 3,000 members, Sung said.

Teri Merry, the instructor for Exotic Dancing for the Everyday Woman, is a graduate student in the counseling education department. She has been teaching classes through the dance company, The Art of Exotic Dancing, for three years.

“This is one way I like to help women build self confidence,” Merry said. “It helps unnerve you. Some women do this and they learn how to make eye contact.”

“I think the goal of most institutions of higher education, and particularly (the College), is to create a community of shared learning,” Zolin said. “Knowledge is not only meant to be passed ‘from teacher to student’ but for education and learning to take place between and among students themselves. This program is an opportunity for students to share their passions and interests among their peers to celebrate their skills and talents.”

More information about these and the rest of the BSC Mini-Courses offered is available at tcnjstudentactivities.com.

Alyssa Mease can be reached mease2@tcnj.edu.