Club aims to help students find their tribe

WSU Aerial Dance Society welcomes people of any skill level to participate, learn new moves, build connections



Danielle Keerbs, president of the WSU Aerial Dance Society, talks about what the club does and how others can get involved on Monday in the lobby of the Webster Physical Sciences Building.

CAROLYNN CLAREY, Evergreen reporter and photojournalist

Finding a place on campus to help Pullman feel like home can be difficult. The Aerial Dance Society is working to help students feel more comfortable on campus by providing a familiar space to connect with new people.

Danielle Keerbs, ADS president, searched for a connection to her hometown when she first joined the club. Alexa Scott, ADS founder and UREC pole instructor, introduced Keerbs to the club. Keerbs ended up continuing with the club to help give people a connection to the WSU community.

“We are open to literally everyone. One of my favorite things is just talking with different club members and seeing all the different backgrounds,” Keerbs said. “We are all so different but we’re all so united by this one passion.”

The club originally started with around 10 girls three years ago and has steadily grown since its beginning. People from all walks of life are joining the club with an estimated member count of 100 and with 30-40 regular attendees, Scott said. And this sport is not just limited to girls or those with a greater-than-average athletic ability.

The club members are taught from the ground up, though it is recommended to take the UREC courses on top of practice to get more one-on-one teaching. The club is made up of people from a wide range of different backgrounds and majors, ranging from engineering to English, Keerbs said.

Despite the perception of being a female sport, around a quarter of the club’s members are male, and even if they are only beginners, members go through their training sessions quickly, Keerbs said.

The club performs on campus for Mom’s Weekend during the spring. Elizabeth Viele, ADS member, said she especially enjoys this event. The students get to put together their own choreography using pole dance, silks or lyra and perform both solos and groups dances for students, faculty and their mothers.

“The first year I was able to participate was a great opportunity and experience for me,” Viele said. “I got to put together my own choreography and work with other members of the group.”

The club is also looking to host a few other events in the future. On the first weekend of November this year, two of the club’s members will attend an aerial dance competition called Pole Sport Organization in Seattle, Scott said.

ADS is also trying to connect with other groups on campus. It is currently working with the Women*s Center to help provide people with necessary feminine products. The club is also planning a way to help international students gain better access to the food bank, as well as expanding the food bank’s resource pool, Keerbs said.

ADS works in tandem with the UREC to teach students and community members how to safely perform aerial dances. The main style that they teach is pole dancing, but they have recently introduced lyra hoop and aerial silks. Lyra is a hoop suspended in the air that people contort themselves around. Aerial silks are fabric that is connected to rigging that performers use to harness themselves to so they can safely perform aerial acrobatics.

The group practices every Saturday in Chinook Room 30 from 12 – 2 p.m. They are also considering adding another practice in the near future. People can either pay the $5 practice fee for individual practices or pay the $30 student member fee or $45 non-student member fee to participate with the club.

To contact the club, it is recommended to message them at WSU Aerial Dance Society on Facebook or to message them through Cougsync.