A high crime rate continues to slip its way onto a list of enumerable things Temple is well-known for. Violence and abuse are prevalent on many college campuses across the country, regardless of whether it is brought to the forefront or swept under the rug.
Though the Bell Tower is a daily platform for students to voice their opinions, a different form of expression has started to take stage there. As Main Campus students walk past the Bell Tower to and from class, 10 are leaping and bounding into making a change. One of these students is senior dance major Kiara Aguayo, who is using her abilities to bring awareness to abuse victims through a performance as part of Boyer College of Music and Dance’s BFA Senior Dance Concert.
Aguayo and nine other dancers are focusing their performance on awareness and help for victims of abusive relationships. Aguayo is hoping to counteract the trends of violence through her routine.
“Imagine being in detrimental amounts of emotional or physical pain, due to abuse, then walking across the center of campus where others are dancing to give voice to your pain,” Aguayo said.
Following the performances, the dancers plan to hand out cards with contact information for victims of violence to be able to anonymously reach out for help while learning to cope with their pain. Aguayo and her dancers will use the Bell Tower as their practice platform in order to “give everyone access to what could be considered a serendipitous act.”
The dancers collectively practice an approximate total of four-and-a-half hours a week with each dancer providing about two hours a day based on their availability.
“All nine dancers and I are going through a deep process,” Aguayo said. “We are gaining strength, unity and a piece of ourselves that we hold securely hidden. Not only are we ‘talking’ about domestic violence, but we are inviting all of those around us to talk about it, too. To stop it. To tell every victim that a better version of yourself is obtainable, help is available.”
Aguayo began dancing when she was 15 years old. She originally studied dance at Drexel University as one of four dancers to begin the first freshman dance class there. Following an ankle injury, she transferred to Temple, where she is currently the featured dancer in the newest Temple Made commercial.
A performance like this is Temple’s first, as there has never been a site-specific performance during a BFA concert before. The concert will take place on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Conwell Theater. Aguayo’s performance will be Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and also at sunset at the Bell Tower. Following the sunset performance, interested viewers can watch the rest of the concert in Conwell Theater.
Aguayo and her dancers are hoping to reach out and inspire both the lives of students directly impacted by violence and abuse as well as those who have dealt with it in some other way, shape or form.
“In fact, we are admitting this to ourselves every time we dance because whether you have been raped, been abused, seen abuse, held someone who was falling apart or simply understand that there are unfathomable feelings in this world, your voice matters,” Aguayo said.
Courtney Regan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.