Thrill, Movement, and Community: Dance Groups at Oberlin

The Flyers

The Oberlin College Aerialists, or the Flyers, describe themselves as “Oberlin’s place for those who hang upside down!” Aerials are an acrobatic form utilizing apparatuses suspended from the ceiling. The Flyers perform on a variety of equipment such as corde lisse, aerial silks, static trapeze, and lyra. Typical practices include conditioning tailored to each individual. “Everyone has their own goals that they are working towards — cartwheels, handstands, ankle hangs, etc.,” says College third-year Evelyn Lazen. “We do warm[ups] together and do ab [workouts] at the end as a group.”  The Flyers have close ties with OCircus and the Oberlin Tumbling club, with members often overlapping and performing joint shows. This semester, the Flyers plan to perform with OCircus for a show in May. Keeping in line with a thrill for heights and a thrill for play, the Flyers’ group traditions are scaling buildings and tipsy partner acrobatics. Obies interested in joining can contact the Flyers via email at [email protected].

Courtesy of Sarah Herdrich



“And who?” “B****, where?” “AND WHAT!?”

This call-and-response has become an iconic staple of the AndWhat!? pre-show hype up. AndWhat!? is Oberlin’s women and trans hip-hop group created by Black women, for Black women and allies. Each semester, AndWhat!? hosts performances at the student-run music festival Solarity and an end-of-semester showcase. All of the choreography is composed by members themselves. “AndWhat!? is where we go for a few hours a week and dance as a group, as a supportive space and attempt to have a break from the everyday stresses of college and young adult life,” said College fourth-year Charlotte Glessner-Fischer. “It is a group with mentorship where people can ask upperclassmen or anyone they need [for] advice. It’s not just a dance group; it’s a mini community.” To foster this community environment, AndWhat!? organizes bonding sessions for their members at least once a semester. Keep up to date on when they’re throwing down next on Instagram @oberlinandwhat.

Courtesy of Anokha Venugopal


VIBE Dance Co.

VIBE Dance Co. is a student-run dance organization specializing in jazz and tap styles. Although this specialization sets them apart, it hardly con- strains them. VIBE has choreographed pieces to pop icons such as Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, big band swing music, eccentric alternative artists, and even partnered up for a show with Oberlin a cappella groups. In May, VIBE will host a performance at The ’Sco, and in late April, they will perform at the spring 2022 Student Dance Showcase. In addition to preparing their own choreography, VIBE also hosts dance workshops open to those of all levels. “[The workshops are meant] to engage the larger dance community and have fun exchanging skills and technique,” said College fourth-year Windley Knowlton. But first and foremost, beyond technique or skill, VIBE hopes to foster an accepting community. “We’re also planning on hosting a VIBE clothing swap as a bonding event that also engages with the local community and ends up with donation boxes for Goodwill,” Knowlton said. Keep an eye out for what’s next on Instagram @vibe_dance_company.

Courtesy of Daniel R. James