Filipino American History Month is celebrated during October to honor the culture and history of Filipino American people. The FLASH Dance Troupe, better known as FLASH DT, is a branch of FLASH, the Filipino League at Seton Hall, and provides a safe space for members of the Filipino community.
Julianna Quiambao, a senior social and behavioral sciences major and artistic director of FLASH DT, said the team is open to students with and without dance experience.
“FLASH DT is a community,” Quiambao said. “It's a way to kind of spark the creativity of our members. But most importantly, we have that aspect of family and that hospitality.”
Quiambao said FLASH DT welcomes students of all different ethnic backgrounds.
“The one thing that we want people to take out of FLASH DT is having a community where they feel safe and they feel comfortable to be themselves,” Quiambao said.
Quiambao said there are close to 40 students on the team this year.
“A lot of the freshmen this year are so sweet and they're so supportive and it just looks like everyone's having fun,” Quiambao said. “That's mainly the reason why I joined DT.”
Quiambao said that as the artistic director, she enjoys being able to share her work with an audience.
“I've always loved dancing as a kid,” Quiambao said. “Just the idea of choreographing something and then having it on a big performance, like for parents weekend, it's really cool to think that you're creating something that other people who don't know how to dance or who just want to see the show, they see your work out there.”
Julie Myhal, a senior art design major and director of FLASH DT, said the organization has provided her with a creative outlet.
“I never danced in a studio or anything, so it really allowed me to explore that side of myself,” Myhal said. “It gave me a sense of community and I really enjoyed that we met often so that kind of forces you to get to know the people.”
Myhal said joining the team has allowed her to develop skills that she can use after college.
“This is really my first time having a leadership position,” Myhal said. “Being a leader, which I didn’t know I had in me, was learning to get out of my shell and talk to people more. And I feel like that can definitely translate once I leave college and go on to other things in life.”
Jillian Arrizon, a junior biology major and treasurer of FLASH DT, said she can recall her first time going to a meeting.
“Everyone made me feel like a family member, even though I wasn't dancing at all, so it was really fun. It was a good experience to get myself out there because I'm very introverted,” Arrizon said. “So it's definitely got me out of my shell a lot more.”
Arrizon said FLASH DT demonstrates a good balance between maintaining a professional attitude and having fun.
“Even though it's sometimes hard to keep that balance, we somehow make it work and it's still fun,” Arrizon said. “We still make the performance memorable. So that's all that matters to us.”
Quiambao said she appreciates the supportive atmosphere of FLASH DT.
“One of our newest members, Lakeisha,” Quiambao said. “She even told me, ‘I love being in DT. Everyone's just so positive and supportive. I just love the energy.’”
Seton Hall students can watch FLASH DT perform at Seton Hall Weekend, FLASH DT’s ‘IMPULSE’ dance competition and NJIT’s ‘Reign or Shine.’
Peyton Hruska can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org