Communicating Through COM and Dance: Grace Tuffy (COM ‘21) and Hannah Tracy’s (COM ‘23) Experience with BU’s Dance Theatre Group

Photo: Olivia Moon Photography

While students in BU’s College of Communication are busy learning how to communicate in written and verbal forms, some students have expanded their craft of communicating beyond COM. For students Grace Tuffy and Hannah Tracy, they’ve explored it through dance.

Tuffy, a senior majoring in mass communication, and Tracy, a sophomore studying public relations, are both active members of BU’s Dance Theatre Group (DTG). Every Thursday, they participate in DTG’s weekly master classes taught by teachers from the Boston area and beyond.

“The master classes are always different genres,” Tuffy explained. “We just had an afro contemporary, but we’ve also had hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre…”

Each class allows DTG dancers to step out of their comfort zones and experiment with different forms of dance. No prior experience is required to join DTG – all dancers come from varying backgrounds and class levels.

“We really accept everyone,” Tuffy said. “It’s just a fun community to meet new people.”

Tuffy first got involved with DTG during her freshman year’s second semester when she transferred to BU.

“I’ve danced my whole life and wanted to get involved in something within this bigger school setting, so I went to their first meeting not knowing much about it, and I ended up falling in love with it,” Tuffy said.

Tuffy is currently vice president of DTG, a role that requires her to apply many of the skill sets she’s learned in her communications classes.

“Being on the E-Board, you’re always having to relay information to each other and stay on track,” Tuffy said. “I’ve learned a lot, and it has coincided well with my major.”

As the vice president, Tuffy also orders apparel and organizes virtual bonding and community events for DTG members.   

Tracy serves as the social media coordinator on E-Board, where she’s able to combine her communications major and dance minor into one role.

“I’m directly using so many things that I’ve learned in COM through my position,” Tracy explained. “I’ve also gotten to work closely with the PR chair and have learned so much.”

While DTG has served as supplemental experience for Tuffy and Tracy’s majors, it has also provided an outlet in their busy schedules to balance out their academic workloads.

“It’s just a group of very welcoming people who you get to do what you love with,” Tracy said. “Even though we all come from such different backgrounds, our passion for dancing really brings us together.”

Although the experience of being a dancer in DTG has looked a little different during the pandemic, members have found ways to adapt to make the most out of it.

Last spring and this past fall, DTG practiced and hosted its semester shows virtually. 

“Luckily this semester, almost all of the pieces being choreographed are rehearsing in person in FitRec, which is exciting,” Tuffy said.

Each piece will then be edited together by the concert coordinator to create the virtual show. It will premiere on YouTube at 8 p.m. on April 23.

Tracy, who will perform in one piece for the show, is grateful for the opportunity to rehearse socially distanced with others in person.

“It has been such a blessing this semester to be back in the studio after a year,” Tracy said. “There’s just no comparison between dancing in my room virtually and being in the actual studio surrounded by my fellow DTG members.”

While the relentless storm of COVID-19 continues to shift students’ college experiences, Tracy and Tuffy have navigated how to – quite literally – dance through the rain.

“DTG has made BU feel like a home,” Tracy said. “And my experience at BU definitely would not be the same without it.”

Nora Verdier, Staff Writer

Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nora is a sophomore in Boston University’s College of Communication studying advertising and minoring in Spanish. This is her first semester writing for The COMmunicator, and she is excited to continue sharpening her writing skills as a storyteller for the BU community. You can often find her baking with her friends while jamming to Taylor Swift or strolling around the Public Gardens with a coffee in hand.

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