Stepping into Kingston

Queen’s Step Crew reaches out to youth in the community

Joanna Tinus, ArtSci ‘14, is this year’s director of Queen’s Step Crew. The Crew performs around 10 to 14 times a year.
Joanna Tinus, ArtSci ‘14, is this year’s director of Queen’s Step Crew. The Crew performs around 10 to 14 times a year.

Along with an appetite for hip hop and step dancing, Step Crew sparks students’ passion to teach.

Director of Queen’s Step Crew, Joanna Tinus, ArtSci ’14, said step dance is an opportunity to teach others through personal workshops and partnerships with community organizations.

“We’re open to having new people come in and learn progressively,” she said, “and give them an opportunity that they might not have had before.” Step Crew, comprised of around 30 members, is an equal-opportunity group, Tinus said, that welcomes students of any dance background or experience.

“We’ve got a really open community and we really want people to be able to express themselves,” she said.

The diversity of their group, as well as introducting more upbeat songs this year, allows the group to differ their performances from previous years.

“We’ve got three very different choreographers,” Tinus said, “so it’s nice to see you can kind of incorporate step dancing into any dance you like.”

The group, which rehearses three times a week, also shares their love for dance with the community.

Step Crew has been expanding its community outreach efforts, Tinus said, and offers weekly classes to Kingston youth.

“We’ve never been a crew about trying to bring the attention to us,” she said.

With previous partnerships with the YMCA and local schools, Step Crew aims to empower youth.

Currently, the group organizes weekly classes for underprivileged Kingston youth with the Youth Diversion program. “We’re trying to reach out to the younger kids so they have the opportunity to continue with stuff like this when they’re older,” she said.

Tinus said their education program is relatively new, but she hopes to increase the number of schools involved in order to empower and affect as many youth.

“That way we have a bunch of kids from all over Kingston being able to dance,” she said, “[and] express themselves through dance.”

Step Crew, in addition to performing around 10-14 times a year, also performs at Flow Show, organized by Flow Dance Club, at the end of both Fall and Winter semesters. They also compete at the annual Queen’s Dance Battle.

The founder of Step Crew, Crystal Lo, ConEd ’12, inspired Tinus to stay involved in the group and maintain similar ties to the community.

Lo established connections within the community at different schools and with Youth Diversion that, Tinus said, made it easier for them to broaden the scope of their efforts in the following year.

“One thing that she always instilled was individuality, equal opportunity and community,” Tinus said, “so that has been the guidelines that we basically live by in the crew.”

Tinus, who joined Step Crew in her first year, said she was looking for a fun group to join and enjoyed the support and encouragement she received from the team.

“It did end up being a lot like a family,” she said. “That led me to go on further.”

Step Crew will be performing at the Grad Club Friday night.

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