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“Heels” dance with Taeylor White

Dance instructor and graduate student at Mills College, Taeylor White.

The alluring words of Missy Elliott’s song “DripDemeanor”—“Boy you cannot get me locked, you tryna get me, you get blocked, unless you tryna marry me, my ring must be big as a rock”—filled the dance studio as Mills students divinely strutted on the studio floors in high heels.

Last Thursday evening, Mills student Taeylor White led fellow students in a ‘Heels’ choreography for Dollar Dance Day at Mills College.

Dollar Dance Days are a series of dance classes taught by Mills dance graduate students to fundraise for the Mills’ dance department. Each participant is encouraged to donate a dollar.

Previous dances taught during the fundraising campaign have been Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Yoga.

White explains that the funds collected from Dollar Dance Days will go towards dance programs that benefit her and other graduate dancers.

White describes these dance programs as “intensive,” saying, “So they’ll have someone come in and they’ll do drills, skills, things that kind of will help you improve performance, liberty as an individual as well as discipline and things of that nature.”

White adds that attending these intensive dance programs allows for dancers to stay up on their skills.

“Just keep it going… I mean, I guess a lot of people know, but when you stop dancing after a while, you lose majority of it… so it’s just something to keep it consistent, keep it going,” White urges. “And sometimes it’s better to like hear or teach or learn from someone else other than what you’re already into. Someone that you admire or [it] could be a company that you might want to get into,” White said.

When asked if she saw the effects of the dance departments downsizing, White replied, “The financial situation that we have in the program currently hasn’t affected us in a way where it’s been traumatic. Yes, we do raise money a lot. And I honestly don’t know where it truly goes to because I haven’t used any of that money personally. But I do like helping the community and bringing, you know, as much money as I can.”

Tyanna Davis was one of the dance participants in White’s Heel dance class.

When asked what she thought of the class, Davis said, “I really like the teaching. I enjoyed [it] because the counts were different. Like, you know, a lot of dances, the counts can get predictable with the one, two, three and four,” she continued. “Like it can get really predictable! But I like that Taey [White] challenged us with like hitting different beats in that song, in different counts and different sounds. … It’s nice to see everybody coming out like, you know, come into the dollar class, supporting a good cause,” Davis said.

White later shared how her education at Mills has shaped her as a dancer.

“I feel like coming to Mills and it being such an open-minded community has really helped me kind of get more confident in showing what I have and what I want to share to the community. So, I’m excited to see where things go from here,” White said.

This Thursday, Feb. 5, White will be teaching a “twerking” class for Dollar Dance Day in the Haas Pavilion at Mills College.