Wednesday night, the Saint Mary’s French Club hosted “Ballet and Beignets” to kick off the club’s renewal. After finally getting the club back in action after a couple years of trying, the event was meant to draw members with beginner-level ballet and a delicious treat.
“I think when you think of France, a lot of people think of ballet” as the reason they chose ballet. Additionally, it puts everyone on an even playing field.
“I think when you think of France, a lot of people think of ballet,” French club board member Jesse Miller said, adding that the beginning-level puts everyone on an even playing field. “We wanted something chill but also hands on, and I feel like none of us are experts in ballet.”
Miller also emphasized they hoped it would be something not as intimidating for people without a French background.
Co-president of Les Belles Françaises Chloe Westrate started the event with a brief presentation about the rich French history of ballet.
“Ballet is very tied to French history,” Westrate said. “The first ballet dancers were French aristocrats.”
She also led the class through some common ballet terms such as plie and battement, which are also French terms to further show the connections between the language and dance.
Marie Claire Ferretti, a student of both French and dance, led the class. A beginner class in every sense, Ferretti began with stretches before moving on to basic feet and hand positions. Last, she taught basic movements such as plie and even threw in a few jumps before showing how a traditional ballet class ends.
Afterwards, participants were rewarded with beignets.
“Beignets are French doughnuts basically,” Westrate explains. “They are especially popular in Louisiana. We want to spread awareness that French is spoken in places other than France.”
With beignets being popular in Louisiana, the club is relating French culture back home to the United States, she said.
Board members talked about how the club is open to everyone, hoping to attract francophones and enthusiasts alike.
“It’s open to anyone, regardless of if you’re in French or not or even if you speak the language,” Miller said.
The club says that now that they have had their kickoff event, there will start to be more meetings, which will entail learning about French culture through other fun activities such as movies.
While they don’t have any future events planned right now, the club says to be on the lookout next semester, especially after the success of Ballet and Beignets.
“We are hoping to do more events highlighting French culture in countries other than France too,” Westrate said.
There is also hope to incorporate specific Saint Mary’s history into future events.
“I think it’d be cool to dive more into the French history of Saint Mary’s,” Westrate said. “The Sisters of Holy Cross who founded Saint Mary’s are a French order of nuns. All of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame started in Le Mans, France.”
Saint Mary’s students can find and join French Club on BelleTower and anyone can find them on Instagram @smcbellesfrancaises
Contact Katelyn Waldschmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.