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Meet the Co-Presidents of AU In Motion’s All-Female Executive Board

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

American University’s largest student-led organization, AU In Motion, is currently run by an all-female executive board. With over 200 members, AUIM is the leading dance club on campus, welcoming all experience levels to test their skill on the dance floor. Dancers work each week with student choreographers to produce a wild showcase of their work at the end of each semester. This Women’s History Month, co-presidents and sophomores Anna Cibrian and Molly Collins discuss what it’s like to work on an all-female team. Though they differ in styles (a tap dancer and hip hopper, respectively) the pair share a passion for dance and AUIM as a whole.

What’s the energy like on an all-female team? How do you guys work together, how do you think it’s different from other executive boards?

Molly Collins: So the energy is definitely really good, it’s very supportive. We work well together, I would say, we’re just good at communicating with each other. This semester specifically there just hasn’t really been any real difference in power dynamics. We have different positions on e-board, Anna and I are co-presidents. [There’s] the whole stereotype of like, ‘oh two women can’t work together, they’ll get so hormonal and yell at each other,’ but no one’s power hungry on e-board, we all came together to just kinda do the same thing. I think we’re also all just aware that it’s an all-female e-board and enjoy that environment. 

Anna Cibrian: It’s very comfortable, like [Molly] said, I’m never afraid to say like ‘hey, can someone do this right now,’ when usually I’m like, ‘do you mind, I’m sorry, blah blah blah.’ [The rest of e-board] all knows that we’re not trying to be power hungry or anything, we’re just doing the job. We all work together to make sure that we’re not asking too much of anyone else. It’s really helpful that we have the supportive team that we have right now.

What does gender inequality look like in the dance world more broadly? How have you personally experienced this? How does that translate into the AUIM scene?

AC: So I was a dancer from [age] two to now, at a competitive studio, and we’d always have like one boy per group. They always ended up quitting because they’d get bullied at school for dancing. Some of them were really good and most of them were just there for a good time because they enjoyed it, but they couldn’t enjoy it anymore. I feel like here, even though it is a majority-girl club, we have the space for men to join and we do have men in the club. And personally one of my good friends, who’s a male in the club, told me this is the first time he feels accepted in the dance world. I’m glad that we can provide that for everyone that wants to join.

MC: And on top of that, our club is heavily a queer club, as AU is, but the dance world does attract a lot of queer people as well, but we have a lot of nonbinary members. It’s just a space where gender, it matters, but it’s not gonna limit you in any way. At AUIM, while gender is obviously a factor, you’re not going to face any gender discrimination.

How does the dynamic change in terms of working with outside entities as a young, all-female executive board?

MC: We are younger than the people that we work with when it comes to outsourcing for shows and stuff, honestly most of the people we have worked with have been older men, and there definitely have been times where we’re not listened to maybe as much as a man would be listened to. Our words are sometimes taken with a grain of salt, or we’re talked over and maybe not respected as much. That said, because there’s power in numbers, when we’re all together we do band together and we can be like ‘ok we hear this but also you need to listen to us.’ It’s almost like a demand for respect. I would say in certain cases, because we are an all-female club, we do have to work a little harder to get the respect and the acknowledgment that we deserve. 

What three adjectives would you use to describe the upcoming showcase?

AC and MC: Diverse, energetic, and empowering.

What’s your favorite AUIM moment?

AC: This is like a really weird one, but it would be the dress rehearsal of my first semester, last spring, which was literally in the Hughes Formal Lounge. It was the first time that I ever choreographed anything for myself, I had a solo, and it was my first semester so I didn’t really know anyone just yet. Everyone just really supported me when I was [dancing]. It was a tap solo on the carpet, so you couldn’t really hear much, but everyone was cheering me on and shouting out for me, people I did not know, so I just felt very welcome and supported and encouraged for the first time doing something like that.

MC: I’m gonna go with closing night of fall semester, just because that was the first time I had choreographed by myself and it was a great group of dancers. We opened the show, so we were all backstage before and we were hyping each other up. I just remember I started crying right after I got off stage. I was just like ‘oh my god I love everyone.’ If there was one adjective for AUIM, it’s supportive. You will be hyped up, so many people will support you no matter how close you are.

From the outside, it’s clear that support is a big aspect of AUIM. Even sitting in the audience of your showcases and listening to everyone yell and clap, the energy is so exciting. Do you think AUIM’s position as a safe feminine space is a factor in that?

AC: Yes! Women supporting women.

MC: I definitely think so, and something else, obviously the show isn’t about sex or anything, but we have a lot of heels dances and hip hop and everyone’s obsessed with shaking their ass. It’s not in like a weird predatory way, it’s a way to explore your sexuality in a safe space and to be supportive and uplifted while you do that. Which is unique for women. And men! And nonbinary people! Everyone is shaking ass in AUIM. It’s a safe space to explore your sexuality through dance which is liberating. You can also literally just stand there and shake your hips a little bit and everyone will scream and like throw shoes at you. You don’t have to be good. You don’t have to be an experienced dancer, you can wake up one day and be like you know what I want to join a club.

HC: Any final thoughts to share with our readers?

MC: Overall, the benefits of being on an all-female e-board completely outweigh any disadvantages there might be. It’s a very great team, and we’re very grateful for the rest of our e-board and all of our choreographers and dancers, everyone. The shows really would not be possible without all of them.

AC: I felt like it would be a lot more stressful to ‘run a club,’ especially with 200-something members, but everyone has made it so easy to give some burden to other people or work together. Everyone knows what we’re here to do and we all have the same goal and we’re all working towards it together so I’m really not as nervous or stressed as I thought I would be. 
The AU In Motion Spring Showcase will be on April 14 & 15 at the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. Tickets will be available here or through their Instagram @auinmotion.

Emma Destito

American '25

Emma is a sophomore at American University pursuing a BA in political science with a minor in women's, gender, and sexuality studies. She is very passionate about social justice and the legal system, and enjoys exploring the D.C. food scene in her spare time.