As one of the presidents of the campus hip-hop dance group DDT, Senior Anisha Mittal strives to develop members’ performance skills and teach the community about the beauty of dance. An international relations concentrator with a double minor in economics and peace and conflict studies, Mittal is a member of Link staff and the Colgate Investment Group outside of the classroom and her involvement in DDT.
In high school, Mittal didn’t predict she would be a leader of a collegiate dance group. While she had danced a number of different styles throughout her life, she had never learned hip-hop.
“I auditioned for DDT my first semester at Colgate. I had grown up taking ballet classes, so I was excited about the opportunity to join a hip-hop group and learn a new dance form,” she said. “I have been dancing all my life! Most of my experience is in ballet, but I’ve also taken classes in pointe, jazz, Bharatanatyam and contemporary.”
Mittal, who has been involved with DDT since her first semester at Colgate, said the group has been a formative part of her college experience.
“Having grown up with a love for ballet, I never imagined myself staying in a hip-hop group through college,” Mittal said. “DDT has both been one of the only constants in my college experience and pushed me to grow. It’s a home away from home — when we walk into the studio, we leave everything else but our shared love for dance outside of it.”
DDT was founded with the intention of offering an inclusive space on campus, and Mittal fondly believes that this mindset continues to define the group’s philosophy. To her, the group is a community that makes her feel safe, with traditions that emphasize a sense of belonging and togetherness.
“DDT, to me, is a community, with traditions so meaningful that even as the membership changes, the feeling of community remains,” she said.
Before joining the group, she had experience in ballet classes back home at the New Jersey School of Ballet. To this day, Ballet remains her favorite style of dance and has played a big role in her life. Mittal’s favorite ballet is The Nutcracker, which she performed in her old dance school’s annual production.
“I would have to say my favorite type of dance is ballet, and my favorite ballet is easily The Nutcracker. When I was growing up, I performed my dance school’s annual production of The Nutcracker … it was a fairly large production that allowed me to perform for family, friends, teachers and more,” Mittal said. “Maybe even more meaningful was a tradition of attending the New York City Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker with my older cousin. She had also grown up taking ballet classes and started dragging me to the Ballet before I was old enough to really appreciate it.”
Her experience in these large productions helped develop not only her love for ballet specifically, but also her passion for the art of dance that fuels her leadership in Colgate’s dance community.