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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ballroom club graces UA

    Anyone who attended the men’s basketball game against USC probably wondered where all of the ballroom dancers, who performed during the half-time show, came from. They weren’t hired professionals but members of a club that’s been on campus for more than 10 years.

    The UA’s Ballroom Dance Club practices three times a week and covers both smooth ballroom dance styles like the foxtrot, tango or waltz and rhythm and Latin styles such as the cha-cha, rumba or salsa. The club has over 130 members in all levels of dance.

    “”I really like building the friendships and having a consistent place to come and dance and have fun,”” said music and chemistry senior Daniel Einfrank. “”I know I can count on this place to let me be myself and let loose.””

    Corrie Vandervlugt, club president and fourth-year optical sciences graduate student, said everyone can learn to dance and you don’t need much athletic ability to join the club.

    “”Some people have natural ability so they pick it up faster but I still say anyone with two left feet can dance,”” Vandervlugt said.

    The club participates in year-round competitions, including trips to Arizona State University, University of California San Diego, and University of Nevada Las Vegas, and in the fall they attend the Collegiate Nationals held in Columbus, Ohio.

    “”They break up (the competition) into levels so you only compete against people in your skill level,”” Vandervlugt said. “”Even if you’re brand new you can still compete.””

    Vandervlugt said her favorite part about the club is the competitions because of the close friendships that are made.

    “”It’s kind of like a road trip – you stay in hotels together, so you get really close,”” she said.

    Abrie Schroeder, a 2007 UA alumna and review session teacher, said she loves the costumes and makeup but also the communication between genders.

    “”It’s fun to have forced interaction between the sexes,”” Schroeder said. “”You have to interact with guys and vice versa.””

    The club has a professional coach come in on Mondays to teach the dances and holds practice on Wednesdays as a review lesson.

    “”We got a new instructor and he really takes time to go over the steps, he doesn’t go too fast,”” said biochemistry senior Gieselle Ebot.

    Most of the club members said they agree ballroom dancing is worth overcoming the fear that most new students feel.

    “”A lot of people get scared off at first, especially guys because they don’t know what they’re doing,”” said political science junior Kyle Pember. “”It’s a great way to meet girls and everyone has to start somewhere.””

    Einfrank said he believes it’s natural to feel hesitant about trying anything new.

    “”The most important thing is to get over it and get over here and have some fun,”” he said.

    Many students came to the club not knowing anyone, even without a partner.

    “”I pretty much just showed up and felt awkward for a while and then people got more friendly and started coming up to me like ‘Hi, you’re new,'”” said first-year astronomy graduate student Megan Reiter.

    Students must pay dues of $40 for the semester, but Vandervlugt said it is a great deal considering private ballroom dance lessons cost around $85 to $100 per hour.

    Reiter said she appreciates the inexpensive dues on a student budget.

    “”Even if you commit to a semester, they’re good lessons and they aren’t very expensive,”” she said.

    Alberto Ramos, 2004 UA alumnus, said he keeps coming back for this reason: “”You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.””

    “”All you’re going to do is learn some new social skills that you can apply anywhere,”” he said. “”Dance is just a lot of fun.””

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