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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Beyond glitz and glamour: ballroom dance team shines

Published: September 27, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

It’s hard to resist the flare of a ballroom dance performance. Originally developed in Europe, the early form of ballroom existed as a noncompetitive social dance that was literally intended to take place inside a ballroom. Since then, ballroom dance has grown to incorporate exhibition ballroom dance, competitive ballroom dance, as well as a standardization of various styles such as “International Style” and “American Style.” Encompassing a wide range of dances on stage, the combination of music, partnered movement and exquisite costumes make the practice of ballroom dance an activity both exciting to do and fun to watch. An amazing example of the wonderful drama of ballroom dance is Brandeis’ own Ballroom Dance Team.

­The Ballroom Dance Team has been a rich source of performance art within the Brandeis dance community. The club functions to provide an outlet for anyone interested in dance, and welcomes students from all types of backgrounds. For students not only experienced with dance as well as those wanting to learn more, the Ballroom Dance Team instructs newcomers on the standard styles of dances such as Cha-Cha, Rumba, Tango, Foxtrot, and the Viennese Waltz along with myriad other dances.

“Aside from newcomer lessons led by Brandeis students, the team conducts lessons in Waltham’s Supershag Dance Studio taught by professional instructors,” general team member, Iris Lee ’15 describes. For the off-campus classes, the members often take the BranVan together. The classes themselves are broken down into newcomers, bronze, silver, gold and open, with each progressively being more challenging.

The club’s treasurer, Stephanie Anciro ’16, who joined the Ballroom Dance Team last fall, started out by going to the beginner’s lessons and soon fell in love with the sport. “I told myself that when I got to college, I would explore my interests a little more, and that’s what I did! After the first day at the Supershag Dance Studio, I fell in love with it,” Anciro explains. Since then, Anciro has continuously gone to the lessons and is now a member of BDTeam’s Ballroom Formation, which is a smaller part of the team that competes with other couples.

Brandeis Ballroom Dance Team regularly competes throughout the year at other colleges such as Harvard, Tufts and Brown. On top of this, the team can be seen wowing the stage of Levin Ballroom with their sharp formations in major events like Fall Fest, Dance Marathon, and Culture X. In past years they have also danced alongside professors at “Dancing with the Brandeis Stars.” But before you think Ballroom is all glitz and glamour, at the end of the day the genre of dance requires great discipline and commitment, as Anciro ’16 attests to. “We’d come home sore from practice solely because of a technique workshop with the instructor. It’s interesting to learn how small elements like hand motions and whatnot can impact how the team looks altogether.”

Indeed, Ballroom Dance can be challenging and technically demanding, but as the members of the team will tell you, it’s even more rewarding to share with audiences a passion for dance and performance.