We continue our topic of dance clubs all across America and today we interviewed Ray Burgess, Social Captain of UCSC Ballroom Dance Club. Ray shared some information about his dance club with us.
– Hi Ray, can you tell me a bit about history of your dance club?
The farthest back we can trace our club is to someone named Sean Ericson. He noticed that there was all the framework laid out for a ballroom club at our school, however it was inactive. He essentially revitalized it and started the club anew, and here we are today around 7 years later.
– How many members are in your club?
We have roughly 25 members who actively participate in the club right now.
– What dance styles do you do?
We cover the majority of styles you see in ballroom competitions: International Waltz, Quickstep, Foxtrot, VWaltz, Tango as well as their American counterparts. We also compete in the international Latin events e.g. Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Jive, and Paso Doble. We don’t do any of the Rhythm dances but we do have most of the nightclubs such as West and East coast swing, Hustle, Salsa, Merengue, and we even throw in a little Blues Fusion w/ our lessons!
– Ray, what about the coaches? Who trains your club?
Our coaches so far are Tom Roher and Kaytlin Kuns. They teach us international Latin styles since they’re competing in novice right now and are the best couple still on our team. They’re former students but they’re in the area so they stick around with us. We currently lack standard coaches.
– Can you name some achievements of the club?
There aren’t many accomplishments we have as a team itself. However, on an individual basis we have couples placing first in multiple events ranging from Bronze to Open in collegiate competitions.
– What are the plans for the near future?
Our plans are to host a collegiate ballroom competition in Santa Cruz in the 2017-2018 school year! As well as continue expanding the team, we left off last school year with about 8 members and we’ve almost tripled in size since then – we’ll do our best to keep those numbers up.
Today we’re starting a new line of our blog where we’ll be covering various dance clubs all across USA. One of them is Ballroom Dance Club at Indiana University. To get acquainted with them we interviewed Ann-Heckman Davis – the president of this dance club.
– Ann, what is the history of your club?
– Our club was started by a graduate student named Mel Rosare in 1984 when she attended IU as an MBA, in the graduating class of 1986. This makes it probable that 2016-2017 is our club’s 32nd year of operation, but it is possible that the club may have disbanded at some point and restarted (if records were kept, they have been lost, so it’s impossible for us to know for sure. Everyone who was involved with the club at that time is long gone by now.) According to Ms. Rosare, she modeled the club after BYU’s Ballroom Dance Club, which was one of the premier dance clubs in the country. Ms. Rosare had learned ballroom dancing and became an instructor during her undergraduate years at the University of Hawaii.
How many current members there are in the club?
We have approximately 50 members (I say approximately because many do not attend practices or lessons for a long stretch of time but will later come back, so it’s difficult to pin down an exact number.) Our executive council is composed of eight veteran club members, led by myself as President and Sydney Arnold as Captain. We are coached in American styles by Chris Spalding and Kelly Bartlett, owners of the Fort Wayne Ballroom Company, and in International styles by Gert Roslender of Aurelia Dance Studio in Indianapolis.
Can you tell me about your club’s accomplishments?
Our club competes in a variety of competitions across the Midwest in all four styles: American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Latin, and International Standard. We have dancers of all skill levels ranging from Newcomer to Open. Our club prides itself on a strong sense of community and camaraderie while we compete at competitions, and we always give a strong showing. We placed 6th place overall at the Arnold Dancesport Classic both last year and the year before.
This school year, we introduced a new program called Ballroom Buddies that was meant to facilitate social interactions between veteran members and new members through ice breaker games such as “the human blob”. Thanks to this program and the concentrated recruitment efforts of all the veteran members, we have managed to double the size of our team and bring in a much larger Newcomer class than we have had in the past years I’ve been a part of this club!
Last year, we organized a large social we called the Disney Ball to raise money for a local charity. The Middle Way House is a local shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. It’s a great organization—a handful of members, including myself, have also volunteered there on our own time as well. Our club performed showcases to Disney music and raffled off private lessons with our members. In total, we raised about $900 for Middle Way House through this event!
Ann, what are the future plans for the dance club?
Although we have nearly doubled in size over the past year thanks to the recruitment efforts of veteran members, our club hopes to continue to growing in size. We also hope to continue organizing charity events such as the Disney Ball. Our most important goal is to improve at every competition, grow as dancers and as a team, and, of course, have fun dancing and being around one another!
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