Club helps curious students Fall into Dance

Photo by John Nakano

Colleges are usually noted as extraordinary places to find one’s true passions. Not one to disappoint, Tech happily embraces a stunning variety of clubs, teams, and organizations. No matter what a student’s interests, there is sure to be at least one group that fits his or her desires. The main problem with this plethora is that students need to be able to browse and explore the different organizations in order to find the perfect match.

To accommodate this growing need, many clubs host info sessions or post fliers and sidewalk chalk messages to get the news of their existence to potential members at the beginning of each semester.

One such advertising group was Tech’s Ballroom Dance Club, or the slightly shorter GTBDC, but they were not content to merely invite students to an info session or their first meeting. Nothing so droll was suitable. Instead, GTBDC opted for their first event to be a kind of welcoming party to prospective new members where they gave dance lessons to all comers.

At seven in the evening of Aug. 22, the Student Center’s third floor Ballroom was positively packed with individuals, couples and groups of friends who were interested in dancing. The graceful exertion did not begin immediately, however.

Tables were setup outside the ballroom filled with trays of chicken nuggets, candy, water bottles and chips. Another table held several laptops for attendees to add their names to GTBDC’s mailing list, thus signing up for future dance opportunities throughout the semester. Once refreshments were served, the dance lessons commenced.

The very first thing that attendees were taught is that ballroom dances progress in a counterclockwise direction, which is called the line of dance. From here, instruction became a little more difficult, but it was still enjoyed by all. Daniel Boman, a graduate student, and Kelsey Johnson, the club’s president, taught the Foxtrot in fabulous red outfits.

The second dance, taught by another couple, was the Rumba (not the vacuum) which, in a room as packed as that ballroom,  seemed to be a dance specifically designed for clothes-lining everyone in the general vicinity. Once most (though sadly not all) people noticed that certain flourishes were detrimental to the health of their neighbors, this dance went along smoothly.

The third and final dance taught was presided over by Boman and Johnson again, this time in blue outfits. Through this lesson, many of these new dance students realized the hard way that the Hustle, when performed improperly, is little more than holding hands and spinning very quickly in a circle—activities unkind to one’s sense of equilibrium.

Sprinkled throughout the lessons were various dancing games, and after teaching the Hustle, the club played music to which attendees could practice their newly learned abilities. Throughout the four hour long event, attendees slowly trickled out the doors. Many stayed for all three lessons, but few stayed for the entire event. One could easily tell that those who stayed had truly enjoyed themselves (rather than staying for lack of something better to do or through a sense of dedication  once the dancing had started). As the crowd thinned and inhibitions diminished, it became easier for dancers to find a partner.

The entire evening was designed to encourage attendees to switch partners between dances and throughout the lessons—a fitting concept since most were just learning to dance. Switching partners encouraged people to help one another instead of settling into a certain flow with a single partner.

With a successful night of lessons and dancing, the attendees were given quite a few compelling reasons to join Tech’s Ballroom Dance Club. Most of those in attendance were freshmen, and new Tech students are always particularly eager to explore their options before dedicating themselves to any one group on campus. GTBDC hopes the excitement of their lessons gave their attendees a good enough reason to stick  with ballroom dancing for the semester.