Tulane’s club ballroom dancing waltzes, rumbas, swings into new school year

Olivia Henderson, Sports Editor

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After 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Reily Student Recreation Center’s Lakeside Room transforms into a dance floor. Here, members of Tulane’s club ballroom dance team shimmy and shake the night away at least until 10 or 11 p.m. 

Students involved with the club practice three major categories of dances. The first, smooth, encompasses most waltzes, the foxtrot and the tango. The second, Latin, includes salsa, merengue, rumba, and cha-cha dancing. The third, swing, is primarily comprised of east coast swing and west coast swing. 

All of the dances practiced by club members require members to dance with a partner, and all pairs are comprised of leads/follows. These terms are not gender-specific, meaning that pairs are not limited to male/female couples. 

Those scared about finding a partner need not worry. At many practices, Tulane ballroom does “social dancing,” where club members switch partners frequently, allowing club members to get to know one another.

For competitions, however, people usually practice with the same partner, but an uneven number of leads/follows does occasionally necessitate some switching. This is not a frequent occurrence, as the club competes only once a year in the Rock and Roll Tide Dance Competition in Alabama. 

Sofia Viscuso | Photo Editor
From left to right, Emma Pronovost, Yume Jensen, Elizabeth Grimm and Andrew Cerise practice tangoing with each other.

Other than in instances of competition, Tulane ballroom does not require its members to purchase any equipment. Though some members use dance shoes, many, including club president Andrew Cerise, dance in their socks. 

“I still do not have dancing shoes,” Cerise said. “I’ve been using socks for three years now, and I’ll be doing it for my fourth year as well.”

The club’s equipment policy is certainly a microcosm of its welcoming attitude and willingness to accept new members. When discussing various aspects of the club, Cerise was quick to encourage anyone interested to join. 

“We pride ourselves mostly on being a social ballroom organization, for people who feel like they want to learn a style of dance or all of them,” Cerise said. “[Members] don’t have to feel pressured by an environment that expects you to compete and win.”

Tulane ballroom practices on Tuesdays from 9-10 p.m. and Thursdays from 9-11 p.m. in the Lakeside Room at the Reily Center. All are welcome regardless of past dancing experience.