Swinging into competition

By Ali DeRees

Oakland University’s Ballroom Dance Club, which  began last winter, had a great turnout, and are ready to take their dancing to the next level and start dancing competitively.

The club’s president Taylor Born says that this semester will be used as preparation for the competitions that they will participate in next semester.

“We wanted to work towards a goal,” said Born.

Their open house and practice was held on Monday, Sept. 9. According to Born, 51 students showed up to the open house and 25 of them are looking to compete.

Born says the club is looking into participating in a competition at Purdue in the fall and one in Ann Arbor in the winter.

Born herself has taken private lessons from the dance studio that works in partner with the Ballroom Dance Club, Elegance in Motion.

She stresses though that no dance experience is needed in order to join or compete.

“Most people don’t have dance experience,” said Born. “Ballroom dancing is something anyone can do and it’s what you make of it.”

Born says the club is looking to host their own competition here at Oakland University next fall.

One of the dance instructors who can be found teaching at the club’s practices is Curtis Haremza.

Haremza owns the dance studio Elegance in Motion with his wife Sarah located in Auburn Hills. Haremza himself has 17 years of ballroom dancing experience.

Haremza is excited to see the Ballroom Dance Club competing this year.“Collegiate competitions are very popular right now,” said Haremza.

Haremza explained how the competitions work. There are up to 70 people on the floor at a time and that number keeps narrowing until there is a winner. Couples are judged off or their heat’s which are minute and a half dances.

Other experienced ballroom dancers can be found at the Ballroom Dance Club’s practices.

Alex Chevrier is a nationally competitive ballroom dancer with nine years of ballet experience and three years of ballroom dance experience.

Chevrier explains the advantages for students looking to compete in ballroom dancing.

“Not a lot of young people my age compete,” said Chevrier. “Going through a college is more affordable.”

Chevrier is happy to see the turnout the club has seen and how many students want to compete.

“We are going to go to competition based on these guys’ drive,” said Chevrier.

The Ballroom Dance Club meets Mondays at 8:30 p.m. for Beginners classes and Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. for the advanced class.