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What's All the Noise?

By Christina Kyllo

I was warned about the noise, but I certainly wasn’t expecting there to be that much and almost all the time at Dance Fest. But then again, I’m not even sure what I was expecting for my first dance competition.

I joined the University of Minnesota ballroom team just two weeks prior—a girl dropped out, and I was next on the list. So everything leading up to this competition has kind of been over my head. I don’t have any past experience in dance, and both of my partners were also new to the team, so it was kind of hard jumping in and keeping up with the rest of the team lessons. But I did have a plan: ask questions. I asked questions about everything that came to me: frame to footwork, makeup to hair and dresses. I wanted to be prepared as much as I could be, since I knew the two weeks were going to go by fast.

Looking back, there wasn’t that much noise during my very first heat, newcomer smooth waltz, but I think that was due to my heart beating so quickly I could barely concentrate. All I kept thinking was, “Am I doing this right?” or “Ooh! I think I did that right!” until we got off the floor and attempted to figure out what heats and callbacks even were (asking a bunch of newcomers what a heat is was not the best idea, in hindsight). Once I figured out how the callback thing worked, I became very thankful I'd only signed up for a few events, since I saw some of my teammates constantly being called back to the floor, and it got very hectic for them. I mean, I would have loved to have danced more, but I think it would’ve been too overwhelming for me (definitely a goal for next year, though).

We can all agree that the level of noise peaked during the team matches on Saturday night. Wow. I kept telling my friends that it was louder than a football game, but they wouldn’t believe me (and who would, really? We’re a bunch of ballroom dancers). I was really surprised by the amount of spirit the U of M team had, too (again, I heard stories that we were the loudest team, but I didn’t believe it). As I watched the stellar performances from our high-level couples, even I really got into cheering for them. Watching them was definitely my favorite part of the entire weekend.

All in all, I had a great time at my first competition! It’s a bummer that I didn’t get any callbacks, but what can you do? I got to help out a bit by doing some data entry, so it was really fun to volunteer and be a bit more engaged in the event. Either way, I’m really excited for my next competition in April, and I can't wait for next year’s Dance Fest.