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U of M Ballroom Dance Club President Named Female Athlete of the Year

By Rosemary O'Connell

Taylor Wall dancing at Dance Fest
Taylor Wall grew up dancing. At the age of four, she started with ballet, tap, jazz, and modern, and after fourteen years training in individual dance, she discovered partner dancing. Taylor entered college looking for a new way to exhibit her dancing, and upon finding the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club her freshman year, she immediately joined the competition team in its first official year. She was the only freshman female asked to join that year—a testament to her athleticism and dedication.

Taylor graduated this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a law and politics concentration and a minor in sociology. Through her service in the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club, Taylor also leaves the university as the University of Minnesota Sport Clubs Program Female Athlete of the Year and having earned the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts Student Board Artistic Excellence Award. Such recognition places Taylor in a position that exemplifies the cross-categorization of ballroom dance as both a sport and an art form.

During her time with the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club, Taylor served four years on the competition team, two years as a primary team instructor, one year as safety and facility coordinator, and two years as president. Over four years, she managed the safety of more than two hundred individual participants, supervised special event spaces and eleven hours of practice per week, directed a board of eleven student leaders, led instruction in basic ballroom dance steps and technique for a group of twenty to forty students, and engaged incoming freshmen in physical, mental, and social development activities. In addition to this service, Taylor is active in the Twin Cities ballroom dance community, assisting with the competitive events Minnesota Ballroom Blast, Star of the North, and Dance Fest, as well as working with local amateur ballroom dance organizations to host community outreach events. Her work helped the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club earn a fourth-place ranking among all collegiate ballroom dance programs in the county, closely following teams twice and three times their size.

In addition to success on the collegiate competition circuit, in which Taylor and her partner Michael Kasinkas placed in at least the fiftieth percentile nationally in every event and reached semifinal and final rounds in most events, Taylor has expanded on collegiate competition and has elected to spend extra personal resources to compete in the amateur competition circuit as well.

In November 2013, Taylor was ranked the first-place amateur novice rhythm dancer and second-place amateur novice smooth dancer in the Midwest and placed well in the final rounds of every event she competed in at the Chicago DanceSport Challenge national qualifying event.

By placing in every event she entered at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships this March, Taylor achieved success at a national level, earning the national amateur rankings of first place in gold smooth, second place in gold rhythm, and fourth place in novice rhythm. Such impressive results clearly exhibit Taylor's dedication to her art and have inspired other University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club members to strive to follow her lead.

We are proud that Taylor has chosen to call the Twin Cities ballroom dance community her home!