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U of M at the National Collegiate DanceSport Championship

Hannah Alyea

Team. T.E.A.M. When you think of the word team, what comes to mind? Football? Basketball? Or maybe even past days of camp teams? What does it even mean to be on a team? Well, I'm just one human being in the world, but over the past weekend I have taken some time to really discover the meaning of the word team and how it applies to ballroom dancing.

When I first started ballroom dancing, I thought I could do most improvements on my own: working Cuban motion, how to drive properly, staying left, standing up straight, smiling—you get what I mean. But little did I realize that you can work as much as you want on just yourself, but if you're going to get anywhere, you have to work just as hard in your partnership—a small team of two, if you will. The same concept goes for an entire team of ballroom rascals. You can have maybe one or two good couples, but if you leave the rest behind, when taken in perspective, little gets accomplished.

As a part of the University of Minnesota's competitive ballroom team, I have been able to see how not just an individual or a couple have progressed, but I have seen an entire group of around forty people take huge strides all together, working towards the same goal, and that is what I think a true team really looks like. A team is a group of people striving for the same goal and helping each other along the way. And being able to witness this firsthand makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
So to all of you dancers out there, keep up the good teamwork and dance on!

Erik Anderson

It was truly an awesome weekend! I am amazed at the amount of dancing we managed to fit into two days. They just flew by! The dancing alone made the trip worth the long drive, but my talented teammates and amazing partners put the trip firmly in the category of: This is the most fun ever! I've been dancing for two days straight, and I swear I don't feel tired yet. Oh? We have to go home already? That's terribly sad. Can we do this again next weekend?

Jacob Karr

I had an awesome time in Ohio! My partners were great, and I am really happy with how things went!

Rachel Marusinec

This was my second time going to NCDC, and it was just as fun as the first! I did better than I thought I would, and I was able to dance a lot. Our whole team did an awesome job, and it was fun cheering everyone else on.

Jordan Quah

I just want to say that my time at NCDC was the funnest and awesomest weekend ever! The event was incredible, but the University of Minnesota competitive ballroom team was ultimately what made the experience amazing.

Danielle Ringle

A newcomer to ballroom dancing, I was nervous about my first time dancing at a large competition. My partners and friends on the team made sure I was prepared for the moment, letting me know everything from how to dress to how to properly walk onto the dance floor. Because of this, I was more excited than anxious when we arrived in Ohio for collegiate nationals.

As soon as I got in line to compete in my first dance, however, I was more nervous than I had ever been. I did not want to forget any of my lessons: stand up straight, show proper rise and fall, hold frame, keep left, etc. Then I remembered that the most important things to do were to have fun and smile. I couldn't very well do that if I was too worried about looking like dancers with years more experience than I had!

After a few deep breaths and light conversation with my partner to distract me from worrying, he and I strode out to show what we had worked so hard on, our waltz. When we began to dance, I couldn't help smiling, proud to be a dancer representing the University of Minnesota. I knew that no matter how well I danced, my team would be proud of me. As it turns out, the judges also approved of our waltz, and my partner and I reached semifinals in bronze smooth waltz/foxtrot.

Competing was a great experience and reaffirmed what I had started to realize after two months of dancing for the University of Minnesota competitive ballroom team: I love ballroom dancing!

Patrick Severin

If you told me a year ago that I'd gladly get up at 5:00 a.m. to dress up, fasten my hair securely to my scalp, and exercise, I would have had a good laugh. But that's exactly how my two days at collegiate nationals began, and it was one of the best parts of my college career. Dance is great, but what really made NCDC was the people, the camaraderie of a great team supporting all its members. I couldn't have asked for a better first NCDC experience.

Kevin Viratyosin

This year’s collegiate nationals in Columbus, Ohio, was an exhilarating experience, and not just because our team did incredibly well in callbacks. We ran into friends made at previous competitions, and we also made new ones. Minnesota was the loudest team there, and I think if it’s fun to cheer on your friends, why not make more and cheer them on too? (Also, it makes waiting in those long lines more fun.) Really, everyone had great attitudes, and even the judges would occasionally waddle around if a good cha cha came on. It was a vibrant example of what collegiate dancing is all about.

Seth Westlake

We look forward to the Ohio competition every year, but we can never be completely prepared for such a degree of extravagance and excitement. Our team, comprised of many new members from the fall semester, pulled together very well competitively, and everyone had a great time competing. I couldn't be more grateful to work and learn with all these wonderful people. Here's to another great year before our next trip to Ohio!