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Gaining Perspective

Dance Fest 2015

By Joel Torgeson

Dance Fest just rocked. Hands down, there is no other way to say it. If you look across this issue, you may think to yourself, "Wow, could they have written about something else?"

No, I personally couldn't. It's just been the stand-out highlight of my dancing month! Where else do I get to dance, compete, see my friends from across the Midwest, and just generally have an awesome time? Nowhere. In this, Dance Fest is unique.

This year's event was especially interesting for me for more personal reasons. Two years ago, competing at Star of the North in the newcomer division, I didn't really know anybody, and I marveled along with the others at the seemingly unattainable skill of the dancers competing at gold and above. This year, I won two gold events and greeted my friends from other schools with hugs. They introduced me to new friends from their schools, and now I feel connected to nearly all the teams we compete with.

One of the things that makes this comp so special to me is precisely that: inter-team camaraderie. Even though each couple is competing against every other, and each team is similarly engaged, it's awesome to see people breaking down those barriers and having fun with each other in the on-deck line and during general dances. It's a very different atmosphere from all the other competitions I've been to, and I love it.

I must admit my ego was a little stroked by the event as well. I've come a long way in a relatively short period of time, and it's fun to be recognized for that. Then again, watching the videos and reviewing the pictures afterwards told me a story of untidy body lines, tense shoulders, and sloppy footwork—enough to spend the next few months hammering away at.

Overall, I was really impressed by my team's performance, in terms of both competition and sportsmanship. We dominated several finals with five of seven couples hailing from the University of Minnesota, and U of M couples took first in every standard syllabus event except newcomer foxtrot. Saturday evening at Dance Fest, we took the top place in both team matches, rounding out an excellent competitive weekend for the U. I'd try to go through all the different couples and placements, but it would just take too long.

The U of M competition team did quite well off the floor, too. I've received many thank yous from other schools in appreciation of the gracious hosting they experienced. I saw many of my teammates bring their dancing to a level I'd never seen in practice, and I loved to see cross-school friendships being kindled.

Overall, Dance Fest 2015 was a raging success, and I can't wait to see what the future of the event brings. From what I've heard, it's the highlight of everybody's dancing year. I hope to see you there next year!