Have A Ball With NYU Ballroom

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Nika Woodfill

NYU’s Ballroom and Latin Dance team rehearses in the Kimmel Center.

By Nika Woodfill, Deputy Sports Editor

The small Kimmel dance studio is filled with chattering voices as newcomers exchange pleasantries. Dancers begin lining up, practicing their movements and taking small steps and twists. Pairs form, and dancers introduce themselves with friendly smiles. They begin their steps, moving in unison with their newly acquainted partners.

These beginner and intermediate dancers are part of the NYU Ballroom and Latin Dance team, a student-run organization that practices and competes all year.

While the team is highly competitive, CAS junior and team secretary Sarah Fahey says that there is a large variety of dance ability on the team.

“It varies,” Fahey said. “Many people on the team have had some dance experience, but there are many people that have had zero experience before this.”

To train the new dancers, the team hosts beginner lessons taught by graduated members every Tuesday from 8-10 p.m. in Kimmel 606.

“The lessons are for anyone who signed up at Club Fest,” Fahey said. “The people who teach the newcomer lessons were all on the team years ago, which I find really cool because you are able to see people who started in college, and see where you can be in three or four years.”

Not only does the team develop members’ dancing abilities, it also fosters a sense of community within the group, through its big-little program and encouraging environment.

“The big-little program is a mentorship program which pairs you with an older member, and essentially puts you into a family and gives you someone to connect with,” Fahey said.

Steinhardt sophomore Omid Zafar, who joined the team last semester, emphasized its community and support system as major factors in his continued participation.

“I was looking at my options and the different dance teams, and I decided to try ballroom,” Zafar said. “I went to the first lesson, and I really enjoyed it. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive, so I decided to stick around and keep doing it.”

The team also develops cohesion through its numerous competitions. They attend competitions each semester along the east coast.

“We do about five competitions every semester, one of which takes place at NYU,” Fahey said. “During fall we have Top Hat, and during spring we have Dancing with our Stars, where an older member of our team is paired with a younger member and trains them. The younger dancers then compete against each other in Kimmel.”

Zafar will begin competing this semester and is enthusiastic about his prospects. He encourages others to join the team as well.

“I’m really excited to participate and become more involved in this,” Zafar said. “I highly recommend you also go for it and give it a shot. There’s not really any pressure, and you can always come and dance around a bit and learn something new.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 13 print edition. Email Nika Woodfill at [email protected]