UNH’s Ballroom Dance Club continues to grow
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 00:02
The students of the Ballroom Club gracefully spun and glided across the floor as the perfect music for the cha-cha played in the background.
According to club president senior Steven Pampreen, this year has been a huge success for the Ballroom Club.
“We started a ballroom competition wing of the club,” Pampreen said. The club just had its first competition this past weekend.
Senior Colleen Fearey, who started dancing when her high school offered a dance class, started the Ballroom Club about four years ago.
“I got here and there was the Salsa Club and the Swing Club but that just wasn’t enough dance,” Fearey said. “So I started a new club that covered all of the dances instead of just two.”
The club meets twice a week from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday in the Wildcat Den. Dance teacher Fred Dunn instructs club members, teaching them the basic steps and fundamentals of the ballroom and Latin dances.
“We talk about the timing and how to coordinate and move around the floor,” Dunn said.
Pampreen said that he decided to join the club about a year and a half ago because he simply wanted to learn how to dance.
“I wanted to join a club like this where I could learn how to dance,” Pampreen said.
According to Pampreen, the club is almost entirely made up of members who have joined this past year. This semester, the club has about 12 to 16 members meeting regularly.
“It’s been nice seeing that growth in the club again,” Pampreen said.
Will Amar is a sophomore and one of the newer members of the club. Amar and Pampreen are on the crew team together as well. Amar said that it was Pampreen who got him to join the club.
“It sounded fun and sounded interesting so I just decided to check it out,” Amar said. “I had fun my first time so I just kept coming.”
According to Fearey, six members, including Pampreen, attended the competition last weekend at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Pampreen explained that in these competitions judges look at a group of about 20 dancers for 90 seconds. They then go down to 10 dancers until finally there are only five pairs left. From there they declare a winner.
“I think everyone was blown away the first time we went,” Pampreen said. “We basically danced all day.”
However, Pampreen and his partner managed to place in the finals in one of their Waltz numbers. Pampreen laughed as he recalled last weekend’s competition.
“When it was our competition, my partner was saying the beat the entire time we were dancing so I wouldn’t lose it,” Pampreen said.
According to Pampreen and Fearey, part of their recent success is the increase of weekly attendance and in the level of commitment.
“It’s a different group of people,” Fearey said. “About the same number of people come every week. People are coming more and more this year than last year.”
Their instructor claimed to notice the club’s growth as well.
“I’ve seen it grow,” Dunn said. “Club members have gotten more into it. They’re really getting serious about it in a fun way.”
Dunn said that the members have been putting a lot of time and energy into the club, and they are becoming more accomplished.
“People are more committed this year,” Dunn said. “The same people are showing up week after week and learning more and more.”
Dunn also claimed that he thought the club’s first competition went very well. According to Dunn, just getting out and competing was a success.
“Most other competitors have experience competing,” Dunn said. “They surpassed that goal and actually placed quite well.”
The Ballroom Club has another competition coming up this weekend at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. Fearey claimed that nine people will attend this competition, more than the last competition’s six dancers. Fearey also said that she is hopeful for this weekend’s competition.
“I think we’ll have a better idea what to expect,” Fearey said.