posted 10 September 2012
Hi everybody! (that's the cue to yell at your computer screen, "Hi, Blakely!") It has been an incredible first week of dancing and making new friends. I know I speak for all of the "returners" when I say that welcoming new people to our big, crazy ballroom family is one of the most-if not the most- exciting and rewarding times of the year, and I sincerely hope that everyone who has come to lessons or practice has felt welcomed.
I know it's a little overwhelming to learn so many dances at once, especially when the assortment of box steps and New Yorkers blend together, but what I've seen so far has been fantastic! The point of the club is to help people have fun and feel like they're learning something new and exciting, so if you think we're not doing that, please let us know!
I've had so much fun getting to know everyone so far, and there are certainly plenty more opportunities to get to know each other better on and off the dance floor. Look forward to the annual ballroom beach trip, IM sports, clue week, and this weekend's movie night. They're all guaranteed to be magical*
*The full title is "I couldn't think of anything creative, so I'm just going to name this one 'Albatros;'" however, it was too long to fit.
*This is not an actualy guarantee. You will not get your time back if you do not have a fun time. I do not posess a time turner, though I have asked Santa for one for the past 13 Christmases.
posted 06 August 2012
New professors are settling into their offices, dorm rooms are being repainted, and Ian's heard news of strange goings on in the Sadler Dining Hall. It could only mean one thing: Ballroom 2012-2013 is about to begin.
I know many of our returning members have had a blast exploring lessons and social dances near their homes, but in just a few short weeks we'll be welcoming new members of the Tribe into our wonderfully nerdy (Jedi-festing, polka-dancing) family. WHO'S PUMPED?
While my last post was about how far last year's newbies had come, the goal of this one is to encourage that absurdly giant class of awesomeness to open their arms to the new students of W&M and become our club's fabulous returners.
With any luck, our seductive rhythm skirts and overly-friendly demeanor will attract a good 50 people to the first day of lessons. It'll seem like a lot. It will be overwhelming. Half of them will fade away and become members of Greek Life, Brazilian jujitsu, or any of the 400 other clubs on campus. Our goal is to make the other half find a home in ballroom club.
How do we do that? It means not only wowing them with our dancing skills, but our social skills as well. Dancing with everyone we can, talking to everyone we can, remembering names. Not just for the first practice, but the first few weeks. It's a steep order but worth it.
Some will come in with previous dancing skills. They'll be smooth on the floor and everyone will want to dance with them. Do, but notice that girl sitting hesitantly in the corner. Dance with her too. The guy standing in the corner, thinking he's too cool for school? Dance with him too. Even the kid who has no rhythm and steps on your toe constantly. Dance with all of them, talk to all of them, make them your family. They are the next generation of Ellies and Ians, Angelinas, Christians, JJs, Heathers, Julias, and more. They will become our next generation of newbies, and integral part of our ballroom family, and we will love them forever.
The next post I write will be for all of those people who are just coming to us. I'll welcome them to our family via my blog, just as Abby and Angelina will via their e-mails; however, I sincerely hope that my words won't be necessary. I hope that every person will be as welcomed as Skye, who found our Facebook page this summer (well, maybe not quite so welcomed- I'm half afraid we were so friendly we scared her off) and that our club can continue to grow in awesomeness as it has for the past many moons.
Your Pub Chair,
PS: I can't figure out why the font size randomly changed at the end there. View it as an artistic expression.
posted 17 April 2012
I think it was January when I first created a blog post entitled Dancing Hippos, fell asleep in the middle of it (never write blog posts at 4 am), woke up and couldn't remember for the life of me where it was going. This weekend, during the Charlotte Dancesport Challenge, I remembered what I had intended to talk about and so I'm going to do so now, before I forget it again:
Many people who take up ballroom dancing have done other forms of dance in the past, or else gymnastics, ice skating, cheerleading, or more traditional sports such as soccer or basketball. Others are the people who were never terribly athletic but want to stay active somehow. This second group includes both myself and many of the other members of the William and Mary Ballroom Dance Club. So naturally, when this group of relatively unathletic people get together and start learning about moving in rhythm while attached to another person and simultaneously thinking about the movement of assorted other people around them, things can get messy. In fact, they can look like a room full of dancing hippos. It's okay. It's an insult to no one-- I was one of those people. Most of us were those people.
What's astonishing is when you reach a point, just a few months in, and that room full of uncordinated people is transformed into dancers-- people posessing grace and poise, rhythm and some sexiness. It's a beautiful transformation, a transformation to be proud of. And certainly, even if someone disagrees with my opinion of where many dancers begin, it seems impossible to me to argue with where they end up. This weekend, while we were at Charlotte Dancesport Challenge, dancers who only 8 short months ago were learning the basic steps were winning ribbons for their skilled performances of intricate footwork on the dance floor. They were beating out people who had danced for up to a ten months than they had. They were, to put it simply, good.
While I myself have only a year's experience on our newcomer dancers and we all have a lot left to learn, I wanted to be able to take this moment to congradulate people on the progress they've made and encourage them to keep learning and keep dancing. Just like any other skill, it can be frustrating at times but the results of practice and hardwork are truly increadible.
posted 16 March 2012
Overzealous publicity chair I was, I planned on writing a post every month. Yet somehow we're already halfway through the semester and just now am I returning to the land of the ballroom blog. Where has the time gone? In the past few months, we've welcomed numerous new members, had an increadible showing at USA Dance's Mid-Atlantic competition (newbies dancing bronze and winning ribbons? Go them!), worked with Literacy for Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters to pull off a very successful Dancing With the Williamsburg Stars, and had a lot of fun all along the way!
What's up next? Our Spring adoption ceremony is next weekend, Charlotte Dancesport Challenge and our Spring Formal both coming up in April, and then it's already time to say good bye for the summer. Are you going to keep dancing? I know I will.
posted 22 December 2011
It's been a few weeks since the ballroom club elected the promising new board for 2012, but with Thanksgiving, finals, and the high levels of concentration required by relaxing in the first week of winter break, now is the time when I, the new publicity chair, get to tell you about all the exciting things that have happened in the past semester and all that we can look forward to in the next.
First of all, thank you to our retiring board. We will sincerely miss seniors Andrew Bessler, Charles Fliss, and Aniko Toth. We are grateful for all the work that the three put in during their time on the board, and are happy that they still have a final semester of dancing with us before they go on to exciting new jobs and graduate schools. We also thank retiring publicity chair Lindsay Anderson for her wonderful work, though thankfully we still have 2 years left to dance with her! All the rest of the board have moved on to new positions, and are joined by the fresh new faces of three active freshmen.The 2012 board then consists of President Abby Acio, Vice-President Megan Woodward, Men's Team Captain Brian Croarkin, Women's Team Captain Nienke Sexton, Secretary Angelina Schiano, Social Chair Sam Sachs, and Publicity Chair Blakely Mulder.
All the members of the board are finding time in their busy schedules of TV watching and home-cooked-meal-eating to prepare for the upcoming semester. In the works? A formal in the Great Hall of the historic Wren Building, one or two competitions filled with all of our newcomers, as well as bronze, silver, and gold-level dancers in both American and International dance styles, and an exhibition number at the successful philanthropy event, Dancing With the Williamsburg Stars.
All of that, as well as our plethora of social events and lesson sets taught by our excited and talented new captains, will get started up when we return back to school January 18th. Until then? Chacha real smooth! If you're dying to chacha (as I'm sure many of you are) but can't figure out where, try one of these suggestions:
1. Google for local dance studios. I found a lot of places nearby that taught ballroom dance that I didn't even know existed. You're sure to turn up something. You can also follow suggestion 2
2. Ask your friends. Especially with the number of people living in NoVA, someone's sure to know a good dance studio. Ask around the Ballroom Dance Club Facebook page for local suggestions.
3. Do it at home. That's right. Just pop on some of today's top 40 (Lady Gaga works wonders), find your closest hardwood or tile floor, and hit the dance floor. It's more difficult for a follow, but at least practicing your basic is sure to keep you from going too stir crazy or being rusty when you next have the chance to dance with a partner.
Good luck, and remember, just dance (gonna be okay).