Jillian here! I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! I, for one, have had a marvelous week, made especially exciting by going to my first ballroom dancing competition, UDanceFest, with Luther’s competitive ballroom and swing dancing team. While I had been to a ballroom critique event before, I had never attended a competition, so this was an all-new experience. And I loved it!
We left Luther on Friday night, stopping for food at Chipotle along the way (mmm…Chipotle…), and got to our hotel later that evening. Saturday morning was a whirlwind of hair and makeup and fishnet tights and general chaos before heading to the ballroom to compete.
Before dancing, we got our schedules, dropped off our stuff in the pit of eternal chaos (also known as the dressing room) and pinned our competition numbers to the backs of the boy’s shirts. After pulling on our dancing shoes, we were ready to compete!
The first day of competition was all smooth dancing for me – bronze level waltz, tango, and foxtrot. While I didn’t win any ribbons, I did advance in waltz and foxtrot, and I made it to the quarter finals in foxtrot, which was pretty exciting.
Even more exciting was watching the other dancers compete, especially the gold- and champion-level dancers. There were some amazingly talented people there, of all ages, and it was incredible to see. Also incredible were the swirly, gelled, rhinestone-encrusted up dos on the female dancers. Those were very intense.
It was also really neat to meet and dance with the other competitors – many of them kids from collegiate dance teams like ours. After months of hard work, it was great to realize that ballroom dancing is not only a fun sport but also a social outlet that introduces you to new people.
Another cool fact about Saturday: one of the judges was Alan Bersten, a professional ballroom dancer who will be performing on Dancing With the Stars in its upcoming twentieth season, which premieres this coming Monday. As a longtime fan of the show, it was amazing to have my own dancing judged by a DWTS dancer. He was even willing to take a picture with me, which was super nice!
After four hours of sleep and the (painful) time change, it was time for day two of the competition! On Sunday, I danced the American rhythm dances: cha cha, rumba, and swing. I advanced in all three dances and got to quarter finals in cha cha. I was really happy with the results!
If you are interested in seeing photos of dancing from the event, you can check out the pictures on the UDanceFest facebook page here! There are several photos of me and my partner, number 259, if you are interested. You can also see the official scoring page from the UDanceFest website here.
Once the competition was over, we headed back to Luther. After a weekend unlike any I’ve ever had before, it was strange to come back to regular classes and the ordinary routine, and I miss the energy and surreal atmosphere of the competition. I’m already looking forward to next year’s UDanceFest! But it’s also great to be back at Luther, sleeping in my own bed and enjoying the beautiful spring weather that has finally arrived on campus, revealing…could it be…grass?
And now, I should go review statistics, because I absolutely must learn the difference between the standard error of the mean difference and the standard error of the difference between means.
Have a wonderful week!