If You Love To Dance, Have We Got A Club For You!
Every Monday and Thursday evening, the basement at Markin Recreation Center hums with excitement. Depending on the night, you’ll find 20 to 30 students kicking their heels and having a blast as they learn new routines. Bradley Ballroom welcomes anyone willing to learn some new dance moves and burn off some steam for a few hours each week.
Dance instructors, senior Carter LaBrot and junior Eva Hocking, lead the sessions and show the participants the evening’s dance moves. They focus on classic ballroom routines like the Waltz and Fox Trot, as well as the Latin dances Cha-Cha, Tango and Rumba. After demonstrating the steps, students split into lead and follow lines, and they are randomly paired together to take on the dance.
“If you really love dancing, but don’t have the ability to commit to one of the more performance-based clubs, this gives you an outlet to dance, and it’s a great way to make new friends,” Hocking said. “We are all pretty zany and it is nice to have a fun, relaxed dance group on campus.”
The community aspect of the group is evident in the diversity of people attending. The atmosphere is welcoming as shy, reserved students pair up with outgoing partners who chat them up and encourage them throughout the dance. Cathryn Loy, the club’s advisor, is a recent graduate who was a member of the club as a student and sees the benefits beyond the dance moves.
“Clubs like this are important because we are able to bring people from a lot of different backgrounds together,” she said. “We fit a niche that is both social without having group requirements (of a certain major or experience level) and athletic enough to be beneficial while not being overwhelming.”
Senior Rhiannon Davids, president of the club, said she joined her first year not just for the dancing, but to find a community she could connect with.
“I didn’t know anyone when I first came to Bradley and now I have a lot of really amazing friends that I met in Ballroom,” she said. “It’s very social and creative, and I love how collaborative it is. It’s my favorite way to be active.”
LaBrot, a history education major, has his own take on why the club is relevant. “My history brain will tell you that it is important to keep traditions like ballroom dancing alive because it helps connect us to our past, but my tired college student brain says it’s really just fun and it provides some amount of stress relief.”
Each year Bradley Ballroom members do community service at Casablanca, the Dancing with the Local Stars fundraiser that benefits CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit.
“We wait tables during the event and talk to attendees about ballroom dance,” Loy said.
As the semester goes on, Davids hopes more students come to Markin and join in the fun.
“The simple act of stepping in time with others can truly go great distances in making connections and building relationships,” she said.
— Emily Potts