Cyclone Ballroom Classic kicks off Saturday

Sarah Haas

Dust off those dazzling dancing shoes hiding behind your sweatshirts and snow boots – the ISU Ballroom Dance Company hosts the sixth annual Cyclone Ballroom Classic this weekend.

The two-day extravaganza consists of dance workshops, a showcase and a competition.

The daylong competition will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in 175 Forker on Saturday, with the competitors split up by skill level and dance style. The event is open to the public but requires the purchase of a $5 spectator ticket.

“There are different levels of dancers,” said Sarah Hartman, junior in early childhood education and co-chair of the Cyclone Ballroom Classic. “There’s bronze, silver and gold. We’ll have people doing different styles like American and international. So you get all the dances, like waltz, tango, foxtrot, rumba and swing.

“The competition will kind of look like stuff you see on TV. You just come in, and there are tons of different people dancing on the floor at once, all doing their best and having a great time.”

The company participates in at least two competitions each semester, taking members to colleges throughout the Midwest.

This year, the club spent the majority of its budget hiring two well-known professional dancers and choreographers, Hunter and Maria Johnson. Both have worked on the TV shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“This will be the first time we’ve ever had choreographers for our competition,” Hartman said. “We are paying them to come and judge, to perform a couple of show dances and teach workshops. Our workshops are open to anyone.”The hourlong workshops start at 9 a.m. Sunday and cost $10 each.

The club encourages anyone interested in ballroom dancing to take part in a workshop, regardless of their level of experience. Jaclyn Hansel, sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communication, is a member of the dance company and began competing as a freshman.

“I saw a sign for the group, and I thought it would be fun, and I went to the lessons and they talked about their competition team, so I thought I would try it out,” she said. “The first time I competed was the first semester that I joined.”

Hansel’s experiences have encouraged her to continue dancing after college.

“It’s really fun because you get to meet a lot of great people,” she said. “It’s just fun to go out there and show off your moves.”

The concert-like showcase consists of a series of dance numbers and features the company’s dancers, as well as Ames Middle School students, and will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The showcase

Where: 175 Forker

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $8 for students, $10 for the public and $5 for children 5 and under

Sunday workshops:

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Great Hall

9 a.m.-10 a.m.: Judges’ debriefing with emcee Paul Botes and judge Donna Edelstein

10 a.m.-11 a.m.: Beginners’ samba, advanced foxtrot

11 a.m.-noon: Beginners’ cha-cha technique, advanced tango technique

Noon-1 p.m.: Beginners’ Viennese waltz, advanced hustle