Ballroom Dancing Club hosts ‘Sweetheart’s Dance’

Emily Eppens

Love was in the air as couples danced the salsa, rumba and waltz on Valentine’s Day evening.

The ISU Ballroom Dancing Club hosted an open Sweetheart’s Dance on the evening of Feb. 14. During the duration of the event, Grant Hyland, senior in music and the president of the club, and Seth Wilharm, senior in animal science, taught the basic steps of different dances, including the waltz, foxtrot, tango and salsa dancing.

Joel and Ashley Pudenz, ISU alumni who have attended the club events, heard about the event from a friend.

“[Ballroom dancing] is learning how to communicate through another person,” Joel said. “It has been a fun thing to do together.”

Nicole Bramow, junior in civil engineering, said the club has taught her coordination and has given her a way to meet other students.

“[Ballroom dancing] is definitely more challenging than it looks,” Bramow said. “I come from a strong music background, so picking up the moves was easy. But the learning technique, actually doing the dance, was very unnatural for me. I’m still working on it. It has been a lot of fun.”

An instructor from Des Moines Ballroom comes in to teach the members the fundamentals of ballroom dancing. Typically throughout the semester, the club hosts one or two big dances and partners with other organizations on campus and in the Ames community.

“When I first joined the organization, I only had a little experience,” Hyland said. “I joined last year and I wish I had joined sooner. It has been a great experience.”

The club divides its dancing types into two different groups: rhythm and smooth dancing.

Swing dancing, which is among the most desired forms of learning how to dance, rumba and chacha dancing fall within the rhythm category, while dances such as the waltz, tango and foxtrot are examples of smooth dancing.

Wilharm said he is planning to attend veterinary school after graduation and hopes to continue participating in the club during that time.

“Communication is the key when it comes to dancing,” Wilharm said. “There is so much that goes into dancing that people don’t even realize. It’s really unique to compare one person’s style to another’s.”

Students who attend the club are given the opportunity to participate in dancing competitions throughout the Midwest for different skill levels: newcomer, bronze, silver and gold.

“I think that learning to dance is a creative release for students,” Hyland said. “I absolutely recommend students to get involved. It’s a chance to participate in something very different and artistic.”

Students who want to get involved with ballroom dancing are encouraged to attend the meetings in Forker 0184 at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.