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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Shall We Dance? by Bryan

having two left feet is a thing of the past.

Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow

That count resounded in my head all Monday night. As part of my summer of fun, a few friends of mine and I decided to take advantage of free dance lessons offered at MIT. Initially, I was actually a little confused when I looked online for information. One ballroom dance website had the lessons listed on Mondays and the other site had the lessons listed as occurring on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

EUREKA! Surprisingly, I’d made a discovery.

MIT actually has both a ballroom dance club and team, ergo the two websites. Monday night, the Ballroom Dance Club offered lessons in Mambo. My friend Jackie and I checked them out in the Student Center, and we had a great time. Jackie’s a great dancer, so she made me look better than I actually am. She was also Dance Troupe president last year. Surprisingly, once you get an idea of the count, it’s not that hard to follow. By the end of the 1 hour lesson, we had a routine together (It also doubled as a pretty good workout as well)

Aspiring ballroom dancers learn to dance the Foxtrot. That’s my friend, Spencer – ’07, on the right showing off his Dance 360-worthy dancing skills.

Tuesday and Thursday nights, the ballroom dance team will be offering their lessons. I actually became intrigued in ballroom dance last semester when the team hosted a competition at MIT.

Teams from all over the country were at MIT dressed in tuxedos and colorful dresses ready to vie for the number one spot. Next Tuesday’s lessons will be about 2.5 hours long, but we’ll be learning two dances. The American Waltz and the Bolero. Exciting!

This summer, the teams will also be hosting parties where we can show off our new moves. Hopefully, I can make it to one of those.

Speaking of dance lessons, summer bhangra lessons have also started. They will be every Wednesday night in Burton Conner. I might check those out as well.

I also recently discovered the number of dance-reality tv shows on TV. There’s one on ABC, Dancing with the Stars, a new American Idol spinoff coming sometime this summer, and then my favorite, Dance 360 (Tag your man, Tag your man — yes, ladies and gentlemen they do say that on national television).

Any dancers out there want to share some advice to an amateur dancer ie me or any MIT folks want to talk about their dance experiences? How do they expect us to memorize and keep all these dances fresh in our minds without them all running together?

5 responses to “Shall We Dance?”

  1. Sam says:

    Between you, me, and Mitra, I think Spencer is going to be the next big blog celebrity from his numerous guest appearances in all of our blogs.

    I think Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” started last week, and features Nigel Lythgoe as a judge. I don’t really know what he knows about dancing, but whatever. I didn’t actually watch it this week, but apparently they’ve got Paula Abdul to do some guest segments, so I may have to start checking it out.

  2. Mitra says:

    And the only reason Sam knows all that stuff about “So You Think You Can Dance” is because I watched it two nights ago and told him about it. I’ll admit, though, that I’ve never seen Dance 360.

  3. Spencer says:

    Haha, I don’t think my dancing skills are worthy of Dance 360…yet. And Mitra (and Sam), why wasn’t I informed of this new TV show?!

  4. Ahh, dancing.

    I’ve recently had a resurgence of love for it. I did swing for about a year, a few years ago, and then took Ballroom Dance for my gym class senior year at Stuy. Needless to say, though the teacher sucked, it caused a major resurgence in my want to dance again.

    Since then, I’ve started dancing ballroom and swing again (frequenting A Midsummer Night’s Swing quite often [it’s over :(]).

    Mmm…personally, swing is my favorite. I just love it. Besides that, I like the American Waltz, Quickstep [cuz it’s so goddamned hard but looks so easy], tango (both american and argentine), and the cha-cha, in that order.

    As for memorizing dances, just do it over and over and over and over and over again, to the music. Eventually you get used to it and it just happens, you stop thinking about it. What’s more fun is mixing dances, like American Tango and Argentine Tango. Listen to some tango music, and when it speeds up, break into an 8-step basic and continue haha…then come back into a regular american 5-step. fun fun.

    I tried bhangra for a whole ten minutes, but it’s not for me. My body doesn’t flow that way [vertically], haha.

    As for tips, take everything with a bucket of salt, because I may very well not know what I’m talking about. But one of the most important things: keep the form proper. It looks soooooo bad (witnessed on countless videos of me, heh) if the guy’s elbow drops or the girl’s arm isn’t in the right position.

    If you’re gonna be doing swing, get into it :p. As in, when doing the third step (the faster one), kick out a bit, just get into it. Swing is awesome. Oh boy, do I love swing. Ha.

    Anyway, I’m done.