Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Ballroom dance students into the “swing” of things

Every Sunday, Whitman College students of all ages and experience levels come together to learn how to dance in the traditional styles of Eastcoast Swing, Waltz, Foxtrot and Argentine Tango. These ballroom dancing classes are designed to be fun and informal ways to learn the basics of formal dance, with Whitman students serving as both the teachers and students of the moves.

“The classes and lessons try and provide students with a general knowledge for different styles of dancing as well as socially how to go out and be able to dance in any setting with any group of people,” said class instructor and dancer of five years Justin Daigneault, who is an ’09 alumni and also the Resident Director of Jewett Hall.

In order to incorporate all skill levels, the teachers focus on creating an accepting environment where students learn fundamentals first, with the more complicated and style-dependent steps following. The teachers also strive to communicate with their students regarding the execution of moves to ensure that no one is left behind.

“We keep the atmosphere open and friendly and we talk about common courtesy while dancing: how to lead and how to follow basics, what someone should expect in these dances, and then we delve into a few styles of dance that we really enjoy,” said Daigneault.

Weekly classes consist of learning new moves as well as a discussion of the philosophy and history of particular styles of dance.

“We listen to music and then partner up and try out the information we just covered,” said Daigneault. “We talk about how the moves went and what the issues were if any and where we can go from there.”

The classes are also a great way for former dancers to continue their passion without making an extensive time commitment.

“I really like dancing of all sorts, and since coming to Whitman I’ve been trying to learn new kinds of dance. I thought that Ballroom Club would be a fun way to try something I’d never encountered and to get involved on campus,” said sophomore Annette Patton, who has been a dancer for 12 years, but did not start ballroom dancing until coming to Whitman.

Members of the class try to reach out to other Whitman students by helping to organize and host events on campus that incorporate dance.

“Last year we joined WEB in hosting the Winter Ball, and that is the plan for this year as well,” said senior Taneeka Hansen, one of the dance teachers.

Students who attend and teach classes are adamant that all skill levels are welcome to participate.

“If you haven’t come before it’s not a problem, we will work with you to catch up,” said Hansen.

The classes are purely for the sake of fun, with no fees required to join.

“The class is free since it is a student club/organization so there is no reason not to try it out,” said Daigneault.

Ballroom dance classes are every Sunday from 3-5 p.m. in the basement of Sherwood Athletic Center, Room 114.

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