The Daily Gamecock

“Wanna waltz?”: USC students compete in ballroom dancing competition

Sarah Stevens, fourth-year graphic design major, and Andrew Lopiano, fourth-year political science and English major, compete in the 13th annual Gamecock Invitational Ballroom Competition.
Sarah Stevens, fourth-year graphic design major, and Andrew Lopiano, fourth-year political science and English major, compete in the 13th annual Gamecock Invitational Ballroom Competition.

Musical selections ranging from Frank Sinatra to Sean Kingston echoed throughout the Russell House Ballroom Sunday morning. Choruses of “Wanna Waltz?” and “We Need to Practice Swing” contributed to the high-energy atmosphere. This combination of sounds came from the annual Gamecock Invitational ballroom dancing competition, hosted by the Carolina Ballroom Club.

According to Carter Little, vice president of Carolina Ballroom and a fourth-year public health student, around 30 to 40 students participated in the event. This year, members of Carolina Ballroom competed with students from Georgia Tech.

“It’s really fun to dance with people from other schools because then you get to meet all kinds of new people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet just by being on campus and in the Columbia area,” Little said.

Both American and international styles of ballroom were featured at the competition. Each style has its own set rules and regulations, with certain moves dancers are allowed to use. Students competed in four main categories including rhythm, Latin, standard and smooth. According to Little, each style of dance requires a different attitude.

“The Latin dances are more sensual, especially rumba,” Little said, “the quickstep is really upbeat, and waltz is very slow and flowy so we try to embody that in our dancing.”

Fourth-year graphic design student Sarah Stevens is a member of Carolina Ballroom. She also commented on the nature of different dance styles.

“You just get into a different character for each dance,” Stevens said.

Students competed from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Faculty advisor for the Carolina Ballroom Club, Pamela Melton, was the master of ceremonies at the event and strongly encouraged audience participation. Spectators often cheered and called out encouragements to partners performing.

The Carolina Ballroom club is open to any student interested in pursuing ballroom dancing. The organization meets for two hours on Thursdays and Sundays at Strom. 

President of Carolina Ballroom and fourth-year political science and English student Andrew Lopiano originally joined the organization on a dare his freshman year. He compared the excitement of competing to an adrenaline rush when playing sports.

However, Lopiano prefers social dancing to formally competing. He explained how all styles of ballroom dance originated as street dances and weren’t meant to adhere to a specific set of rules or be judged.

“They all came from dances where it was about self expression and being who you are through a dance and trying to come up with different creative ways to do things,” Lopiano said. “There wasn’t necessarily a right or wrong way.” 


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