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MIT Ballroom Dance Places at Competition

Couples Advance in All Categories of Dance

By YanFeng Lim


This past Saturday, while hordes of costumed partygoers thronged the streets for Halloween, an excited bunch of costumed members of the MIT Ballroom Dance Team danced at the Eighth Annual Harvard Beginners’ Competition. MIT fared well, with many of its couple advancing to later rounds and placing.

This is a unique competition because it is ‘experience restricted’--only those who have started dancing in September were allowed to dance in the “Newcomer” level, and those who started after last September were allowed to dance in the “Beginner” level.

This was the first collegiate competition of the season and was a wonderful chance for our newcomers to get a taste of dancing, and the beginners to warm up after summer.

Amid the cheers of team members, friends and coaches, the newcomers danced Swing and Foxtrot, while the beginners danced Waltz and Chacha.

Cheering at competitions is almost mandatory, and sore throats afford the satisfaction of knowing that a teammate did well and advanced into later rounds of the event.

Cheer we did, as many of our couples made advanced rounds, including three couples who made the quarterfinal in Swing. They were, Man Sze Ko ’03 and Jamie Y. Mak ’03, Luca Daniel and Jennifer Weis, Vladislav Y. Gabovich G and Sophia Kats.

Amongst the cheering audience, we were fortunate to have one of our professional Latin coaches, Helle Rusholt, as well as our two amateur coaches in Latin/Rhythm, Michael Otero and Deirdre Peirott.

MIT fared marvelously in Foxtrot, with three couples making the final. Claiming first place were J. Bradley Morrison G and Irina Medvedev G, while Hazhir Rahmandad G and Parisa Fallahi G captured second place. Benny Budiman G and Miriam L. Sorell ’04 took seventh place while Dennis Lee and Etty Shin G made the semifinal round. Keep in mind that each of these events had about 120 couples entered and dancing in the first round.

The struggle to the finals was long and arduous. In the audience were our ever-watchful amateur Standard coaches, Warren Dew ’91 and Elizabeth Nugent ’97 who proudly looked on as the students they groomed danced their hearts out.

In the Beginner categories, Filip Hsu ’87 and Maricore Santiago brought home the honors, placing third in both the Chacha and the Waltz, beating almost fifty other couples to the finals.