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New Ballroom Dancers Carry the Day

By Jessica Lee

TEAM MEMBER

The MIT Ballroom Dance Team’s rookies -- new members who have been dancing only since August of 2004 -- are very talented, as their performance at Brown University’s Ballroom Dance Competition proved. The competition was held last Sunday at Moseley’s on the Charles, a ballroom in Dedham, MA. A total of 374 couples from 32 schools participated.

As is typical for the Brown competition each year, the struggle was fierce for newcomers. Between 80 and 107 couples entered in each of the eight newcomer events, which required several heats and rounds to determine the final round, in which the top 6-7 couples are placed.

Of the 22 MIT dancers entered at the newcomer level, 21 advanced to the final in at least one event. Of special note, MIT took five of the top seven places in Newcomer American Waltz, five of the top six places in Newcomer International Rumba, and swept the top five places in Newcomer American Foxtrot.

Shih-Yuan Liu and Jessica Huot ’06 put on an amazing performance, placing first in International Waltz, American Waltz, American Foxtrot, and International Rumba at the Newcomer level. Liu and Zhao Chen ’07 took first in Bronze American Cha Cha and Newcomer American Swing. Schlomo Meislin G and Olga Shevnyuk ’08 took first in Newcomer American Tango, leaving American Rumba as the only Newcomer event to be won by another school.

MIT also had enough quality dancers to enter three teams in the Christina Cryan Newcomer Team Match, and MIT team number 63 earned a spot on the perpetual trophy by placing first out of 12 teams entered.

MIT’s veterans also fared well at Brown, placing three finalist couples in each of the seven events in Standard style. In addition, first place of Bronze International Cha Cha went to Joe Pompei PhD ’02 and Jin Zhou G, while Wei An G and Karolina Netolicka G won first in both American Waltz/Tango and American Foxtrot.

A full record of MIT's performance at the Brown competition, as well as results from previous competitions, may be found at the team's Web site, http://ballroom.mit.edu/.

The Ballroom Dance team is looking forward to its next big competition, at Yale on Dec. 4.