On April 5 and 6, the MIT Ballroom Dance Team (MITBDT) competed at the Harvard Invitational 2014, held at Hynes Convention Center in Boston. One of the biggest collegiate dance competitions of the year, the Harvard Invitational hosted more than 600 competitors from all over the country. Despite the fierce competition, MITBDT dancers brought out their best performances, with more than 20 couples placing in finals across different levels and styles.
Saturday Morning & Afternoon – Syllabus Standard and Smooth
The first day of the competition began with Smooth events, followed by Standard events in the afternoon. Our rookie class has moved from Newcomer to Bronze, with a few couples making Waltz and Tango finals, and four couples dancing in the Foxtrot final, including Daniel D. Richman ’17 and Devon A. Sklair ’15 placing fourth, and Lingping Zeng G and Grace Hsu placing seventh.
Dan Chen ’17 and Casey R. Crownhart ’17 placed first in Overall Bronze Smooth, with Corey A. Cleveland ’17 and Clio Flikkema coming in second. Cleveland and Flikkema also placed first in Silver Smooth Viennese Waltz, while Vitaly Abdrashitov G and Amy S. Ishiguro ’16 claimed first overall in Silver Smooth. In the Gold Smooth events, Dilip J. Thekkoodan G and Amy C. Fan ’15 placed across all finals, and Ian Slattery MS ’06 and Arlene Hijara placed fifth in Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz.
With significantly more couples dancing in Standard, the competition became tougher as the day progressed. In Bronze events, Chen and Crownhart missed only the Waltz final, and Cleveland and Flikkema placed in all finals, winning second overall. In Silver Standard, Abdrashitov and Ishiguro placed in all finals, and Ross Finmann G and Ji Shiyan placed fourth in Viennese Waltz.
Saturday Evening – Open Events
Following Syllabus Standard, the exciting Open events started in the late afternoon. MITBDT had a strong showing in Pre-champ Standard finals, with Mark Chen PhD ’09 and Bella Pindrus, and Alex Martinov G and Julia Shen placing in all finals. In the last event of the day, Championship Standard, MITBDT couples claimed two places among six finalists, with Ben R. Moss G and Esther Rheinbay placing third, and Alex Arazawa and Jing Wang ’10, MEng ’11 fourth.
The night ended with a spectacular performance from world vice champions Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva.
Sunday – Syllabus Rhythm & Latin
Sunday began with Bronze Rhythm events, where the MITBDT rookies continued to excel. Chen and Brittany N. Bautista ’17, and Zohaib Mahmood G and Francesca Y. Majluf ’17 and placed in Bronze Rhythm finals. Cleveland and Flikkema won second place overall in Bronze Rhythm and also managed to place fifth in Silver Bolero. Jorge L. Valdez G and Laura Petrovich G claimed first place in Silver Rumba/Cha and Mambo/Swing
In the very competitive Latin events, Cleveland and Flikkema claimed first Overall for Bronze, and Mahmood and Majluf entered the final for Bronze Jive. In Silver Latin, Valdez and Petrovich placed in both Rumba/Cha and Samba/Jive events; while their teammates Brian R. Solomon G and Jessica Bernier MS ’11 placed third in Samba/Jive. Two MITBDT couples danced in Silver Paso Doble final, including Cleveland and Flikkema, who placed third, and Abdrashitov and Hijara, who placed fifth. Finally, Kuang Xu G and Eileen Depakibibo brought back the last ribbon of the night, placing seventh in Gold Rumba/Cha final.
Looking Forward: MIT Open 2014
MITBDT has two more weeks to prepare for the next and the biggest collegiate ballroom competition of the season, their very own MIT Open. The team looks forward to hosting another successful competition and competing at its highest level.