On Saturday, March 28, UR Ballroom Dancing hosted their first ever dance show at Douglass Dining Hall. Entitled “Dancing with UR Stars!”, the show was a tribute to the popular dance show “Dancing with the Stars.” Though it started out relatively slow, the show gave its audience a spin by the end of it.

The show had three administrators and dance instructors acting as the judges for the show: Dance Instructor Maryna Svyaskiy, Dean of Students Matthew Burns and Assistant Director of Wilson Commons Student Activities Lydia Crews. The dances themselves were dispersed all around the dancing spectrum, with salsa being the favorite, followed by American tango, swing, jive and lastly the Viennese waltz.

There were nine different performances, and each had their own distinct flair to it. Junior Amy Entin and sophomore Ben Dees  probably gave the most interesting rendition of the American tango with them dancing to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song while dressed as pirates (or crewmembers, I couldn’t tell which). It was obvious that some of these people had never really tipped their toes in the dancing pool in their life, so it was a bit interesting to see that unfold. Regardless of how they did, I applaud them for going up there and trying. It takes guts to perform in front of an audience (and three judges) if you’ve never done it before.

The first half was a bit rough, but that’s alright. As soon as the second half there was a bolt of energy that struck those performing–they were actually having fun. Standouts included a very fun jive performance by pairs sophomore Kevin Anderson senior and Chitavi Maulloo and also to sophomore Renalf Marmolejos and senior Allie Saba who provided an ultra-spicy salsa that incorporated an element of plot into the dance which no one had done prior to them. Overall, it seemed that the dancer’s nerves had relaxed, because the second half was a much more exhilarating experience.

The judges themselves gave fairly positive remarks on all of them–I actually expected Dean Burns to be the “Simon” of the group, but he definitely delivered with his comment about one of the performances saying “That was so hot, it was a code of conduct violation.” Maryana Svyaskiy, the dance instructor, probably gave the most helpful and honest criticism of each performance, and Assistant Director Crews acted as the most supportive of each performance.

Like in all competitions, there are winners and there are losers. Dees and Entin won third place, Anderson and Mualoo won second place – and, you guessed it, Ali and Renalf took home the top prize of the evening. Though, if you were to ask me, everyone was a winner that night. Let’s hope that UR Ballroom Dancing will up the ante next year, maybe with administrators performing too. Seriously, who wouldn’t pay to see Dean Burns and President Seligman dance a passionate tango?

Usmani is a member of the class of 2017.



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