RPI Ballroom social dance teaches waltz

MEMBERS OF THE RPI COMMUNITY CAME together to learn and practice dancing the waltz. Club members helped out newcomers in learning the basics of this dance.

Last Saturday, instead of staying home and doing Data Structures like most of my classmates, I went out and about to explore the world of RPI Ballroom. I had first heard about this event a week before, when I missed their first social dance and was scrambling to find their next one. This led me to arriving to Academy Hall at 7 pm, with nothing but a lack of dancing experience and five dollars to my name. After paying the toll and gaining admission—gaining access to a selection of snacks—I was ushered into the Academy Hall Auditorium for a brief lesson on the waltz.

When I entered, there was a bit of downtime to talk to friends or club members before any actual dancing began. After a bit though, the club leaders brought everyone into the center of the auditorium. We were lined up in two lines facing each other, one row of leaders and one of followers. First, the leaders would learn their part, which started with the style of the simple box. Then, as the followers learned their steps, the leaders would practice with them. Finally, the leaders were requested to ask a follower to dance, and both would attempt to execute their dance moves, with varying degrees of success. Since my talent was virtually non-existent, I found the lessons a great way to learn a basic waltz. As the night progressed, I became more and more comfortable with my waltzing, and managed to achieve a comfortable pace. My partner, who changed numerous times during the night, and I eventually ended up doing laps of the ballroom, interchanging box steps with an occasional turn.

The event was a good mix of members from RPI’s various dance-related clubs and commoners such as myself who were searching for a fun night. I danced with club members and those who had as little experience as myself. I talked with people about both the intricacies of dance, and just about school in general. The social dance was a good time to, well, be social. Overall, I was glad that I went, and encourage everyone to try to attend a similar event in the future!