The Michigan State University Ballroom Dance team hosted their 9th annual Green and White Gala yesterday. Teams from nine different universities and studios came together to compete across different experience levels and styles of dance.
President of the MSU Ballroom Dance team and forestry senior Jenna Thayer said hosting the event on campus is one of her favorite parts of the organization.
"It's really fun to be able to host here and know where everything is and to see our whole team," Thayer said. "Since nobody has to go anywhere, we have a lot of people from MSU participate in the competition."
MSU teams made up a portion of the 135 competitors in attendance at the competition.
The event began with the American Smooth dance category, where dancers competed in four different styles of dance: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and the Viennese Waltz. Three additional categories of dance were also featured: International Standard, American Rhythm and International Latin.
In addition to type of dance, dancers were separated based on experience level. Seven skill levels were showcased at the Green and White Gala, from "Newcomer" to "Champ." MSU Ballroom Vice President and biochemistry and microbiology senior Sydney Hall, who has coordinated the event for the past two years, said the different experience levels make the competition much more accessible.
"It just gives people a way to enter ballroom without having to feel like they’re fighting everyone else," Hall said.
Couples went against others in their skill level in 90-second heats. As the heats went on, less and less dancers took the floor through eliminations until the final heat, after which a winner was announced.
Hall said the planning process of the event is extensive. In addition to coordinating the "smaller moving parts," she said, she also organizes with the teams, finds judges for the competition and communicates with the school to find a space. In the end, it's all worth it, Hall said.
"I think my favorite part is watching it happen," Hall said. "I spend months putting it together, and then just watching it go off smoothly and (seeing) people having fun is the best."
For MSU team member Sarah Garland, the best part about these competitions is watching and learning from different dance numbers. Garland has done ballroom dancing for two and half years and this is her fifth competition.
"It’s just very inspiring to watch people that are much much better than you, and people who might be worse than you, and just seeing where your own journey fits into it," Garland said.
Garland participated in the American Rhythm event later in the day, and was followed by the International Latin category as couples finished the competition with Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive.
Hall hopes that as the years go on, more and more attention will come to the annual event and ballroom dancing.
"We do this every year, and we would love to see our MSU community come out," Hall said.
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