Hey you! Now that Winter Ball is over and I’ve written my essay on Gender Imitation and Insubordination in Macbeth, I have a little spare time and brain space to come up with another list.
The Yale Ballroom Dance Team has been my main extracurricular and social activity for the last soon-to-be four years. I had never done ballroom dance before (unless you count quinceanera salsa, bachata, and merengue). But most of the team here had never done ballroom before joining. Some of us hadn’t even danced before (Pro tip: we’re the only dance group at Yale that doesn’t have auditions).
We compete and have two big shows a year- Winter Ball and Spring Show, in addition to smaller shows like Icebreaker at the beginning of the year, ‘gigs’ when we go on tour over Spring Break, and Caliente (our pre-freshman recruitment show).
And now I only have one more show left before I’m gone! Time to take a walk down memory lane and look back at my show pieces over my ‘bright college years’.
“I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, Tango, Winter Ball Freshman Year:
This was my newbie group tango piece, choreographed by a couple of our more advanced members. My partner Adam ended up being my standard partner until he graduated last year. A lot of the newbies in my year quit the team pretty quickly, and now there are only three of us left. Given that I’ve LOVED this song since preschool, I thought it was a great choice.
“Born This Way, Lady Gaga”, Cha, Tour Freshman Year:
For some reason I didn’t end up in any piece during my freshman year tour her than this cringe-worthy group piece. It was absolutely terrible and I’m not sharing a link. But DC was fun! And there was lots of other internal team drama to keep me busy.
“Rainbow Connection, The Carpenters”, Waltz, Spring Show Freshman Year:
Awww, this was the first piece a partner and I really choreographed by ourselves. I’m still very proud and fond of it, although I can definitely see how much I’ve improved. But for how new a ballroom dancer I was, it’s still pretty great. And the lifts were very cool to do. Bless Adam, because that is so much tougher than a trust fall (and he didn’t slam my head into anything, although my arm hit a bench once (and Adam cried! ❤ ) ).
I skipped Winter Ball Sophomore year for health reasons.
“Once Upon a Dream, Lana del Rey”, Viennese Waltz, Tour Sophomore Year:
V had been my newbie captain and I had an impossible crush on him Freshman year, so it took me until Sophomore year to be able to interact with him in any sort of normal way. Very proud to say that this is the most watched video on Yale Ballroom’s youtube channel, by a lot. I have no idea why. I think maybe Disney is trying to sue us. Also, who is disliking this video? A secret: we choreographed the piece in two hours and changed the ending every time we performed it. My smile at the end is because I completely screwed up the dip and V almost dropped me.
“Noughtie Love”, Cha-Rumba-Samba, Tour Sophomore Year:
This was originally the Advanced Dancer Winter Ball Latin Medley (there’s one every year) but I replaced another dancer when we did it during tour. Body Party by Ciara was originally one of the songs but we changed it because we perform in a lot of nursing homes and high schools. It was pretty fun and it was great to have a tour in Boston (and perform at my high school!)
“Sahara Tango”, Tango, Spring Show Sophomore Year:
Michael was a big fan of instrumental tangos before he graduated, so we got to do one at his last show. It was pretty fun, although there was a big brouhaha about whether he could fake stab me at the end (team consensus: no). I also performed this piece again at Ice Breaker my junior year, but with Adam. And V and I repeated Once Upon a Dream at Spring Show.
“Tainted Love, Imelda May”, Jive, Winter Ball Junior Year:
My first for real Latin showpiece with my Latin partner Kevin (who has been my Latin partner for all four years, excepting a short break sophomore year). I think this one turned out really well. I think it was the most involved in the creative process I had ever been up to that point, which was really exciting. I cut the music and did most of the choreography myself, when I was in Vienna for New Year’s. This also got me a fabulous profile picture that I used for quite a while.
“Jaws Theme”, Tango, Winter Ball Junior Year: I had joked with Adam for years about how I wished someone on the team would do a tango to the Jaws theme, with someone wearing a shark costume and everyone else in bathing suits. I had no idea how enthusiastic he was about the idea until he suggested we actually do it. It was a surprise piece at Winter Ball, not listed on the program, and went right before the similarly aquatic rumba, “My Heart Will Go On.”
“La Gozadera, Gente de Zona”, Mambo, Winter Ball Junior Year:
This time I got to participate in the Winter Ball group latin piece. We had so much fun at the practices, Kevin’s choreography was great, and the song was very catchy. Group practices are always so much fun (when you’re not teaching the choreo)!
“Bitch Medley”, Cha-Jive, Spring Show Junior Year:
Speaking of teaching the choreo, this was my big experiment with running a group piece. I had been playing with the idea of an all-girl number for a while and finally decided to do it. It turned out pretty well, but there were a lot of stressful setbacks- running that big of circus isn’t really my speed. But we did kick ass.
“This is the Life, Amy MacDonald”, Quickstep-Samba, Spring Show Junior Year:
I had been in love with this quickstep song for so long and was so excited when I finally convinced Pratik to do a piece to it with me (he’s my standard partner now that Adam has graduated, and by his senior spring Adam had decided to stop doing shows). Also debuting my very sexy new latin dress.
“Chuis Bo, PZK”, Cha, Icebreaker Senior Year:
Another song I picked. I really do like picking songs and I used to have a stable of music for different dance styles that I wanted to do pieces to. Not so much anymore, which is maybe a good thing now that my future opportunities to choreograph are dwindling. This song is very funny and tongue in cheek narcissistic. The flip-lift was great fun to learn.
“Rhythm of the Night”, Cha, Winter Ball Senior Year:
This one and the ones following are the pieces I performed in this past weekend. I guess Rhythm of The Night from Moulin Rouge will be my last Winter Ball group latin piece. as always, it was a lot of fun, both because the choreo was awesome and because as a group we had a lot of laughs together. I’m also glad I found the dresses online: they’ll make an excellent addition to the team’s costume closet.
“Trumpets, Sak Noel”, Samba, Winter Ball Senior Year:
Not the Jason Derulo song, a common misconception. This ended up being the piece I was happiest with, kind of unexpectedly. It just went so well during the show even though i was struggling to remember the choreo up to the last minute. I love samba and I’m kind of sad it took me so long to do one as a showpiece. But certainly better late than never. And I guess I did right in finally letting Kevin pick the song… and giving him free rein with choreo, even if it was hard for me to pick up his process at some points.
And so many people have told me they loved the piece. It’s really very gratifying, because I did too!
“Cat People, David Bowie”, Tango, Winter Ball Senior Year:
I’ve loved David Bowie for a long time, but only really acme familiar with this song via Inglourious Basterds, which Pratik also loves. Queue lots of jokes about burning the stage to the ground at the end of the piece. This was also the first time I got to close out a show, which was such an honor (and a very daunting responsibility). It could have gone better during the show, which is how I feel pretty much every time, but at least my dress rehearsal wardrobe malfunction didn’t repeat itself: I stepped on the hem of my skirt and pulled it down to my knees (I had a leotard on underneath, but I had to hoyk it up super ungracefully).
So what is on deck for Spring Show? Well, for one I ‘m very much set on doing another joke piece- this time a rumba-tango to Shia Leboeuf.
I’ll update with more links once our newest videos are uploaded!