Winter Ball, the Last

“Winter Ball comma the Last”

It’s very weird because ballroom dance has been my big extracurricular all throughout college, and yes, I’ve had plenty of previous dance experience, but ballroom was never something I had done before. Now that senior year is drawing to a close (it still feels unlikely, but Lily was just telling me that her last final is two months from today), I can feel my ballroom aspirations and enthusiasms also naturally winding down. I’m grateful, because I don’t want to leave Yale and miss ballroom too desperately- I want the mental space to make new choices and try new things.
Of course I still love spending time with the team. Just as ballroom has been my main/only extracurricular, it’s also been my biggest social outlet at Yale. The people on the team are not just “my team” but some of my best friends, and I hope to stay in touch with them for many years to come. The fact that I’ve stayed in close touch with a few previous graduates bodes well.
Ballroom dance may end up, for me, becoming inextricably linked with my Yale experience- my college self- and being one of the sweetest parts. Just how horses and horseback riding is so much bound up with middle school and high school, and Girl Scouts with elementary.
If we can learn anything from history, it’s that if I leave ballroom behind I’ll still love it and miss it, just as I miss horses (but less so riding, which started to get very stressful when I reached a certain competitive level). And even if I leave ballroom behind chances are that I’ll still be dancing, somehow, somewhere. I’ve been dancing for more than ten years and I can’t imagine life without doing something like that (even if it’s only social or… in the privacy of my room with the music loud 😉 ).

My plans for Spring Show pieces are already in the works (hints: goodbye rumba! surprise piece! waltz!) but Winter Ball is always the team’s bigger show and the one that leans toward the dramatic (while Spring Show is more informal and sentimental).  I had a pretty excellent Winter Ball this year. An excellent Winter Ball, the Last.  Here are the pieces of which I was a part (sorry our lighting is so dark, just appreciate the music and assume I’m a better dancer than I really am 😛 ).

  1. Rhythm of the Night- Moulin Rouge, Cha cha
    The “Advanced Dancer Group Latin Piece” always goes first for as long as I can remember, and this is the second year I’ve been a part of it. My Latin partner, Kevin, choreographed it and it’s always great fun to learn because we all get to meet up and practice. It’s always amazing that we manage to get things down in time for the show given how hilarious practices are, from doing the dance with T-Rex arms to hiding in a corner from Kevin when he goes out to get water. Fun fact: the original choreography called for me to be throne from one leader to another at the end, but we did run out of time to make that work.  Funnily enough, I think it may have been my last year of burlesque in high school when I danced to another song in Moulin Rouge, Lady Marmalade.
  2. Trumpets- Sak Noel, Samba
    This was my first time doing a samba-only showpiece, which was very exciting but also quite sad given my love of samba. The dance and the music are both so fun. What can you expect from a girl raised on reggaeton?  Kevin and I collaborated on the choreography for this one, but if I’m being fair he did most of it, and it was his song choice (when we did a jive last year with my chosen song i did almost all of the choreography). I was most worried about remembering this piece out of all my pieces and was still having trouble with the sequence of figures right up until our last few run-throughs. But I’m very pleased about how it all went, in the end.
  3. Cat People- David Bowie, Tango
    Winter Ball this year was the first time I got to close a show, which makes me feel like an old veteran of the team, but still not at all on par with the dancers I looked up to who used to close the shows when I was new. This was my song choice but my Standard partner Pratik was very much on board, due to our mutual love of David Bowie and Inglourious Basterds. There were many jokes about setting the stage (and audience) on fire at the end. It would have been an unforgettable finale. Choreography was very evenly divided  and I got to do a kick thing and partook got to do a kick thing, which is the mark of any good showpiece. Fun fact: when we did the dress rehearsal the day before, I stepped on the hem of my skirt getting up from the ground and it pulled down until it was around my knees. Glad I was wearing a leotard!

I would be crazy if I did more than three!

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