From A Student's Perspective - Ballroom Dancing? Really?!


By Chris Burky


When I would hear the term "ballroom dancing" the picture that came to mind was of men and women, in formal attire, gliding across a dance floor. Usually a Waltz, or maybe a Viennese Waltz being played by a large orchestra. Those who were dancing had, at the very least, some grey around the temples. Definitely not an activity of a younger crowd. There was one exception; the prince in Cinderella, looking for his bride at the Royal Ball...that was a younger crowd. But he was royalty, and that was "Once Upon A Time".

What I have come to find out is that ballroom dancing is much more diverse than I'd realized, both in terms of the types of dances as well as the people who participate in the activity. I started by taking group lessons through the local recreation center and like I'm sure most dancing lessons do start by learning a basic box step. That led to learning the basic waltz, foxtrot, and rumba. Wait...rumba?! OK...well, that makes sense. The basic rumba is really just a basic box step, so I get it. OK, now cha-cha....wait, wait, wait, wait. I'm taking BALLROOM dancing. You at a ball? Cha-cha, Rumba, Merengue, and the Jitterbug were all dances that were taught during my first six-week foray into the ballroom dancing world. And even though I felt like Peter Boyle dancing to "Puttin' on the Ritz" in Young Frankenstein, I had enough fun that I decided to try it again. In time, lessons would include dances like the Country Two Step, East Coast Swing, and my personal favorite, the Polka.

Another surprise awaited me that first day of class. Given that my view of ballroom dancing was a more, let's call it "mature" crowd, I was expecting the instructor to be around my own age. So, when I walked into the first day of class to see a young lady in her mid-20's waiting for her class to arrive, I was a bit taken aback. How much could this girl know about ballroom dancing? What I found though, was that Emily, the owner and lead instructor of Ballroom Dance Experience of Ohio, was not only very knowledgeable about all aspects of ballroom dancing but very passionate about sharing her knowledge and skills.

As I've continued to progress in my own ballroom dancing journey I have met people of all ages, from all walks of life. High school kids in their teens who wanted to do more at their prom than just sway back and forth on the dance floor, to couples in their 80's who have the same energy and attitude as those younger kids. I've met world champion dancers, amateur competitive dancers, and dancers who just want to have fun doing something they enjoy. Among those dancers are students, nurses, police officers, business owners, and professors. I've met people from the United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, and many other places around the world. All who came to Columbus, OH in order to pursue or continue their own journeys.

An interest in learning something new is what got me started on this journey. The things I've learned and the people I've met are what have kept me moving along this path. So Ballroom Dancing? Really?! Absolutely!!