General Information

What exactly is ballroom dance?

Ballroom dance refers to a variety of partner dances across several different styles and speeds. Partnerships consist of a leader (usually male) and a follower (almost always female), so that skilled couples can dance together without planning routines in advance. Each dance has its own unique mood, appearance, and dance moves, although many moves are similar in different dances. Ballroom dances include waltz, tango, foxtrot, swing, mambo, and samba, among others.

How do competitions work?

A group of up to twenty-four couples take the floor simultaneously, dancing the same dance at the same time. The top couples are selected to move onto the next round based on rhythm, technique, presence, and style. Competitions have many events at various skill levels and in different dances. Even by their first competition, most newcomers are dancing eight or more different dances.

What kind of music is ballroom danced to?

Almost anything you want to, so long as it's the right speed and time signature. Once you start dancing, you'll start to notice that you can dance ballroom to many of your favorite songs, but you'll also find that your favorite songs become those that are great to dance to. If you head over to our videos section, you'll find a good representation of the sort of music we tend to dance to.

Why is ballroom so expensive?!

Ballroom dancing is an expensive sport. However, coaching and advanced lessons anywhere else would cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The $86 and $65 fees we charge are an unbelievable value for what you will receive, and our members can certainly attest to that fact.

Team

What exactly is the ballroom team?

The team is a group of committed dancers that work together to improve their skills, we have classes at various levels of skill, some taught by experienced dancers from the team, and others taught by professionals from outside Yale. We grow, practice, learn, teach, compete, perform, improve our dancing, and generally have a good time together. Everyone finds friends, as well as fellow dancers, on the team, and each of us learns more than just dance technique from one another.

What sort of dances will I be learning at lessons?

Usually, we have one night a week devoted to standard dances, beginning with waltz and tango, and one night a week devoted to latin, beginning with cha-cha, a fast, showy dance, and rumba, which is a bit slower. Later in the semester, we'll move onto jive and quickstep, with samba, viennese-waltz, and foxtrot. On Sundays, you can come to club where you'll learn various american style dances, beginning with waltz and swing. You can check out our complete club schedule for the semester here.

When exactly do you normally meet?

Newcomer classes take place Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 to 9 in the evening, with club lessons from 1 to 2:30 on Sundays. Occasionally, we'll throw in a special event on Mondays or Fridays. We also have practice space available every Monday, Friday, and Saturday if you just can't get enough ballroom.

Club

What's the difference between club and team?

While the ballroom club is team is meant for those who want to pursue competitive ballroom, club is meant for those who want to learn ballroom without the pressure or time commitment of joining the team. Club teaches socially oriented at a pace that is maneagable for those that are only dancing once a week.

Club lessons meet once a week, on Sundays from 1 to 2:30 for beginners, with advanced lessons, open only to experienced dancers, from 2:30 to 3:15. Classes are taught by the wonderful Karen Pfrommer, who teaches at a studio in the area. You can read more about the ballroom club here.

Joining

How do I join?

In the fall, we hold a giant dance lesson, party, and performance we call the Icebreaker, which is the perfect opportunity for you to get your first taste of ballroom. After that, our first few weeks of newcomer lessons each semester are open to anyone interested in joining the team or club. You simply need to show up and see if you're interested in staying with the team.

Details about these events will be posted on our website in the fall. If you have any questions about joining the team, you can contact our rookie-captains Vasilije Dobrosavljevic at vasilije.dobrosavljevic@yale.edu and Annie Yao at annie.yao@yale.edu, or you can stop by our table at the Club Sports Fair in the Fall. If you are definitely interested in joining, you can contact our webmaster Nan Zhong at qiaonan.zhong@yale.edu, and she'll make sure you hear about all our events this fall.

Do I have to come with a dance partner?

Not at all. In fact, all of our beginner classes rotate through partners so that you can have the experience of dancing with different partners. For the first competition or two, you match your height and preferences, and our newcomers usually find themselves dancing with more than one person at their first few competitions.

Is it okay if I've never danced before?

Almost everyone starts their journey on the ballroom team with absolutely no experience dancing ballroom. We expect that new team members have no experience, and other dances are actually the exception. If you've danced another before, you will certainly be at an advantage, but you will still find that our newcomer classes move at an appropriate pace.

What if I've danced ballroom in the past?

It depends entirely on the amount and type of ballroom experience you have. If you have never worked on technique, you will probably find yourself most at home in our newcomer classes, although some of the material may be review for you. Although jumping ahead a year may seem an exciting prospect, many freshmen find themselves unprepared for advanced classes.
On the other hand, if you have practiced seriously in the past, you will want to move into bronze or silver classes immediately. If you have any questions, please contact our captain at captain@yaleballroom.org.

Do I have to be an undergraduate?

Not at all. Many of our dancers are graduate or professional students, and we have several advanced dancers who have been out of school for a while now.

How much does all this cost?

Semesterly dues are $86 a semester for team, and $65 a semester for club. Although this may seem rather expensive, it is far less expensive than you could hope to find at a professional studio, where a single group lesson can easily cost $10 or more.