2016-2017 Team Officers


James Diao

Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics
Berkeley '18
International Rumba/Tango

James decided to visit a group dance lesson on a whim, and is still amazed by how much the decision has shaped his college experience. James now counts out every song he hears, plans his life around practice times, and sees pretty much nothing but dance videos as youtube recommendations. His favorite dances are international rumba and tango, mostly because he's not in shape for anything faster (but he'll still get it together for a good Vwaltz song). Some of his happiest moments at Yale have been dancing at comps, socials, shows, and around campus, and he is excited to share this joy with the new class of ballroom newbies.


Elizabeth Li

Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics
Morse '19
International Cha Cha

Elizabeth has spent her whole life basking under the California sun but has also come to enjoy the actual seasons that exist in New Haven. She has trained in different types of dance ever since she was five years old, but her first experience with ballroom dance was on a cruise ship (yas free cha cha lesson) during her junior summer of high school. Unable to find an active ballroom community in the suburbs of LA, Elizabeth was so excited to join YBDT. She loves all the different aspects that come with being a part of the YBDT family: competitions, social dances, and team dinners, just to name a few. She looks forward to expanding and strengthening the ballroom community and hopes to have a lasting impact on the team. During her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys watching all kinds of ballroom videos (tutorials, performances, you name it) but also secretly wishes she could pick up horseback riding.


Newbie Captain
Ally Smith

Jonathan Edwards '18
Viennese Waltz? All of them?

Whenever and wherever music is playing, Ally is dancing. When not jamming out to James Diao's ballroom spotify playlists, practicing with her partner(s) at team practice, choreographing shows and learning lifts - she is probably still dancing. While waiting to cross College and Grove, you might see her doing a slight cucaracha (despite carrying too many chemistry textbooks in her backpack). And if there is a long enough hallway, you might catch her faintest feather step all the way down. Ally cannot wait to welcome new members and to work with her exceptionally lovely and loving teammates. As Newbie Captain, Ally will teach everyone who wishes to learn how to dance, and hopes to spread her love of ballroom. She knows that ballroom dancing is highly addictive, but in the best way possible.


Newbie Captain
Luis Fernando

Jonathan Edwards '18

Luis is a Junior in Jonathan Edwards (JE Sux!) majoring in Astrophysics. Originally from Brazil, where he was born and raised until moving to Yale, he somehow grew without learning how to samba (or to dance at all, for that matter). But one he saw the wonderful dancing the Ballroom Team could do without having any prior experience. Then he went to his first Newbie Lesson in the Fall, and has been dancing ever since. Now, he is absurdly excited to help all the Newbies and teach them everything he can! Outside the Ballroom Team, you will often find him speaking Portuguese in the Brazil Club, helping other international students as a Peer Liaison, teaching Astronomy classes for Splash, eating pizza and Oreo Milkshakes in Yorkside or simply making silly jokes about virtually anything.


Bobby Berry

Computing and The Arts
Silliman '18

Bobby Berry hails from the city of Lansing in the land of Michigan. He is part of this team primarily due to a decision he made during his Freshman year of college that he wanted to be a dancer and because he thought Waltz was cool (he has since changed his mind). He has considered becoming a Latin/Rhythm dancer, but likes Tango too much to turn his back on Smooth/Standard. In addition to dancing on the team Bobby often works behind the scenes for shows on lights.


Show Coordinator
Emma Garcia

Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics
Morse '19
Viennese Waltz

Emma's parents reacted to her decision to join the YBDT with much confusion, including several exclamations of "DON'T BREAK YOUR ANKLE DANCING IN HEELS!!!" Emma however, wasn't confused at all- since seeing all the amazing dancing at icebreaker, Emma knew that she had finally found the amazing group of people who could teach even someone known to walk into walls how to dance. After falling in love with shows doing choreography for the first time during Winter Ball, followed by a realization that it really wasn't possible to be in eight pieces for Spring Show, Emma decided to take on the role of Show Coordinator to help the team pull off its best shows yet, full of dresses twirling in time, hips that don't lie, costumes with more sparkles than fabric, and of course, the return of the famous Winter Ball chocolate fountain. When not dancing, Emma can be found playing violin, drinking coffee, trying to pet all of the dogs on campus, or having way too much fun in lab.


Publicity Director/Webmaster
Saran Morgan

Computer Science
Trumbull '18
Paso Doble (Moo-rah!)

Saran, who somehow grew up in Miami, Florida without learning how to shimmy, is a junior in Trumbull College. While she had zero dancing experience before joining the team two years ago, she might argue she had some viewing experience as she's watched years worth of the 40 regional spin-offs of Strictly Come Dancing (like Dancing with the Stars). As the team's Publicity Director this year, she's excited to work with the team and newbies to put on fun photoshoots, take beautiful videos, and have control of the YBDT image at Yale and beyond. When she's not dancing, Saran is probably sorting through some photos she took at the latest event, planning the next big event, or trying to finish that CS problem set that was due a couple of hours ago.


Team Manager
Cathy Xue

Computer Science & Mathematics
Silliman '19
Standard Foxtrot

Cathy, a Maryland native, is a sophomore in Silliman who joined YBDT in the vain hope that it would help her be less clumsy. Despite remaining as uncoordinated as ever, Cathy has fallen in love with ballroom dancing and met many of her closest friends through the ballroom team, and looks forward to another year of comps, shows, team dinners, and roaming campus in search of open practice spaces. Off the dance floor, Cathy can be found playing flute, contemplating math and proteins, debating Star Wars and generally un-academic topics with the quiz bowl team, and drinking copious amounts of tea. She is also notable for her child-like love for Disney movies, soft blankets, and chocolate. Cathy can't wait to meet the newbies and hopes they find as much joy in ballroom dancing as she did!


Tour Manager
Melissa Kropf

Timothy Dwight '19

Melissa is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight.


Social Chair
Gloria Wu

Timothy Dwight '19
Samba? This is hard.

An international student from the distant land of Canada, Gloria grew up knowing little about ballroom dancing aside from a brief stint watching ex-gymnast Shawn Johnson on Dancing with the Stars. Thankfully, her ignorance did not last. Upon watching Icebreaker just days into freshman year, Gloria fell in love with the dancers' hypnotizing movements and realized that as fun as her time as a rhythmic gymnast had been, ballroom was her new calling. Since then, many of her happiest memories at Yale have been associated with YBDT, from social dances to team dinners to pre-dawn bus rides. Gloria can''t wait to spread the ballroom family love and welcome the newbie class!


Club Director
Tuna Uysal

Physics, Intensive
Calhoun '19

Tuna, from Turkey, did not have any intention of dancing before coming to Yale, but somehow ended up joining YBDT. In the year since, learning and dancing ballroom with people has become one of the things he enjoys the most. Although hooked into ballroom with Standard, he grew to like Latin/Rhytm equally. As the new club director, he is excited to have a vibrant year of club, working with people of all kinds of dancing background. When not contemplating on the mysteries of the samba whisk, he can be found thinking on physics or working on YHack.


Advanced Seminar Director
Kevin Ennis

Latin American Studies and Portuguese
Pierson '17
Mambo (but he's a Samba star)

Kevin is a senior in the best residential college at Yale, the one and only Pierson College. After moving into the luxurious accommodations of the fifth floor of L-dub his freshman year and going to chemistry and physics classes thinking that he wanted to be a science major, Kevin went to the Extracurricular Bazaar and somehow - to this day he still does not remember how - acquired an all-color flyer for the Icebreaker performance at the end of Camp Yale. He attended, thought ballroom dancing looked cool, went to the first few lessons, and decided to try it out. Soon he realized how much he loved dancing, especially the Latin and rhythm dances. Now that he has control of his hips on the ballroom floor and on the stage at Toad's (penny drinks this Wednesday, anyone?), he is ready to share all of the knowledge he has gained over the past three years with the rest of the team alongside his Latin/Rhythm partner Constance. Together, we can all Make Ballroom Great Again. LAST 4 lyfe.


Advanced Seminar Director/Competition Coordinator
Constance Beck-Treadway

Davenport '17

Constance is a senior in Davenport College and plans to major in Chemistry. She joined the team at the start of her freshman year with no previous ballroom experience (unless you count merengue and bachata at her friends' quinceañeras) but a healthy background in burlesque, hip hop, and horseback riding. This year, Constance will be directing the Advanced Dancer Seminars with her friend and Latin partner, Kevin Ennis, and working on the Events Committee (which involves setting up the team's shows and annual intercollegiate competition). The feeling of starting her last year at Yale with the ballroom team is very bittersweet, but she's looking forward to enjoying it to the fullest, spending time with the ballroom friends she's gathered over the years, and getting to know her last group of new dancers.


Events Committee
Pratik Gandhi

Pierson '18

An international student hailing from Mumbai, India, Pratik had no prior dance experience before coming to Yale, but is now a total ballroom addict - he can talk about it for hours on end! He loves competing and performing with the team, and is looking forward to help plan the various team events this year as well as share his love for ballroom with the incoming newbie class. Although he really enjoys the Latin dances as well, everyone knows that Pratik's heart ultimately belongs to the Standard dances. Outside of ballroom, he can be found working with the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association, reading, biking, eating sinful amounts of chocolate, and getting excited about space in general. Don't hesitate to reach out to him with questions on DanceSport, his Yale experience, or anything else!


Events Committee
Héctor Hernandez

Berkeley '19
Viennese Waltz

A Bogotá, Colombia native and Texas resident, Héctor's first exposure to ballroom dancing came at the end of his senior year in high school, when he tried to learn the Rumba, with moderate success. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to join ballroom in college. Now, he's a sophomore in Berkeley thrilled to have another year of comps, shows, and team practices; this may be the year he dances Quickstep! Above all, he hopes to help make YBDT as welcoming of a family for newbies as he had the pleasure to find last year. When not wearing dance shoes, Héctor might be found playing viola, teaching mindfulness and meditation, or hidden away in the Philosophy Reading Room.


Events Committee
Stephanie Hickman

Computer Science
Timothy Dwight '19
Rhythm Rumba

Stephanie is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight who joined the ballroom dance team her freshman year, looking forward to learning a new skill and making new friends. Not only did both of those things happen, but she also discovered that she had a passion for dance! After 6 years of playing lacrosse, she has discovered that she can have a great time dancing in a sport where grace and smoothness are the name of the game rather than just knocking players over as an overly-aggressive defensive mid-fielder. Stephanie's true loves are sparkles, glitter, sequins, tiaras, and burping. She is so excited to meet all of the newbies and watch them excel (as she knows they will) at Yale Comp!!!


Events Committee
Caterina Passoni

Ethics, Politics & Economics
Calhoun '18

Caterina is a junior in Calhoun who will be going abroad in the Spring.