2018-2019 Team Officers


Ariel Sánchez

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Benjamin Franklin '19
Favorite Dance: Standard Foxtrot and Quickstep

Hailing from the suburbs of the Big Apple, Ariel never envisioned that one day he would be a member of Yale's illustrious ballroom team. He always enjoyed listening to the toe-tapping, finger-snapping beats of Latin music but could never bring himself to learn dance. Lo and behold one fateful night he made his way to the Berkeley multipurpose room and it was love at first beat. Now Ariel just can't get enough of the ballroom team. He particularly enjoys the wondrous range between classy, smooth dances like foxtrot and more sexy dances like the rumba. In addition to his time on ballroom, Ariel dances with Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Yale, a dance company that performs traditional Mexican dances in festive, colorful garb. He also loves to volunteer as an EMT in Trumbull, CT, making him the unofficial team physician. Ariel looks forward to leading such a close-knit group of passionate dancers in helping them to succeed their dancing aspirations.


Yasheen Gao

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Pauli Murray '21

A Chinese native and Atlanta resident, Yasheen first grew interested in ballroom from watching Dancing with the Stars, which is one of her guilty pleasures. From learning how to dance to performing in shows and going to socials, she has made some of her favorite memories in college thus far with YBDT. Yasheen is very excited to lead the team into the new school year, to welcome the newbies onto the team, and to continue the tradition of ballroom and latin dance at Yale!


Club Director
Luke Newell

Davenport '19
Favorite Dance: American Rumba

Luke is a senior from Chicago who joined the team as a junior. After years of resisting, he was dragged to salsa lessons by a friend and had more fun than he ever expected. He joined the team and has fallen in love with dancing, particularly the social dances and American styles. He's also the president of Yale Student Bakers, does clinical interviews in a psych lab, and does research on mice brains in a neuroscience lab.


Social Chair
Isabella Yang

Saybrook '21

Isabella, a sophomore in Saybrook College, would have never thought of herself as a ballroom dancer before joining YBDT. She has tried a variety of dances before coming to Yale, ranging from years of tedious ballet training in China as a child to attempts at hip-hop and jazz in high school. However, as soon as she took her first newbie lessons, she fell in love with ballroom as a dance-sport that takes two, not one, to accomplish. She has enjoyed her time doing all things standard and will take on the role of bonding the team through a plethora of social activities this year. When she's not dancing, she could be found working with paintings and calligraphies in YUAG, writing stuff for magazines, practicing some instrument, wandering around in the nature, or this upcoming year, cooking for the team!


Show Coordinator
Kendra Libby

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Saybrook '21
Favorite Dances: Quickstep and Swing

Kendra Libby is a sophomore Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics major from Branford, CT. She walked onto the team as a first year with no previous dance experience and has loved learning the many styles of dance the team has to offer. Her favorite dances are quick step and swing for their upbeat and fun tempos. She loves both competing and performing, and she is ecstatic about being the team's Show Coordinator this year so that she may help her fellow teammates showcase their many talents.

Publicity Director
Amit Chowdhury

Computer Science and Mathematics
Davenport '19
Favorite Dance: Waltz

Amit is a senior in Davenport College.


Andi Mo

Econ & East Asian Studies
Ezra Stiles '21

Andi, from Bay Area, California, is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles planning to double major in Economics and East Asian Studies. She has dabbled in many different types of dance since young, but her first experience with ballroom dance was during PE class her freshman year of high school. Since then, she has been actively searching for a ballroom community to join and is thrilled to continue her college years as a member of the YBDT.


Newbie Captain
Abigail Fortier

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Berkeley '21

Abby is a sophomore in Berkeley college. She is an E&EB major who loves research, dancing, and lactose-free ice cream. She fell in love with ballroom dancing after coming to the first lesson her freshman year, and is excited to share her passion with the new group of freshmen as Newbie Captain.


Advanced Seminar Director
Gloria Wu

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Statistics & Data Science
Timothy Dwight '19
Rumba and Viennese Waltz

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 her first 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 is excited to pass on her ballroom experience to our newer advanced dancers and spread the ballroom family love. When she isn't dancing, she can be found contemplating logic puzzles (let her know if you have any interesting ones!) or hanging out with her frosh as a FroCo.


Advanced Seminar Director
Melissa Kropf

Grace Hopper '19
Favorite Dance: Waltz

Melissa is a senior in Grace Hopper.


Events Committee
Katy Way

Chemical Engineering
Morse '19

Katy is a senior in Morse majoring in Chemical Engineering. She is from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was first introduced to the ballroom team through her roommate, who dragged her to the shows her first year of college. Katy decided to join during her sophomore year. Standard (waltz, quickstep, foxtrot) has quickly become her favorite style. While not dancing, Katy spends her time doing engineering homework, running, and working in her residential college's office. She loves Ben & Jerry's ice cream and English Breakfast Tea.