Words like salsa, swing, jive, waltz, foxtrot and tango may not seem like sporting words, but by 9 p.m. Saturday, students from D.C. colleges were sweating and moving across the floor of the Marvin Center Ballroom with aerobic energy.
GW’s Ballroom Dance Society sponsored a dance-a-thon that lasted from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and a social dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. Prizes donated from Tower Records were given out to almost everyone who attended, said Mark Richman, chair of GW’s eight-year-old Ballroom Dance Society.
Anyone can compete in the competitions, said sophomore Michelle Deslauriers, the group’s treasurer. They have a lot of beginner stuff,
American University student Michael Miloszewski, who heard about the dance-a-thon through an e-mail list that reaches students at University of Maryland and American, Georgetown and Catholic universities, was one of the few students who showed up to the dance-a-thon portion of Saturday’s event.
Ballroom dancing dates as far back as Louis XIV and his reign as French king at Versailles. But with modern-day movie scenes such as Al Pacino’s tango in the movie Scent of a Woman and the dance scene between Michael Douglas and Annette Benning in the movie American President, there is a sense of class associated with ballroom dancing that proves to be timeless.
It’s about sustaining the movement, said Miloszewski as he talked with Richman and Thomas before the start of the dance-a-thon.
The dance-a-thon and social, which were held for the first time this year, served as a successful fund-raiser for the club, Richman said. The group raised $50 by the end of the night and raised awareness of ballroom dance.
My philosophy is that everyone should dance, Thomas said. It’s so addictive.
The group doesn’t receive money from the Student Association like other groups but plans to apply for money in the future. Events such as the dance-a-thon help bring in revenue.
D.C.’s a great location for ballroom dance, said Thomas, who has been dancing for two semesters and attended seven dance competitions this year. In the past, Thomas performed ballet and jazz but never ballroom.
Doctorate student Margot Bauman, secretary of the Ballroom Dance Society, and GW Law student Bill Shapiro took a break by the refreshment table and enjoyed the light atmosphere of the dance in an attempt to escape their academic stress.
I’m here to avoid studying, Shapiro said.
University of Maryland senior Jessica Brause came to show support for GW’s dance club. She said attending these events helps keep the ties between ballroom dancing clubs tight in the D.C. area
We’re ballroom people – we stick together, Brause said.
This article appeared in the May 1, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.