Competitive ballroom dance,
When students incorporate ballroom as part of their normal life.
“Whenever I am cooking, I do a lot of Latin hips. There is a pretty big hallway between the kitchen and my room, and I think, I [dance the] foxtrot down that hallway about half of the time, the other half I walk. Anytime I am talking on the phone, I really like to tango,” Laura said, laughing. “I do rumba hips when I am on the phone, it’s just a habit… I don’t know why,” Alex added.
Laura Baker, 20, a health science student and Alex Jones, 23, a law student, is a competitive ballroom dance couple. They compete in the northeast collegiate ballroom dancesport circuit. Aside of their busy life, they dance in the Silver level in Smooth, Standard and Latin dances representing Northeastern University.
They both started ballroom dancing in the fall of 2013, with the Northeastern University Ballroom Dance Club (NUBDC) for Laura and with the University of Vermont ballroom team for Alex.
“It is fun, exciting and nerve racking,” Laura says about ballroom dancing. She said she always liked the idea of dancing but felt too reserved to try. But she felt differently about ballroom dancing and points out that dancing gave her a focus and coordination.
Alex finds it equally fun but also sees a good physical exercise in ballroom dancing. Indeed, the couple practices at least 6 times a week to improve all kinds of technical problems and learn their routines.
“A good practice is when we find a way to solve the problems, when it feels sharp and clean, we are satisfied,” Alex said.
“I was kind of stuck in between bronze and sliver,” Laura remembers. Even though the lessons offered by the NUBDC are very helpful, Laura felt the need to get an extra set of eyes on her technique.
To help them improve their dancing, Laura and Alex started taking lessons with George Cometa in May 2015. With the combination of weekly lessons and focused practices, their dancing has improved immensely.
“George is very invested in his students and has a very broad knowledge. His feedback is always very useful. I see George as friend, more than a teacher,” Alex said.
Alex and Laura also learned a lot from their university team. “I really like being the sense of being on the team even if we are all competing against each other. There is a very positive atmosphere and it gives us support,” Laura said. Alex added that he feels very comfortable making mistakes and getting feedback from more experienced dancers. “They know how we feel, they remember making the same mistakes as us,” Alex said.
Laura and Alex enjoy being part of the NUBDC and they enjoy sharing their ballroom knowledge with new dancers and competitors. Laura finds that she adds a competitive drive to the team members and Alex more of a social aspect, as he likes to talk to everyone.
Their hard work has paid off. Recently Laura and Alex competed at the Boston University Terrier Ballroom Competition in Boston, MA. In the Silver level, they placed 3rd in American Waltz and Tango; 2nd in American Foxtrot; 2nd in American Viennese Waltz; 4th in all of the Standard dances; 3rd in Latin Cha-cha and Rumba and 4th in Jive. Because of their hard work and dedication to their dancing, this was their best competition results to date.
Even though competitions and numerous practices sometimes feel like sacrifices, they couldn’t imagine their current life without dancing. “When I don’t dance for a day, I feel like it’s been for months,” Laura said. Even when they are not practicing or competing, you will probably find Alex and Laura at one of the social dancing events in Boston…