UCF club helps students swing into ballroom dancing
Students seeking to dazzle on the dance floor can look no further than Ballroom Knights, a club dedicated to teaching people to be light on their feet while moving to the beat.
The club, which was officially started in fall 2014, has attracted approximately 25 members this school year alone, all of whom have varied levels of dancing experience. Some members have never taken a class before, while others, like president Daniella Debitetto, have been dancing for years.
"When I was 12, my mom started ballroom dancing because of Dancing with the Stars," said Debitetto, a junior finance major. "I did not want to go but she dragged me to the dance floor and I ended up loving it. Eight years later and I'm still doing it."
Experienced students, professional instructors, ballroom competition judges and current competitive dancers all take part in teaching the classes.
William Robbins, treasurer and student instructor, said the opportunity to ballroom dance was one of the major deciding factors that helped him choose which university to attend.
"I joined UCF specifically for, not only their engineering program, but because of the fact that they had a dancing club," said Robbins, a junior studying Aerospace Engineering.
Each month, Ballroom Knights focuses on a different style of dance, including the waltz, foxtrot, swing, tango and cha-cha among many others. Throughout the month, instructors add two to three steps to a routine each week, according to Robbins.
"We really push that our dancers [dance] boldly and with etiquette," Debitetto said. " So we want them to be confident with themselves and with their dancing, but we also want them to be polite and respectful of other dancers as well."
John Klosner, a junior studying business management, had never danced before joining Ballroom Knights in the fall.
"The first lesson, I actually picked it up pretty well," he said. "I probably wouldn't have gone again if it wasn't for the people who were there teaching it that night."
With two semesters of dancing under his belt, Klosner said he is most looking forward to learning the new dances that each instructor brings to the table next year.
In order to keep up with the members' growing knowledge of dances and routines, Debitetto and her board are trying to incorporate both advanced and intermediate classes into next year's schedule.
Additionally, they are working to create a formation team, which would consist of multiple couples taking the floor and dancing beside each other to the same song and routine, occasionally switching partners.
"We really hope people take away just a love of doing it," said Debitetto. "We really want people to see that this is something fun and that it's not just an old person thing."
Everyone is welcome to take part in the weekly classes during the school year for a fee of $25 per semester for students and $5 per class for non-students. For students interested in getting involved in the middle of the semester, the price will be lowered to accommodate how many classes are left.
Though there are currently no summer classes planned, the board is still deciding whether to hold classes starting in June, Debitetto said. Anyone interested in taking classes can visit the Ballroom Knights Facebook page for any updates.
Noelle Campbell is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Noellecampz or email her at NoelleC@CentralFloridaFuture.com.