The annual Binghamton University ballroom competition — Binghamton Ballroom Dance Revolution — will take place this Saturday, March 25.
At the event, dancers from various universities in the Northeast will compete as couples in several ballroom dance styles that encompass dances from all around the world. The event provides a unique opportunity for BU students to observe ballroom dance — one part elegant art form and another part competitive team sport.
The competition is taking place in the gymnasium of MacArthur Elementary School. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 6:30 p.m., but may last longer or end earlier depending on how much time it takes for all of the dances to take place. Tickets can be bought at the door for the price of $3 for BU students and viewers are encouraged to stay for as long as they want.
Since the Binghamton Ballroom Dance Association (BBDA) is entirely student-run with students as captains, instructors and coordinators, the Binghamton Ballroom Dance Revolution was also planned completely by student members of the team. Steven La, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering and one of the competition coordinators for the BBDA, talked about some hurdles that came about in the planning of the event.
“One of the biggest challenges was probably figuring out logistical details and making sure all of our competitors and our officials are accommodated,” La said. “It was pretty stressful trying to make sure our smaller competition was worth attending, so I wanted to make sure that all the planning was worthwhile for us to have done.”
Although some may look at the competition being smaller as a negative, the BBDA is taking advantage of this size.
“We can take advantage of our relatively smaller size and offer more personalized benefits to our dancers,” La said. “I am currently working with our judges to determine the feasibility of getting feedback on the dancing of our competitors, something that isn’t typically available on a personal level at most competitions due to the sheer quantity of dancers.”
At the competition, 19 different dances across four dance styles will be performed by the competitors. These dances come from four different main categories, with standard and Latin being international styles and smooth and rhythm being American styles.
“Each of these dances has a distinct style to them and portrays different feels and characters,” La said. “There’s a large amount of variability in the dances we’ll have and there will definitely be something worth watching for everyone present.”
The Binghamton Ballroom Dance Revolution provides a chance for dancers from all over the Northeast and beyond to visit Binghamton and compete.
“As of March 16, we have 135 competitors from at least 14 different schools attending,” La said. “We expect this number to rise in the next few days leading up to our competition, but we are excited to have everyone in attendance.”
Ballroom dance can be an intimidating sport for those just getting interested — either in participating or observing — because of how many different kinds of dances there are. At the event, spectators should expect to see an exciting and fast-paced dance floor with many couples on the floor at once.
“It’s high-energy, very emotionally charged — full of people who are eager to draw your gaze and have you watch them put on a show,” La said. “You have maybe a dozen dancers on the floor at a time, vying for your eyes to land on them and stay there.”
Going forward, La wants the BBDA to maintain its positive energy and enthusiasm for the sport.
“I hope that the Binghamton Ballroom Dance Association continues to stick together and see even more success than we have been,” La said. “I am very proud of this team and I’m very happy to be a part of it and so I hope when my time here is done that they still carry the same competitive fire but also stay true to our roots as this underdog team with strong camaraderie.”