How do I join?
Do I need a partner?
Do I need to have dancing experience?
How much do I have to pay to join?
What kinds of social events do you have?
What are these competitions?
What is the time commitment?
What do I wear to practices?
Do I need special shoes to join the club?
Do I need to buy a fancy dress or vest to compete?
Who teaches the lessons?
What dances do you do?
Where can I dance outside of the club?
Membership to our club is open to all students, faculty, and staff of the University of Virginia who have or are eligible to purchase a University ID Card. We recruit new members at the beginning of each semester, during our free lessons. Membership dues include everything specified by your tier of membership (See Membership Options). We encourage all of our prospective members to attend our booth at the activities fair or our free lessons for more info. Much of the information that will be covered is found on our Lesson Info and Membership Options page, though if you have specific questions that are not answered on this site and cannot make any of mentioned events please e-mail our Secretary.
Absolutely not! Anyone can join the club. All students will switch partners frequently during lessons and practices. Students will be partnered during practices when they are preparing for upcoming competitions. Many of our silver dancers come to newcomer or bronze lessons, and some of our followers even learn to lead so that everyone can have a partner during lessons! If you would like to go to competition, many of our veterans are also happy to dance with newcomers if they can’t find a partner! If you wish to join the competitive membership tier, however, we recommend that you find a partner.
Absolutely not! Most of our veterans started ballroom dancing during our free lessons (I know I did), and we promise that if you stick with the club, after a few semesters no one will be able to tell if you started with any experience!
There are two weeks of FREE trial lessons each semester. Dues of $40/$100 are collected the third week of lessons, depending on your membership tier. These dues go to paying for our instructors, competitions, and other various events. If you do not wish to commit to joining the club for the semester, you also have the option to pay $5 for each lesson you attend.
Every semester we have various club social events like game night, pot-lucks, broomball (if the stars align), parties, apple picking, and social dances. Additionally, many of us have become really good friends with each other and have our own private outings that we often invite some ballroom people to. We’re a social club just as much as we are a club sport.
Ballroom competitions events where many schools and other competitors get together, with 10-20 couples of similar skill levels dancing on a floor at the same time. Judges rank the performances of the various couples through various heats, until they are able to obtain and recognize the top few from each category. Competitions are also a great bonding experience for the club! We compete 2-4 times a semester, sending as many as 30 or 40 people the some of the more popular competitions (DCDI/Bam Jam). Your membership dues pay for you to be able to compete, so you don’t have to spend anything out of pocket to travel. If a competition is far away, we often stay in a hotel. If a competition is local (ex. UMd), then we often get together and stay with other club members in Nova. It really is a fun time, and really helps you grow as a dancer.
All club members are able to go to DCDI (Fall) or Bam Jam (Spring) with their membership, and do not have to compete if they do not want to. Each semester we typically also have a large competition involving travelling (ex. Ohio Star Ball or MIT Open). These competitions may involve a fee for attending to cover travel, and we may not invite newcomers to attend as sign ups for the competitions are typically early in the semester due to logistics.
There is absolutely no time requirement. You don’t have to attend lessons (although we recommend it) and you don’t have to practice outside of lessons (although we recommend it). For each of the three levels of lessons we teach, Newcomer, Bronze, and Silver, lessons are held on at most two days a week. We also recommend practicing for an hour or so each week if you wish to improve, and some of our competitive veterans will practice up to 5 or 6 hours a week.
As long as you can move around and aren’t indecent, you can wear whatever you like. There is no formal dress code. Just dress comfortably and nicely! As far as shoes are concerned, please don’t wear rubber soled shoes or flip-flops, as they are difficult to dance in. See the next question for more info on shoes!
No. While ballroom shoes are wonderful and ultimately a great purchase for an interested dancer, the more novice dancer might want to start with a good pair of leather-soled dress shoes (not shoes with black or rubber bottoms). Ballet slippers, jazz or character shoes are usually very good, as are a pair of thick athletic socks, since they will let you slide on the floor comfortably. Tennis shoes, flip flops, clogs, chunky heels, or rubber-soled shoes are inappropriate and unsafe to dance in since they stick to the floor or are just generally unwieldy. If you are unsure about your shoes, please keep a pair of socks in your bag…they are infinitely better than sneakers! You can get a pair of ballroom shoes online or at the Hip Joint at the Downtown Mall with a 10% discount if you decide to stick with the club. Here are some useful websites where you can buy shoes online:
We have all of that for you! The Ballroom Dance Club Closet holds clothing of all styles and sizes! That includes long and short dresses, vests, pants, and even a few pairs of shoes (see above). If you’d like to see what we have for you to borrow, please contact our Costume Chair!
We hire professional instructors such Lee Santos and Michael Remchuck to teach a majority our advanced lessons. We also offer many beginner lessons taught by members of our competitive tier. Review is led by our practice captains, and our officers and returning dancers are often on hand to be of help to beginning dancers if they need it.
We try to cover the entire USISTD American and International syllabus over the course of the academic year. For International Standard, that includes Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Quickstep. For International Latin, that includes Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, and Jive. American Smooth includes Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz. American Rhythm includes Cha-cha, Rumba, Swing, and Mambo. Additionally, we try to throw in a fun dance lesson every once in a while, such as paso doble, polka, and hustle.
What’s the difference between American and International? They’re stylistically different. You might as well join the club to find out 🙂
Here are links to web sites with dance opportunities in the Virginia area: