This past Sunday, members of Wellesley’s Ballroom Dance team travelled to Boston University to compete in the 17th Annual Terrier Dancesport Competition. Ballroom dance is one of the eight club sports offered at Wellesley College, and its 27 participants have the opportunity to train and compete alongside members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Ballroom Dance Team.
Team Captain Mariela Dyer ’20 told The Wellesley News that members of the ballroom dance team began training for their first competition of the semester as soon as they arrived on campus this January. She shared that the team’s primary goal for the first competition was for everyone to perform to the best of their abilities. “Our goal is to perform as best as possible. Competing is difficult because it is a balance between enjoying yourself and getting good results.” She added, “Personally, I hope my partner and I can connect on an emotional level and enjoy our performances.”
Dyer’s former dance studio offered Latin ballroom classes, so she had experience prior to joining the team at Wellesley. She met several members of the Ballroom Dance team when she visited Wellesley as a prospective student during Spring Open Campus, and even watched one of their practices at MIT. Dyer indicated that one of the main reasons she chose Wellesley was because it would allow her to continue with her ballroom dancing career. “One of the reasons I chose Wellesley was because I could continue ballroom dancing,” Dreyer said. She added, “It might sound counterintuitive, but I knew Wellesley was the place for me once I knew I would be able to grow as a dancer and not only as a student.”
Club sports at Wellesley College welcome students from all levels of experience, and the Ballroom Dance team is no exception. Unlike Dyer, Lauralyn Lin ’22 had no dance experience before coming to Wellesley. She found out about the ballroom dance team the summer before her first year at Wellesley when she was researching organizations on campus to join in the fall. After watching videos of the team online and speaking with several of its members, Lin was sold.
Lin said ballroom dance was “probably the last thing I expected to be doing. If you had told me last year that I would be this involved with ballroom dancing, of all things in the universe, I probably would have thought you were crazy.”
Dyer recommends that students get involved with the team at the start of the school year, but they welcome new members at any time. She gave the following advice to students who are considering joining the Ballroom Dance team at Wellesley; “I would suggest students who are interested in joining to never be afraid of trying something new –– maybe something you are not good at, at first. I started dancing when I was a kid but I spent years as one of worst dancers in my classes. Dancing has taught me to be persistent.”
Dyer added, “Another piece of advice I would say is don’t shy away from extracurriculars that are not in your academic field of interest. Ballroom dancing has so many social and health benefits that you might not even be considering.”
Students who are interested in joining the team should email Mariela Dyer. Those who want to support members of Wellesley’s Ballroom Dance team can attend their final two competitions of the school year. The team will travel to Cambridge for the Harvard Invitational Ballroom Dance Competition on March 31-April 1. Additionally, the team will host and compete in the MIT Ballroom Dance Competition on April 27-28.