From classroom to ballroom


Photo by Dylan Paulus Hailey Hamilton and Levi Simmons are two members of the EWU Social Dancers Club.

EWU Social Dancers Club practices different dance styles

Photo by Dylan PaulusHailey Hamilton and Levi Simmons are two members of the EWU Social Dancers Club.
Photo by Dylan Paulus
Hailey Hamilton and Levi Simmons are two members of the EWU Social Dancers Club.

By Katie Simpson
contributing writer

Three pairs of students glide across the floor of the dance studio to Avril Lavine’s “I’m With You,” framed towards each other in a ballroom-style dance.

One of many dance-related clubs at Eastern, the Eastern Social Dancers Club was formed for students taking courses in dance and others who want to practice and perfect their skills.

According to the members, this kind of dancing is different from what is found at common clubs and parties. Most of the dances are a partnered classical style that builds on socializing with other people that share the same interest in ballroom dance skills.

Junior Katrina Knizek, a member of the club Dance Force, waits outside the studio for the social dancers to finish practice so her club can start.

“Our clubs are very different, they work on partnering, we focus on each individual dancer contributing to a group,” said Knizek.

The Eastern Social Dancers was started early this year when club president sophomore Mitch Youngs, also involved as public relations for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Robotics Club, was having trouble finding places to practice with the other interested students.

“We couldn’t reserve a room or practice on campus,” said Youngs. “We had to form the club.”

The students who helped to create the club took the roles as officers. “Logan [Hughes] and I last year, with Allison [Bararella], were talking about starting a club and Mitch [Young] got club papers one day,” said Connor Smith, sophomore, about the clubs origin.

Michael Bublé fills the air as Emily Wark and Vice President of the club Hughes waltz around the room. Wark is just one of the many students who choose to practice the technique they learn in Eastern-provided dance courses.

“West Coast swing is what I started on,” said Wark. “It is a lot of fun, you get to meet so many different people.”

First-year student Britini Wright started with Latin dancing and “fell in love” with paired dancing. The club members “learn from each other.” No matter what level of expertise the dancer has they are able to give and receive help from the peers in the group.

The point of the club is not to perform, but to perfect skills. The members only showcase themselves when they go out on Saturday nights to dance in Spokane, according to multiple members of the group.
“I like to dance,” said Brian Andrews, senior. “Anyone can pick it up. When you take it again you learn more.”

A member of the social dance club, Andrews dances on campus two days a week. “If you like to dance, come out and go to practice. If you want to learn, sign up,” said Andrews.

Levi Simmons, a junior biochemistry major, said that in each meeting, “I practice swing and waltz, try to help those from other classes practice and, if I know the dance, help them practice it.”

Sean Cantilini, a sophomore business major, is treasurer of the social dance club. A big goal for the club is to eventually “buy a place in Spokane for the night and join with other schools and have a ball,” said Cantilini. He was asked to help put the club into place to build community and try to get more people involved. The club now has enough veterans to teach newcomers the steps.

Youngs, as club president, has big ideas for the future of the club.

“We have been thinking about having a flash mob next quarter and also to put on a ball,” said Youngs.

Along with working with dance groups from Whitworth and Gonzaga, the club takes the opportunity to meet in the Spokane area at the select places that offer partnered ballroom style dancing nights.