One of the most prominent groups on the RIC campus since their inception in the 1980’s is Ballroom Dance. Long before COVID-19 and long from this present day, dance has been and will remain an artform with tremendous depth. Rhode Island College offers students the chance to be part of various dance classes, clubs and organizations, but the ballroom dance club is a different type of experience.
Dancers can behold newcomer lessons on Sundays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. The group is instructed by Josh Morgenstein, Randy Deats and Kathy St. Jean. Morgenstien is a professional ballroom dancer from The Dancing Feeling located in Warwick, as well as a RIC Ballroom Dance alum. Deats and St. Jean are Co-Directors of The Dancing Feeling.
Vanessa Coelho, RIC senior and Ballroom Dance Treasurer, says she believes the mission is “to teach a new style of dance that I’m sure many people haven’t done before and [will] have fun doing!”
Coelho added “We try to be very welcoming and always look forward to new people who are interested in joining. Overall we just want others to have a fun long-lasting experience. We will welcome you as you walk into the door and tell you what you need to know from there. You don’t need to have any dance experience and you don’t need to have a partner.”
Interested students do not need to sign up. Just show up. During the typical non pandemic school year there is a distinction between the Ballroom Dance club and the Ballroom Dance team. The team is to compete at competitions in and around New England, traveling together as a cohesive unit. The team is paired with expectations of the dancers to attend the majority of all lessons, whereas the club is geared towards those who want to learn and only attend when they can. Both ballroom outlets are fun and enjoyable.
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions from the college, competitions and social dances have been put on pause. This could change in the spring semester with the campus revision of policies over winter break. Social dances were those open to the RIC community and other schools such as Brown, Roger Williams University, University of Rhode Island and more. These schools would come and dance together, usually in themed costumes as Coelho explained. The group hopes to do a RIC Social in the near coming future so be part of the action and join now.
Due to the current nature of campus, alumni are not allowed to come to lessons like the group has always had in the past. Lessons are only for RIC community members as of right now. For the majority of this semester lessons have been socially distant with hula hoops. Coelho added “This was not ideal for us especially being that it is ballroom dancing. However we made it work and had a fun time trying something new. As of [late November] we have been given permission to dance regularly while masked, which has been awesome and we are beyond grateful for this.”
The last two lessons of the semester are on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12; the lesson on Dec. 12 will be accompanied by RIC's Latin American Student Organization. Get your flats and sneakers ready to learn some new moves and dance in a new fashion. Salsa or tango into a new duo that could spawn new memories and friendships. Dancing is the purest form of emotion.
The RIC Ballroom Dance Club will be hosting a movie night on Tuesday Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. in Gaige Hall room 100. The movie to be shown is the original Grease. The showing is free and will supply popcorn and water. To sign up for this movie night please visit tinyurl.com/BallroomMovieNightGrease.