Ballroom dancers to compete this weekend in California

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    By Lynne Marie Judd

    BYU ballroom dancers are packing their costumes and heading to California this weekend.

    About 45 ballroom dancers will leave Friday to compete in the Pacific Dancesport Championships competition in Universal City, Calif.

    Individual couples will compete in International Latin and International Standard competitions.

    The back-up tour team will also compete in formation competition, said Linda Wakefield, co-director of BYU Ballroom Company tour team and coordinator of the ballroom international program.

    Competing in ballroom dance requires students to sacrifice time and money, Wakefield said.

    Students provide their own costumes which must fit BYU standards, she said.

    Men spend around $300 on costumes and women spend much more, said Corey Alexander, 22, a junior from Winnemucca, Nev., majoring in political science and ballroom dance.

    Alexander will compete in International Standard events this weekend.

    Eleanor Wiblin, ballroom dance secretary, has a son participating in Ballroom Dance Company. One of her daughters also danced at BYU.

    One reason she works is to help her children pay for lessons and other dance expenses, Wiblin said.

    Dancers sacrifice social time as well, Wiblin said.

    “It is a juggling act, balancing time between work and school,” said Alexander, who practices 10 to 15 hours each week.

    Most of the dancers work in addition to attending school and practicing, he said.

    Students have an added responsibility to represent BYU when performing.

    “When people see on the program that a couple is from Provo they instantly associate them with the church,” Alexander said.

    Attending competitions outside of BYU gives dancers a chance to experience the ballroom world and appreciate the standards here, Wakefield said.

    When traveling to competitions, BYU dancers are expected to follow the same rules they follow at the university, she said.

    Some people have told BYU dancers competing in the International Latin competitions that they needed to wear less, Alexander said.

    Event organizers also watch BYU dancers.

    To avoid competing on Sunday, the organizers of Pacific Dancesport Championships plan the events BYU competes in for Saturday, Wakefield said.

    All of the sacrifices are worth it for the feeling that comes from being out on the floor and performing what you have practiced, Alexander said.

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