Students of all ages and levels displayed their ballroom skills this past week at the U.S. National DanceSport Championships at BYU. Competitors shared what it takes to perform and what the audience sees as near perfection, from the dresses to makeup and even the way they walk onto the dance floor.
Brooklyn Fullmer, a student at Timpview High School who dances pre-champ Latin, said she spent four hours prepping for DanceSport the day of the competition. And with long lashes and large sparkly earrings, Fullmer looks the part. She shared her team’s secret to a popular ballroom beauty trick: fake tans.
And Fullmer’s preparation for the competition extended long before this.
“Training wise, we train five hours a week for individual competing and three hours with our team,” she said.
Stewart Morley, a student from Stillwater, Minn., studying biochemistry, competed in five events at DanceSport this year. Morley said part of competing is getting in the right mental state, even when it means pushing comfort boundaries.
“You just kind of get into it and it’s cheesy and saucy and it’s fun,” Morley said. “It really is acting and some people are more comfortable doing that than others.”
Nanette Scheetz, a BYU student from Provo, has been dancing seven years and is currently on the Ballroom Dance Company. She said finding the perfect costume can come at great costs.
“You can either rent a dress or go to a seamstress and you rhinestone it yourself,” Scheetz said. “It took about two months to make mine completely and a few days to rhinestone it.”
Training extends beyond dancing, Scheetz said, and even includes learning to walk onto the dance floor.
“They tell us how to stand, how to walk, how to look at people,” she said. “It’s not like work, the practicing, it’s more like fun. Even though we invest all this money and time. It’s a different world you and become a really fancy person you can’t be in normal life.”