BYU hosted the United States National Amateur DanceSport Championships March 6-9 at the Marriott Center.
Competitors from across the globe danced for prize money totaling over $10,000 as well as various travel allowance awards to get to the World Amateur DanceSport Championships in Paris, France.
A few BYU participants spoke on how they came to compete in dance, the practice they dedicate to the craft and the types of dance they specialize in.
Civil engineering student Enoch Jones said he entered the dance scene while still in high school.
“I have been dancing competitively for the past seven years,” Jones said. “I started when I joined the Westlake Ballroom Dance Company my sophomore year of high school.”
Jones said he practices with his partner between five to eight hours a week in preparation for their competition routines and additional dance practice amounts to more than 20 hours per week.
“I do all types of ballroom dance, but I mostly focus on the standard styles: waltz, foxtrot, tango (and) quickstep,” Jones said.
Junior Madison Money, Jones’ dance partner, is currently on the BYU Ballroom Touring Team, which will be traveling to Europe to compete in the British Formation Championships.
“I’ve been dancing ballroom competitively for ten years,” Money said. “For the past eight years, I’ve been on BYU’s formation teams but at the high school and college level.”
Money said that she didn’t start with ballroom, but rather with jazz, tap, ballet and clogging. For practice she tries to meet with her partner at least five days a week.
Arianna Davidson, a junior studying journalism, has been doing ballroom for eight years.
“When I was in middle school, my family was getting ready for my sister’s debutante ball,” Davidson said. “My parents started taking dance lessons at Arthur Murray (dance studio), and I would go with them, eventually also taking lessons.”
Davidson’s specialties include Latin, standard and smooth. Her practice schedule includes two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with two technique classes after that. Davidson said she and her partner practice every night for about two hours.
Journalism student Harriet Norcross also participated in this year’s DanceSport Championships for class credit.
“I competed in Irish Dance and then ballet from 2010 to 2016,” Norcross said. “This year I competed as part of a class, Dance 184, at the beginning level.”
Norcross said she grew up watching dance because her mother was a dancer in high school and a former Cougarette in college.
“DanceSport is a ballroom competition, but I also participate in non-competitive lindy hop, or swing, dancing,” Norcross continued. “Because we learned our choreography in class, we only had a few weeks to practice for this specific competition. It was more dancing for the purpose of the class, and the competition was a fun bonus.”