Ballroom national championships return to BYU

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The annual DanceSport Championships returned to the BYU Marriott Center March 9–12 after being temporarily hosted in Florida last year because of COVID-19.

Brent Keck, BYU faculty member in the Department of Dance and co-organizer for the United States DanceSport Championships, said BYU has been hosting this event since 1995. Because of uncertainties related to COVID-19, it was held in Florida last year.

“We had a lot of reception from a lot of people that said, ‘We want it back at BYU, we want it back at that venue, it’s just the prime, premier place, it belongs at BYU,’” Keck said. “The overwhelming response from people is ‘This is where it belongs and we love that it’s back here again.’”

Justin Durfey, BYU Director of Special Events, said the DanceSport Championships have been a collaboration between the BYU dance department and Special Events Committee that started long before he began working here.

Teams and individuals in the dance community travel from across the country for this event and the chance to compete for national titles. 

“It’s great that we’re able to bring visitors to campus that normally wouldn’t come to BYU so they’re exposed to campus and can see that it’s a great place,” Durfey said.

The championships are also an opportunity for BYU students in the dance department to perform and compete on a national level. Kendall Christensen and his wife, Paris, are BYU students and met through the school’s dance program. They said they both grew up dancing and have always been drawn to study at BYU partly because of the DanceSport Championships being hosted on BYU campus every year. 

“That’s what brought me to BYU, the program here,” Kendall Christensen said. “This event, because it’s nationals, brings in the very best and then they see what BYU has to offer and they want to be a part of it.”

Paris Christensen agreed that attending the DanceSport Championships throughout her childhood as a dancer was a contributing reason to why she decided to study at BYU. 

“I fell in love with dancing by coming to the Marriott Center because it’s just so big and I got to see couples out of state,” she said. “They were just amazing and beautiful and it really made me fall in love with dance.”

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