BYU Dancesport Championships showcase skills of BYU dance students

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The BYU Dancesport Championships, held every November and March in the Wilkinson Student Center, is a main event for many amateur ballroom dancers in Provo. Dancesport’s fall competition took place on Nov. 10 and 11 in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom.

Showcasing the skills of amateur dancers enrolled in all levels of BYU dance courses, competitors of a wide range were encouraged to compete.

Beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing all day until 10 or 11 p.m., the event put on a show of nearly 30 hours of dancing over its two days. 

The father of a dancer takes a video of his child. Parents and dancers travel from around Utah and surrounding states to perform in Dancesport. (Kylie Swann)

Events for junior to adult competitors drew dancers and supporters from around Utah as well as out of state, including many from Idaho and Washington. 

From elementary through high school, participants came from a variety of grades and skill levels to compete in the competition. 

Mitchell England, a former member of the BYU Showcase Ballroom Team, recently graduated in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in aerospace and performs in as many dance competitions as he can.

“It’s helped me get over my stage fright and a lot of fears,” England said. “I couldn’t go in front of people before without shaking and getting so sick to my stomach, and now I can perform.”

Throughout the Dancesport competition, hundreds of dancers competed in more than a dozen styles of ballroom dance, such as the cha-cha, waltz and paso doble.

Dancers perform in the WSC ballroom in front of an audience. Events are held in multiple heats with dancers continuing on if they are chosen by the judges. (Kylie Swann)

Jazz Weller, a 23-year-old computer science major currently taking four upper-level dance classes at BYU, began dancing in early 2021 and plans to continue his dance career after graduation. Weller’s favorite style of dance is cabaret.

“It’s kind of any other style but … with lifts and acting and drama so it’s kind of its own style depending on who you ask,” Weller said.

Weller’s partner for the Adult Pre-Championship Smooth event, Francesca Budiman, said her favorite dance style was smooth.

“It’s got all the grace of standard but with … some of the fun pizazz of Latin,” Budiman said.

Many Dancesport participants, such as BYU student Creed Garner, began dancing in BYU’s beginner classes. Garner, a junior from Indiana, performed in the Vienna waltz and quickstep this year. 

As he was enrolled in DANCE 184 International Ballroom, Garner’s instructor required him to participate in the Dancesport competition. 

“It was not in my plans, but I enjoyed it,” Garner said.

The next time BYU dance students can compete and perform in Dancesport will be in March.

Winners stand with their trophies at the end of the night. The top 12 dancers are each given a trophy in each event. (Kylie Swann)
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