Bring out your dancing shoes and get electrified with the beat, it’s time to meet UCSB’s Cotillion Dance Club, a student organization that competes in ballroom dancing.
The Cotillion Dance Club recently placed second on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the San Jose State Ballroom Classic in the team match competition, in which Stanford placed first. The team match consisted of several dances, which included the waltz, tango, cha-cha, East Coast swing and salsa.
The squad also competed in individual categories within the competition, where a couple consisting of alumnus Ryan Yoshinaga and team captain, graduate student Katie Visco placed first in the highest level of Smooth competition – the open category – and third in Advanced Standard.
Couple Matt Chambers and junior Kelly Morikawa placed first in the Gold and Silver Smooth categories and also in the Latin category, in which they danced the cha-cha, the rumba and the samba. Chambers and Morikawa were the couple with the most places, taking 13 first places and 20 places overall.
Ballroom competition is broken down by categories and skill level. Smooth categories consist of dancing the waltz, tango, Foxtrot and Viennese waltz. The Standard category consists of dancing the waltz, the tango, the Foxtrot and quickstep. The Latin category spices things up with a combination of the mambo, the samba, the rumba, swing and the cha-cha. Skill levels start with Newcomer, followed by Bronze, Silver, Gold and the open categories.
“The judges rate you by the number of couples on the dance floor,” Visco said. “They glance at you, and move on to the others. Afterwards, they give you an overall score based on what they saw.”
When dancing, there are also certain rules to remember, Visco said.
“If you are dancing International Standard, never look at your partner in the eye,” Visco said. “If you are dancing American Standard, you can look at your partner. You can see these different styles if you watch ‘Dancing with the Stars.'”
Although the team brought 30 students to compete – the highest number it has ever had – the Gauchos want more people to join. The team usually brings between seven and 14 students to compete.
“I would love to get a bigger team,” Visco said. “I would love to have more people come out to support us and to compete.”
The Cotillion Dance Club is currently in the process of filing a proposal through school officials to be recognized as a sport on campus, rather than as a student organization.
“We want to be recognized as a sport,” Morikawa said. “We do compete for UCSB. Feel free to join us or support us. We want people to know we represent UCSB.”
If dancing is what interests you or if you want to compete, go check out the Cotillion Dance Club, which meets on Tuesdays from 9 to 11 p.m. in Lab Gym 2320. The weekly dance meetings are open to anyone who wants to dance. No experience is necessary, just the motivation to dance.
If you can’t make it to the meetings, Cotillion Dance Club is planning to hold a Ballroom Boot Camp next quarter, which will be open to students of all levels of dancing ability, and will teach students the waltz, the Foxtrot, the tango and other dances in a fun environment.