On Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, Wooster’s Ballroom Dance Club competed at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two pairs from Wooster competed in the bronze skill level of the International Samba competition. At the competition, it was evident that all the Ballroom Dance Club’s practice throughout the year paid off, as the dancers impressed at Nationals.
Wooster’s first pair – Margaret Jagger ’22 and Andrea Brown ’22 – finished tied for 51st overall of 66 pairs. This competition required that each pair dance, along with the other pairs of dancers, in front of judges that are tasked with determining the winner. In each round, the judges selected the top 50% of the dancers and called them back for the next round. Eventually, throughout several rounds, the judges selected a winner.
Jagger and Brown went to Pittsburgh with a positive attitude, believing that they were well-prepared for the competition. Jagger noted that “the atmosphere for this competition was different from the competitions and tournaments of other sports I’ve been at. Everyone is still there to compete and do their best, but among competitors there was a greater sense of camaraderie and support.” Since there were so many dancers competing in the first round, Wooster’s pair hoped to stand out amongst their competitors. As Jagger put it, “we have numbers on our backs for judges to mark if they want a pair to advance to the next round or not, and the audience shouting out these numbers may affect the numbers that the judges look for. While the judges do advance pairs who have good technique, getting noticed by the judges is the first step.” Unfortunately, Jagger and Brown were unable to advance beyond the first round; however, they did finish 51st and left it all out on the dance floor.
The Ballroom Dance Club’s second pair – Emily Pfau ’22 and Kate Runciman ’22 – were called by the judges to be invited to the second round after their performance in the first round. Though they were not called to the final round, Pfau and Runciman finished 28th in the 66 team field, an extremely impressive showing. Like Jagger, Pfau found challenges in performing in front of judges. Pfau thought that “performing in front of judges was intimidating since you could always see them in the corner of your eye.” Despite this, Pfau and Runciman advanced to the second round and performed to their high standards. Pfau was proud of her performance, saying that “I think we danced well; I was excited to get a call back especially since this was my second competition I had ever done.”
Both teams’ performances reflected the hard work that the Ballroom Dance Club put in during their practices throughout the year to improve their craft. Jagger had nothing but good things to say about her experience in the club, believing that “it taught me skills that I will be able to take with me beyond my time at Wooster and [dancing] is an activity I will be able to do post-college.” Pfau noted that the club is driven by its members, who foster a positive, fun environment. Reflecting on her experience, Pfau said that “I have had a lot of fun in the club. The people in it are always excited to learn new things and are ready to invest time practicing outside of normal club hours.”
Congratulations to Margaret Jagger, Andrea Brown, Emily Pfau and Kate Runciman for their terrific performances at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships 2022 and for their amazing careers as members of the Ballroom Dance Club!