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“T-A-N-G-O” the teacher chants the teacher with syncopated rhythm, as students dance lightly around room. One couple is extremely serious with arms straight and stiff and heads held high. Still another couple watches their feet nervously as they move to make sure that they are doing the steps correctly. And so it goes during Quinnipiac’s new ballroom dancing class.
“The class is so awesome,” junior nursing major Nick Robbins said. “The environment is so upbeat and the teacher makes it a lot of fun.”
The students are asked to line up, girls on one side and boys on the other. The teacher, Karen Pfrommer, and her dancing partner, Eric Turcio, demonstrate a move in the middle of the floor. “The guys are the leaders in every single dance,” reminds Pfrommer.
At this point, another male comes running through the door. “We have another guy!” Pfrommer screams.
“I was so impressed and actually surprised that there are almost as many guys taking the class as girls,” senior sociology and MAT major Shawna Cross said. The ratio of males to females in the class is almost 1:1.
“The best thing was that Emmitt Smith won on the television show Dancing with the Stars,” Pfrommer said. “It proved that you can still be a macho athlete and ballroom dance.”
The class, which was started by former Sigma Phi Epsilon president Andy Turczak and Associate Director of Athletics and Recreation Linda Wooster, immediately became popular.
“I think so many students were interested because it is being shown more on television and more with the youth population,” Pfrommer said.
Pfrommer is the owner of “Let’s Dance in Rhythm,” a ballroom studio in Branford and believes that ballroom dancing is a social skill that students will be able to use for the rest of their lives.
“They will actually be able to go to a wedding or a party and not just dance around but dance steps with a partner,” she said.
The demonstration ends and Pfrommer puts the couples in a circle. The music blares and the couples begin to move. After about two minutes there is laughter on the floor because a collision has occurred between dancers.
“So what if you’re approaching another human?” asked a student. Pfrommer then makes an analogy to getting your driver’s license. “You have to watch where you are going. This is floor practice and.”
“…Accidents will happen,” finishes junior marketing major Ross Greenstein.
Greenstein signed up for the class with his fraternity brothers and it is his first attempt at real dancing.
“It’s a good way to learn how to dance and not feel stupid or awkward,” he said.
The class is learning all types of ballroom dances, from the Tango and Salsa to Swing. “Swing is my favorite. It’s just so light and fun,” Cross said.
The excitement during the class never dies down. After every step is completed there is an uproar of clapping and laughter and then the switching of partners. “I like that we switch partners a lot because I get the chance to dance with a lot of different guys,” said Anne Hines, a junior marketing major.
The ballroom dancing class takes place Wednesday nights in the recreation center studios. “No one knows what happens in this building after 6 p.m.,” Wooster said. “This building just rocks!”
The class was only intended to last until spring break but due to increased interest, Wooster is adding a course after spring break. “I seriously look forward to going to the class every week,” Robbins said. “And plus, what girl doesn’t want a guy who can dance?”