Ballroom/Swing Club hosts Welcome Ball

Richard Leipold, senior movement and exercise science major, taught East Coast swing and waltz lessons for UNI Ballroom/Swing’s annual Welcome Ball last Saturday, Aug. 18. UNI Ballroom/Swing provides free lessons every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-8 P.M.

SOFIA LEGASPI, Campus Life Editor | [email protected]

Students and community members danced the night away on Saturday, Aug. 18 at the UNI Ballroom/Swing Club’s fifth annual Welcome Ball.

About 50 people gathered in the Maucker Union Ballroom for lessons in the East Coast swing and waltz styles from 7 to 8:30 P.M., followed by a social dance.

Sophomore sociology major Dominic Steele was one of the three UNI Ballroom/Swing presidents who planned the event.

Steele’s first exposure to ballroom dancing was during a swing dancing unit in his high school gym class.

“It’s clicked with me. It’s been a lot of fun,” Steele said.

Alexa Lloyd, a junior studying leisure, youth & human services and theatre, had just moved into her dorm room before attending the ball.

“I was looking for a way to destress and get out of my dorm room,” Lloyd said. “I love to waltz; it’s just such a classic dance. It really just takes you somewhere else.”

Lloyd first attended the Welcome Ball two years ago as a freshman. Although she had never had any previous ballroom dance experience, Lloyd said she loved it and would continue attending ballroom events when she could.

UNI Ballroom/Swing holds social lessons, open to both students and members of the community, every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 8 P.M. The club is currently still searching for a regular venue, but students may visit the UNI Ballroom/Swing Facebook page for lesson location updates.

As the president of education of UNI Ballroom/Swing, Richard Leipold teaches different dance styles during events like the Welcome Ball as well as the club’s weekly lessons. Before transferring to UNI, where he is currently a senior majoring in movement and exercise science, Leipold was a ballroom dance major at Utah Valley University.

Aside from weekly lessons and other social events scattered throughout the semester, UNI Ballroom/Swing offers the opportunity for competitive dancing.

“Our goal with the competitive side is just to help people get comfortable going to a ballroom competition,” Leipold said. “There are ballroom competitions that happen around the area, and they’re really cool and fun and exciting, but they can also be a little intimidating because it’s like, ‘Wow, I’m competing.’ So what we do is we put together a team—whoever wants to join, may.”

For Steele, the best part about dancing is the community.

“It makes me feel really good to be a part of something that’s a team and that’s also really fun to do even when I’m not with the whole team—I can grab somebody and we can dance,” Steele said.

“We’re just a group of people who love to dance,” Leipold said. “We’re not trying to be perfect or achieve perfection. We’re just people who are passionate about dance who just want to learn as much as we can.”