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ISSUE 121 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/18/2008

Dancers gather

By Ida Holdahl
Associate Editor

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dazzling evening gowns and finely dressed gentlemen at dominated Skoglund Athletic Center on Saturday, April 12. Starting at 9 p.m. St. Olaf's annual President's Ball was open to all alumni, students, faculty and staff willing to take a shot at ballroom dancing. The night featured a live-band, live lessons and demonstrations by St. Olaf's own Ballroom Performance Group.

This year, the Ballroom Performance Group featured ten St. Olaf students who practice together three to three hours a week. President Heidi Gusa explained their mission. "The purpose of the St. Olaf Performance Group is to present the art of dance in the style of partnered ballroom dancing." On Saturday night the group performed a number of dances, choreographed by two alumni and former members of the group, Rachel Kronsberg '02 and Nate Martin '01 (both also from Arthur Murray School of Dance). The group "presents choreographed dances in a variety of Ballroom and Latin styles for the St. Olaf and surrounding community," Gusa said.

For preparation prior to President's Ball, students were encouraged to come brush up their dancing skills at either of St. Olaf's dance clubs, Ballroom Club and Swing Club. Ballroom club regularly meets on Monday evenings while Swing Club meets on Wednesdays.

Kirsten Kokemueller '10 said, "the way I found out about (the Ballroom Performance group) was when I saw them perform at 'Pres' Ball last year." Because the group does not have very many performances on campus, they performed earlier this year in the cities. President's Ball is really their one big performance for the year. Kirsten expanded upon the group's performance of the Foxtrot to the song "You're the Boss" and Rumba to the song "Say it right," stating that the performance was actually "quite different from traditional ballroom dancing, because it was choreographed before hand." She explained that, "traditional ballroom dancing is all about following," which is unrealistic when you already know and have practiced all the steps. The performance on Saturday night was "more for entertainment, than to show off our ballroom skills."

The annual auditions for the Ballroom Performance Group will be held in the next couple of weeks. The group will typically include as many as eight couples, because with more people, "it would get too difficult to coordinate and choreograph," Kokemueller explained. As far as previous experience, most members have at least some dancing history, although Kokemueller said, "I had danced before, but never ballroom, so I went to Ballroom club to brush up."

The evening's success can be attributed to SAC, who sponsored and organized the event.

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