FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Ballroom Dance Club of Fairbanks held their annual open competition a little while back.
Last Friday, April 14th, the Ballroom Dance Club of Fairbanks hosted the 6th annual Fairbanks Open Ballroom Dance Competition. Fairbanks community members from all walks of life and experience levels congregated in the Pioneer Park Dance Center.
Novice couples opened the event, competing in Waltz, Cha–cha, and East Coast Swing. The Open category of dancers competed in Waltz/Foxtrot, Cha–cha/Rhumba, and East/West Coast Swing.
The couples danced while five judges roamed around them observing the contestants' movement and style. The audience participated in the event by cheering on their favorite couples. I asked emcee and Ballroom Dance Club instructor, Rulon Jensen, to comment on encouraging the spectators to cheer.
"It's really funny," said Jensen, "because when people think of ballroom dancing, they think it is a really high–brow event, but actually there's a lot of audience interaction that goes on, and the more the better. And so as an emcee, one of my jobs is to encourage audience interaction, especially these couples where the lead has a number on their back, and that's what the judges are looking at when they are evaluating a couple wondering who's number that is, and telling people, 'Hey, shout number 52!' You know? And something like that, it gets the judges' attention and gets the audience involved. Yes, it is not a quiet event."
After well over two hours of straight dancing the trophies were awarded to the winning couples. Brennan and Lara Vasquez took the trophy for overall champion. I spoke top them after the competition.
"Well, today we won Open Overall 1st Place in the Fairbanks Ballroom Dance Club competition," said Lara. "So that's what we won, today, as well as first place in ballroom waltz and foxtrot, second place in Latin. No. Second place is swing. And then we got first overall."
Ballroom Dance Club of Fairbanks Board President, Barb Lorz said, "if we don't provide social dancing, then we've failed." Jensen agreed with that statement and discussed how social dancing benefits couples in the community.
"It's a great place. We've had people meet here and become couples. And we've had people who have recently started taking classes because they were getting married, and then got hooked on it. You know, they're getting married, and they've got to learn that waltz to dance at their wedding, and then they decide, wow, this is great, and they keep on doing it. And it is something that they are able to do, like I said, for the rest of their lives."
For more information on the Ballroom Dance Club of Fairbanks, go to fairbanksballroom.org, or you can find them on Facebook.