Ballroom Dance Club Presents: Dancing with the Stars of RWU

Sophia Sabaten, vice president of the Ballroom Dance Club, and Ben Toth dance to “Ritmando Cha Cha Cha”

Emma Bartlett, Herald Contributor

“I love it, I don’t think I’d have the friends I do if it wasn’t for ballroom,” are senior Dana Herlich’s first words when talking about her experience over the past four years of being a part of RWU’s Ballroom Dance Club.

As a graduating senior with a double major in psychology and criminal justice, Herlich is also the president of the club and played a primary role in putting together “Dancing with the Stars of RWU” held on Saturday, Feb. 9. This 22-number performance featured solos, professor pieces, a senior dance and an executive board production to a variety of Latin dances.

Herlich’s second in command, Vice President Sophia Sabaten, is also a senior who is majoring in architecture and has held three executive board positions over the past four years. Sabatan has enjoyed being on the executive board since it increased her role in the club.

“It elevated my leadership skills and creativity with choreography, and I became a more vocal person,” she said.

Both Sabaten and Herlich agree that this show is bittersweet since they have been a part of ballroom and in the showcases since freshmen year, and this showcase was their last.

Putting on this event is not an easy task. Planning occurs a year in advance and begins with reserving a date for the event. In October, the choreography is created and is then taught to dancers in November. The club also invites ballroom dancers from Rhode Island College to perform since RWU’s club has developed a relationship with them through attending the same dance competitions. Next, the executive board contacts RWU staff to see who would be interested in performing in the professor pieces while also finding individuals to judge the event.

As for the actual performance, “Dancing with the Stars of RWU” was spectacular. The talent and diversity in dance and song made it so the show had something to offer to every individual.

“We’ve put so much work, time and effort into it, so I’m excited to see all of them,” Herlich said. “I wish I could tour with it, because so many things go into it.”

The judging process added a playful level of competition since, after each dance, judges gave their compliments and scores to the contestants. No two solo dances were the same and all had creative costumes ranging from suits during “Jailhouse Rock” to flashy dresses for the rumba and mambo.

One judge during “Jailhouse Rock” gave the dancers, Ed Fitzpatrick, director of media and public relations, and student Dana Herlich, a high score, and he said that their dancing reminded him of dancing with his wife to the same song. As for the winners, Sophia Sabaten and her dance partner, Ben Toth won the judge’s vote while Ashley Ann Aydt and Sean Ballard were voted as the audience’s favorite.

This showcase was a worthwhile experience that seniors will look back on and smile. The underclassmen will look forward to the next time they can take the stage again, because, although the show just ended, this club is already planning next year’s performance.