10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 7, 1997
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Students swing to
A rching their backs, squaring their shoulders and lifting their
chins, students feel the rhythm of the music as they prepare
University students say dancing is the answer to their troubles.
Whether it's the fox-trot, the salsa, the hustle or the mambo, stu-
dents say dancing keeps them physically and mentally on their
"Dancing is like an art form," said LSA first-year student Tai-
Hsing Chou, adding that his interest in dancing stemmed from his
experiences with the martial arts. "Martial arts is the expression of
self through combative movements, and dancing is the expression
of self through rhythmic movements."
"Why did God put this feeling in our bodies? (And) that rhythm
that makes us want to move to it?" asked Engineering graduate stu-
dent Scott Vandenbergh. "He put this in me."
Vandenbergh said he feels a passion for dancing.
"I love to dance," Vandenbergh said. "I always enjoyed dancing
in high school and college.
Karen White, a University alumna, is an active member of the
University's Ballroom Dance Club. She volunteers as a teacher,
coordinator and publicity organizer for the club.
"(It's) a place to meet people and make friends, a place to have
fun dancing, an outlet for my creativity and leadership abilities (and)
a way to serve the University community," said White, who works
as a systems analyst for the University Medical Center.
White, who took her first ballroom dance class in 1989, said she
still enjoys the dance form.
"Ballroom dancing is a social activity that can also be enjoyed as
a competitive sport. I'm not competitive," White said. "I enjoy it
because it provides exercise, ongoing challenges, rewarding friend-
ships, fun and personal growth.
"Moving rhythmically to dance music is a very healthy, physical-
ly relaxing and energizing activity, a great stress-buster and a way
to forget your problems for a while," she said.
The appeal of dance as a hobby can sneak up on people, though.
Rackham graduate student Stephen Riley said he didn't liked danc-
ing until two years ago, and now he is hooked.
"My father was taking dance classes and I thought it would be
fun to join him. I took a few lessons at a local studio," Riley said.
"Dancing just seems to grab a hold of you and you kind of just
want to do it."
Riley described dancing as an addiction he can't kick.
"Mostly (dancing is) lots of fun. It's also good for the brain cause
it makes you do things that you're not accustomed to doing.
I find it kind of addictive," Riley said.F
Mark Nechanicky, a Rackham graduate student andr
research assistant, said he hadn't enjoyed.
dancing until he walked onto a ballroom
dance floor early this year.
"My New Year's reso-
lution was to learn
how to ballroom
dance this year,"
+ N echanicky
"Ballroom dance is a
great way to meet a
variety of undergrads,
grads, staff and local
said that although every
dance has its unique
pulse, some dances rely
more on a strong beat
and dancer's sense of
rhythm than others.
"My favorite dances
are swing and hustle," Two University students practice their ste
said Rackham graduate Dance Club, which meets every Sunday.
student Melissa Ng. "(I
like it) partially because of the music, partially the tempo. They're
both relatively fast dances that you can really work up a sweat with
... the dance frame is a lot more relaxed than some of the other
dances, say waltz and fox trot."
Vandenbergh said his favorite pick is the waltz.
"It's elegant looking, and it's fairly easy to pick up. Yet there's
still enough moves that it doesn't get boring," he said.
No matter what the tempo, dancers agree that they aren't ready to
step onto the floor without their dancing shoes.
"Shoes matter," Chou said. "You want leather shoes, which make
you slide on the dance floor."
"Bring good shoes, that's about it,"Ng said.
Ballroom dancing has unique qualities and subtle benefits, its fans
"It has romantic potential, too. I enjoy ballroom dance music,
which covers a wide range of periods and tastes, including current
top 40 music," White said. "Because it requires the development of
new skills, it's also a challenge."
"Dancing definitely improves the way you dress and the way you
smell," Riley said. "If you're going to dance with someone, you
don't want to smell. You don't usually wear usually grubby jeans,
and you brush your teeth. That's not true for all people, unfortu-
Founded in 1989, the University Ballroom Dancing Club current-
ly has about 400 members. The club offers lessons in swing, fox
trot, waltz, tango, samba, mambo, cha-cha, rumba, hustle, Viennese
waltz and West Coast swing.
White said the club will offer nightclub dances next year, includ-
ing the hustle, Lindy hop and salsa.
Rock n' roll style
Not everyone needs a ballroom, an occasion, a part-
ner, concert music or leather shoes to have a good
"I don't feel as if I need to go to a party or a place
where there's a great number of people to dance. I have
fun when and wherever I dance, " said LSA sophomore
Timi Hunt. "I dance the most in my place of residence
and I enjoy it tremendously. I don't need a certain attire. I
will dance in practically anything, it really doesn't make
The run-of-the-mill weekend party can be an
occasion for breaking in new dance steps.
"If I go to a party I go to dance. I don't
go to socialize. Whatever comes on, (I
dance to). Whatever dancing people
do, I just take it to the extreme.
I have fun with it," said LSA
junior Korrey Miller.
An evening with friends
turned dance party can take
some personal initiative.
"I don't go to parties expect-
ing anyone to bring a good time
to me. I go intending to have a
good time, even if it means
dancing by myself and I do -
have a good time, that is," Hunt
Miller says she enjoys danc-
ing more when she puts her
eps together in the Michigan Union. They are members of the University Ballroom
moves to the test - on stage.
"I've danced in the Kappa talent show and in the Bursley show
two years in a row. In the last Kappa show, I did an interpretive
dance of the slow song 'It's hard to say I'm sorry' by Az Yet," Miller
Miller said her Michael Jackson impressions, which she began
"I love Michael Jackson. I did an impression of Michael Jackson
one year and won $100. I did it at South Quad. I was actually a lip-
sync contest, but I danced too."
Dancing can serve as a stress reliever and exercise for mind and
"I dance to relieve the stress. I like to dance because it's fun and
it's good for my exercise. I work out a lot," Miller said. "It's my
expression with my body of how I feel about the song,".
Other students say they need the dance floors, dressy crowd and
the loud music that dance clubs provide.
"The top 40 pop music that they play at clubs energizes me. (It)
makes want to get up and dance," said LSA sophomore Kat
Timberlake. "I usually dress up more than
school clothes, but I just don't go right out."
A new find of
Country Western in the Midwest dance club
For lovers of country western style and dane-
ing, there is also local answer,
Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon, located University Ballroom ance
on West Eisenhower Parkway, is the place Club
for a thematic evening of line dances, ten- Club meets in the
der ribs and some country western music. Michigan Union Balroom
Lone Star is unique in terms of music hang- onundaysfrom.6814 p n
outs in Ann Arbor. For more information,
"There's not much in Ann Arbor as far as contact Balroom Dance
country western. I think it's important for their Club President Jue
to be more diversity as far as music in the area," Chiimgras at
said LSA sophomore Andrea Lamothe. j1C@0MiCh~edt or
Lone Star's goal is to emulate the atmosphere 763-684.
of an old Texas saloon. Employees dress in
their most authentic country-style gear to make
customers feel as if they are back in Texas hangin' with the good
Lone Star specializes in Texas steaks, but also offers chicken,
shrimp and ribs in generous portions, as well as a full bar.
Every 30 minutes, employees perform two-minute country-west-
ern line dances. Customers clap and sing along to the rhythm of the
Wayne Hancock and BR5-49 are among the country-west-
ern tunes accompanied by the Western Swing and the Two
Customers are welcome to join along in the dancing as well.
"Dancing to country western is always a blast. It's just nuts," said
LSA sophomore Scott Howard.
An average meal at Lone Star is about $18, but an appetite can be
satisfied for $10-$15.
Chad Williams, WCBN's Director of Music and host of the coun-
try show says that country-western style can also be found in other
locations in Ann Arbor and the Detroit area.
The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Diamond Back in Belleville, Texas
Tornado in Taylor, Diamonds and Spurs in Pontiac and Lucille's in
Pontiac are among the few on the list.
"They're very very country and honky-tonk. They have a real
rock-a-billy style," Williams said.
Heart, mind benefit
from dance movement
By Kristin Wright
Daily Staff Reporter
The Foxtrot, the Hustle and the Charleston do
more for the body than just show off rhythmic and
Medically, dancing is a source of relaxation and
can increase strength and muscle use. Doctors say
that the consistent movement involved with all
styles of dancing is therapeutic for the human
"I think because it is movement and you are up
and moving your body around, it can be therapeu-
tic for muscle strengthening and coordination,"
said Dr. Ron Sayer, a physical therapist at
Dancing is not often used in rehabilitation pro-
grams to regenerate normal muscle use, but the
popular activity is beneficial because it keeps the
hodv ac(tive- Saver sauid
"it's a wonderful
activity, for getting
them off the couch"
-Dr. Ron Sayer
ment at Bon Securs Hospital in Grosse Pointe,
Mich. said that there is a connection between
dancing and the cardiovascular system.
"It all depends if you can get your heart rate up
high enough. Generally, you need your heart rate
to beat twice the amount it normally beats for it to
be beneficial," he said.
"But yes, if you can get your heart rate up high
e'ncogh.it can he be'neficial.