Throughout my college hunt, out of all the thousands of organizations that colleges offered, I always kept an eye out for one specific extracurricular involvement: ballroom dancing. Let me give you the background story of my passion for ballroom dancing.

My Freshman year in high school , I decided to try something new out and enrolled in the local community college’s Introduction to Ballroom Dancing class. Even though I learned the basic steps to quickstep, foxtrot, waltz, tango, and other dances, I was never satisfied with the extent of my involvement with ballroom dancing. My partner at the time, who went to the rival high school in my hometown, Walnut Creek, CA, felt exactly the same way. We wanted to do more than just learn the basic steps – we wanted to compete. We tried sneaking into UC Berkeley ballroom dance classes, but were rejected at the door for not being part of the university’s student body. At some point, we hit a dead end, but swore to each other that in college, we would compete. And thus, within the first week of coming to USC’s campus, I joined the USC Ballroom and Latin Dance Team.

Practice started – three times a week, for two hours each practice. But the hard work paid off – Already within the first year, I was traveling with the team to San Diego, Las Vegas, Riverside, and even Stanford to compete in many of the different categories that ballroom and Latin dancing comprises.

Some of the best memories that I’ve had with the ballroom team occurred in the extensive car rides to and from these competitions.

On top of the world in San Francisco during the Stanford competition.

On our way to the UC San Diego competition.

Well, even outside the car rides, we know how to have good times at The Granada, a local social ballroom dance club. And alumni connections can often get us into Disneyland for free…

Disneyland. Mickey Mouse has dance moves, too...

The exciting part of all of this is that I get to meet people outside of engineering – people that have different outlooks on life. My freshman year ballroom dance partner, who studied International Relations, Global Business, ended up moving to Paris, and eventually London, to attend graduate school there. My sophomore year ballroom dance partner, who majored in psychology and minored in natural science, received a Fulbright Scholarship and is currently teaching English in Korea. I feel that I’ve found, over and over again, communities of people that share one aspect – one passion – of their lives with the rest of the members of the club, but are different in many other aspects. As an added bonus, I now have international places to stay at whenever I would want to travel!

Dancing in France

Fun fact: Surprisingly, though, still a disproportionate amount of members in the Ballroom and Latin Dance Team are engineering students. Reason? That, I will leave for you to find out, since I do not know the answer myself.

So, how cool is ballroom dancing now?