Syracuse City Ballroom

Central New York dancers come together to trot and tango

On Sunday, April 23, the SU Ballroom Team collaborated with local guest artists and professionals to present the first-ever Syracuse Ballroom Showcase.

On Sunday night, the Syracuse Ballroom Dance Team and the local USA Dance chapter teamed up to present the first-ever Syracuse Ballroom Showcase in Goldstein Auditorium.

The night commenced with a 45-minute show, featuring ten differently styled dances from swing and cha-cha to waltz and tango. In addition to the SU Ballroom Team, dancers from the community, a couple from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and national championship-winning dancers participated in the event.

Photo: Shuran Huang
Karen Baltazar and Eric Lam danced Trashin' The Camp.

After the show, everyone was invited to gather together and try his or her own moves to diverse styles of music.

The show's director, Holly Stone said, “No one in this part of the country has ever done an event that combines so many different communities of dancers.”

Generally, the ballroom, swing and tango dancers have their own separate events. While some dancers may attend several or all of them, the dances themselves don’t typically mix. Each dance has evolved separately over time to develop unique, individual feelings and styles. Therefore, their respective social dance events are marketed to cater to those specific styles.

For one night, Stone wanted to change that.

“Putting on a showcase like this has long been a dream of mine,” Stone said. "It’s kind of crazy to see it actually happen now.”

Stone graduated from SU in 2014 with a degree in biomedical engineering. She was involved with the team while she was a student and became the coach when she realized she would be working in the Syracuse area.

“Working with the team has been my creative, choreographic outlet,” Stone said. “I wanted to see where I could take it and what I could make with it.”

Michael Senatore, the team’s president and physics Ph.D. student, described Holly as the best coach he's ever had.

Stone, who danced in a pre-professional ballet company before beginning her ballroom career, choreographed all of the SU team’s numbers. The dancers prepared for the show all year, and had been working on some of the pieces for even longer. The dancers were tasked with learning the choreography and choosing and styling the costumes.

The pieces in the show told various stories through the music and moves. The stories varied from piece to piece, as well. One tango number told the story of infidelity in a relationship, while a rumba piece portrayed the creation of the universe through the lens of classical mythology. A waltz number told the story of a romantic encounter in a garden, and a swing/cha-cha piece portrayed a friendly dance battle.

Mangesh Urankar, a performer from the SU team and mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student, said,” [The showcase was] another reason why I'm glad I chanced upon SU Ballroom two years ago. [It was] one of the most sublime experiences of my life—I didn't want it to end.”

“I’m grateful the team has trusted me enough to follow along with my ambitious schemes,” Stone said. “I’m so proud of all they’ve accomplished, and can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish in the future.”

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