Weekly Spotlight: Ballroom of FAU

Ballroom of FAU is a club dedicated to teaching students ballroom and Latin dancing.


Ballroom of FAU teaches ballroom and Latin dancing, and performs in competitions each semester. Photo courtesy of Lisa Lupo, club president.

Brittany Ferrendi, Features Editor

Welcome to the Weekly Spotlight, where you can learn about on-campus organizations in one easy place.

This week, we spoke with Lisa Lago, club president of the Ballroom of FAU. The club has over 30 active members that learn to dance and perform in competitions within the ballroom and Latin dance styles.

UP: What can you tell us about your weekly meetings?

LL: We meet every Thursday at 6:30 [p.m.] in the Arts and Letters building, room 130. It’s a two hour class basically.

The first hour is learning a dance, whether it be salsa or the waltz, a ballroom type of dance. And the second hour is called performance. It’s when we learn choreography for a show called “Dances We Dance,” which happens every semester.

The social class is $2 a class, and if they wish to join performance, it’s $40 for the semester. That covers costumes. If they join the performance team, we meet Sundays as well from 3:30 [p.m.] to 5:30 [p.m.]

UP: You mentioned “Dances We Dance,” which is an FAU show going on from April 28 to April 30. Can you tell me more about that?

LL: It’s a show that gets put on every semester. It’s basically some dance clubs and students who wish to showcase their talents. Last semester we had two numbers: One was a cha-cha and the other was a waltz to honor current military and veterans.

UP: How many dance clubs typically participate?

LL: Usually just ballroom and another group called Pulse. Most numbers are group numbers from one of the dance teachers. His name is Clarence Brooks. He is actually the director of the show. It’s a mix of clubs and students who are dancers and wish to dance in it.

UP: Does your organization compete in other competitions, or host any events?

LL: We just competed the end of January. Sometimes we do dances in nursing homes or at some local events. We’ve done [a dance at the nursing home] once since I have been in the club. It was really nice. The residents loved it. We actually invited them to dance at the end. They had a nice space for us to perform our numbers we had done that semester. At the end we played more waltz/foxtrot songs. The residents loved it because we used songs from their era. It was so much fun to see them happy and enjoying themselves.

UP: What should the average student expect on their first day of Ballroom of FAU?

LL: First day they would walk into the studio. There is a bookshelf where to place their street shoes. We only allow dance shoes, socks or bare feet. We start at 6:30 [p.m.] and the instructor starts to teach a dance. It is generally what the majority want to learn that class. Last week we did the hustle — everyone had a blast. The instructor’s name is Tommy [Angler]. He has been with the club since the very beginning 11 years ago. We start off by learning the basic steps of that specific dance and then build from that. We could learn about four to five different steps depending on the dance.

UP: How did Ballroom of FAU begin?

LL: I believe it was that some students wanted to learn ballroom so they made it happen. But it was 11 years ago. Last year we celebrated its 10th year anniversary.

UP: How does the mixture of ballroom and Latin dancing work together within the club?

LL: That’s an excellent question. It’s actually a pretty smooth transition between the two. When we did the waltz/cha-cha routines last semester, we have a very easy time going between the two. They are very different dances. Ballroom is more about the frame of the arms and your posture. Latin is a lot of hips and flare. But both dances have people smiling and out of their seats.

At the beginning, especially for people who have never danced before, it takes a couple of times to get used to the change. But it is not difficult at all.

UP: Is there anything you want to say to students interested in joining?

LL: I’d say to definitely try it. It’s a great way to learn how to dance and to make friends. Ballroom dancing is always happening in social events — whether is be salsa or meringue or the waltz at a formal event — it is inevitable. We are a big family who welcomes everyone and anyone. All of my best friends are in that group and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some might be hesitant — especially if never having danced before. But we have a lot of students who just learned how to dance in the ballroom club and have competed in high levels of competition in just a matter of two years.

Brittany Ferrendi is the features editor of the University Press. If you would like to contact her regarding this or other stories, she can be reached at [email protected].