This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Assistant Professor of Physics David Bradley and Ally Rice '13 dance the swing to "Bang Bang," by K'Naan.

Dancing with the Professors

If you’ve ever seen an episode of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars then you know the drill: celebrities—novices at ballroom dancing—are paired off with professional ballroom dancers and tasked with performing choreographed routines to dances such as the waltz, foxtrot, salsa, tango, and swing. It’s a recipe for success, or failure, or at the very least, fun entertainment. Vassar’s Ballroom Dancing Club knows a thing or two about that.

Noting that the Dance Department offered classes in jazz, ballet and modern dance, but not ballroom, the club formed to fill the void. “If you've always thought of ballroom to be this stuffy boring thing old people do, you've always been wrong,” says the club’s Facebook page. Ballroom, in fact, has gotten a big boost in on-campus visibility lately, thanks to Dancing with the Professors.

On the night of Wednesday, April 20, the club hosted its third annual event, modeled after ABC’s popular series. Club members stood in for the professionals, while professors played the role of celebrities. Professors Dara Greenwood, David Bradley, Mihai Grunfeld, Lucille Johnson, and Diane Harriford (plus Glenn Katzen, the head of PoTown Swing, a weekly swing dance event held in Ely Hall), paired off with members of the club. A video chronicling each pair’s weeks of preparation and rehearsals preceded their dances.

Then it was time to dance. Unlike ABC’s version, there were no real winners or losers at Dancing with the Professors. The night was all about having fun, and bringing Vassar’s students and faculty together as part of the same campus community, united by ballroom dancing. As Alex Wang ’12, president of the club, told The Misc leading up to the night, “We weren’t a professor or a student, we were simply two people trying to show the audience something beautiful.” –Peter Bronski

Watch past performances from Dancing with the Professors on the club’s YouTube channel.

Photo Courtesy Vassar College / Buck Lewis

May 2011

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