An instructor from the Paradise Dance School in Northampton demonstrates each week in the Mayo-Smith ballroom, and lessons alternate weekly between ballroom and swing. “The instructor comes and they just start teaching the basics,” Mocanu said. “Then we build on what we already know, and everybody gets to dance with everybody else.”
Lessons have been known to attract crowds of up to 60 people. “It’s more of a sport than people give it credit for,” said Allison Campbell ’05, one of the dancing enthusiasts. “You really have to be there mentally, because strength and timing are so important, and it feels really great as you develop a connection with your partner and are succesful together.”
In addition to its salsa, merengue, waltz and tango lessons, Amherst Ballroom will soon be bringing the foxtrot and rhumba to campus. Events extend beyond dance lessons to movie viewings as well. The club will hold its semi-formal dance on Dec. 1. Mocanu said that she is looking forward to it. “It promises to be great; there will be a dance lesson for the hustle, delicious food, beautiful decorations and a great atmosphere,” she said.
Mocanu asks people not to let inexperience dissuade them from attending lessons. After all, before coming to Amherst she had rarely danced. “You shouldn’t be afraid if you’ve never danced before, or think you aren’t good,” Mocanu said. “The teacher is really supportive and we always cater to the needs of those who are most inexperienced.”
Ballroom dancing on a Friday night is just plain fun. “It’s relaxing, can improve your confidence and, of course, it’s a great study break,” she said. “But it’s also very glamorous.”