Here's your chance to learn how to ballroom dance! The Michigan State Ballroom Dance Team (MSUBDT) is a friendly and fun environment in which to learn this unforgettable social and competitive skill. Come to a practice, a lesson, or to one of our events No audition (or experience) needed to join!

Practices are held in Demonstration Hall from 10PM-12AM on Monday through Thursday. Feel free to check the Calendar for professional lesson schedules and altered practices schedules due to holidays, etc.

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MSUBDT is is primarily an American style team, though we also dance the International styles of Latin and Standard.

  • American
    • Smooth
      • Waltz
      • Tango
      • Foxtro
      • Viennese Waltz
    • Rhythm
      • Cha Cha
      • Rumba
      • East Cost Swing
      • Mambo
  • International
    • Standard
      • Waltz
      • Tango
      • Quickstep
      • Viennese Waltz
    • Latin
      • Rumba
      • Samba
      • Cha Cha
      • Jive

The team consists of three levels: Pre-Bronze (beginner), Bronze (intermediate), and Silver/Gold (advanced). While these levels correspond to levels at competitions, being assigned a certain level also helps individuals learn to ballroom dance in the best way suited for their current skills at practice. Members can attend any lesson (professional or student-led lessons) at or below their level to continue learning the basics and improve. Our professional lessons occur around two to four times a semester. Our student-led lessons are held four days a week and the teachers at those lessons are placed into at least one level above the level that they teach. Placements for the different levels occur twice a semester, once at the beginning and once again for re-placements.

Specific information can be found here on our Constitution

Professional Lessons

Professional Lesson costs are included in members' dues. If a non-member wishes to drop in for a professional lesson, the cost is $10. We ask that non-members come to the professional lesson that is appropriate to their level of expertise.

Professional Lesson Etiquette

Please arrive on time and be respectful of the teachers teaching the lesson. At professional lessons dress nicely and at weekly lessons, dress comfortably to be able to dance.

Weekly Lessons

If a non-member wishes to drop in for a lesson, there is no charge but we ask that they adhere to our “your first week is free” rule.

Weekly Lesson Etiquette

We ask that you follow the rules below to facilitate a productive learning environment for fellow students and a respectful environment for our student teachers. Wear comfortable / maneuverable shoes and bottoms. Limit side conversations and goofing around. Be punctual and prepared.

Weekly Lesson Structure

  • Monday: 10pm-10:45pm Beginner, 10:45-11:15pm Open dance, 11:15pm-12am Intermediate lesson.
  • Tuesday: 10pm-10:45pm Beginner, 10:45-11:15pm Open dance, 11:15pm-12am Intermediate lesson.
  • Wednesday: 10pm-10:45pm Beginner technique, 10:45-11:15pm Open dance, 11:15pm-12am Advanced lesson.
  • Thursday: International lesson and or open dance / fun stuff

Dues cover lessons with professional coaches, subsidize competition entry fees, among other expenses. Dues are prorated according to the level of the dancer. New members (with a few exceptions) are Beginner level dancers. Your first week was completely free!

  • Pre-Bronze: $50
  • Bronze: $60
  • Silver/Gold: $70

If the cost of dues and other dance expenses is too much all at once, don’t worry! We offer a payment plan that allows you to pay week by week. You will simply owe $15 a week, and pay off leftover fees by the end of the semester. Please speak to our treasurer for more details.

Please note: there is a $5 late fee on each late payment.

Dues can be paid online here



Team Resources

Welcome to our team resources page. This is where you, as a team member, can find information about practice materials, watch videos of patterns taught in professional lessons, check out the requirements for level placement tests, and more! Go to “Join the Team!” for team structure, dues, lessons, and regular practice times.

  • Bottoms Up in Okemos, Michigan is a great place to get ballroom gear. They have shoes, leotards, leg warmers, and also give a great discount for MSUBDT members!
  • VE Dance is a great place to get men’s latin pants and other awesome dance wear.
  • Toe to Toe Dance Wear in Flint, Michigan is a great shoe dealer.
  • Soul Dancer and Supadance are very reliable online shoe dealers.
  • You can also buy costumes, jewelry, shoes, and more from vendors that come to competitions, especially at the Ohio Star Ball.

We send out our team newsletter once a week. If you would like to be on our mailing list, please fill out our newsletter subscription form by clicking here.

If you would like to view our past newsletters, please click here.

Curricula

Our curricula is determined by our Curriculum Chair through the DVIDA and International Society of Teachers of Dance syllabi for American and International Styles.

Level Placement Materials

Please click this link to see our American curricula and level placement materials

Please click this link to see our International curricula and level placement materials

What are Competitions?

In a ballroom competition, you dance the same dance at the same time as about twenty to forty other couples in the hopes of being chosen by the judges as the best couple on the floor.

Ballroom competitions are fairly similar to track meets in their execution. Let’s pretend you are a couple signed up to dance the newcomer American waltz. You have registered online and you see your number on the large screen for the first round of newcomer American waltz. When it is your turn to dance, you will line up with all the other competitors registered to dance the newcomer American waltz. There will typically be at least three heats (rounds) of each event, because it would be impossible to dance with all the competitors on the floor at once. When it is your heat, you will walk on the floor, SMILE, and dance your heart out for a minute and twenty seconds. There will be about five judges who will mark your number on their list if they think you should move on to the next round. If you get enough marks to move on, that is called a “callback.” Afterwards, you will exit the floor and stare up at the large screen eagerly in the hopes that your number will appear under the second round callback list. If it does, you will again line up, walk out, SMILE, dance, and exit the floor. Repeat this process until you’ve won your first place ribbon!

Competitions are divided into seven levels. Levels known as syllabus levels are newcomer, bronze, silver, and gold. Levels known as open levels are novice, pre-champ, and champ.

Who Competes?

You! And your partner. And about twenty to forty other couples on the floor. And, depending on the competition and your level, up to one hundred other couples in your event. Typically, there are about seventy couples in newcomer and bronze events, fifty in silver events, thirty in gold events, and ten in open events.

When and Where do we compete?

MSUBDT primarily participates in the Midwest collegiate circuit. This means that we travel to other universities in the Midwest to compete against their ballroom teams. During the fall semester, we compete at Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and at the Greater Columbus Convention Center for the Ohio Star Ball. During spring semester, we compete at the University of Michigan, Valparaiso University, the University of Notre Dame, Ohio State University, and again at the Greater Columbus Convention Center for the Arnold Classic. Please check the Calendar for competition dates.

How do I compete?

Emails with information about competition registration will be sent out about a month before the competition. If you are interested in competing, you must register online, sign up on a carpool list, and sign up on a hotel room list. Registration and hotel fees are due to the treasurer a week before the competition. Talk to your driver about splitting up gas costs.

Competition registration happens online, frequently through websites such as http://o2cm.com/.

Here is a powerpoint to show you how to sign up through o2cm.com

Hyperlinks to registration forms will be provided in emails about a month before the competition and are included in the itinerary. Be sure that you register under “Michigan State University.”

Why?

Because ballroom dancing is super fun and competitions are a great way to bond with your team, watch and meet dancers from other schools, and win shiny ribbons!

Hair, Makeup, and Clothing, Oh My!

Below are two packets that detail everything you need to know about what to pack and what to wear for competitions. If you have further questions, please speak to our competition chair.

Click here for Female Packet

Click here for Male Packet






What are we? People who enjoy the art of ballroom dancing

"Creating a culture of successful competitive and social ballroom dancers." Unknown

Even though we're the "Ballroom Dance Team", we're a social group. That means you do not have to compete to be a part of the team. The social events that we host are just as much a part of our team as the competitions.

The executive board is the behind the scenes team who keep MSUBDT up and running. This page is dedicated to their recognition, and to their efforts to make the team run like a well-oiled machine.


Picture of MSUBDT President

Josephine Auchterlonie President

Hi! I am a senior studying international relations, but considering a career in ballroom dance! One of the reasons I came to MSU was to join the ballroom dance team and it is one of the best decisions (if not the best decision), that I have ever made. Dance is my passion and I am very excited to be dancing even more this year, along with leading the team as President! “Take More Chances. Dance More Dances.”

Picture of MSUBDT Vice President

Taylor Kuminski Vice President

Taylor is a senior Animal Science and Communications double major with minors in Dance, Educational Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. This is her 3rd year on the MSU Ballroom Dance Team and her 17th year of dancing overall. She joined the team because she wanted to expand her horizons and learn new dance styles, and has met some incredible people along the way! Taylor’s favorite aspects of ballroom dance are learning new things with her two amazing partners and teaching lessons throughout the week!

Picture of MSUBDT Treasurer

Gina Newman Treasurer

Gina is starting her third year at MSU, studying Actuarial Science and Finance. She was first inspired to join the team after discovering that her grandmother had been a ballroom dancer many years ago. Previously, she had gone swing dancing on occasion, but was excited to try something new. She immediately fell in love with ballroom—especially Standard—and can’t wait to learn more moves and technique. Gina also loves sugar, giraffes, playing piano, the color yellow, and anything nerdy!

Picture of MSUBDT Secretary

Brendan Secretary

Brendan hates writing about himself in the third person, but he might as well to fit the theme of this website which he designed his freshman year so he could put it on his resume. He also doesn't have good pictures of himself. Brendan joined the team so he could woo the ladies (he's been successful). Ask him about his silly childhood fantasy which led him to learning how to waltz in middle school! It's now his 2nd official year on eboard and he's calling in all the tricks he can to get this team grooving!

Picture of MSUBDT Fundraising Chair

Briana Magin Fundraising Chair

Hola! My name is Briana and I'm excited to be fundraising chair for the team. I've been on the team for three semesters now and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I had no clue how to dance before I joined and now I wouldn't know how to get by without it. We really are a family here and I love all the wonderful friends I've made. I'm currently a zoology major working towards becoming an animal trainer. I've worked for a live bird show featuring birds of prey for two years at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.

Picture of MSUBDT Competition Chair

Jasper DeJesus Competition Chair

Jasper is in her second year studying Accounting at MSU, and her fifth year total in college (yay, transfer students!). She joined ballroom the fall of 2017 with no prior dance experience, but a strong desire to learn. It quickly became what she looked forward to doing every day, and even led to her samba-ing while shopping in the mall and doing a cha-cha with her boyfriend in the Breslin while volunteering. Besides dancing, she also loves American Sign Language, volunteering, the color green, puppies, singing horribly off key to music (not on purpose J), and being with her amazing ballroom friends. She can’t wait to meet all the soon-to-be new Ballroomies this year!

Picture of MSUBDT Community Coordinator

Philip Wandor Community Coordinator

Philip Wandor is a senior engineer and a serious ballroom member since the spring of 2018. He had been an on and off member since he came to MSU in 2015. Originally, he joined because his older brother was a member, but it wasn’t until his girlfriend brought him along to practice for fun that Philip came to really embrace and love ballroom. He is the fourth of eight children (the older three siblings are boys and the younger four siblings are girls), welcomes a good hug (actually, a hug in general), meeting new people, socializing, and isn’t afraid to make a fool of himself. He is frequently found in the gym and dreaming about sports.

Picture of MSUBDT Recruitment Chair

Lilly Parks Recruitment Chair

Lilly is a second year Chemical Engineering Student, who is also pursuing a minor in German. She stumbled upon the Ballroom Dance Team last year and instantly fell in love with the sport, especially Viennese Waltz and East Coast Swing, and the people. Lilly also regularly attends Swing Farmington in the summer with her best friend, and loves swimming, chemistry, and making people laugh. Lilly joined the team because of the loving and talented people and hopes she can expand that family as the Recruitment/Social Media Chair! She is looking forward to dancing with you!

If you would like to join our mailing list for our weekly team newsletter, please fill out our newsletter subscription form by clicking here.

All Executive board meetings, usually held on Tuesdays at 9:30pm at Demonstration Hall can be sat in by any member. You can also find minutes from any meeting by clicking here.