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 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 tends to be simplified compared to Standard, but features "open" positions as well as different hip movement.

  • 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 hereConstitution

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 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.

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.


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

Here is a powerpoint to show you how to sign up through

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.”


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

Rob Auger President

Rob is a senior studying Advertising in pursuit of a career in nonprofit donor relations. Joining MSU Ballroom in 2013, Rob had no prior dance experience. Now he can be seen dancing anywhere and everywhere. Seriously, he won’t stop dancing. Rob hopes to bring the distinct joy that comes from ballroom dancing to MSU’s campus and build a loving community around it.

Picture of MSUBDT Vice President

Jason Graham Vice President

Jason is a senior Biochemistry Major going on his fourth year as a part of MSU ballroom dance team. All Jason's dancing skills came from the team and the movie Hitch. Favorite dances are international styles. He hopes to help the team grow and develop as a positive atmosphere and a fun learning experience as he has found and always willing to do what he can to help others find a similar ballroom experience.

Picture of MSUBDT Treasurer

Meg Kargul Treasurer

If you see Meg, make her jingle!

Picture of MSUBDT Secretary

Emily Kearns Secretary

Emily is a History Education major and transferred to MSU in the fall of 2015. She is super excited for this upcoming year so she can continue learning to dance and continue helping other people learn to dance as well. Emily has grown up dancing her whole life -- from a wee little babe dancing and screaming along with the music till now either dancing ballroom or still dancing and screaming along with the music. She hopes to get more people to appreciate ballroom dancing and get to know the wonderful people involved.

Picture of MSUBDT Competition Chair

Jaiden Kruse Competition Chair

Hello! I'm a Business student also pursuing a minor in dance and I'll be graduating in 2019. I joined the team fall of my freshman year and am the Competition Chair for the 2016-2017 ballroom season. There is no doubt in my mind that joining the ballroom team will be the best decision of my time at Michigan State. "Take a chance on that which seems to be the making of a dream" -Red Hot Chili Peppers (This Is The Place)

Picture of MSUBDT Curriculum Chair

Racheal Kneebone Curriculum Chair

Racheal joined the ballroom dance team because Jason (Our current Vice President) invited her to the fall open houses, her freshman year. After dancing together once, they decided to never ever dance together again, despite both joining the team. Racheal is willing to dance with literally anyone else. She learned to lead just so she could say this.

Picture of MSUBDT Community Coordinator

Nate Hubble Community Coordinator

Well if there is one thing you should know about me it’s this. I. Love. People. I guess that is why I am the community coordinator for the team. I’ve been a student at Michigan State since the fall of 2015, before that I was a student at Lansing Community College. I’ve been dancing ballroom ever since I started at state and it has been a fantastic experience being a part of such a tightly knit club. I am in the supply-chain management and work construction during the summers. Well gosh.. now you know everything about me… tell me about you!

Picture of MSUBDT Fundraising Chair

Kelsey Pagorek Fundraising Chair

Kelsey joined the team in 2014 and immediately fell in love with Ballroom. Her favorite part about the team is that everyone is free to be themselves, and she's never found a more supportive group of people. In addition to dancing, Kelsey is also a member of Spartan Sur, MSU's premier South Asian A Capella group. She loves dancing and singing since they are art forms in which people are the instruments.

Picture of MSUBDT Social Chair

Marina Ostaszewski Social Chair

Going into her 4th year after starting ballroom dance as a freshman, Marina is more in love with dancing than ever! As a Disney enthusiast, Marina wants more than the provincial life, gets down to business, feels the love when she dances, lets it all go to appreciate the bare necessities, sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and goes the distance to be the very best she can be.

Picture of MSUBDT Faculty Advisor

Dan Totzkay Faculty Advisor

He is very excited to work with the team this year and is looking forward to some great dancing!

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.