‘Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow’, is the repeated instruction. Dance teachers Ramsley Alexander and Renate Moesker direct their pupils around a room in the Erasmus Sports Building. Six weeks ago, the group embarked on their ‘bronze’ beginners’ level of ballroom dancing, consisting of ‘standard dances’ like the waltz, and Latin variants like the chachacha.
Sweaty backs, reproachful looks and hands floating above the shoulders: this Wednesday evening’s ballroom dance at EDS isn’t all plain sailing. While one person effortlessly picks up the subtle hip movements, another resembles a prancing ostrich.
“We’ve had better days,’ puffs econometrics student Rogier Blokland (20). The participants are learning some new steps for the quickstep. “I found it rather difficult. After the turn, I’d no idea where I was.”
His girlfriend and dance partner Veroniek Visser (19), who is also studying Econometrics, had already tried ballroom dancing and dragged him along to an introductory class. Blokland wasn’t immediately sold, but he gave it a chance. “I like it more than I thought I would, and it’s cheap.” He particularly likes the tango: “That’s the most romantic dance, with your legs close entwined.”
Nevertheless, they frequently give each other reproachful looks as they dance. “I’ve got exams next week, so I’m a bit stressed,” Visser explains. “If something doesn’t go right while we’re dancing, I tend to take it out of my boyfriend. I see dancing as good relationship counselling.”
Brent Rundberg (21), Psychology student, also glides smoothly through the room. In a short space of time, he’s totally got the taste for dancing. He took part in all the dance try-outs during Eurekaweek and then decided to keep dancing. “I now do salsa, kizomba and ballroom dancing. That’s how much I love it. Ballroom dancing is a real challenge, particularly because the footwork is so technical.”
Even EDS president, 26 year old Corinca Zwijsen, gets some good hip rotation going during the class. “For me, the best part of ballroom dancing is that you know exactly what dance goes with what track when you go out,” she says.