Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company Hosts National Intercollegiate Showdown

Kevin Jaatinen '13 and his ballroom dance partner Kelsey Frost (Scripps '13).
Kevin Jaatinen ’13 and his ballroom dance partner Kelsey Frost (Scripps ’13).

Claremont, Calif. (March 28, 2013)—Pitzer College students Kevin Jaatinen ’13 and Arianna Janoff ’15 and the entire Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company (CCBDC) will be competing in the annual Intercollegiate Showdown this Saturday, March 30 at the Rains Gym on the Pomona College campus. An individual and formation dancesport competition, the event draws performers from around the country to compete in an array of dances, ranging from Argentine Tango to West Coast Swing.

Ranked second in the country, the CCBDC is one of the nation’s preeminent collegiate ballroom dance organizations. Made up of students from the five Claremont undergraduate colleges as well as the Claremont Graduate School, the company boasts more than 100 dancers. CCBDC’s formation dancesport team has earned seven national collegiate championships.

A linguistics major, Janoff helps teach ballroom, Latin and social dance at Pitzer. She began dancing with CCBDC during her first year at Pitzer and quickly learned that ballroom is about much more than the Cha Cha.

“I’ve never felt more accepted than when I’m ballroom dancing,” Janoff said. “I can’t think of anything that I’ve done before that has taught me so much—not only about a beautiful art form, but also about how to be an adult and how to be proud of who I am.”

Sarah Surrey ’12, a 2012 Teach For America fellow now teaching the fifth grade in New Jersey, says the dance company was her lifeline when she was at Pitzer. To share the benefits and beauty of ballroom dance, she arranged to have CCBDC’s Elite Team visit with middle school students at TEAM Academy in Newark over Pitzer’s spring break. The team performed for eighth graders then held a class for any interested students and parents.

“We try to expose our students to as much variety and culture as possible,” Surrey said. “Ballroom dancing is something that anyone can do and it helps to build a lot of the character strengths that we teach—integrity, teamwork, respect, humility, zest.”

CCBDC’s season is year round, with the dance company primarily focusing on performing in the fall and competing in the spring.

The Intercollegiate Showdown is open to the public and costs $5 for spectators.

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