Society makes moves, inspires dancers


Jason Howell

Jason Howell | The Daily Eastern News Members of the EIU Ballroom Dance Society practice the Waltz Tuesday night in the Dance Studio of the Student Recreation Center.

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Enthusiasm filled the room and danced across the faces of the students there as they eagerly waited to begin the night’s routine.

Eastern’s very own Ballroom Dance Society started their Tuesday night practice with stretching warm-ups and friendly introductions of new members before they began their “travel around the world” to master the next dance, the Waltz.

Heather Moore, president of EIU Ballroom Dance Society, never let a frown escape her face and explained this year’s theme as a way to explore the different dances from Europe to Latin America.

Peter Liu, professor at the school of technology and advisor for the dance society, said Moore came up with the idea of dancing around the world as a theme.

Liu said the dance arrangements is what makes it interesting and gives members something to look forward to each week, Liu said.

The club first planted its roots in the fall of 2005 as a way for students who were taking PED 1920, a dance course, to practice after class.

After not being able to find a place to practice he talked to several of the students and the club was formed, Liu said.

Liu said it was odd to not find a place to practice on campus because it is a liberal arts foundation school.

The meeting was treated like a practice or lesson in the classroom as Moore gave tips and advice on how to properly Waltz.

Liu said he doesn’t teach the students and serves more as a mentor, ready to answer any questions.

“I want the students to have the opportunity to teach so they grow and mature,” Liu said. “They do fantastic work and it’s very effective.

Moore said the Waltz was a progressive dance that involves turning around the room and maintaining good posture.

Moore encouraged the members with positive reinforcement, giving them high fives and praising their efforts making sure to announce tips and advice to keep the dance floor flowing.   

“Don’t be afraid to be on your toes,” Moore said beaming with pride for her fellow members and their incredible progress.

Liu said that when students are able to teach they also are motivated to learn more.

“It’s a type of personal growth for students,” Liu said.

Moore reminded members to not look down at their feet while they dance.

“If you look at your feet you’re half a step off,” Moore said.

Liu said there are two kinds of dancing activities.  One is more or less a social dance and the other is a competitive dance sport team.

Moore said, “the club is purely social,” and the members do not participate in any competitions.

However, that doesn’t mean members lose the dancing spirit.

Throughout the semester, the club enjoys opportunities to teach ballroom dance workshops like the year they taught waltz and swing dance at a history fair, Liu said.

They also dance at fundraising events and take a yearly trip to dance at a ballroom in Savoy, Illinois according the groups Facebook page.

“When they (members) first participated they were shy and didn’t talk a lot but as the semester progresses, they are very talkative,” Liu said.

I encourage other majors to participate including technology and my grad students.

“When I started it I didn’t know how to dance,” Liu said. “But everybody can learn.”

The club meets every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Room 1918 in the Student Recreation Center.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]