MIT Open 2016

Hello internet! I hope the place from where you are reading this is as blue-skied and sunny as the place from where I am writing this.

(Is the above grammatically correct? It seems suspicious to me.)

Last weekend I had another one of my weekend ballroom adventures! The SU Ballroom club and I piled into four cars and zoomed on down to Boston and the MIT Open Ballroom competition. As I’ve mentioned before, the MIT Open is one of the largest amateur ballroom comps on the East Coast. It’s huge. Hundreds of competitors. Massive ballroom–well, gym.

The highlight of the trip was three-fold. 1) I got to hang out with and cheer on all the ballroom peeps, the craziest and most entertaining bunch of people ever, 2) I got to see my sister-in-law and soon-to-be brother-in-law, both cool people whose company I enjoy. 3) The professional show was bloody amazing.

Last year the Standard world champs Mirko and Edita graced us with their presence. This year, Latin power-houses Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zargoruychenko exploded on to the floor with the best ballroom show I’ve ever seen. The two stand-out dances for me were their Rumba and their Paso Doble. High-level Rumba has a tendency to veer into melodrama, but theirs was grounded, engaging, and HELLA sexy. Hot damn.

Image from Warsaw Dance

The Paso Doble, as well, was masterful in how it built from a quiet drumbeat and a few violins to an uproarious, dramatic performance. It was amazing, as evidenced by the spontaneous applause that grew with the music until, suddenly, the whole audience was on its feet for no other reason than the crescendo in the music and the dancing.

That’s one thing that struck me about their show: the emotions and the musicality were impeccable. Too often it feels like ballroom showcases could be danced to any music–a side-effect, I suppose, of the manner of ballroom competitions. Couples create routines that fit to a tight range of tempos and styles, not knowing what song will appear on the floor when they do. Riccardo and Yulia, on the other hand, clearly danced to *their* music, and I appreciate that. With my life goal of marrying concert dance to ballroom, music choice and musicality are boxes to tick.

Image by EmotionPhoto


Frankly, I would have written this re-cap earlier this week, nearer to the excitement. But upon returning to daily life on Monday I had a bad case of post-comp ennui, the pointlessness and futility of life stretching out in front of me like a long, corporate hallway in soft beige. Sometimes it’s good, for blogging’s sake, to channel the feelings, but sometimes, for my own sake, it’s better to let them dim and fade.

But now we have the pictures, and the jokes–in particular this hilarious string of moments upon finding the Sven in full-on Latin attire, courtesy of his TBA Rhythm partner. Thank you, random dancer from Brown University. You made my afternoon.

(Photos by my buddy Bethany)


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