The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

In the swing of things: ballroom dance club tangos, teaches

Ballroom Dance Club | Courtesy Photo
Ballroom Dance Club

For most people, a list of sports includes football, basketball and baseball. Ballroom dancing, however, does not typically come to mind.

Mississippi State University has had a competitive ballroom dance club since 2005.

The Mississippi State University Ballroom Dance Club is a student-based and student-run organization that meets twice a week and also travels to workshops in cities like Tupelo, Jackson and Atlanta. 

The club teaches several styles of dance, including the fox trot, waltz, tango, east and west coast swing, night club two step and many more. Club president Amanda Washington, fifth-year senior biological science major, said joining the club is easy, and suave dance moves are not required to become a member.

“It’s very simple,” Washington, who is in her second year of presidency, said.“Just walk through our door. There is no fee. It’s absolutely free, and you don’t have to have any prior knowledge of the club or any dance experience at all.” 

Ballroom dancing is an official MSU club sport, and the MSU Ballroom Dance Club competes in one competition a year, and this year’s competition is in February. Washington said several couples are on the dance floor dancing at once during competitions, but the whirlwind of dancing is a fun experience.

Though the idea for a dance club started in 1997, the club got its official start in 2005. Dance lessons began after the club’s constitution and bylaws were adopted. During the first semester as a club, the club had 100 members, but that number grew to 120 by the second semester. 

Erdem Topsakal was the first dance instructor, but soon after the club began, students learned to instruct. Washington said training new dancing instructors is an important aspect of the club, and they consistently work to increase their knowledge and number of instructors.

“We’ve made sure that we are continually bringing in new freshmen, training people to continue student instructing,” Washington said.

Daniel Stevenson, junior electrical engineering major, has been a dance instructor for the MSU Ballroom Dance Club for two years. Stevenson said he started to take dance lessons in high school and then taught at a dance studio in Tupelo before he came to MSU. He said the club not only provides an outlet for dancers but provides a community of dancers, as well.

“It’s really fun. It’s good to have a place for people who already dance to have a place to dance,” Stevenson said. “It’s social. It’s a really great way to get to know people.”

Club vice president Nandita Gupta, junior electrical engineering major, joined the dance club as a freshman. Gupta said the club is great exercise, helps her to relax and allows her to find friendships that extend outside the dance floor.

“Ballroom is my family. You meet amazing people, and you really get to know people,” she said. “Once you get to know them, you start to hang out with them outside of just dancing. You have a lot of fun.”

The MSU Ballroom Dance Club meets Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. In Studio A in the Sanderson center. More information about the club may be found at

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In the swing of things: ballroom dance club tangos, teaches