Texas Ballroom offers creative, cultural outlook to students

Farah Merchant

In high school, computer science junior Anthony Moeller entered the social dance world upon his dad’s recommendation. When he came to UT, he feared losing this part of his lifestyle. Thankfully, he found an outlet through Texas Ballroom.

Texas Ballroom is a club that helps students learn and improve at ballroom dancing. Classes are taught every day from Monday to Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Belmont Hall. Those involved in the program have the ability to compete on a state
and national level.

Moeller said the variety of styles taught in Texas Ballroom is phenomenal. He said that he can learn the waltz and tango one day and the samba the next. However, he said his favorite is Latin dance due to the rich and upbeat music.

“I’ve always enjoyed music, and one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about dancing is that it’s a fun thing for me to do,” Moeller said. “Some of my favorite dances are those that I enjoy the music the most.”

Biology sophomore Lauren Quesada has been a part of Texas Ballroom for over a year and shares Moeller’s zeal for the club. Quesada said she appreciates the intimacy of developing a personal relationship with your dance partner.

“You work together as a team, so it’s not just you as an individual dancing and it’s not you in a group dancing,” Quesada said. “You grow and work together as two parts of a whole. It’s a really neat experience, because you get to see your partner grow, and you get to see yourself grow.”

Although they have different reasons for dancing, both Moeller and Quesada agree the diverse style is essential. Diversity in Texas Ballroom welcomes those of different backgrounds such as government freshman Jasmarie Hernandez who comes to connect with their culture.

“It really promotes inclusion on campus, and it’s something UT prides itself in being
an inclusive campus,” Hernandez said. “Being Latina myself and knowing the history of our dance, where it originated from and seeing how its evolved to what it is nowadays, bachata, salsa, merengue. I think it was really cool because I was connecting with my culture in a way that I never had before.”

With mechanical engineering senior Robert Bramlett’s leadership, the club continues to change by becoming more accommodating to
new members.

Bramlett closeted these ideas until he was in a position to make changes, and now as Texas Ballroom president, he said he is excited to initiate these modifications.

“I’ve had a bunch of ideas previously on the board,” Bramlett said.  “I just never really was in a position to try and reenact them. We’re making a lot of big changes this year. Everyone has been
really supportive.”

Along with making the membership process easier and more efficient for new and current members, Bramlett also commenced the idea of a family system, which groups dancers together, fostering intimate relations with a small group of individuals.

“We emphasize doing things socially really heavily while we’re in Texas Ballroom,” Moeller said. “Being able to do those things and being able to know a lot of the people that are in Texas Ballroom is amazing. I made the best friends at UT from Texas Ballroom.”