We are glad to see that you are interested in joining the Columbia University Ballroom Dance Team (CUBDT)! This section is an FAQ for individuals looking to join the team. More information is also available in other sections of this website:
  • for information on the classes and practices (dances offered, schedule, locations, instructors, dues), please visit our Class Information section,
  • for information on ballroom dancing in general, please visit our Resources section,
  • if you still have unanswered questions about joining the team after reading this FAQ, you can contact us at the email address cuballroom@gmail.com.

FAQ

How can I become part of the team?
When do classes start?
Do I have to be an undergraduate to join?
Do I need prior dance experience to join the team?
Do I need a partner to join the team?
What if I do have experience / partner already?
How much does it cost to join?
Are there any other costs?
How much time must I commit?
Should I choose the competitive classes or the social class?

Competitive classes policy
Which level(s) can I attend?
Can I join midway into the semester?
Can I try the classes without committing for a full semester?
Can I join the competitive classes and not go to competitions?




How can I become part of the team?

To join the team, simply show up at the classes (time and location of the classes are available here.

Competitive classes: We accept the majority of our members for the competitive classes at the beginning of the Fall semester. It is also possible to join at the beginning of the Spring semester, however it is more difficult as the classes in each level would have progressed relatively far during the Fall semester (we strongly recommend that you attend weekly practices to catch up).

Social class: Although we accept the majority of our members for the social classes at the beginning of the Fall semester, new members can join the social class at any time during the Fall or Spring semester (it is possible to pay by the class for those joining midway into the semester).
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When do classes start?

Classes usually start at the end of September for the Fall semester, and at the end of January for the Spring semester. The exact dates are posted on the home page of this website about a week in advance.
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Do I have to be an undergraduate to join?

Not at all. Many of our dancers are graduate or professional students, and we have several advanced dancers who have been out of school for a while now.
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Do I need prior dance experience to join the team?

No prior experience is necessary to join the team. There are no try-outs or auditions required to join. We are dedicated to promoting ballroom dancing to Columbia University and feel that it shouldn't be exclusive. Most of our team members have never danced a step of ballroom before joining. Our instructors will teach you more than just the basic steps and the whole team experience is sure to leave plenty of fond memories. All you need is an interest in ballroom dancing and two walking legs. Collegiate dancesport competitions are especially geared towards people who are new to dancesport. So come and don't be shy! There are plenty others who are in your same shoes.
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Do I need a partner to join the team?

No partner is necessary to join the team. We rotate in classes in order to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to dance with a partner. We try to match all of our newcomers for competitions; however, shortage of male partners do occur at times, and in those situations we try our best to accommodate everyone by rotating partners at different competitions. If you are really worried, ask the veterans of the team for help or drag a friend in!
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What if I do have experience / partner already?

Of course, people with prior ballroom or dance experience are also welcomed to join the team. Your level of experience will dictate the level of classes you will participate in. Our recommendation is that you try competing in the lowest level you are permitted to dance based on the rules of each particular competition.

If you already have a partner and have moved here from another area, please understand that our coaches may teach in a different style. The level of dancing may also be different from region to region.
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How much does it cost to join?

For current prices, please visit our membership page.

Regarding competitive classes: The team subsidizes group lessons as well as competition registration fees, and part of the transportation fees for competitions. In order to support these costs, the team collects semester dues from each member. Paying full dues offers:
  • Classes in both latin and standard styles in one level
  • Registration fees for sponsored competition (usually around $35 per person, 2-3 competitions per semester)
  • Usage of our practice space
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Are there any other costs?

Some of our classes are located in the Dodge Fitness Center, thus members that do no have access to the DFC would also incur the cost of DFC membership. Most of our team members choose to purchase dance shoes for classes and competitions at some point during their first semester. The team usually organizes a fall shoe shopping trip downtown, and fortunately we enjoy a student discount. A detailed shoe-buying guide is in the Resources section of this website. There are also transportation fees to and from competitions. Sometimes the team will subsidize the cost of transportation. Also, costumes, accessories, shoe brushes, and other miscellaneous items are sometimes desired.
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How much time must I commit?

Each team member decides how much time he/she wants to commit to the team. You decide how many group lessons to take and how often to come to practice. Most of our dancers spend about 4-5 hours a week between lessons and practice with their partner/s, but some spend less time and some substantially more. We recommend that you come to practice at least once a week and skip no more than 2 classes in each style.

The only required time commitment is that you assist in our own competition in December, the Big Apple Dancesport Challenge. Yes, it is possible that you may be on the team without attending any classes or practicing, but you probably would not perform too well on the competition floor. We recognize the high level of academic demands at Columbia and we understand that your academics should come first. But give it a chance and you will see just how fun ballroom dancing can be!
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Should I choose the competitive classes or the social class?

If you want to be serious about learning ballroom dance, then join our competitive classes (Standard and Latin). From our professional taught classes, you will learn the grace, elegance, passion, and energy of standard and latin ballroom dances, including the waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and many more (to learn more about the dances, please visit the Resources section). Then, apply what you learn in class at competitions in the enjoyable and fun-filled company of your peers. Reach for the gold, defend Columbia's name, show everyone what you're made of, and simply just have the time of your life. All in all, the excitement of the competitive class is an unforgettable experience.

If you feel that you are not ready for the pressures of the commitment of the competitive class, and just want to have fun learning a new social talent, then join our social classes and learn the moves in a friendly, casual atmosphere.

But if you want to experience ballroom dance to the fullest, then join both! We will give you a discount (half off social classes) if you do.
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Competitive classes policy

Which level(s) can I attend?

A few rules are necessary in order to keep the integrity of each class:

Fall semester:
  • Pre-Bronze: this is your first semester dancing and you have no prior ballroom experience.
  • Bronze: for returning members who have danced for one year and new members with prior ballroom experience.
  • Silver: for members who placed at least in the semi final at the Bronze level, or who are competing at the Silver level and above.

Spring semester:
  • Bronze: for members who attended the Pre-Bronze class in the Fall, as well as any returning or new member with prior ballroom experience. If you have no prior ballroom experience, you need to be approved by the board to attend this class (we generally require that you attend weekly practices to catch up).
  • Silver: for members who placed at least in the semi final at the Bronze level, or who are competing at the Silver level and above.
  • Gold: for members who placed at least in the semi final at the Silver level, or who are competing at the Gold level and above.
You may attend a lower level class without problem, if for example you wish to brush up on basics. Exceptions may be approved by the board for dancers who wish to attend higher level classes.
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Can I join midway into the semester?

It is also possible to join midway into the Fall or Spring semester. However, this must be approved by the board as the classes -- even the lowest -- would have progressed relatively far. Note that we do not offer discounts for joining midway (you must pay full dues).
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Can I try the classes without committing for a full semester?

At the beginning of each semester, the first week of Latin and Standard classes is free, and the next week is pay per class. This two-week "trial period" is for allowing individuals to become acquainted with ballroom, the board, as well as the instructors. We must close off the trial period after two weeks as the competitive class will proceed very quickly in the beginning. Full dues are expected by the third week of classes.
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Can I join the competitive classes and not go to competitions?

Yes, competitions are completely optional. However, we strongly recommend that you attend competitions if you can - it would be a shame if you didn't! Competitions are a lot of fun, ask any of our members. They are wonderful team bonding events and are also a great opportunity to watch higher-level dancers and get inspired. You won't regret it!

If you are worried about your level, then remember that you will only be competing against other couples who have only been dancing as long as you have. No matter what level you dance in, you will find competition an indispensable and rewarding part of your ballroom experience.

Note: We do not offer discounts for individuals who do not wish to attend competitions.
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