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Dancers Compete Today

By Peggy S. Chen

Fifty students will step, swing and waltz the day away as the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team hosts its annual competition today.

Teams from 10 other area schools, such as Brown, Yale, Boston University and Tufts, will attempt to take the crown from Harvard, which is the defending champion.

"What I'm looking forward to is seeing the Harvard team beat the pants off of every other team out there," said Gregory G. Lau '99, "which we will do."

The ballroom dance team, which has not been defeated in competition in two and a half years, placed first in the National College competition last year, according to Omri Traub '98, secretary of the club.

The team did not attend this year because of reading period, Traub said.

Harvard's annual competition, now in its fifth year, runs from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. with ascending classes of difficulty: newcomer, bronze, silver, gold and open, according to club president Suzanne Goh '97.

Goh added that the February competition is usually the only one Harvard hosts in a given year, so the team goes all out for the event. She said that Harvard's is one of the biggest and most well-attended competitions as well.

Couples compete in rhythm and smooth American style and Latin and standard International style, Goh said. Dances include the waltz, foxtrot, quickstep tango and chacha.

The dancers are judged on various aspects of technique such as arm, leg and hip motion, Goh said. Scoring is also based on figure accuracy, costume and presence.

Most of the competitions are for individual entrants, with each couple competing by themselves, rather than for a team.

Power couples on Harvard's team include Jennifer M. Fung '97 and her brother Alexander M. Fung '98, who are the top dancers in the nation.

Jennifer, competing with her brother Victor, who attends UCLA, placed 25th at the World Championships in Holland earlier this year. The finish was the best ever for any American couple, Goh said.

"It was a really big eye-opener to see what the international competitions were about and how all the other couples performed," Jennifer Fung said.

The final part of the competition is the team match, in which representatives from each college dance four dances, and the college with the highest total score wins the competition, according to Traub.

The club members say they are all set for the competition.

"That's what I love: when [I'm] on the dance floor, no matter how much time and practice I put in, what I think about is performing for the audience," said Lara Izlan '97.

Lau, who took up ballroom dancing just a few months ago, said he's eager to participate in his first competition.

"I want to go and do well," he said. "I like watching it, watching all the other good couple dance. I get delusions about maybe being that good one day.

Most of the competitions are for individual entrants, with each couple competing by themselves, rather than for a team.

Power couples on Harvard's team include Jennifer M. Fung '97 and her brother Alexander M. Fung '98, who are the top dancers in the nation.

Jennifer, competing with her brother Victor, who attends UCLA, placed 25th at the World Championships in Holland earlier this year. The finish was the best ever for any American couple, Goh said.

"It was a really big eye-opener to see what the international competitions were about and how all the other couples performed," Jennifer Fung said.

The final part of the competition is the team match, in which representatives from each college dance four dances, and the college with the highest total score wins the competition, according to Traub.

The club members say they are all set for the competition.

"That's what I love: when [I'm] on the dance floor, no matter how much time and practice I put in, what I think about is performing for the audience," said Lara Izlan '97.

Lau, who took up ballroom dancing just a few months ago, said he's eager to participate in his first competition.

"I want to go and do well," he said. "I like watching it, watching all the other good couple dance. I get delusions about maybe being that good one day.

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