On The Radar: Harvard Invitational Ballroom Competition

Carlton E. Forbes

Rookies from Harvard Ballroom prepare to dance the night away at their competition by rehearsing in Lowell Lecture Hall Tuesday night.

Harvard Invitational Ballroom Competition, Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12. Hanlon-Ford Winter Ball, Saturday, March 11 6 p.m. Malkin Athletic Center. Tickets available through the Harvard Box Office. 617-495-2222. $25 general admission.

Though a newfound cultural obsession with ballroom dancing—most evident in the unlikely success of ABC’s summer reality show “Dancing With the Stars”—has recently made foxtrot, rumba, and paso doble household names, the most celebrated dance at Harvard remains the slightly less sophisticated drunken grind. Thankfully, some new steps will have a chance to make their inroads on campus at this weekend’s 15th Annual Harvard Invitational Ballroom Competition, hosted by the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team. 

The event—which will feature more than 600 competitiors—“is one of the most prestigious and longest-running collegiate DanceSport events in the entire United States,” Harvard Ballroom President Thomas E. Mikuckis ’07 writes in an email. Some of the top amateur dancers in the United States will join teams from across the country in competition this Saturday and Sunday. 

For the more casual dancer, Saturday’s Hanlon-Ford Winter Ball will include not only the deciding rounds of the championships and a professional show, but an opportunity for social dancing with a live band. Though the ball is billed as a “formal gala event,” Mikuckis emphasizes his desire to make top-tier ballroom dancing more approachable to the Harvard community.  

In discussing why students should attend the event, he asserts that “while there has been lots of ballroom in the media, both in movies and on television, this unique event can give Harvard students the opportunity to witness what competitive ballroom is actually like, both at the collegiate level, and in general…the Harvard Invitational is as close to a professional ballroom competition as a collegiate competition will come.”