Let’s Go Clubbing – Out for a spin with the CSUN Ballroom Club

Let's Go Clubbing - Out for a spin with the CSUN Ballroom Club

Michelle Dominguez

Chemistry major, Yvonne Diaz, 21, CSUN Ballroom Club president and Jonathan Acuna, 27, astro physics major, practice posture while moving their hips and legs to the beat of the music. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor
Chemistry major, Yvonne Diaz, 21, CSUN Ballroom Club president and Jonathan Acuna, 27, astro physics major, practice posture while moving their hips and legs to the beat of the music. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Photo Editor

It’s a Thursday afternoon and across from the recreational pool, a handful of students march inside the plaza studio. After plopping their book bags on the floor, they face the mirrored wall and wait for instructions.

As they’re flexing their bodies from side to side, a tall, skillful man walks in fiddling with his baseball cap and yells, “Okay class, today we’re learning Bachata!” Soon, couples link together and music starts to play. The CSUN Ballroom Dance club has officially begun.

Since 2008, the club has welcomed an array of students to their club. From chemistry majors to kinesiology majors, no guest is turned away for being clueless about dance.

Current president Yvonne Diaz, stumbled upon the group at last year’s Meet the Clubs event. With years of cheerleading and color guard experience, she wanted to fill her ongoing passion for dance.

“I think it’s in my blood. I love it. This is more recreational for me, but being able to come here for a few hours is great,” Diaz said.

The club meets twice a week and is taught by the vibrant and lively dance instructor, Wiley Hicks Simpson of the Celebration Ballroom in Woodland Hills. He was recruited five years ago and plans on staying another five more.

“It was such a refreshing fun bunch of young people, and I wanted to do whatever I could to try to make a difference in their lives,” Simpson said. “That’s what teachers are suppose to do.”

From swing to merengue, the club tackles every dance that allows students to sway their hips and move their feet.

“We’re very beginner-friendly but we also cater to people who are more advanced so we can teach from really basic steps to more advanced styling techniques,” Diaz said.

The class starts with Simpson breaking down the movements step by step. Then students must find a dance partner. After rotating every few minutes, people are ready to let loose and leave apprehension at the door.

It’s also a great way to mingle especially for astrophysicist major, Jonathan Acuña, a junior transfer student.

“It’s a good way to break your way into a new school. I just came here four weeks ago and this club is a great way to get involved,” Acuña said.

Apart from practice, the CSUN ballroom dance club take their skills to the dance floor by participating in competitions around the state and performing in local fundraisers. Last year, the club held their annual masquerade ball, where members dressed up in fancy attire and danced the night away, in hopes of raising enough money to keep their beloved club going.

But recently, the club has seen a drop in members due to recent graduations and has yet to regain them.

“We’ve gone out dancing together at different studios and clubs for fun, and we’ve used electronic poster boards and social media, but right now we are trying to build up our club,” Diaz said.

As the clock winds down, Simpson slyly decides to incorporate one last dance style before time runs out.

With a push of a button, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra blaze in the background as students tackle the all-American classic, swing.