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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Shall we dance? Mac's ballroom soccer experiment

By Jamie Macpherson

What’s the rising trend among athletes at Macalester? Taking dance classes. Not that any of them need it, but a group of the first year men’s soccer players just got more attractive; they can now dance. At the beginning of the semester, first years Nate Juergens, Mark Mullaney, Danny Calderon, and Jacob Duscha made the decision to sign up for Mac’s Beginning Social Dance physical education class.”It was Calderon’s idea,” Duscha said. “The first time [he mentioned it], we were out on the lawn, and he was like ‘Hey guys, there’s this social dance class.’.”

“Really, they say that?” laughs Calderon. “I mean, we just figured it’s a good thing to know, to have at a wedding, or when you’re going out. Be a little more than one-dimensional. It’s a cool thing [to know], as opposed to being the one sitting in the background.”

Beginning Social Dance meets for an hour Monday nights, and covers three different dances: the rumba, East Coast swing, and the waltz. The class is taught by champion ballroom dancers Paul Botes and Donna Edelstein. Along with teaching at Macalester, Botes and Edelstein host their own dance classes in Minneapolis and judge in Twin Cities dance competitions.

“[Botes and Edelstein] are really funny,” Juergens said. “They complement each other well. Botes tells lots of jokes. .They’re way better [than us], obviously, so when they dance it looks much better.”

Duscha agrees, and with a little tongue-in-cheek describes them as, “A delightful dancing duo”. But in all seriousness, he said, “They’re unreal when they dance. It’s awesome to watch. I wish we could just watch them for an hour.”

None of the first years expect the social dance class to have any impact on their performance as athletes. Juergens believes their coach, Ian Barker, would probably laugh if he knew they were taking the class. But while the dance class is by no means an effective way for the soccer players to stay in shape, Calderon still says he considers it a good class. “You have to go a certain amount of times, you’re always moving. I would consider that physical education.”

And the class is certainly challenging. “The hardest part personally is following [a set pattern],” Calderon said. He explained how Botes and Edelstein set out specific routine for their dancers. Calderon also noticed that many of the students in the class struggle with maintaining eye contact. “Sometimes the steps are really easy, but you might look to the side, or at your partner’s chest [if you’re a girl].”

For Duscha, the hardest part is not looking at his feet while he’s dancing. But he still enjoys himself. “I wouldn’t say I’m that great,” Duscha said. “I’m not a fantastic dancer, but I can keep a beat. I usually just end up laughing at myself.”

Although all of the first years enjoy having learned to dance, right now none of them are expecting to take another class any time soon. “I’d rather [use the hour] to do homework,” Juergens admitted. “But maybe [I’d take another class], depending on my schedule.”

This doesn’t mean however that they haven’t gotten anything out of the class. “It teaches me to have confidence,” Calderon said. “But at the same time, to be gentle [with my partner].” While Calderon insists that he and the other soccer players aren’t just taking the class to appear more suave, he points out that “Girls seem to like it when guys can dance, and of the few that I know, most can’t unless it’s grinding.

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    Amy WalkerSep 8, 2019 at 8:08 pm

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