At Thomas Nelson Community College a new type of team is taking off: ballroom dance.
Students at TNCC are starting to make a name for themselves on the collegiate ballroom dance circuit as the school’s team returned from a competition in New York City with a number of awards for various team members.
“We are the only community college to have ever competed in the national collegiate ballroom circuit,” said Pamela Roberts, the faculty adviser for the team. “When we first came onto the scene they didn’t know who we were or what we were about because we were going against schools like Yale and Harvard. Now, we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Recently, the team competed at Columbia University where they took home first place in their division overall in Latin newcomer and won second place in rhythm bronze division overall. Roberts said this is quite the achievement because each division has to compete against 80 other couples and colleges from all over the country, totaling around 900 competitors this year.
When Roberts first started as director of the team, she didn’t realize how important and fun it would become to her. She said she decided to take the opportunity because she loved dance and the students needed a new director.
Roberts started with ballroom dancing at the college as a director to the club in 2014. But she quickly realized students wanted more opportunities to compete so she started a separate team that could travel and train for competitions in 2015.
“I started and I just saw all the talent these students had and decided they deserved to show it off,” she said.
Amilia Thompson is one of the newcomers and participated in her first competition this month. She said the experience was one she would never forget and that ballroom dance has opened a new perspective on dancing for her.