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Ballroom Dancing Through Life: Emily Shoov CAS ’12

 We’ve all got extracurricular activities, but for most of us, they don’t involve the words waltz or cha-cha, and there are no glittery costumes. For Emily Shoov (CAS ’12), however, these are standard elements. She ballroom dances, taking lessons at Dance Fever Studio in Newton, MA and competing an average of three times a year. These competitions are usually in Massachusetts, but she has gone as far as New York City and Las Vegas in the past, and is considering an upcoming one in Costa Rica. Here, she tells Her Campus all about how Ballroom has become an integral part of her life:
HCBU:What kind of dance do you do?
Emily:I do both International styles of Ballroom at the moment: Standard (waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, viennese waltz) and Latin (cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, jive). I took a few years off from Standard but in my last competition I was doing both styles. I do Pro-Am which means at competitions I dance with my coach (he’s the “Pro” and I’m the “Am”) but theoretically only I get scored.

When and why did you start dancing?

I’ve been dancing in the broad sense since I was really little. Ballet-tap-jazz in elementary school and then swing lessons for a few months when I was eight or nine. I started Ballroom (albeit American style) the summer before my sophomore year of high school in a little studio in Merrimack, NH called Papermoon. My cousins had started taking group lessons and I went one day to watch. It just looked like so much fun and I really loved the music so I started in the “teen class” with them and pretty soon afterwards I started taking private lessons and doing competitions and showcases.
What is your favorite part about dancing and competing?

At first I loved Ballroom because it was the only form of physical exercise I didn’t hate. I could go for hours and get all sweaty and not care because it’s so much fun and, at least at first, you can see an almost immediate return on the effort you put it. Then after a few years I learned to lose myself when I was dancing. At first it’s hard not to be self-conscious when some not-un-attractive older man is telling you to be sexier and shake your hips more and make eye contact with people while doing it! Ironically i could do this on stage in a play but it took me a few years and some growing up before I figured out how to be a character without a script.

What are some challenges for you?
My balance is pretty bad which is a constant struggle, especially in three-inch heals. Also, like I said, I had a lot of trouble making myself look up while I was dancing, My coaches would always tease me, asking what was so interesting on the floor. 

How do you see dance fitting into your life in the future?
Dance will absolutely be part of my future. I’ll keep taking lessons and competing for as long as my hips can handle it! I’m a little worried about what I’ll do if my coach retires because I’m very fondof him.

What are some of your other interests/hobbies?

I don’t really do much of anything other than dance and school. I used to do more theatre (acting anddirecting) but now I’m just a really dedicated audience member. I like to watch TV, or more accurately i like having TV on in the background, and I’m one of the few people out there who still reads books (like paper and ink books) when I can.

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