Are you looking for something new and unique to try? Did you dance when you were younger or ever want to? If you answered yes to either of these questions, Ballroom at Maryland, or BAM, might be your answer! Graduate speech pathology student Kerianna Frederick, who is an avid participant, gave us the scoop.
Q: What are some events BAM does/What is BAM?
Ballroom at Maryland is both a social and a competitive ballroom dance team. BAM has three types of events: lessons, socials and competitions. The lessons are free to anyone associated with UMD and are taught by experienced dancers in the club. We have lessons varying from the waltz to the cha-cha, as well as a west-coast swing class.
For people who want to take their skills to competitions, BAM hosts one competition per semester and travels to two to three more in the area. Our competition team is open for people of any level. It’s really awesome to have everyone so willing to help out. We host one or two social dances at UMD every semester, and also travel around to different clubs throughout the D.C. area to social dance. The fall competition that we host, DCDI, is one of the biggest competitions on the East Coast!
Q: How long have you been in BAM and how did you get involved?
I tried it out for the first time last September. My roommate had actually heard about a free dance lesson at Stamp and a social dance afterwards and really wanted to try it out, so a few girls from my house went. I had such a blast that first day, and everyone was so nice that I knew that I wanted to stick around. I started going to the free dance lessons they have every week and was totally hooked right from the start!
Q: Have you always enjoyed dance or did your involvement show you this new passion/hobby?
I’ve always enjoyed dancing, but this is the first time I’ve ever been involved in partner dancing. I tried out tap, ballet and even Irish step dancing when I was a kid. I even did a little bit of swing dancing in my undergraduate career. Finding BAM and becoming a part of this community definitely gave me a new avenue, and is by far my favorite type of dancing I’ve ever done.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Ballroom at Maryland?
I don’t know how to pick just one thing! The dancing itself is amazing, but so is the community and the culture. It’s a great way to stay active, meet new people and explore some really cool spots around D.C.
Q: Has being involved with Ballroom at Maryland helped you develop as a person?
Absolutely. I think that becoming part of a new community can always grow and stretch you as a person. Ballroom is a very different experience than other sports or hobbies. It’s something that you have to do with other people, so it forces you to get to know people you may have never met otherwise. BAM places a big emphasis on having each other’s back and helping each another out. Even though we compete against one another, we’re all still a team, and I think that’s something pretty unique.