Sequins, skirts and samba: CCBDC hosts Intercollegiate Showdown

A male college student in maroon and black spins his female dance partner who is wearing a maroon top and gold skirt.
USC ballroom dancers Alvin Liang and Jay Canyarasmi compete in the Intercollegiate Showdown on Oct. 26. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

The Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company sauntered into competition season Oct. 26, hosting the Intercollegiate Showdown at Pomona College’s packed Edmunds Ballroom. Each year, CCBDC engages amateur and veteran performers alike from around the country in an individual and formation dancesport competition.

The day-long spectacle is sponsored by the Collegiate Dancesport Association, a network that joins ballroom dance teams from several West Coast universities, including the 7Cs. Students from the University of Southern California, UCLA, California Polytechnic State University, Caltech and the University of Arizona came to test their moves. 

American and international ballroom styles such as smooth, standard, rhythm, Latin and nightclub were divided throughout the day by experience and skill level. Participating couples performed their routines all at once, circling the dance floor to find their light and flaunt their rhythm.

A ballroom couple dances together. The male wears all black as he spins his female parter around.
Vanessa Lincoln SC ’21 and Harry Aung HM ’21 compete in the Bronze Samba event. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

While the judges deliberated and results were calculated, performers were invited to partake in team match, where emcees have each school compete against each other as a team.

Vanessa Lincoln SC ’21, a dancer for CCBDC, described how the team match was one of the most memorable moments because it allowed her to connect with students she’d never met before. 

“You send in a couple [to do] this dance style, but then they’ll put some weird twist on it,” Lincoln said, laughing at the silliness of the prompts given. “This year, they said: ‘You have to do rumba, but make it Halloween.’” 

CCBDC regularly has over 135 dancers as part of its group, making it one of the largest and most active collegiate dance companies in the country. The Showdown is one of its most beloved events because of the community it fosters between performers at the 7Cs and beyond.

Christina You SC ’21, another member of CCBDC, reminisced about the wave of support audiences gave to newcomers performing for the first time.

“There was only one couple, but everyone was cheering them on basically the entire time; even the judges were smiling,” she said via message. “It was just so heartwarming.”

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