If you think of MIT as only one the world’s leading Engineering institutions it might surprise you know that each year it hosts the MIT Open Ballroom Competition – the largest collegiate competition in the USA.
The competition involves close to 1,000 dancers from dozens of universities. They pack the Rockwell Cage as they strive to deliver (according to MIT team captain Corey Cleveland) something truly individual
The judges and the audience are not looking for someone who can bring perfect technique [..] They are looking for the unique offering — for something they have never seen before. MIT team captain Corey Cleveland, a senior majoring in electrical engineering
Cleveland has logged countless hours on the floor after discovering ballroom dance as a first-year student. “We have to think about the expressions and emotions we want to put out there [..] How do we do that through movement? What are the different shapes we want to do?”.
Cleveland credits ballroom dancing as “waking up [his] mind” awakening his artistic side by encouraging a fluid connection between mind and body.
The beauty of that connection is evident when members of the MIT Ballroom Dance Team, which includes a number of national semifinalists and finalists in the U.S. amateur division, take the floor.
“The goal of dance — of all arts — is to express what everyone is feeling but can’t yet say [..] it’s such a cathartic moment when you see something on the floor that you can relate to. It is a release, and it gives everyone shivers”