After participating in my elementary school program I found out about the BYU youth teams. I was on those teams throughout junior high and high school, and that eventually led me to dancing at BYU and on the tour team.

Marissa Liu

It has definitely shaped how I spend my time, and was my first real team experience. Dancing through public school introduced me to BYU team dancing and through that, individual dancing, and I would be in a completely different place and be a totally different person without that. I might not have attended BYU.

Jenna Southard

Dance has taught me to appreciate art in all its forms. It taught me how to work with other people, and built my character, and relationships with people in general.

Laurel Loveless

It gave me more confidence and helped me make good high school friends. When I joined extreme Ballroom my senior year of high school it gave me the chance to be noticed by the BYU coaches and helped me get a scholarship and start dancing at BYU. Because of the scholarships I received through ballroom, I was able to pay for school and not have any debt. I was planning on going to cosmetology school, but because I received a ballroom scholarship to BYU, I attended BYU and got my Bachelors degree.

Kaelynne Phinney

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How has your involvement in public school ballroom affected your life's trajectory (if at all)?

Participation in my high school program set the stage for me to be a strong competitor and receive a scholarship, and now it is my livelihood.

Karson Denney

I have grown a greater appreciation for the human body and all that it can do. I feel like it has helped me to improve myself and become a better person in the long run.

Bethany Taylor

I have never been a scholar. I never enjoyed school much and I was pretty average in all of my classes. Ballroom encouraged me to do better in high school so I could attend BYU and dance. I ended up working hard my last 2 years of high school and was able to make it into BYU. I think without ballroom I wouldn't of felt a need to go to college and pursue an education beyond high school.

Cristin Russon

It gave me skills that have really helped me on my mission. I had social skills, and I learned important lessons that helped me connect with other people. It is also a big part of my life.

Andrew Hart

It put my on a path of being super competitive, healthy, and self-disciplined.

Tristan Moe

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The Ballroom Bonus

In middle school I was into all the sports programs offered at my school, but I moved into Provo my freshman year of high school. Coming from a small town, where the sports I was involved in were not quite as competitive, I didn't think I could take that route in high school now. So, I decided to try something new out and took a beginning ballroom class. I enjoyed it a lot and at the semester team auditions, i tried out and made it. And so it all started.

I was a part of a team! It made me feel important, loved, and needed. (I transferred in to my new high school in the middle of the first semester of my freshman year. It was really hard to make friends.) Plus, dancing was fun and very different from the hobbies I had been involved in previously.

Alba Levie

I saw one of my good friends dancing and it looked so fun and beautiful and I knew it was something I wanted to do.

I love the feeling of being able to let go and move my body. It was relaxing yet it gave me a high. Every part of my body was aware and working for the same goal.

Cristin Russon

I wanted to try something girly because I was a really big tom boy in elementary school.

It was a lot of fun and I tried out for the high school ballroom team and actually made it. Then in college I continued because I got a ballroom scholarship.

Emily Guthrie

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I wanted learn to dance with a boy and not just do the typical step touch or mosh pit.

I enjoyed it so much & felt I could truly express myself more freely through dance.

Bethany Taylor

I needed a half credit class to fill my schedule and the social dance class my high school had fit in the open slot. And it looked like fun.

I made some really good friends and I finally had a place where I felt like I belonged. Plus it was a lot of fun.

Deborah Peterson

My elementary school offered a program for the upper grades and I always thought it was so cool when they performed at assemblies!

It was like school.... just something that I always did.

Marissa Liu

My mom forced me into the class. 

I learned to love it and I love the feeling of competing.

Tyler Alder

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Why did you start ballroom? Why did you continue?

There is no other place where you can do what you do. The people you meet, the smiles that you see, and the passion for the sport and the art people have it for other things. But in ballroom it's slightly different and that's where the passion is. I have learned so much from it. More than just how to dance. I have learned patience, more kindness, and countless other virtues. Ballroom has changed my life for the better.

Matt Ririe

It's taught me how to work on a team; it's taught me that everyone progresses at their own level; it's taught me that even though competition encourages comparison, that I should not compare so much that it would hurt my character, or their feelings; it's taught me coordination; it's taught me to appreciate and seek physical fitness; and it's taught me how to connect, and to release my inner self in a way that heals me.

Laurel Loveless

Ballroom was the tool that helped me to break out of my shyness and learn how to connect with people better. It led me to make lifelong friends with some incredible people and to have some amazing experiences that shaped my life. It taught me a lot of self-discipline and the rewards that come from working hard at something.

Joyce Hyatt

I've grown spiritually and intellectually through dance. I have been able to find so many good parallels between dance and life. Dance really helped me get through some hard things and taught me some good lessons. Dance brings out so many raw emotions and offers really great perspective into things. It provides a situation for you to push yourself and do things that you never thought were possible.

Robyn Foote

The connections I made benefitted me more than most. During the time I was dancing in high school, I was on my own. My mom was not present and it was my job to step up and care for my little sister and sick step father. The connections and support I made at my ballroom company, especially with my coaches, gave me a reason to continue on a path of success in school and in my own personal life. I felt worthy, validated, and like I meant something in an extremely sensitive time that could have defined how I reacted and changed my future.

Anonymous

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How do you feel ballroom has benefited you (if it has) in social, intellectual, or other ways?

I feel I was benefited me a lot socially. I was/am pretty shy person in regular social situations, but ballroom let me come out of my bubble. I have become more confident with myself & who I am. I love to be creative & move I can't sit at a desk for a job with dance I always get to do something fun, new and creative. It has also kept me active & more in shape since I also dislike the regular walking/running to stay active. I need music & dance steps

Bethany Taylor

I believe ballroom is one of the best things you can do to make friends and meet people. A regular class you end up just sitting next to people and you have to make a large effort to talk and meet people. With ballroom you have physical touch. You look someone in the eyes and it can be awkward at first but you learn to enjoy it and meet people so easily.

Cristin Russon

Ballroom has become part of who I am as a person. It has given me more confidence in how I interact with others. It has helped me with problem solving skills and working with others in my profession. It has also helped me with my marriage and how to better work as one with my wife.

Nick Bruderer

It has taught me awareness of my body, etiquette, how to lead like a man, how to be a gentleman, and how to treat others with respect. It's also fantastic exercise and a lot of fun.

Alex Jennings

The biggest lesson I learned from ballroom dance is that I shouldn't give up when I first face an obstacle or feel inadequate. Growing up, school and activities always came naturally to me. And so when I got to my first few ballroom classes and faced something that I couldn't do off the bat, it was a eye-opening and discouraging experience. Things take time and practice. Hard work. And you come out the other end being able to do things you didn't think you could.

Another benefit of ballroom dancing was my ability to work with others. Working on team assignments for other classes can be a challenge, but being in a dance partnership is a bigger beast. There the relationship is much more intimate in nature--there are five people to work with, there are just two. If something isn't going right, I had to learn is it my partners' fault? Is it my fault? And if it's my partners fault, how do I communicate that in a constructive way? And in competitions, I learned that we really needed to be able to communicate and have a shared vision of success and expectations.

Joseph Murphy

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