Dancing with BLAST
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  • At the BLAST Fall Quarter Kick-off on Oct. 3, many students came to learn how to swing dance. Weinberg freshman Amanda Leung practices her turn.
  • Weinberg freshman Rachel Traisman attended BLAST's Fall Quarter Kick-off. "My favorite dance move is the spin," Traisman said.
  • Followers, or the dancer who follows the lead, prepare to learn a new dance step.
  • Ballroom dancer Liz Aski joined BLAST to learn the waltz and the cha cha.
  • Graduate students Karson Leperi and Paulina Berkovich, who are on BLAST's performance team, show the group various styles of ballroom dancing.
  • Communication senior Katherine Ardeleanu and instructor Alex Straley, BLAST's competition team captains, perform one of their competition routines.
  • Weinberg freshman Matthew Kovac and graduate student Katie Salvatore wait for the music to start.
  • Graduate student Katie Salvatore watches instructor Alex Straley debrief after learning an hour's worth of waltz dancing.
  • Weinberg freshmen Ann Yu and Matt Kovac learn to swing.
  • Clapping the beats, Communication senior and BLAST member Katherine Ardeleanu helps Weinberg freshmen Ann Yu and Matt Kovac complete a New Yorker.

Photos by Alex Furuya / North by Northwestern

BLAST, Northwestern's Ballroom Latin and Swing Team, held a Fall Quarter kickoff on Oct. 3, and they also teach classes on dances such as the swing, salsa, cha cha and waltz.  Check out photos from the event and the team's rehearsals in the slideshow above.

In addition to teaching dance classes, BLAST competes and puts on a spring show every year.

"I like sharing the passion I have with dance with others, not necessarily in hopes of changing their lives, but in bringing up a small part that is so important to me and being able to share it with other people is wonderful," said Communication senior and BLAST member Katherine Ardeleanu.

BLAST's classes are open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as people outside the Northwestern community. While BLAST's students may not know each other initially, they become more comfortable after dancing together.

"I love seeing the difference between the beginning and end of a lesson," instructor Alex Straley said. "A lot of times you go to a group and they can be uptight or a little nervous, but by the end they're smiling and joking around with each other. I just love how dance can bring that out of people."

Weinberg sophomore and BLAST member, Asl─▒ Saliho─člu, taught a class how to step in salsa.

"Seeing people who have just come to the class with no previous experience kinda of grasping that it's all about the partnering work that goes into social dancing," Salihoglu said. "It's not just the steps, but it's the connection you have with your partner."

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