I’ll start with something I am the most familiar with: Collegiate ballroom dance.
Every Sunday, the University of Michigan Ballroom Dance Club in Ann Arbor, MI hosts a series of lessons followed by a 2 hour-long social dance, hosted either in the Michigan Union or the Michigan League. The lessons are great for dancers of all levels – they always have an intro lesson, an intermediate lesson, and a more advanced lesson. So no matter where you at on the social ballroom spectrum, you are bound to learn something new.
The social dance itself takes place from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM and generally has a pretty good showing. The music obviously focuses on ballroom and latin, with a pretty decent representation of either one, which I really appreciate. I have been to so many practice sessions and open dances where they will play about 100 cha chas or swings and pretty much ignore the ballroom styles. The DJ also makes sure to through in some Argentine Tango, West Coast Swing, and even a Zouk or two.
I think the most unique part of this social is the jack-and-jill swing that takes place every week. About half-way through the social, the DJ will play a series of swings (East Coast and later a Jive) where you have to change partners each song. I have always enjoyed this since, as a student, I tended to stay dancing with the people I came with or was already friends with. That is probably my one criticism of this dance: the college dancers and the “adult” dancers tend to not socialize too much, outside of the courageous few that will grab up one of the youngsters. So, if you are reading this and are planning on going out to U of M for some dancing… socialize! Meet someone new! That is what this is all about, not just preparing for that upcoming competition or whatever.
Admission for each Sunday is $5 for student and $10 for the general public which includes any of the lessons and the dance itself. If you are from the area or plan to drive in frequently, I definitely recommend buying a membership and saving a significant chunk of change. Plus, you can use whatever money you saved by walking over to Bubble Island to cool down after some awesome dancing.