Dancers perform in the UGA Ballroom Performance Group’s production of Ballroom Magic, in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, January 18, 2018. (Photo/Samantha Forbes)

About a year ago, sophomore Susannah Couch had no idea how to samba or salsa. That changed when she stepped foot into a Friday night dance party hosted at University of Georgia by the UGA Ballroom Performance Group. Now, she will be performing five dance numbers in Ballroom Magic, the group’s annual showcase, on Jan. 24-26. 

The UGA Ballroom Performance Group is a student-run dance company where students and community members can learn the technique and style to perform or compete ballroom dances. Every spring, the group holds its annual showcase. This year’s theme is “The Greatest Show.”

For the show, 25 pieces will be performed to go along with the theme. Styles of dance include the cha-cha, the rumba, the bachata, the samba, the East Coast Swing, the West Coast Swing, the American tango, the Argentine tango, the waltz, the quickstep and the foxtrot. In order to put together such a large performance, the audition and rehearsal process began months ago. 

“Last year, we began working on technique and overall improving our dance skills,” Hannah Schriever, the group’s public relations officer said. “Then, last semester, we learned the choreography and put it together as a group.  When we came back in January, we jumped right into tech rehearsals and costume rehearsals because the show is right around the corner.” 

For the dances, the group has two main choreographers who work as the students’ dance instructors. The seniors in the organization also have the chance to choreograph a dance to be selected for the performance. This year, three seniors’ dances were chosen to be performed at the showcase, Schriever said. 

Rehearsals were usually held every Monday and Wednesday night and the group used this past weekend to perfect the choreography, Couch said. For Couch and others in the show, the final rehearsals leading up to the performance have been intense and time-consuming, but also rewarding.

“The bonding time has been great — like this weekend we were there all day so you just get to spend the whole day together,” Couch said. “We ran through all the pieces over and over until we got it down to perfection.”

Schriever said the four months of hard work the group does to put together the final performance shows through the audiences’ reactions and they hope this year the response will be just as positive.

“Last year we had someone come to our Thursday night show and then immediately went and bought tickets to see it again because they loved it so much,” Schriever said. “It’s just a really great way to look at a lot of diverse dance styles and maybe experience something that you haven’t seen before.” 

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