National Ballroom Championships Return to BYU
The annual DanceSport Championships returned to the BYU Marriott Center March 9-12 after being temporarily hosted in Florida last year due to COVID-19.
Brent Keck, BYU faculty member in the dance department and co-organizer of the USA DanceSport Championships, said BYU has hosted the event since 1995. Due to uncertainties related to COVID-19, it is was held in Florida last year.
“We’ve had a lot of reception from a lot of people saying, ‘We want him back at BYU, we want him back at this place, it’s just the first place, he belongs to BYU. “,” Keck said, “The overwhelming response from people is ‘This is where he belongs and we love that he’s back here.’
Justin Durfey, BYU’s Director of Special Events, said DanceSport Championships was a collaboration between BYU’s dance department and the Special Events Committee that began long before he started working here.
Teams and individuals in the dance community travel from across the country for this event and the chance to compete for national titles.
“It’s great that we’re able to bring visitors to campus who wouldn’t normally come to BYU so they can be exposed to campus and can see that it’s a great place,” Durfey said.
The championships are also an opportunity for BYU students in the dance department to perform and compete nationally. Kendall Christensen and his wife, Paris, are BYU students and met through the school’s dance program. They said they both grew up dancing and have always been drawn to studying at BYU, in part because of the dancesport championships held annually on BYU’s campus.
“That’s what brought me to BYU, the program here,” Kendall Christensen said. “This event, because it’s national championships, brings in the best, and then they see what BYU has to offer and they want to be a part of it.”
Paris Christensen agreed that participating in dancesport championships throughout her childhood as a dancer was a contributing reason she decided to study at BYU.
“I fell in love with dancing coming to the Marriott Center because it’s so big and I got to see out-of-state couples,” she said. “They were just amazing and beautiful and it really made me fall in love with dancing.”