Ballroom Dancing: An Art For Life

Video posted April 26, 2012 in News by Kaitlin Cangro


Marvin Johnson and Catherine Begley are both active brothers in the Alpha Pi Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi Co-Ed National Honor Fraternity. However, it’s their love of ballroom dance that truly bonds them together. When they were given the option of taking ballroom dance classes at Penn State, they ceased the opportunity to travel back to a time before the grinding and swaying of today made it to the nightclubs.

             “It’s the roots, it’s the roots of dance. It’s where these things come from, and I think we should keep it alive,” Marvin said.

Marvin and Catherine learned Rumba, Cha-Cha, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep and the list goes on. They practice routines out of class weekly, preparing for showcases and competitions.

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The two have different dance partners, but they both value the relationships they have with them. Understanding your partner allows you to accomplish more on the dance floor.

 “They need to be able to tell you like,  ‘Hey, you didn’t turn fast enough, go faster.’ You know, you have to be honest with each other,” Catherine said.

Ballroom dancing has given Marvin and Catherine much more than class credits and a hobby. It has provided them with the social skills that come from learning techniques with a group of people and has given them the ability to apply those skills, be it at parties with friends or at family gatherings.

 “Ballroom is such a social thing. Ballroom is one of those things, as long as you have a partner, you can do wherever,” Catherine said.

Ballroom dancing has also given them the opportunity to model formal clothing, sometimes a colorful dress for her and collared shirt for him, something they take pride in.

Both of them are thorough when it comes to doing the steps correctly and making sure that their partners are comfortable with the steps as well. You see this when Marvin faces Catherine and counts with her as he moves his hips back and forth.

However, they sometimes cannot help but smile, confirming they are enjoying themselves. You see this as Marvin turns Catherine, and she looks into the camera. You also see this when Marvin laughs as he dances with his partner, Claudia.

 “You’re going out there to enjoy yourself, you’re going out there to spend time with your partner, you’re going out there to enjoy the music and all that’s

around you,” Marvin said.

Although in the fall, Marvin will be studying abroad and Catherine will be attending law school, both look upon dancing as something they will never lose. Anywhere there is a dance floor, danceable rhythm and a cooperative partner, their feet will be moving.

             “I’ve really fallen in love with the sport. I recognize it as something that I’ll probably be doing for a long time in my life,” Marvin said.