Campus & Community

Where skill meets flair

2 min read

The annual Harvard Invitational is the ultimate dance party

In a whirl of color, a couple spins past with their heads tilted, arms locked at 90-degree angles. Another couple appears, all elegance and grace despite their speed and the close quarters they must share with their competitors.

This is the 24th annual Harvard Invitational ballroom competition, organized by the University’s ballroom team, a completely student-run organization.

The invitational — held this year at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in downtown Boston April 11 and 12 — was a two-day, all-day event that convened some of the best dancing talent in the Northeast. The competition attracts hundreds of competitors each year; in 2013, 84 percent of the dancers were college students, and 66 different organizations were represented.

Dancers compete in International Standard, American Rhythm, American Smooth, and International Latin styles for designated skill levels that range from newcomers to seasoned competitors. The winners receive a monetary prize.

Harvard’s team brought home 56 awards this year, including three championship and 11 prechampionship awards.

Daniel Montana of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology dances with Harvard’s Leila Hofer during the 24th annual Harvard Invitational Competition.
Couples dance in an early round of competition during the Hanlon-Ford Gala, the Saturday night portion of the competition.
Judges Liene Apale and Basil Issaev (from left) critique the dancers’ skills. Both are distinguished professional dancers and instructors.
Daniel Popovksy dips partner Alexandra Borkov.
Agnes Carlowicz and Feifei Kong of Columbia University watch other dancers compete.
The bottom of a dancer’s dress fans out as she twirls.
Irina Kogan helps Daniel Popovsky spray his hair into place during a break in the competition.
Jeff McCollum of MIT wipes his brow after a dance.
Zoe Destories and her partner, Robert Krabek, represent Harvard during the competition.
Many of the female dancers wear intricate hair styles with sparkly decorations for competitions such as this.
Alexandra Borkov and Daniel Popovsky, from Dance Fever Studios of Newton, Mass., perform.
A dancer straps on her heels.
Harvard’s Danielle Muchnik and Giorgio Gaglia are awarded a third-place prize for championship Latin.
Peter Tran and Mackie McGill of Northeastern University compete during the Hanlon-Ford Gala.