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Regan Shee: Student by Day, Ballroom Dancer by Night

Mei Miyahara

The Latin music comes on, and it’s time to walk on. Toes must be pointed. Arms must be straight. Movements must be sharp.

Ballroom dancing in front of hundreds of people while ensuring every detail is right on spot is what junior Regan Shee has been doing for nearly half his life. However, seven years ago, Shee didn’t even know that ballroom dancing existed, let alone what it was.

“It’s really rare for boys to go into ballroom dance, so I thought it was kind of weird,” Shee said. “I didn’t really want to do it at first, but I’ve kind of grown into it honestly as the years go by.”

Although Shee did not plan to go into a sport of any kind, his mom motivated him to explore it, as she wanted him to develop better posture.

“I feel like it’s kind of built me as a person,” Shee said.

According to Shee, ballroom dancing is very focused on detail, and every little thing counts.

“You have to be very precise on everything or judges will take points off,” Shee said. “You could be perfect, but there might be people who are even more perfect in competition. Then you might get ruled out a lot.”

Shee also noted that this detail-oriented mindset that ballroom dancing gave him has positively affected his academics.

“I do pay more attention to homework assignments because before dancing, I just did the bare minimum, but after dancing, it was like, pay attention to a specific rule in math or grammar mistakes in writing,” Shee said.

The best part about ballroom dancing for Shee is learning the steps and embracing the process. He shared that there is so much that goes into a routine, from all the detailed lessons to the long hours of work. However, he reminds himself that it is important to stay patient throughout the process.

“I was very frustrated at the beginning because my balance was not good,” Shee said. “It was really hard for me to put a toe in or take a spin or something, so it takes a long time to master specific steps, but if you take the time and practice hard enough, then you’ll be fine.”

Shee’s specific style of ballroom dancing is Latin, and his favorite type of Latin ballroom dancing is called Rumba. Rumba ballroom dancing consists of longer, slower beats and a less rapid pace than other types of Latin ballroom dancing.

“You don’t have to rush like in cha-cha or jive,” Shee said. “In Rumba, you can expand your frame a little bit more, take longer steps and be more elegant. That’s what allowed me to really respect it as a dancer.”

Once it is time for him to hit his final pose and the last few notes of the song fade away, Shee feels the biggest relief off his shoulders. For Shee, the most difficult part about dance is the tension he feels before a performance and as he walks on the stage.

“You have to make sure your form is good as you’re walking on, taking the correct place on the floor as you’re about to dance, making sure that you do the steps correctly and also making sure your frame is right,” Shee said.

Shee said that his journey of dancing made him who he is today. He does not have any regrets about taking part in this form of art.

“It’s helped my confidence a lot, I’d say, because of my better form and posture,” Shee said. “I feel a little bit bigger and prouder. It’s given me full confidence in taking risks in life.”

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