HOUGHTON - Swapping partners and dancing to the likes of Christina Aguilera and Lou Bega Tuesday evening, a dozen or so Michigan Technological University students and community members came together to practice their dancing skills.
Practice will come in handy as the Social Dance Club at Michigan Tech prepares for the Scarlet Masquerade slated for this weekend.
The fourth annual Scarlet Masquerade will be held Saturday in the Calumet Theatre ballroom and is the biggest dance for the group every year.
"We hold it at different locations every year," said club president Jessica Hodson.
Although affiliated with Michigan Tech, the Social Dance Club opens its doors for anyone in the community of any dance level to the Scarlet Masquerade, and to regular dance hours held at the Student Development Complex during the school year.
The Scarlet Masquerade features a catered dinner and a night of dancing in formal or casual wear while masks are option. Some masks will be available at the door, Hodson said. Anyone of any dance level is welcome to attend the dance, described as a night of fun music, laughter and dancing.
Optional dance workshops kick off the event at noon, Hodson said, with professional dance instructors.
"As long as you have a membership card, you can get into the workshops for free," Hodson said.
No club membership? No problem, Hodson said. A fee to get into the workshops allows for a free membership, as they are the same price.
"Dinner begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner," she said. "If you can't dance at all, that's perfectly fine. There are others there like that, and we'll have people there who can show you how to dance."
Kumar Vanga, a graduate student, is just one of the many Tech students who gave the Social Dance Club a whirl this year.
"This will be my first time," he said.
Vanga said although he wished he learned to dance sooner, he's having a blast learning.
"I think it's wonderful and dance is definitely a skill that is acquired with time," he said. "I should have learned dance earlier. I cannot come up with enough good reasons not to. It's definitely very relaxing."
Since becoming a part of the group, Vanga has learned swing dance, some tango and some salsa.
Tickets for the Scarlet Masquerade are $15 for a couple and $10 for a single for non-members and $3 less for members. The entire cost includes dinner and dancing.
To see videos of the Social Dance Club, visit mininggazette.com.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.