Quick Summary
Ballroom dancing was first introduced to Purdue University as a class for credit, PES113 (1989-1992) by a Dance Department faculty member, Carol Cunningham. In 1992, when funding was cut for its curriculum, Kirsten Thole, the former teaching assistant of PES113, started The Purdue Ballroom Dance Club as a recreational ballroom dancing community. At that time, the club consisted of 40 members. Through the years this club grew to as many as 200 members. 
In 1996, through the inspiring efforts of Aaron Altschul and Yuehwern Yih (our current faculty advisor), The Purdue Ballroom Dance Competition Team was realized. There were 15 couples on the team that first semester. Our first coach was Mr. Wayne Applegate.
Today, our competitive team consists of over 180 members and has recently been renamed The Purdue Latin and Ballroom Dance Team. The name change came with the realization that “ballroom” was not always interpreted to include the latin dances. This team is also proud to hold several national titles, and many national finalists.
We are also proud of Yuehwern Yih and Daniel Dilley as well as Eduardo and Cristina Acevedo who have both become United States American Rhythm Professionals. Our beginner and intermediate team members strive on a daily basis to achieve excellence in their dancing. They are the future of this team, and we can honestly say, we are looking at a great future. 
However, we would not be here today if not for all the friends we have made through the last 12 years of inter-collegiate dancing. We thank all our friends from universities and colleges throughout the Midwest for all these years of support and friendship. Dancing would not be the same without you and we are happy you are here with us today.

The details:  From PES113 Students to Champions


This history was originally compiled by Aaron Altschul, with help from Eric Benedict, Colwell Cook, and Gene Howell.

The names listed in parentheses indicate those people not able to complete their full year term as an officer in that position because of graduation or other reasons.

Spring 1989 (maybe earlier?) - Spring 1992

Instructor: Carol Cunningham

Ballroom dancing was taught as a Purdue dance class, PES113, by dance faculty member Carol Cunningham. The course was worth one credit, and was taught on Tuesday evenings in Lambert Gym. At the beginning of the semester, the room would be filled to capa city, but during the semester's course it would thin out greatly due to people dropping the class. The instructor would explain a pattern to the whole class, and then the class would break up into small groups (~20-30 people) for more "personalized" inst ruction. "Line of dance" and "leading/following" were not stressed, and the dancing could best be described as "Purdue Style." The final year, a video tape of the introductory demonstration dances was made. Despite great interest in the class, in the s pring of 1992 the funding for the class was cut.


President: Kirsten Thole

Secretary/Treasurer: Rob ?

Advisor: Carol Cunningham

Instructors: Kirsten Thole, Rob ?, Eric Benedict

Notes: This is the first year for the Purdue Ballroom Dance Club. It was founded by Kirsten Thole, a former teaching assistant for PES113. Although ballroom dancing would no longer be available at Purdue for credit, it would at least be available for re creation. Practices were still held on Tuesday nights. Other ex-TA's helped with the teaching. Club membership was rather small; there were about ten people each week, and they were mostly male. There were roughly forty members total in the club (if t hey showed up once they were considered to be in the club.) Some mini-ballroom dancing courses were taught at the dorms as well.


President: Brian Whitesell

Secretary/Treasurer: Todd Flounder

Advisor: Colwell Cook

Instructors: Colwell Cook, Dan Tretter

Notes: The club still had about 40 members. This is the first time Purdue attended a competition. One couple participated. "Purdue Style" was no longer taught, and conventional technique and style was introduced.


President: Gene Howell

Secretary/Treasurer: Dan Pavich

Social Chair: Aaron Altschul

Competition Chair: Amy Conklin

Education Chair: Justin Kerber

Advisor: Colwell Cook

Instructor: Gene Howell

Notes: Club membership grows from ~40 members to ~90 members. To deal with the increasing activities of the club, the various chair positions were created. A microphone was purchased for teaching purposes.


President: Gene Howell

Vice President: Aaron Altschul

Secretary: Mona Azar

Treasurer: Amy Conklin

Social Chair: ?

Competition Chair: ?

Education Chair: ?

Advisor: Yuehwern Yih

Instructor: Gene Howell

(It is possible that no chair positions were filled during this term.)

Notes: Club membership increases to over 130 people. The club constitution was changed to create more elected positions. The web page for the club was created by Gene Howell. Thursday nights were added as an opportunity for members to practice, althoug h there were no formal lessons on this day.


President: Kathy Brelage (Nicole Barton)

Vice President: Julie Bell (Kathy Brelage)

Secretary: Heather Penney

Treasurer: Charla Newman (Larry Noble)

Social Chair: Bart Voigt

Competition Chair: Aaron Altschul

Education Chair: Joanna Hurley

Advisor: Yuehwern Yih

Social Club Instructor: Laura Farrer

Competition Team Coach: Wayne Applegate

Notes: Due to an increase in the number of people interested in attending intercollegiate ballroom dance competitions, the Purdue Ballroom Competition Team was created as a subgroup of the Purdue Ballroom Dance Club by Aaron Altschul and Yuehwern Yih. A bout fifteen couples were on the Team the first semester.


President: Andrea Clouse

Vice President: Ryan McIntyre (Kathy Brelage)

Secretary: Sarah Fourman

Treasurer: Pete Peterson

Social Chair: Monica Stevanovic & Advet Bhambhani

Competition Chair: Tony Bollinger & Josh Scheffler (Aaron Altschul)

Education Chair: Rhea Sammons

Web Chair: Dan Aiello

Advisor: Yuehwern Yih

Social Club Instructor: Laura Farrer

Competition Team Coach: Wayne Applegate

Notes: For the fall semester, Thursdays were changed from only a practice time to another group lesson. Lessons are now two days a week. Competition Team membership increased to about 22 couples. The Web Chair position was created to deal with the club web page and other computer-related activities. Also, an anonymous foundation decided to donate $500 to the Competition Team each semester. This money is used as a scholarship for two couples, and is spent on private lessons and costumes.

1998-1999 President: Sarah Fourman

Vice President:


Treasurer: Pete Peterson (Jon Hollar)

Social Chair:

Competition Chairs: Tony Bollinger and Josh Scheffler

Webmaster: Dan Aiello

Social Club Instructor: Laura Farrar

Competition Team Instructor: Wayne Applegate

Notes: Numbers have grown exponentially! Our social club boasts around 200 members, and the competition team has expanded to around 50 couples. The competition team also hosted the first annual competition here at Purdue. It was a great success and put Purdue on the map! Also, the National Championships were held in Indianapolis this year, and several of our members competed in this event. Ben Pidgeon and Rushika Perera placed first in their division!


President: Linda Flowers (Kim Smith)

Vice President: Vacant (Linda Flowers)

Secretary: Evin Larsen

Treasurer: Audrey Harling (Rebecca McCammon) (Stefan Thibodeaux)

Bookkeeper: Audrey Harling

Competition Team Chairs: Kurt Otte and Heather Baburek (Rushika Perera)

Webmaster: Shunsuke Sumitani

Social Club Instructor: Laura Farrar

Competition Team Instructor: Wayne Applegate

Notes: This was a year full of changes. The constitution was amended, the club's location changed from Lambert Gym to University Church. Our numbers dropped but are rising again. The competition team's numbers soared to around 80 people, and accommodations had to be made. Our second competition in the fall was an even bigger success than the one before!

The Crazy years
At this point things got complicated as the team went through growing pains, coaching changes, our first officer impeachment, etc. Someday, we will post the details.

The 10th Annual Purdue Ballroom Classic is about to bust the walls of the South Ballroom. The organizers begin to look for sponsors and advertisers at the event.

At the 11th Annual Purdue Ballroom Classic, we introduce electronic judging and finish the event 2 hours faster having just as much fun.  The semester also included some exciting guest workshops.

The team had 150 members this semester. 



In Memory Of Eric Bishop:

Eric Bishop passed away the week of Wednesday Nov24th, 2008. Eric has been a member of the Ballroom Club even before we started the competition team and he loved dancing, especially Tango. He was always there to help the club whenever he could.

A kind, understanding and thoughtful person, he will be missed by all of us, and remembered always.

The Memorial service was well attended by about 30 team/club members, and an amazing number of friends and family. 

Live life to the fullest.  Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.  Honor your word.