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Photos by Amanda Friedman

Published Dec 14, 2018 8:00 AM


1,000 clubs. Something for everybody. UCLA's club scene is eclectic and manifold. Sure, you can get physical, with dragon boat racing or frisbee competition, or even Quidditch. But there are plenty of nonathletic groups dedicated to everything from science fiction and fantasy to tango. Here are three favorites.


Overhead view of members practicing their 1920s dancing in Kerckhoff Grand Salon. Photos by Amanda Friedman.

HISTORICAL BALLROOM DANCE CLUB

Not many clubs can brag of a 500-year history, but that’s exactly what makes the Historical Ballroom Dance Club (HBDC) unique. While the club itself isn’t that old — it was begun in 1997 — it offers members the chance to learn dances that were popular from the 15th through the mid-20th century. You won’t find any hip-hop here!

HBDC’s instructors teach dances (including some you’ve probably never heard of) from the following eras: Renaissance, Baroque, American Revolution, Civil War, ragtime and WWI. Want to learn the minuet, the branle, the galliard, the waltz, the tango or the mazurka? No problem! Or, if your tastes run to more “modern” dances, such as those from the 1920s through the 1950s, there’s the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, the Shim Sham and the Madison, among others.


HBDC co-founder James Zimmer is flanked by Mikal Sandoval, lead singer of the Time Travelers Band (left), and HBDC co-founder Cynthia Harper.

Dancers of all skill levels are welcome, and every event includes a free dance lesson. Members can show off what they’ve learned at any of several Saturday night events at the club’s two venues — Kerckhoff Hall Grand Salon and Ackerman Grand Ballroom. To add to the authenticity of the time periods, HBDC invites guest dancers, teachers, speakers, deejays and bands to perform at the events. (Past speakers have included radio host/historian Dr. Demento — aka Barry Hansen M.A. ’67 — and Joe Lanza, creator of the bossa nova.)

All HBDC events are free and open to students, faculty, staff and alumni, although donations are welcome and annual memberships are available for purchase. Dancers enjoy complimentary refreshments and a chance to dress up in period costumes or formal wear.

So what are you waiting for? With upcoming events that include the “Great Gatsby 1920s Ball” and the “Baroque Pirate Masquerade Ball,” it’s time to don that flapper dress or tricorn hat and get out on the dance floor!

— Wendy Soderburg ’82


Cubers Grace Mericer, Preetham Narayanareddy and Allison Yoon.

CUBING CLUB

Cubing. It’s what you do when you multiply a number by its square. Or maybe, according to Auguste Escoffier, it would be the precision chopping method you use to cut potatoes into that shape.


Or you might be talking about solving a Rubik’s Cube — originally called the “Magic Cube” by its Hungarian inventor, architecture professor Erno Rubik.

The New York Times called Rubik’s theretofore wildly popular invention “the maddening Mondrian-colored” puzzle, with 43 quintillion possible permutations, when the paper declared the early ’80s cube craze dead in late 1982.

Tell that to today’s competitive cubers like the student members of the Cubing Club at UCLA, who convene to share techniques and work on whittling down solve times together.

Club members practice on variations of the original, too, or under special conditions — think larger cubes or solving cubes blindfolded. The club even hosted a “Bruin Cube Day” competition in May, where former world-record holder Max Park won the 3x3x3 event with a time of 4.89 seconds!

— Delan Bruce

FAST AT UCLA

Students can indulge their passion for fashion in UCLA’s first and only fashion club, FAST (Fashion and Student Trends), founded in 2001. The epicenter of all things fashion-related on campus, FAST enables rising talents to show their work and refine their skills while gaining firsthand experience in design, modeling, finance, budget, public relations, marketing, creative directing and production.

Students who want in on the action may apply for membership each fall. In addition to aspiring designers and models, FAST welcomes students who want to explore their personal creativity, culture and fashion sense. Students can apply to be on committees that involve all aspects of the industry, including editorial and film, marketing, PR, blog writing and production.

Throughout the year, members get their fashionable feet wet through career-building events, workshops, photo shoots and networking nights. And the topper? Every spring, the club holds the annual FAST Fashion Show, an industry-level runway extravaganza at Pauley Pavilion that showcases the work of student designers before an audience of more than 700 that includes industry professionals.

— Jennifer Shaklan M.F.A. ’02


Skylar Kang, Taylor Adams, Isabella Mattina and Jack Krupinski.

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