This description is based on an interview between Cuong Chi Nguyen (founder of DTU Dancing together with Christian Hviid) and Niels Dyreborg Nielsen (Board member 2016/2017)
The story dates to 1996, when Cuong Chi Nguyen began his study at DTU. He and Christian Hviid invited in 1998 the ballroom couple Klaus and Susanne from USG (the University student gymnastic union) to start teaching dance classes at DTU. Initially, it was a success partly due to the limited “competition” from other dancing clubs in the area around DTU and partly due to the guarantee for the ladies to be followers and not leaders, because of the high men/women ratio at DTU at that time. However, challenges concerning dancing locations and time slots existed, because initially the club was not well organized and not member of DTU Sport. Because of these challenges, the club did not offer any dance classes for one semester in 2000.
Fresh blood needed to pull the club back in business, and fortunately Cuong and Mads Berthinus Pedersen met over the phone. They both lived in the same dorm and started discussing dancing and teaching. Mads had been dance teaching from the age of 16 and started his studies at DTU in 2000. Fruitful discussions resulted in a revival of the club in January 2001 with Mads taken care of ballroom classes and Cuong of Salsa classes.
The dance location was Glassalen in building 101, which was a joy because of the wooden floor, but a regret due to the chairs and tables, which had to be moved before and after each dance class. Moreover, DTU and other clubs booked Glassalen for special occasions, which meant, that the dancing club had to move to a new location with sometimes short notice. Therefore, finding a good available location was the most challenging part of running the dance club.
After some years, the dance location changed from Glassalen to the current place in buildings 208 and 210.
The founder’s motivation for creating DTU Dancing is “to pass on the joy of dancing”. Ordinary dance schools both have high monthly fees and usually require a dance partner. Both are possible challenges for students, who want to try dancing. DTU Dancing provides a solution to both problems by only demanding a low fee and utilize a dancing partner rotation principle, which also contributes to the great social atmosphere experienced in the different dance teams.
Socially the founders introduced TDD (Tour des Dancers) equivalent to TDC (Tour des Chambres), where students living in the dorm visit each other’s rooms and drink and play social games. TDD went to each of the dancers in the different dorms.
Participating in the “after-dancing” events was an important part of the club. Here the dancing club closed at least one bar by starting with Kælderbaren (Cellar bar below S-house), where they drank beer, Galiano hot shots and other drinks. After they have closed Kælderbaren, they continued to Kampsax, and the party continued.
Different dance styles were also offered at workshop such as river dance, hip hop, lambada and Argentinian Tango.
Reaching the end of the interview, Cuong shortly lists motivation factors for joining DTU Dancing:
- Social activities
- Dancing (mentioned four times )
- Meeting other students
- Having fun
- Many parties
Currently Cuong mainly dances Kizomba but does not teach any more due to limited time. Occasionally he gets invited as TAXI dancer for international festivals. The concept of TAXI dancer is to ensure, that the ladies get a dance, when they participate at the festivals.
Mads started another dance club named Nordvest Ballroom in Copenhagen with two former dancers from DTU Dancing. Professionally he
Christian continued at studying and later working at DTU, before he went into the private sector.
Finally, I will give the word to Cuong:
“When you start to dance, it becomes part of you, then you cannot stop dancing”
Cuong Chi Nguyen (founder of DTU Dancing 1998)
Christian Hviid (founder of DTU Dancing 1998)
Mads Berthinus Pedersen (co-founder of DTU Dancing 2001)