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Three Successive Japan Championships: Waseda's Magnificent Ballroom Dance Club

Mr. Fumiaki Akisawa
Ms. Megumi Kawaguchi
Mr. Masakazu Tsuboi

"I wanted to meet girls. There aren't very many of them in my School," Mr. Akisawa said with a laugh when asked why he started competitive ballroom dancing, which is not exactly well known in the world of sports.

"Seriously?" his partner, Ms. Kawaguchi, asked in surprise.

"No, I'm just kidding," he replied. "The reason I joined is because the only flier I received from clubs looking for new student members was from the Ballroom Dance Club."

In contrast, Ms. Kawaguchi and Mr. Tsuboi were inspired by a demonstration held to attract new members. "I was fascinated by how the dancers seemed to sparkle," she said, "so I immediately went to the club's office."

"There weren't really any other clubs that appealed to me," said Mr. Tsuboi. "When I saw the Ballroom Dance Club, I knew it was the one."

Mr. Akisawa said that, until he learned how to dance with "light" steps, "there were all sorts of barriers in my way that I had never experienced before." Mr. Tsuboi added, "But I believed I could do it, and after totally dedicating myself to basic practice, I saw results."

"I realized that, even if you don't see the meaning of something at the time, it can really come to you later," Ms. Kawaguchi said with great emotion.

When asked what the appeal of dance is, all three students answered, "The chance to discover a whole new self!"

"As soon as the music starts, my body goes into dance mode," said Mr.Tsuboi. "I'm usually pretty bent over, but when I'm dancing I stand upreally straight," Mr. Akisawa commented, nodding.

"When I'm dancing," said Ms. Kawaguchi, "I focus on being elegant, and am energized all the way to my fingertips. It's also great to feel so feminine."

After graduation, the three students will face new starts as adult members of society. All three students said that, when looking back at the four years they spent practicing and helping each other, they were able to overcome most of the challenges they faced.

"I hope that dance keeps us connected together forever."

"Forever? That's impossible!"

As they joked with each other, they all had brilliant smiles on their faces.

At the 53rd Japan Student Competitive Ballroom Dance Championship in December 2008, the Waseda Ballroom Dance Club won the Grand Prize three times in a row for overall group marks. For individual marks, Mr. Akisawa and Ms. Kawaguchi won in the slow foxtrot, while Mr. Tsuboi was top in the cha-cha-cha.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Fumiaki Akisawa

Born in Tochigi Prefecture in 1985. Graduated from Killara High School (Australia), and will graduate this spring from the School of Science and Engineering. Became captain of the Ballroom Dance Club in 2008. Fumiaki's hobbies include watching foreign television series ("24," "Prison Break," etc.).

Megumi Kawaguchi

Born in Tochigi Prefecture in 1987. Graduated from Kyoritsu Women's Education Institute, and will graduate this spring from the School of Law. Ms. Kawaguchi is Mr. Akisawa's dance partner. Her favorite movie is "Roman Holiday."

Masakazu Tsuboi

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1985. Graduated from Chinzei Keiai Senior High School, and will graduate this spring from the School of Commerce. Mr. Tsuboi plays a leading role in the Dance Club's Samba division, and also enjoys playing basketball.