For ballroom dancers Anamaría Guzmán and Yajyoo Shrestha, dancing comes easily when they are together on the floor. Footsteps follow each other seamlessly and bodies sway in perfect motion as they work as one mind and one body.
Both international students in their junior year, Shrestha, a civil engineering major from Nepal, and Guzmán, a neuroscience major from Colombia, are gold level dancers with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Ballroom Dance Company. They said they met, became dance partners and started dating through their shared love of Latin dancing. They have now been performing couple solos with each other for almost two years.
Shrestha and Guzmán said they both have been dancing for as long as they can remember and consider themselves to be passionate dancers.
“Dancing brings people together; it’s a way of reflecting emotions in a way that you can’t necessarily with words,” Shrestha said. “Dancing can bring people together no matter what your situation is.”
Guzmán joined the Ballroom Dance Company her first semester of college and was dancing with the team before she knew Shrestha.
They started out as acquaintances who knew each other from mutual friendships. After getting to know each other through occasional conversations, Guzmán and Shrestha said they decided to go to a Latin dance club together and immediately hit it off.
A year later, Shrestha, encouraged by Guzmán, auditioned for the Ballroom Dance Company and made the team while Guzmán, who had joined the previous year, was already a bronze member.
Strestha and Guzmán danced a Cha-cha-cha at the 2018 Ballroom Dance Company’s winter show, their first performance together.
Shrestha and Guzmán said dancing together feels right because they understand each other’s movement and communicate well with one another.
“We read each other’s body language, and I know if he’s leading then I’m going to follow,” Guzmán said. “We’re doing our own thing but together, and we move very synchronized. It’s like we’re one on the dance floor, and it’s really nice because we understand each other.”
When dancing together, they can forget everything else around them and just focus on each other, they said. It’s just them and the dance floor.
“I call dancing a meditation through movement,” Guzmán said. “It brings you to the present, nothing else matters, academics doesn’t matter or my problems or responsibilities. It really brings you to a moment and it’s just you and your partner.”
Shrestha and Guzmán also share a love for the ABC television series “Dancing with the Stars.” After their dance practice on Monday nights, Shrestha said they like to watch that night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars” together. They even got to go see the live show in Los Angeles over winter break.
Shrestha and Guzmán said they are currently working on a Samba for the Ballroom Dance Company’s winter showcase in December. It is just one of the many dances they hope to have in the future, they said.
Both Strestha and Guzmán said they are happy that dancing brought them together and are excited that they can share their passion for dance with one another.
“With her [Guzmán] it’s like we create these dances together,” Shrestha said. “It’s just fun to be with someone that knows and is equally as passionate as I am, and I think that’s the best thing about dancing and choreographing dances with her.”