Former professor upholds longstanding tradition of ballroom dancing

Dr. Will Adams, a former political science professor, is the current ballroom dance instructor. Adams has been teaching ballroom dance for 41 years but has been a member of William Jewell staff for a total of 60 years. Dance has played a huge role in his life, from being to taught to waltz by his mother to having his first date with his future wife Eleaner at a spring dance.

Without the Adams, there would not be a ballroom dance class at William Jewell. The class began during Winter Term in 1976 with the title “Traditional American Folk Festivals,” as Jewell was a Baptist campus at the time and conducting a “dance class” would have been against policy. Two years before this, the couple had been conducting free dance lessons to interested students. Eventually, Winter Term was abolished at William Jewell and the Adams were asked to teach ballroom dance as a P.E. credit. They taught the class at William Jewell together until 1999, but health issues required fellow dancer Paula Daub to step in to teach with Adams.

At 86 years of age, Adams still loves teaching the class. The average enrollment for the class is about 25 students each semester, and he expects that number to remain the same for many years to come.

When asked what he loves most about ballroom dance, he said: “Eleaner and I began teaching to show people the neat steps we know, but we ended up doing social work. I’ve seen so many people – 4th and 5th graders, high school students, college students and adults – gain self esteem from learning how to dance.”

This Monday, Nov. 29, the current William Jewell ballroom dance class will be hosting the William Jewell Ball in the Atrium of the Yates-Gill College Union building. The ball begins at 7 pm and will end at 9:30 pm. The ball will proudly feature Dr. Adams’s band KC Jazz. The attire is described as formal to semi-formal, and there is no entry fee for the College’s students. While the guests are not required to partake in dancing if they aren’t up to the task, everyone is more than welcome to dance if they would like to. Attendees will even be offered a free dance lesson to learn some of the dances. The ball will feature the fox trot, tango, rumba, cha cha, west coast swing and many more.


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