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Out of the laboratory and onto the dance floor


Andrew Banas and Kayla Crouch

By Jim McKeever

Upstate students Andrew Banas and Kayla Crouch are conferring, but not about class assignments or laboratory research. For an hour each week, the pair dance. They waltz, tango and foxtrot to the sounds of Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison. They discuss steps, turns, posture and form.

Crouch is a first-year medical technology student, and Banas is a first-year doctoral student in the College of Graduate Studies.

They dance mostly for fun and fitness.

They connected last semester when Banas put out the word that he wanted to start a ballroom dancing club on campus. “Though we were not able to set up the club right away, we decided to start practicing ourselves,” said Crouch. She started dancing salsa at age 8 while growing up in the Bronx. Then as a student at Binghamton University, she joined a Latin dance team and a ballroom dancing club.

Banas credits his older sister Elizabeth with sparking his interest in dancing. “She was moving away to college, and I was still at home (in Michigan) and it became a way for us to still stay connected. Her interest remains, and we still dance at social events when I am home for the holidays.”

Dancing provides a change of pace and a break from Banas‘ studies in cell and developmental biology. For Crouch, dancing is her time to relax. As she explained, “you can‘t have all work and no play.”

This article appears in the spring 2015 issue of Upstate Health magazine.