On one fateful day this past semester, my journalism professor introduced our class to opinion editorials and I felt as if I had finally realized my calling. I wrote a rather scathing op-ed in class involving, among other things, same sex dancing in ballroom competitions and Reddit, and after I turned it in my professor, who was somehow impressed by the rage I managed to articulate on a single page, asked me if there was somewhere I could submit my piece for publication. I knew of no dance magazine where such an article, or any article like it, would be accepted.
One of the pieces of advice we received during that very same journalism class was to take any idea we had, whether for a publication, an article, a podcast, or a radio show, and run with it, no matter how niche that idea was. As a member of a singularly niche community — collegiate ballroom dancers — the wheels in my head began to churn. While sitting in that sparse classroom, the name Waltz Tango Foxtrot came to mind in a rare spark of creativity. Later that day I bought the website domain and began texting my friends asking if they wanted to be a part of an online magazine.
Part of the problem in the beginning was distinguishing ourselves as a niche within a niche. There are plenty of ballroom blogs out there, and even a few print publications, though most of the latter are owned by USA Dance or the NDCA. I didn’t want WTF to be a blog, simply because I wanted the magazine to be community-based in nature. Modeled partially after The New York Times’s Modern Love series, I wanted the magazine to capture the experience of ballroom dancers in their own words. There aren’t many resources out there that specifically target dancers who began dancing in college, and so finally, WTF found its audience. With a mission statement directed towards newcomers but with a much broader demographic in mind, the goal of WTF is to publish articles written by dancers who started in college, or the coaches of dancers who started in college.
This magazine is for collegiate ballroom dancers, by collegiate ballroom dancers. This month, for our very first issue, our articles will be dedicated to the basics. On a foundational level, what is it that we are dancing, and why is it that we dance?
We hope you enjoy it — we’re just getting started.
— Carly Mattox, Editor-in-Chief