Monday, November 24, 2008

Boston Bruins Unveil New Third Jersey With Fans

By Margaret DeJesus (

BOSTON--(Nov.24,2008) Bruins center Patrice Bergeron signs some autographs for fans at TD Banknorth Garden. Even though the players were scheduled to leave at 4 p.m., Bergeron along with Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic stuck around after to make sure those who were still in line got a signature.

Over 700 fans turned out for the Bruins third jersey launch at the Pro Shop in TD Banknorth Garden Monday afternoon. They waited in line in the cloudy, cold afternoon for over an hour to catch the six team members (Zdeno Chara, Phil Kessel, Tim Thomas, Blake Wheeler, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron) that were on hand to sign autographs.

Fans who purchased a new jersey were rewarded with a free autographed photo and the opportunity for the players to sign the new black and gold sweater.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ballroom Dancing Without the Stars

BOSTON-(Nov. 20, 2008)--Boston University students practice their tango under the guidance of ballroom dance instructor John Paul in the University’s Student Activities Center.

By Margaret DeJesus (

“Slow, quick, quick, slow,” John Paul instructed his ballroom dance students. He glided across the floor in his shiny black shoes chanting the words over and over. It created a rhythm for the American style tango that only they seemed to understand.

When watching the students of the Thursday night advanced ballroom dance class it became clear that every turn of the head, snap of the wrist or twirl of the foot mattered and had to be executed perfectly.

Precision, memory and grace were on display in Boston University’s activities center.
Ballroom dancing originated centuries ago as the elegant dance of choice for the old and wealthy. Today it has a much broader reach beyond the gala or wedding hall.

You don’t necessarily have to be Fred Astaire to enjoy the art form, competitive sport, or recreational pastime. College students and even couch potatoes are taking notice and looking to get in on the fun.

Ballroom dancing encompasses 19 types of dances ranging from the upbeat jive to the provocative tango. The dances are divided into the two categories of American or International. Since it’s a partner style dance that requires a man and a woman to work together in unison, it’s not uncommon for sparks of romance to develop.

Anne Marie Paul met her husband John at a dance teacher seminar where he asked her to save him a dance, and she obliged.

The pair have danced together professionally in competitions and each teaches at local colleges like BU and at DanceSport Boston, the studio they co-own.

Although sparks can fly, Paul said in a telephone interview that ballroom dancing is a wonderful and unique art form that can also be a great social tool and form of exercise.

“It’s an exercise that a man and a woman can do together where they just socialize as friends, move to the music and grow as people. Where else are you going to get that?”

Paul has been teaching ballroom dance for over 20 years. She got hooked after graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a degree in fashion design.

She meshed her love of fashion with her desire to dance and answered an ad in the paper looking for people interested in being trained to teach ballroom dance.

“Next thing I knew I had a partner and was competing professionally. I found something I really loved to do 26 years ago when I answered that ad,” she said.

The popular television show “Dancing with the Stars” may be awakening the inner dancer in others.

Whether she’s getting her nails done or waiting on line at the supermarket, Paul said she hears people talking about moves from the show all the time.

“It’s educating people on what a quickstep is or what a paso doble looks like. At least they have a clue now,” said Paul, who trained some South Shore realtors for the ‘Dancing with the Realtors’ charity competition for Habitat for Humanity.

“I think ‘Dancing with the Stars’ changed the perception of it (ballroom dancing) and showed people that ‘Yes, the average person can do this,’” said Paul. “It really helps us (teachers), because before, people were in the dark about it. They thought it was just something their grandmother did.”

But, she admitted that the average person doesn’t have the gift of time. A grueling work schedule would be required to replicate some of the dances so quickly. Getting the arms, head and feet to cooperate with the musicality, presentation and timing technique isn’t as easy as it looks.

“It might take two or three years for the average person to get it down like that, since they can’t come in four hours a day for six days of the week like they do on the show,” she said about the time commitment necessary to learn at such a fast pace.

Allison Chang, co-president of MIT’s Ballroom Dance Club had a different opinion of the show’s effect.

“The show is very entertaining to watch, but it also illustrates how difficult ballroom dancing can be,” she said in an email. “While I do believe more people are now more aware of what ballroom dancing means, they don't necessarily feel more encouraged to try it themselves.”

Chang started ballroom dancing at MIT with her sister Emily because it “seemed like a lot of fun and because it's a nice social skill to have.”

Ballroom dancing has a presence on many of Boston’s college campuses like Northeastern University, Harvard, Tufts and BU. It’s even the inspiration for various groups on social networking sites like Facebook and its “I ballroom danced before Dancing with the Stars made it cool” group.

And ballroom dancing doesn’t just work with the traditional classical instrumentation but there’s even room for the hip hop and pop music of the present to make its way on the competitive dance floor.

“Each dance has a specific rhythm and tempo. As long as the music fits the rhythm and tempo requirements, whether it's more traditional or contemporary, it will work,” said Emily Chang, a sophomore MIT graduate student and co-president of the club with her sister Allison.

Christina Aguilera’s “Come on Over” and the Pussycat Dolls “Don’t Cha” can be good tunes to practice the cha-cha while Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” could work well with a samba according to the BU Ballroom Dance Club’s website.

Even though the stars on TV make it look effortless, they’re following very specific patterns that can be learned with patience and practice.

“Learning the basic steps does not take long. Usually one or two beginner workshops are sufficient. In order to really master the techniques and look comfortable, though, you would mostlikely have to practice several times each week,” said Chang.

And although the list of dances, 19 to be exact, may look intimidating, knowing one or two goes a long way.

“There are many different styles, but some of them are related. Foxtrot is a little bit like quickstep, cha-cha is a little bit like rumba and salsa. So knowing one dance can help you learn another one faster,” said Chang.

Dancers need to be in great shape if they want to swing to a samba or have the stamina to fox trot in style.

“If you’ve never exercised in 20 years, we got some work to do,” said Anne Marie Paul, who’s been teaching since 1984. “Not everyone has the same goals, abilities or talents. There’s going to be highs and lows, injuries and setbacks. Part of the fun is getting there,” she said.

Paul said she’s seen a recent surge in people age 30 to 60 coming into the studio to learn the dance moves.

“When they try it out, it’s like finding a hidden gem they didn’t know they had before,” she said.
Paul said her studio has something for everyone, with showcases and competitions for the experts and fun parties for the rookies to show off their new moves.

“You can go out and use the skills you learn at the nightclub or you could have fun being a star or a Cinderella for the night with the glittery dress or big gown. And that goes for the guys too who just love the limelight and wish they could be in it.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bruins Continue to Offer Discounted Tickets for College Students

BOSTON-(Nov. 14, 2008)—Bruins’ fans Dan Reggiannini (left) and Matt Young (right) enjoy the B’s game versus the Montreal Canadiens in the discounted student section at TD Banknorth Garden on Thursday night.

By Margaret DeJesus (
The Boston Bruins are working extra hard this season to win games and also to win over young fans by offering low priced student tickets on weeknights and granting media access to college papers.
Students can catch games between Monday and Thursday nights for as low as 23 dollars which is about half the price of a ticket in a regular section. Thirteen rows in sections 320 and 321 of TD Banknorth Garden are allotted for students to purchase.
Students in section 320 at the Montreal Canadiens game last Thursday gave the promotion a thumbs up.
“Absolutely it’s a great idea,” said Dan Reggiannini, a senior at Lasell College in Newton about the deal.
Reggiannini said he buys the discount tickets for at least 10 Bruins games a year along with his friend Matt Young. The pair said they’ve been going since they started college in 2006 when the promotion began.
The seats situated in the upper section to the side of a goal net aren’t too bad either and the opposing teams that come to town usually make for a good match according to the students.
“The corner angle is good because you can see the whole ice and play of the game,” said Reggiannini.
“This is what you want,” said Young about the type of teams the Bruins face on student nights.
“It’s Montreal and these are good seats for 20 bucks,” he said.
According to Matthew Chmura, the Bruins director of communications, one of Boston’s greatest attributes is “the students that are here.”
Another way the Bruins are trying to win over the college crowd is by granting aspiring sports reporters media access to the team.
Recognizing how influential student newspapers can be, Chmura said in a telephone interview, “it’s another way for us to make sure we get our message out about our games and how entertaining they can be.”
Once a hopeful journalist himself as a college student at Holy Cross, Chmura said, “It’s almost an obligation for the Bruins to give the students access. It can only help those people who have aspirations in the field and we’re hopeful that they’ll take part.”
Korin Hasegawa-John, the Inside NHL writer for the Tufts Daily, the university’s student paper, said he’s been given access to the press box, the locker rooms, and the post game press conferences at the Bruins games this season.
“For anyone considering a career in the print journalism field, the chance to talk to pro athletes without the additional pressure of being a professional reporter is a great developmental step,” said Hasegawa-John in an email.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Boston Bruins Beat Canadiens 6-1

By Margaret DeJesus (

BOSTON-(Nov.14, 2008)—The Bruins may have been sleepy but they were hungry for a win and it showed when they clobbered the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 last night at TD Banknorth Garden.

The team exploded for three unanswered goals in the first period despite returning to Boston from Chicago early this morning after defeating the Blackhawks in a shootout the previous night.

With the big win, the Bruins finally snapped a 12-game regular season losing streak against their division rival.

“Maybe they felt tired but they really wanted this game and it showed… They’ve gone a lot of games against us without a win. We just weren’t ready for whatever reason,” said Montreal’s captain Saku Koivu after the game.

Koivu scored his team’s lone goal in the second period on a wrap around shot after Bruins goaltender Manny Fernandez lost control of the puck.

BOSTON-(Nov. 13, 2008)--Montreal Canadiens' Captain Saku Koivu reflects on his team's 6-1 loss in the away team locker room at TD Banknorth Garden.

Gritty fourth line forward Shawn Thornton scored the first goal of the night and his first of the season for the Bruins on a backhand shot just two minutes into the game after poke checking the puck away from the Canadiens in their own zone.

Thornton’s line, with Chuck Kobasew and Stephane Yelle had seven points in the game.
Fernandez, who made 27 saves, got lucky in the first period as a shot ripped past him only to clink off the goal post which could have shifted the momentum back to Montreal.

After the Canadiens failed to convert on the first powerplay of the game, the Bruins took off and never looked back.

Yelle fired a wrist shot past Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price to make the score 2-0 after being denied on his first shot attempt on the play and Marco Sturm made it 3-0 after scoring on the power play.

Yelle got his second goal of the game late in the third period making it 6-1 to add salt to the wound of the Canadiens. Montreal’s goalie was taunted throughout the game as fans sang “Carey” louder and louder each time a goal was allowed.

“I think us being on a roll previous to this game helped us with our confidence tonight,” said rookie forward and breakout star Milan Lucic, who had a goal in the game.

The Bruins had won four games in a row and seven of their last eight.

When Lucic dropped the gloves and fought Canadien defenseman Mike Komisarek at 7:25 of the third period, the crowd of 16,816 erupted in cheers. After winning the fight, the forward roared along with them the whole way to the penalty box.

“When the fans are screaming and they’re pumped up it gets you even more pumped up,” he told reporters after the game. “It’s pretty much adrenaline going through me.”

It was clear that the revived rivalry between the two clubs was still burning after their exciting playoff series battle last season.

Team USA jerseys and an American flag could be seen among the crowd which occasionally burst into “U-S-A” chants. Not to be outdone, the large number of Canadiens’ fans in attendance made sure to sing out their proverbial “Ole, ole ole,” song.

Bruins Coach Claude Julien said he thought his team “showed so much character” and “resiliency and determination tonight.”

“We certainly went out there with a lot of jump,” he said in the post game press conference. “I thought our guys were great and their character certainly showed tonight.”

The Bruins are continuing to exceed expectations as they are at the top of the Northeast Division and only three points away from a first place spot in the Eastern Conference. The B’s face off against the league leading New York Rangers on Saturday.

The three stars of the game were Marco Sturm (LW), Shawn Thornton (LW) and Milan Lucic (LW).
Sturm has three goals in his last two games after scoring two last night and one against Chicago on Wednesday.
Andrew Ference was injured in last night’s game and will be out of the lineup for 6 to 8 weeks with a broken tibia.
The game was the second of four Original Six team matchups in a row this week as the Bruins faced the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and the Montreal Canadiens last night. On Saturday the B’s play the New York Rangers before heading to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

BOSTON-(Nov. 13, 2008)--Boston Bruins forwards and three star selections of the night Marco Sturm, Milan Lucic and Stephane Yelle talk about the team's big win.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BU Parties Like it's 2009

By Margaret DeJesus (

On election night I had a paper to work on (Shocker, right?). I got sidetracked and typed some thoughts on the fly in my open WORD doc. Here are my procrastinating ramblings and videos from the night kept just as they were.

Tonight, November 4, 2008, is a historical night. America has begun to write a new chapter in its book of history. Outside my window in Boston, students are dancing and cheering in the streets as though the Red Sox just won a big game. Cars honk away, bells ring and music blasts in the dorm across the hall. Well, the idiots next door always crank up the volume on their speakers, but I’d like to think they’re celebrating too.

Tonight, the 44th president of the United States was elected. Chicago looks like a rock concert with thousands of fans clamoring in a park.

Tonight, an African American is the president elect. In a country where there was once slavery, segregation and Jim Crow; in a country where Emmett Till and Medger Evers were ruthlessly murdered; in a country where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated; in a country where fire hoses were used to shoot water at students protesting discrimination at a lunch counter, an African American is now president.

Tonight, I put my politics aside and looked at the history I was witnessing.

Tonight, I can’t help but relish in this moment and I can’t really explain why. I’m not a Democrat and I’m not a Republican. I don’t know if raising taxes on small businesses is a good idea, and I’m not sure if Iraq was the way to go. I’m not sure if I’m totally for or against abortion and I’m not sure if the bailout was the right remedy for the ailing economy.

I’m sure that something changed tonight.
BOSTON-(Nov. 5,2008) Commonwealth Avenue looks like a Red Sox party for President-Elect Obama between 12-1:30 a.m. as about a hundred or so students celebrate his victory in the street.