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Thursday, December 11, 2014

how it works: Our Dance season and the grand finale

Many of my non-dancing friends ask how  dancing has a "sports season". Here's my attempt to explain it.

Unlike other sports, the dance season runs for 12 months, starting and ending in November of each year. Throughout the year there are 85 competitions that comprise our circuit. Events are held all over the country, where student dancers accumulate points. The points are tallied on a central website:


At the end of the year, dance students and dance teachers are presented with world pro/am Dancepsort series awards.

The Ohio Star Ball is considered the largest event in our industry, which serves as the grand "Super Bowl" style finale for the end of our dance season. It is held every November at the Columbus Conventon Center in Ohio.

Professional dancers also compete for the most prestigious titles at Ohio. The professional rounds are what you see televised on the PBS program.

The Ohio Star Ball has been traditionally broadcast on PBS, for over 30 years. Over the years the event has been retitled   for tv format. For a few years it was broadcast as "Champion Ballroom" and then later as "America's Ballroom Challenge"
For many years, the show was hosted by Juliet Prowse.

In later years it was hosted by:
Barbara Eden

 Sandy Duncan

Mary Lou Henner

 Jean Louisa Kelly

Jasmine Guy

This year the show will be hosted by Mary Murphy.

Outside the professional dancing and celebrity focus. Dance Students compete  with their teachers in a large scale arena.  Teacher/student partnerships are known As Pro/Am. This type of partnership means that one dancer is professional and dances as a paid service, while the other dancer in the partnership is an amateur, who dances as a client of the professional dancer.

All ages and levels compete in these competitions, from beginner to advanced. Dancers are divided by age and skill level.

Some of the divisions at Ohio Star Ball have over 50 couples on the floor.

There are 3 different ballrooms which run at Ohio during the week long event. The professionals dance at the end of the week in the main convention center arena.

Some of the most prestigious awards of our industry are presented at the Ohio Star Ball. For professionals, the crowned winner of America's Ballroom Challenege is the highest placement that one can receive.

For students, the most prestigious award in DanceSport is also presented, which is the Dancesport Series Overall Top Student Award. This year the award was presented to Lauren LaPointe .
Her teacher, Louis Bar, won the overall top teacher award, which is the highest honor for a dance teacher in our industry.

This year's Ohio was also a very happy moment for me, as it was my first time making it in the Top Ten Dancesprt Series  Line up.
I am very thankful to all my students who helped me achieve this top ranking. It was entirely due to their hardwork and support:

Judith Albarelli
Lauren Garrett
Alice Williams
Danielle Roeber
Dana Coppola
Tarang Mehta
Ester Servais
Lindsay Hayden
And Sophia D'Angelo

This year our students also helped the studio earn 13th place overall, which is also due to the help of:

Rebecca Gentry
Michael Albarelli
Dave Russell
William Zeisel
Terry Chasteen
Luca Madi

We're still downloading our pictures from this years OSB, so I'll post more pics from our experience soon.