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Behind the Scenes at 2010 Nationals

Judith Searle

Haven't had a chance to make it to Nationals? Take a peek at past Board Member Judith Searle's recap of her adventures at 2010 Nationals here in L.A.

The USA Dance 2010 National DanceSport Competition program on Saturday evening, April 10 at the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles was one of the truly thrilling spectator experiences of my dance life. The major highlight of the evening, which came toward the end, was the "Showcase of Champions," which spotlighted two of USA Dance's longest-reigning national amateur champions. The show featured 11-time Adult Amateur Latin Champions Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova and 10-time Adult Amateur Standard Champion Victor Fung & his new partner Anastasia Muravyova; both couples now compete professionally for the United States in world events. Each of these couples performed three dances, and all six of the performances were breathtaking.

An announcement from the podium informed us that these performances, along with final heats in several of the 2010 competition categories, might be available on YouTube in the near future. If you have an opportunity to watch any of these videos, you have a major treat in store.

The medals for some of the categories were given out by Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman of "Dancing with the Stars," and I saw several dancers and cast members from the show sitting in the audience.

The competition categories for Pre-Teens (as young as age 7) and Youths (to age 18) featured stunning young dancers, and it seems to me their impressive gifts bode well for the popularity of DanceSport as an event in some future Olympics.

Watching heats for Standard, Latin and Rhythm categories (including the finals for Standard and Latin) was exciting, with fabulously costumed dancers strutting their stuff with great flair. With so much major talent on the floor, I was in awe of the judges' ability to pick the best of this gifted group. As a longtime social dancer and dance student myself, I appreciated not only the difficulty of the routines but also the seeming effortlessness of these amazing dancers in performing them.

I also attended the Social Tea Dance on Friday, April 9, which our Los Angeles County Chapter sponsored. The large floor in the Platinum Ballroom was a delight, and so was the music. USA Dance Social VP Jean Krupa was a gracious hostess, and several of our chapter members showed up, including Board Members Charles Edelsohn and Herbert McGurk (both of whom served as fine dance hosts), Dave Pierce (a volunteer at the front desk) and Livia Squires (who was busy helping out with publicity for the weekend).

The music was well chosen, and I had fun dancing with our hosts and others who attended. The dim sum that our chapter had ordered from the hotel were replaced, in the end, by raw veggies and dip, which the tired dancers seemed to enjoy. All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity for social dancers to enjoy each other and the music, in the midst of much inspiration from their competitive fellow enthusiasts.

—Judith Searle

More than 1,200 DanceSport athletes from throughout the US gathered in Los Angeles on April 9-11 for the The 2010 DanceSport National Championships.

Having qualified at regionals throughout the year, these athletes proved their status as the best amatuer ballroom and Latin dancers in the country, as they vied for national titles and placements on the USA Dance World Teams.

Among the winners were

our own chapter's Alexandra and Phil Caluen, who took home 1st place inAmateur Senior II Silver Smooth and 2nd in Amateur Senior II Gold Smooth. Pictured are Alexandra and Phil on the red carpet after their heats.

A jubilant Alexandra said, "Phil and I felt well-prepared for Nationals thanks to our work over the past two months with coach David Grace. It is our third time dancing at a National Championships, and we felt it was the best we have ever danced in competition. To place so well was a real delight."

Other instructors who have coached the Caluens include Russell Adcock, Michael Kuka, Sonny Perry, Loretta Turin Giasson, and Nadia Eftedal.

Competing from our chapter in Latin were Richard and Iris Chiang, who placed 1st in both Amateur Senior II and Amateur Senior III Championship Latin. The Chiangs had just returned from Sitges, Spain where they competed in the World Dance competition. They began their ballroom training in 1993 with Tom Hicks, and they continue to represent USA Dance spectacularly at National and World championships.