nyusabda logoKirstie and Maks in New York City!
June 7, 2011 ed.

Greetings from the Greater NY Chapter of USA Dance!

In this edition:
  1. Summer Luau This Saturday, June 11
  2. Kirstie and Maks Take Manhattan (Center)
  3. Paul and Louise Giuliano at the Edison Ballroom Dance Contest Final
  4. Results from Blackpool
  5. Big Band Jazz and Swing Concert and Dance at Bohemian National Hall
  6. Reminders: Swarovski and Midsummer Night Swing
  7. Looking to improve your dancing?
  8. Looking to social dance?
  9. Looking for a Partner?

Summer Luau This Saturday, June 11

Where will you be this Saturday evening? If you said, “At the NY USA Dance Summer Luau at Manhattan Ballroom Dance Studio, of course!” that would be the correct answer. Join us on Saturday night to ring in the summer Hawaiian-style. Come in your favorite luau wear (such as Hawaiian shirt, bikini, grass skirt) and you can take $3 off the price of admission. We hope to see you there!

Kirstie and Maks Take Manhattan (Center)

Dance with Me Summer Invitational with Kirstie and MaksIf you saw our special announcement on June 3 about Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy performing in New York City at the Dance with Me Summer Invitational, then you know that Sunday, June 5, was your only chance to catch the DWTS12 runners up live and in person. Thanks to the kind invitation of Alex Chmerkovskiy, Maks’s dad, I was able to attend and be part of this very special evening.

The day featured competitions among the three Dance with Me studios in the area, namely, New Jersey, Long Island and Soho, right here in Manhattan. After 8 pm the performances started, featuring many of the instructors at the studios who are regional and national champions in their own right. Prominent among that group were Nicole and Teddy Volynets, who danced in DWTS12 as part of the DWTS Troupe. Performing a passionate and powerful paso doble were USA Dance National Latin Champions Val Chmerkovskiy and Daria Chesnokova, who last week in Blackpool took third in Amateur Latin -- no mean feat, considering the more than 240 couples they danced against to reach top three in the world.

DWTS pro Tony Dovolani served as MC, joined by Maks Chmerkovskiy. When Tony took the floor to dance with his former pro partner, Elena Grinenko, Maks took over the podium. Shortly thereafter, Maks took a wireless mike with him onto the dance floor because the moment that the more than 1300 audience members who packed the ground floor and balconies had been waiting for finally arrived: Maks performing with Kirstie Alley. After acknowledging and thanking the team of family, friends and colleagues that made the evening possible, Maks and Kirstie danced the very first dance they performed on season 12: cha cha to Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You.” The crowd went wild.

The media were out in full force, including a camera crew from Access Hollywood, to capture the proceedings.

The evening closed with a raffle drawing in which seven lucky women got to dance with instructors from Dance with Me, including Maks and Val. All seven women took the floor at the same time and the instructors changed partners so all the raffle winners got to dance, even for a short while, with Maks. At the end of the song, everyone on the ground floor was invited to take the floor to join the party. Balloons were released from the ceiling to everyone’s delight. Petra Nemcova, who danced with Dmitry Chaplin in season 12, was also in attendance, and she joyously joined the revelers on the dance floor.

As I made my way out of the Hammerstein Ballroom, the audience members from the balcony were coming down to the ground floor, where a long line of people had formed to take their place on the step-and-repeat to get their photos taken with the many dance stars who were present. A multitude of happy and excited faces filled the room.

Congratulations to Dance with Me on the smashing success of their Summer Invitational. True to the name of the event, they made “All the Rights Moves!” (For a few of my shots from the evening, go here.)

Paul and Louise Giuliano at the Edison Ballroom Dance Contest Final

I don’t know about you but one of my favorite dance couples, bar none, are Paul and Louise Giuliano. They are always a delight to watch in competition but off the floor, they are such warm, friendly and charming people, that you just gotta love ‘em. So when they let me know recently that they were in the final of the Edison Ballroom Dance Contest, of course, I had to go and cheer them on.

Some of you, particularly those who took part in the Swing Revival that swept New York (and the country), back in the late 1990s, may remember the Edison Ballroom as the Supper Club, a swanky throwback to the Big Band era. The Edison Ballroom maintains that same vibe, and Joe Battaglia's New York Big Band providing live music to dance to, it is easy to imagine yourself in the days of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.

I arrived at the Edison Ballroom at about 10 pm, just missing the two dances, swing and samba, that were danced in the first round of the final. A good-sized crowd of dancers took to the floor for some social dancing. I quickly found the table that Paul and Louise were seated at and joined them there, together with their son and daughter-in-law who made the trip with Paul and Louise down from Albany.

The next round of the final would involve solo performances by the top three couples. That round took place after the live latin band, Direct Latin Influence, finished its set of mambos that made the room feel like a club in Havana, as perhaps imagined by Damon Runyon. We were excited to learn that Paul and Louise made the top three.

The first couple that went on danced a sultry tango. Next came a couple that danced a spicy cha cha. Then came the moment that I -- and judging by the audience reaction, everyone else -- had been waiting for: Paul and Louise’s solo performance. They danced to “Singin’ in the Rain” by Gene Kelly, throwing in some foxtrot and quickstep moves that were connected by well-executed solo and side-by-side steps that demonstrated Paul and Louise’s skillfulness as performers. I have never seen them compete in Smooth, but if they ever decide to add that to their repertoire, I can envision them becoming champions in that division as well.

After each couple performed, a panel of three judges would give comments and score the performances from 1 to 10, like on Dancing with the Stars. Paul and Louise garnered three 10s for a perfect score of 30 from the judges -- right on the mark.

The scoring did not end there, however. All the audience members received ballots to cast their votes for their favorite couples. You get one guess as to who I voted for.

The results were then announced. MC Steven Hughes first told the audience what the couples would win: for runners-up, vouchers good for dinner for four at the Edison Ballroom; for the winners: $1000 prize money, two tickets to a Broadway show and dinner for two at the Palm Restaurant, a classic New York steakhouse. After a brief moment of suspense, the MC declared, “And the winners are … Paul and Louise!”

The room erupted in cheers and applause. Paul and Louise were hands-down the audience favorites. I think everyone else noticed the same endearing qualities that Paul and Louise amply possess as dancers, and more importantly, as people. Congratulations to Paul and Louise on their wonderful and well-deserved success. And, yes, we have video: Check out the playlist on the NY USA Dance YouTube channel (part 2 embedded on this page).

The Edison Ballroom Dance Contest will resume in the fall after a summer hiatus. We have tons of talented couples right here in New York City. Heads up to you all to bust out those moves for the Edison Ballroom Dance Contest, fall edition. Who knows? You just might garner some prize money. Stay tuned for the details.

Results from Blackpool

From May 26 through June 3, hundreds of couples from around the world descended on the seaside resort of Blackpool, England to compete in the world-renowned Blackpool Dance Festival. Congratulations to all the couples from the United States who competed there. In particular, we congratulate:

  • Daniele Gozzi and Cecilia Giovacchini for making the final in the Professional Rising Star Latin
  • Xingmin and Katerina Lu (members of NY USA Dance) for making the final in the Senior Ballroom
  • Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach (members of NY USA Dance) for their second place finish in the Amateur Rising Star Latin
  • Denis Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina (members of NY USA Dance) for finishing first in the Amateur Rising Start Latin
  • Andrey Begunov and Anna Demidova (fifth place), Anton and Elena Kourareko (fourth place), Andrea Faraci and Iveta Pauryte (second place) and Marat Gimaev and Alina Basiouk (first place) for making the final in the Professional Rising Star Ballroom
  • Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Daria Chesnokova for their third place finish in the Amateur Adult Latin
  • Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruitchenko for their second place overall finish in the Professional Latin
  • Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyova for their third place overall finish in the Professional Ballroom
  • Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova for their first place overall finish in the Professional Ballroom.

If you see any of our local dancers who competed at Blackpool be sure to recognize them for their hard work and dedication representing the United States at such a prestigious and important competition. Complete results can be found at BlackpoolDanceFestival.net.

Big Band Jazz and Swing Concert and Dance at Bohemian National Hall

If you’re looking to dance during the week to a live band playing big band jazz and swing, then be sure to go to Bohemian National Hall on Tuesday, June 7, where the Bensen-Scott Swing Band will be playing, starting at 8 pm. For just $15 per person, you can enjoy fun, friends, beer and dancing. It promises to be a good way to start the week and ring in the summer. For further details, check out the flyer here.

Swarovski ElementsReminders: Swarovski and Midsummer Night Swing

  • Swarovski Elements will be announcing the winners of their on-line contest to select the top costume using the new Swarovski stones designed specifically for DanceSport. If you have not yet cast your vote for your favorite couple or costume, time is running out, so go to the Swarovski Elements Facebook page and vote today.
  • Midsummer Night Swing will kick off its 2011 season in less than three weeks on June 27 at Lincoln Center. Check out the schedule here at the Midsummer Night Swing website.

Looking to Improve Your Dancing?

Here are some ideas for classes and practice spaces:
  • At Brooklyn DanceSport Club, Maria and Eugene will be teaching Open Junior/Youth Seminars on Mondays from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, and Open Adult Seminars on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. They will also hold regular run-through Latin rounds on Tuesdays from 8:30 to 10:00 pm and Thursdays from 8:00 to 9:30 pm. There will also be Standard run-throughs on Fridays from 8:30 to 10:00 pm. The studio is easily accessible by subway, via the N train, 18 Avenue stop. From there, it’s a short walk to the studio.
  • Stepping Out holds an International Standard and American Smooth Practice session on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 10:30 pm, and the cost is just $3 per person or $5 per couple. On Saturdays, they hold a Standard pratice session from 5 pm to 6 pm, at the same cost. Just show the front desk your USA Dance membership card to take advantage of these great rates, and ask them what other USA Dance discounts are available for their other programs and events.
  • Become the best ballroom dancer you can be for your partner by working on yourself first. ISTD Fellow Michael Choi shows you how with his Ballroom Barre, at Chelsea Studios, every Wednesday, starting at 8:30 pm. Just $25 per person for USA Dance members. The classes are non-sequential so drop in any time; no partner required, all levels welcome. For more information, contact Michael at michael@dancemchoi.com.
  • Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio runs Standard rounds on Thursday , from 9:30 to 10:30 pm and Latin Rounds on Friday nights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.
  • Basic Ballroom holds a Competition Run-through Class supervised by former World Professional Latin finalists Paul and Olga Richardson on Friday nights from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. Just $20 for USA Dance members.
  • Check out the special rates for USA Dance members at Basic Ballroom: just $79 for a 10 session card and $90 for their unlimited monthly card.
  • DanceSport offers a $100 monthly floor fee card for amateur dancers: Unlimited practice space Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 2 pm, and Sundays 11 am to 7 pm for 30 days.
  • Dance with Me Soho can no longer host practice sessions on weekdays due to space constraints. Dancers are welcome to practice on weekends for $15 per hour per couple. Also, you may want to try their practice parties on Wednesdays at 9:20 to 10:10 pm (salsa theme) and Thursdays same time that covers all styles.
  • WayGee Ho teaches a weekly beginner salsa lesson on Wednesday evenings starting at 6:30 pm at the New York Chinese Cultural Center, 390 Broadway, just one block from the N/R Canal Street Station. The 4-week cycle began on June 1. For just $45 you get four weeks of salsa lessons and a party. What a deal! Not sure if you can still get in on the June classes, but if you’re interested to find out more, visit chinatownsalsa.com.

Looking to Social Dance?

Here are some suggestions: For more ideas, check Wayne's Dance Commentary or bailamosdance.com.

Looking for a Partner?

We have five followers, mostly junior dancers, seeking leaders. To see these posts or to post your own, take a look here. If your post has expired and you're still looking for a partner, feel free to re-post. It’s free, it’s easy. Do it today!
That does it for this week. Hope to see you at Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio for the Summer Luau on Saturday!
Yang Chen
Greater NY
USA Dance
(NY USA Dance)

General disclaimer: Please note that, other than events organized by NY USA Dance, the listing of events in this newsletter is purely for informational purposes and does not carry with it any endorsement, sanction or seal of approval, express or implied. If you have any questions about an event other than one organized by NY USA Dance, you should direct them to the organizer of that event. NY USA Dance has no control over any of the events listed herein, other than those events which NY USA Dance itself organizes. NY USA Dance bears no responsibility for the content, conduct, quality, management or operation of any of the events listed in this newsletter, other than those events organized directly by NY USA Dance.

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