This past Saturday, December 21st, my school Rudanceny led a group of young children ranging from 6 - 11 to a dancesport competition in Manhattan, hosted by retired professional dancer Paul Holmes and his partner Jamie Nyemchek. The competition arena is located on the first floor of the Altman Building in Midtown Manhattan. This was the first competition that my school took me along to, and I was fairly excited. Rudanceny competes very regularly - at least 10 times every year - to remain active in the Latin dance scene in the United States and around the world.
Danceport denotes competitive ballroom dancing as opposed to social or exhibition dancing. The word "dancesport" was invented to help competitive ballroom dancing gain Olympic recognition. The first unofficial dancesport competition took place in 1909 in London. Today, dancesport includes an International Style and an American Styles, offering different levels of competitions in cha-cha-cha, samba, rumba, jive, paso doble, waltz, etc.
The Rudanceny students competed in Junior and Pre-Teen Levels of Bronze, Pre-Bronze, Silver, and Pre-Silver cha-cha-cha, jive, rumba, samba, and paso doble. More experienced dancers danced in couples and less experienced ones danced with Mr. Ru, the owner of the school and himself a professional Latin dancer. At the end of each age group the dancers were called to gather at the front of the dance arena, where awards were announced and distributed.
Most students were able to receive first, second, and third places, with one or two receiving a sixth or seventh place. Mr. Ru said that the more important aspect of the competition was for the students to experience dancing in front of an audience. Afterwards, the young dancers happily got their faces painted as a tiny celebration. "When I go home a big celebration dinner waits for me," said Tian Tian, who received a first and a second place in cha-cha-cha and jive.