Dance the Night Away


    By Diane Aikele

    Over 10,000 spectators swayed their arms to the beat, holding up the glow of their cell phones in support of the dancers that came from all over the nation to compete in the final round of Dancesport on Saturday night.

    The U.S. National Amateur Dancesport Championship came to a close with the final rounds and presentation of awards for the Professional Invitational Latin Championship and the U.S. National Amateur Standard Championship.

    The events began Thursday, with competitions in Latin, Standard, Smooth, Rhythm, Cabaret, and Formation in all age categories.

    Thursday and Saturday morning sessions included BYU student dance competitions of the samba, mambo, foxtrot, country western two step, cha cha, Latin samba, tango and the paso doble.

    Sammi Pickup, 20, a sophomore from South Jordan, competed in the foxtrot, mambo and tango. She and her partner earned seventh place in the mambo.

    “I am completely shocked,” Pickup said. “I was really happy with our placement. My partner was so great, and he has been dancing for a long time.”

    BYU students enrolled in any ballroom dance classes at BYU are able to participate. For some, it”s their first competition, while others have years of experience. For some dance veterans, the costuming is the biggest hassle.

    “My partner for 380 [Gold American Mambo] … came in the night before and no one recognized him, because he was orange!” Pickup said. “I had to go get self-tanner and put it on really quick.”

    There is also an open competition for any dancer wanting to compete. Pickup said she would have liked to participate in open, but could not find a partner.

    “Dancesport is something that I am excited about,” Pickup said. “I really look forward to it. So do a lot of other students.”

    Dancers from all over the nation flock to Provo twice a year to compete, their talent ranging from novice, pre-champ, amateur to professional. This year features the best amateur dancers from Los Angeles to New York, as well as the nation”s top four professional couples in Latin Dance.

    Lela Weinert, a participant in the U.S. National Amateur Standard Championship, placed third with her partner, Max Sinitsa.

    “I was dying out there when we were doing the quickstep,” Weinert said.

    Weinert, a former BYU student, lives in Los Angeles and tours the world with her partner and husband, Max Sinitsa. She and her husband also teach at a dance studio in Los Angeles.

    The dances involved in the competition are performed competitively at amateur and professional levels throughout the world. The U.S. National Amateur Dancesport Championship is the largest Amateur Dancesport event in the country, and over 10,000 spectators come to watch every year.

    Judges of the competition also come from all over the nation, many of them being retired professionals. All judges and officials are recognized by the National Dance Council of America, and are highly qualified.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email