It was great to be judging at Embassy Ball! Some lovely dancing out here in all three categories: Pros, Amateurs and Pro-Am. Congratulations to all winners and to all those who are happy with their result. To those who didn't win - this competition will go under your belt as irreplaceable experience and will help you achieve your goal in a future. Remember you can not succeed if you haven't fail!
Pro- Am Ballroom division. Every time I either watch or judge a big Pro-Am competition especially Ballroom Section I am impressed with the improvement in quality from amateur dancers and how much better they match their Pro in movement and shape. There are some couples out there who look pretty much like professionals. The look is getting better overall though not always supported by the base (lower body). Those dancers who have base support are much more consistent throughout the dance. Those who only put up the look on the top - get tired and their lines deteriorate relatively fast. I was also impressed with Men Amateur competitors. I saw quite a few solid consistent frames and powerful movement. You guys do have to work harder to be competitive as you are being compared to the Men Professionals.
Amateur Ballroom competitors impressed me a lot! Many good couples with lots of potential! I like that! My advice as usual to Amateur competitors - put equal or at least similar amount of attention to leg action and quality of movement as you do to space and energy. Every amateur couple wants to do well when they turn Professional. To be a good Professional you got to have good legs and feet!
Pro Ballroom Competition had some pleasant surprises and some disappointments. There were some young very promising couples who danced well and pushed the boundaries of shape and movement, couples who improved a lot in the last year or so, as well as couples who did not improve but actually gotten worse unfortunately.. I never like to see regress that is why I had a heavy feeling looking at those couples and thinking What have they been working on?.. and Have they been practicing?.. But I guess it is a part of the competition and of course the overall improvement in the quality from the Professional Division overshadowed this little negative moment. Again and again I am so proud to witness that right now America is the biggest and the most powerful ballroom nation in the world!!
(Please read my more detailed review of Professional Ballroom at Embassy Ball in Dance Beat and in the Articles section on my website).