Emerald's 7100 Entries Could Make Other Organizers Green With Envy

Dance Beat - Keith Todd
May 13, 2000
Wayne & Donna Eng's Emerald Ball topped out with over 7100 entries making it the largest event in the Western U.S. and probably ensuring its place as the second largest event in the country this year.

As a member of 'USDSC Grand Tradition Tour' circuit, maybe this helped attract pro-am and professional entries from all over the country to this Los Angeles competition.

Running from just Thursday night to Sunday night, time was short. Incredibly, 6,000 entries were danced over Saturday and Sunday with the morning sessions beginning at 8:00 AM and continuing with only a short dinner break until about midnight both nights. Couples had to be on time and ready to dance - with that many entries there was never time to look for missing couples and Chairman, Geoffrey Fells, kept us all pressing on. To his and the organizers' credit the event ran on, or slightly ahead, of schedule all weekend long.

Professional entries were of an extremely high quality. In the Standard we had almost a replay of the U.S. National final with U.S. Champs Wilkins/Demidova taking the title. The Latin field was also almost complete, replaying the '99 National Final except for the '99 Champions Sparks/Mitchell (Kimberly Mitchell is nursing an injury). New U.S. contenders Van Amstel/Smirnoff took the title, beating out '97 U.S. Champions, the McDonalds. Mead/Redpath, U.S. Smooth Champions, took this title also in a strong field that included some U.S. finalists and some great up and coming partnerships. The Rhythm easily fell to Rutherford/Nicole in what was probably the weakest of the divisions. Many of the most highly ranked rhythm couples were absent.

In the pro-am department, Forrest Vance of Arizona danced his feet off, completing an incredible 420 entries to take the Top Teacher Prize. I offer him my full congratulations for not only dancing so many entries, but also maintaining a very high standard with all his students throughout the weekend. Fellow Arizonian, Blake Kish was second. Londance of Los Angeles waltzed off with the Top Studio Award.

The Amateur Standard was a three round event. Clear winners were the new partnership of Victor Fung & Aira Bubnehyte with high ranked Holt/Ciszewska placing second. Kevin King & Olga Rodinova took the Amateur Latin from Jason Turner & Lila Lee.

Wayne & Donna were excellent hosts. Dinners were served in a secluded and pleasantly lit ballroom with live music for dining and dancing every night. Equally important, for those of us in a rush to get back to the main ballroom for the evening sessions, the wait staff were the fastest I have seen at any hotel, no doubt goaded on by Donna's continual presence in the dining room. For us hard pressed judges there were also a continuous round of snacks and refreshments served in the ballroom. This is always so welcome.

The LA Airport Hilton has a very attractive ballroom. The floor was well lit and the acoustics were also very good, two somewhat subjective elements that can add immensely to everyone's enjoyment.

If you asked me for their secret, I would only say - "hard work!" Like all good organizers they left nothing to chance and were available throughout the competition, early morning 'til late at night, to answer questions and just make sure that everything was running as planned. Congratulations Wayne & Donna on a stellar competition.

Reprint from Dance Beat - North America Foremost Publication. To subscribe call 1-305-531-3087 or email Dance Beat info@dancebeat.com