Pro-Am Latin Scholarships

John Abrams
Jul 15, 2002
The Open Latin Scholarships at the Emerald Ball proved to be some exciting competitions. All the competitors were well groomed and the high caliber of talent made for exciting events. I have noticed, however, in the past few competitions a trend of not tanning for Latin and Rhythm events and that fishnets for the ladies seem to be a thing of the past. I do not agree with these decisions. Every aspect of your dancing is scrutinised. If the competition is close and the grooming is off at all, one could easily give away an entire competition. Add to that the fact that most competitions now have lighting to enhance the atmosphere in the ballroom. When a pale body is put under those lights, it creates a less than South American look.

In the Pro-Am Senior Latin Scholarship there were two contestants. Placing second was Lester Smith w/ Victoria Belova. Lester is into his dancing from beginning to end and has much improved his timing. Attention to changes in muscle energy would give him a more dynamic visual effect. The winner was Beth Lessard w/ John Berry who showed nice open movement and good expression. More articulated feet and ankles would compliment her dancing.

In the Pro-Am Open 'A' Scholarship the results were as follows:

6th place: Debbie Klaar w/ Andre Yeremin. Good, clean dancing. Try to stretch more lines.

5th place: Pam Butler w/ Jonathan Roberts. Easy to watch, sure-footed and clean. A more attacking approach in this style would move her up the ranks.

4th place: Nancy Senner w/ Eddie Ares. A solid partnership, the best look I've seen on Nancy. Some of the turns seemed worked too hard.

3rd place: Lauren Scwelfhaudt w/ Michael Ulbrich. Fast and rhythmical, but sometimes some untidy timings.

2nd place: Spencer Smith w/ Kimberly Mitchell. Great partnership, nice rhythm. Would like to see him take some risks and really stretch some lines and shapes to their full potential.

1st place: Daniela Castenada w/ Donald Johnson. This girl has it all! Expressive feet and ankles, strong, expressive face and body. Watch for high shoulders interrupting a great presentation. Congrats!

The Pro-Am Open 'A2' Scholarship started with a semifinal and the following was the result in the final:

6th place: Carrie Chiang w/ Edward Apolonov. Nice lines, some foot and leg lines could be more defined.

5th place: Nancy Canesse w/ Radim Lanik. Great attitude and presence. Beware of untracked legs.

4th place: Cindi Marquette w/ Martin Cawston. Much improved look for this dancer and a more relaxed performance than I've seen. Watch out for excess tension throwing solo turns.

3rd place: Sue Smith w/ Paul Richardson. Very elegant and again an improved dancer. Freer head spotting will give more breath to the movement.

2nd place: Joan Goddard w/ Chris Johnston. Great dancer. I would like to see less tricks and more of this woman's great dancing.

1st place: Pam Butler w/ Jonathan Roberts. So easy to watch! Again, more attack would help deliver the whole package. Congratulations to all! Keep up the good work!

John Abrams is a U.S. Professional Rhythm Finalist, top pro-am teacher and co-owner of East Towne Ballroom in Milwaukee and Director of the successful youth program.