Pro-Am Open American Rhythm Scholarships

John Berry
Jul 15, 2002
Wayne offered a total of 5 Pro-Am Scholarships in each style, bronze, silver, and open in 3 age categories, plus 3 SuperBowl events in each style. All of these 32 Pro-Am multi dance events were well attended.

Some started with first rounds, and many started with quarter and semi-finals. Needless to say, the standard in all these events was of a very high caliber.

Open 'A1'

Fourteen couples started the A1 Rhythm Scholarship. Of note in the semifinal: Stephanie McKinley with Mark Mederios - nice feel in Cha Cha. Tessa Peebles with Angelo Caruso - good flexibility, needs more work on technique.

Into the final (my finalists and the judges):

1st Place - Nancy Senner with Eddie Ares - Nancy showed her usual strengths, confidence and well rehearsed good dancing. She makes it look like a walk in the park. This can make her appear a little slow at times. I feel she would be well served to develop more speed in the appropriate places. The tan colored dress was not my favorite, looked a little heavy at times. Best dance, Mambo. A definite and worthy winner.

2nd Place - Norma Glass with Vincent Duhon - Rumba, nice feeling, great rhythm. Mambo, too frantic and a little hard at times. Swing, power and action good. In general, facial expression too excessive in all dances. A more natural look would help.

3rd Place - Anna Potter with Robert Foster - Great floor appearance and grooming. Cha Cha, good rhythm, needs to work on feet, sometimes appears unconfident and a little tight.

4th Place - Anna Young with Edward Mueller - Could have finished much higher, this was my 2nd Place today. This girl gave a strong performance with good feeling and rhythm. She demonstrated good use of back and had a nice natural appearance looking confident throughout most of the dances. With work, a future champion?

5th Place - Sandi MacCarron with Michael Neil - Cha Cha, good dancing but relax the face, looked unsure at times. Swing, shoulders were rounded and lifted at times.

6th Place -Vinnie Munno with Susie Thompson - clean and neat, consistent in all dances; good partnering in Bolero. Swing is the weakest dance, more body rhythm needed

7th Place - Dana Sherpard with Tad Joy - Cha Cha, good attack, but keep head and eyes up. Rumba, sometimes body too loose. Best dance, Bolero.

Senior Open

Ten couples starting the semi-final in this well stocked event. Of note in the semifinal, Sumiko Zusho with teacher Van Spencer, very neat dancer. Again, all my choices advanced to the final, most unusual.

1st Place - Linda Edwards with Eddie Ares - Stood out in the semi-final. Linda is a very clean dancer but lacks the depth and attack needed to really impress.

2nd Place- Judith Nelson with Enrique Curi - My winner this day. This lady had good attack and great floor personality.

3rd Place - Ruby Yap with Mikal Watkins - This lady needs to work on balance, especially in turns. A more consistent performance is needed.

4th Place - Jackie Miller with Michael Neil - Could have finished higher; work on body tone and keeping the eyes up off the floor.

5th Place - Jeanie Bernstein with Jim Maranto - Bolero was Jeanie?s best dance in this event. In general, to place higher she will need to develop a softer, less stilted look, that at times can make her look bouncy.

6th Place - Bill Myers with Viola Weiss - Bill showed good partnering skills, especially on difficult tricks; more attention needed to feet and more dancing in between the highlights.

COMMENT: In the closed pro-am events, Wayne Eng made good his promise to invigilate the standards. It has been a long time coming and sorely missing in all but a very few NDCA competitions. At the Emerald Ball the attempt was productive and on the right track. There were still some infractions that were missed, and the manpower was not there to invigilated every heat, but the point is that if the teachers know that they could be called on the carpet then the rate of occurrence greatly diminishes. Like having radar or cameras at some intersections to catch speeders or red light runners, the cameras may not be everywhere, but in general people will drive more carefully knowing that the camera could catch them.

I cannot tell you the number of times teachers, who are careful to stay within the rules, have come up to me and said ?I will not go back to this competition, because my bronze student was blown away by others who were dancing well above the category.? This comment refers not only to teachers using figures well above the allowable, but also to teachers who dance their students in categories well below their student?s skill level. Should a student who can place in the final of an open event (scholarships and super bowl events) also be allowed to dance in closed
bronze or silver events in that same style? I believe that if the student can place in the final of a well attended open multi dance event then that student should not be entering single dances at closed bronze or closed silver level. It is just not fair to the true bronze or silver dancer who is working their way up the levels.

Thank you Wayne for the invigilation. It was a very good start and I hope other organizers will take note that this is something teachers want and something that is necessary for the success of their competitions.

John Berry is probably the most successful pro-am teacher of the last 15 years. He has won most top teacher awards and curcuits. He currently lives in Arizona.