Open Professional American Smooth

Teresa Shiry
Jun 26, 2000
Open Professional American Smooth Report by Teresa Shiry With a record 7,000+ entries, the 11th Annual Emerald Ball was an amazing success. The ballroom was elegantly designed, the music was exceptional and the accommodations were first class. Congratulations to Wayne and Donna Eng for bringing this well-organized Dancesport experience into the new millennium. It is my privilege to recap the Open American Smooth Division. As a former winner of this event, I am thrilled to see the direction it has taken. The open, lyrical style has gained a new respectability of its own, climbing out of the supporting role it played for so long to the International style technique and movement. I hope this exciting new direction continues to expand ? In my opinion, it truly defines the "American" style.

On to the competition. All of the ladies were exceptional, creating beautiful line and fluid body actions. At any given moment, it was difficult for me to separate them. Tonight, it was left to the gentlemen to win my vote.

1. Michael Mead & Toni Redpath (CA) ? Definitely champion dancers. Elegant and clean, with refined technical ability and artistry. On this outing, Michael appeared too casual at times ? I would prefer to see a more energetic portrayal of the gentleman's part.

2. Ben Ermis & Shalene Archer (TN) ? Contrary to other judges, I did not place this couple positively. While they create big lines and cover the floor beautifully, I sensed a lack of commitment in performance from the man through to the woman. I will check again next time out to see what I might have missed.

3. Stephen Hevenor & Larinda McRaven (CT) ? I was immediately impressed with this man. He dances from the heart, interacts emotionally with his partner, and works the audience ? Excellent job! As a team, they are well grounded but at times sink too low, shortening their overall appearance. A taller stance and posture will definitely make them more competitive.

4. David Rosario & Larissa Trebunskaya (NY) ? Very quick and dynamic, with excellent musical feeling. Unfortunately, tonight's performance was smaller ? Not nearly as free and full as I have witnessed in recent events.

5. Steven Dougherty & Patricia Dates O'Brien (NY) ? Great performers (our Rising Star winners). This choreography is definitely unique and calls you to watch so as not to miss a single moment. However, a weak top line in the man detracts from the overall picture. In addition, I felt the ladies choice of costume was a little too casual for this level.

6. Richard Croteau & Maria Zee (CA) ? Great Viennese Waltz! Excellent characterization of each dance and beautiful lines from both dancers. Frankly, the man is too tight in the shoulders ? I believe creating movement from the feet up would alleviate this tension.

Out of the final but worth a mention is David Weiss & Valentina ? Very elegant and commanding performance. I enjoyed their dancing and expect them to move up the rankings with each outing. In closing, it was a real honor for me to judge this division. I must thank Dancebeat Magazine for inviting me to share my observations and again, Congratulations to Wayne and Donna for a wonderful event! Teresa Shiry is a former U.S. American Smooth Professional Champion. She resides in the Los angeles Area and is a judge at many national events.