DBDC is a WOW!

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DBDC is a WOW!

DBDC held in Boston at the Park Plaza Hotel bills itself as a ‘legendary’ competition and does not over-promise.

From a venue in the heart of historic Boston, to the most gracious, hospitable party loving organizers, and a breathtaking two-story ballroom that looks like Americas’ Blackpool, this event is sure to please.

Prior to the competitions start there was an optional cocktail party, dinner and dancing at the famous Charlestown Navy Yard, and a high tea at the Boston public library.

This was my first time judging DBDC and I was wowed! The competition started Thursday night with ‘The Real Night Club Session at Didio’s Hideaway featuring a Grease theme. To create a night club feel the venue was held in a smaller ballroom with a sunken floor that was dimly lit, and included a mirror ball and pole dancers on either side of the floor.

The environment was electric with more spectators than I have ever seen for a nightclub night anywhere, and their enthusiasm inspired the dancers to get truly wild and crazy, so the whole evening became an infectious riot of fun led by Didio himself – or in this case I should say ‘herself’.

Every night there were parties with opportunities to socialize and drink wonderful libations.

The competition itself was high-class from start to finish. At almost 8000 entries it was jam packed with excellent dancing from early morning to late at night under the expert rule of Chair of Judges Cathi Nyemcheck.

There were some spectacular professional divisions with Champions not frequently seen competing on the floor at DBDC.

Winning the Bob Medeiros Professional Latin Medal were World and U.S. Latin Champions Ricardo Cocci and Yulia Zagoruchecnko.

Nick Cheremukhin and Victorija, World and U.S. Smooth Champions, took the top spot in the Professional Smooth and five U.S. Finalists were in this hotly contested competition which Leisa Howard has covered in more detail.  You can read that here.

The Peter Eggleton Professional Ballroom Cup was won for the second year in a row by Alexander and Veronika Voskalchuk, and Danas and Yuki Haraguchi won the Open Professional Rhythm. Andrew Escolme and Amy Baker were second in this event winning the Mambo. It was pretty remarkable that Andrew was able to move, let alone dance after competing 500 pro/am entries throughout the weekend.  Alan Dixon reviewed this division and you can read that article here.

The Professional Rising Star competitions were also of a very high caliber with Stanislav Savich and Nicole Prosser winning the Latin, Slava and Valeria Kostianets the Ballroom, Alexi Shipilov and Julia Mitina the Rhythm, and Igor Afonkin and Meghan Anderson, the Smooth.

The audience was also entertained by the DanceBeat Dance-Off where winners of the Amateur Open Ballroom, Oleksander Kalenyuk and Olena Ablitsova competed against the winners of the Amateur Open Latin, Alexander Chernositov and Arina Grishania who won the Dance-Off. This was a super fun event because the couples were required to switch partners as part of this competition which made it all the more interesting. Audience members in the ballroom and fans watching on live-stream also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite couple.

There were so many little and big touches at DBDC that really made a huge difference to the competitors’ experience, from live music and dancing at each dinner to champagne glasses with the DBDC logo, to a celebration for Ken Sloan’s 88th birthday, and day by day multi-media recaps for attendees.

One of the most moving aspects of DBDC was the presentation of the DBDC Lifetime Achievement Award to ballroom icons Lee and Linda Wakefield. The organizers created a documentary incorporating Lee and Linda’s award winning theatrical numbers, plus interviews with fellow competitors and family members.

For those of us who know Lee and Linda and remember their marvelous routines it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane – but for younger dancers and judges it was a rare opportunity to experience some of America’s dance heritage.

All in all, DBDC has something for everyone – a marvelous city to explore, an exceptional ballroom to dance in, superb competitors’ parties, constant treats, and warm hosts who go out of their way to make sure that every detail is covered and covered perfectly.

Congratulations to Didio Barrera, Chris Johnston and Frank Miranda on creating a truly legendary competition.

Donna Edelstein is a Coach, Championship Adjudicator, Organizer of The Snow Ball and Co-Organizer of Go Wild Minneapolis DanceSport





  • Report by:: Donna Edelstein
  • Photos by:: Ryan Kenner Photography

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