Ultimate Dancesport Challenge 2022

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Let the Good Times Roll!

Here we are at the melting pot of cultures and tradition, the birthplace of jazz and singular cuisine with perfect blends of French, American and African influence.

New Orleans welcomes us with its charm and round-the-clock nightlife and local venues where, upon entrance, you feel like the stranger from a movie scene entering the bar as all heads turn to you, the music stalls for a second and you momentarily emerge into their local culture.

The vibrance of this town with its harmonic blend, entrenched with local spices - seems to be the perfect location for the Ultimate Dance Championships, chosen by its organizers, David Elkin and Chuck Danza. These two characters, so different yet alike and very aware, seem to have found the perfect remedy.

"Laissez les bon temps rouler" … New Orleans catchphrase - Let the good times roll - sets our mood up for a perfect “Big Easy” weekend.

Although not their biggest year in attendance due to several issues, UDC didn’t disappoint. The energy in the ballroom was bright and warm, from nightclub to the matinee sessions and the social dancing during evenings. Everyone was enjoying themselves from each dance on the floor, to the catered dinners and exploration of the hidden gems of this town.

The competition schedule was light but bright, leaving space for enjoying each others’ company, reminiscing and diving into the world of nonstop laughter.

During the sessions, it’s amazing what difference the participation of the audience makes: not just attending but equally cheering for each competitor on the floor, despite what studio or state they were from: encouraging one another and treating all as friends and not just fellow competitors. There were a few bronze solos danced in the evening and one in particular was quite entertaining. It was the perfect example of how a simple and clever use of glimmering light in the hands of the dancers can provide a lovely addition to the entertainment factor of the number and make it quite unique.

Professional events were also run in the evenings but small in participation. The most attended event was the Professional Rhythm, a six-couple final. The winners of the event with ease were Francesco Arietta and Jesse Mae Briones taking all firsts without losing a mark. It was great seeing this couple dance after successful couple of months, and their results at USDC. They easily commended the floor from the first dance. What I appreciate most in this couple is their dedication to their art and how they continue coming back each time on to the floor, with more and more improvement in just short period of time. Second in all dances went to Gene and Elena Bersten who also had a great night, with easy and energetic movement. It was great seeing them have fun and not only work. Third in all were Richard Kaszas and Foteini Pangea with a solid performance. The rest of the final was a bit mixed in results. Fourth - Emanuele Magnasco and Olga Kobleva. Fifth - Joshua Bradford and Regina Kaszas. Sixth - Juan Matta and Alison Ahearn.

There were two cabaret couples - taking second were Phillip Weyerman and Arielle Burnett. First went to Chris Fedun and Ellie Grohoske whose performance was on the dot and one we all enjoyed.

After the completion of the scheduled events, social dancing took on, no one seemed to want to leave the ballroom. It is actually such a rare occasion in our world of independent competitions, where social dancing actually was in full bloom. Our applause went to Mr. Chuck Danza who not only social danced himself but also led some great line dances, which would bring everyone in the ballroom together. It takes a skill to achieve such a welcoming atmosphere and he surely did it.

Although disappointed with attendance, we are sure that next year and in the future this event will do great. In our opinion this is one of the most perfect locations for a competition and with the organizers having the perfect remedy for perfect execution, we just have to look forward as to what they will create next year. With that said, we congratulate Chuck Danza and David Elkin and wish them much success in the future as they continue to bring us to the banks of a city where as someone once pointed out, “Even sidewalks have personality.”

Till next time.

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