BYU Dancesport Festival 2023

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BYU Dancesport Championships

With the vibrant carpet of Mother nature as our guide, with its smooth transitions from juicy green to yellow and red, flowing to the first notes of crystal white on the peaks of Utah mountains and the golden leaves crunching beneath our feet, we stepped into the home of the BYU Dancesport Championships.

Two full days of fantastic energy, packed ballroom, where desire to win was neighbors with pure joy, with competitors from syllabus categories to juniors and top amateurs.

The highlight of the Friday night were the Adult Amateur American Smooth and International Latin events, each danced from a quarter final round.

American Smooth was a six couple final, where the ultimate winners were the sibling duo, Brendon and Serena Keck (1111) They were also recognized as the top BYU couple of the year. Second went to Nathan Stevenson and Sabrina Bezzant (2223). Third - Dallin Keck and Kate Heiner (3332). Forth - Tarner Cole and Ava Mecham (5444). Fifth - Stawyer Stolle and Katey Stolle (4566). And concluding this final - Jaxon Humphrey and Jiaxin Haslam (6655). And although in placements it looks like quite an easy round, the actual marks were all over, with only the Kecks taking clear firsts, losing only a couple marks in each dance.

International Latin was also a great event, and one where the judges had a harder time marking. The overall winners with the majority firsts in each dance were Vladyslav Pohorilyi and Ceilidh
Mcseveney (11111). Second place went to Noah Horlacher and Kiersten Lujan, who were second in first three dances, dropping to 6th in the Paso and 3rd in Jive (22263). Third were
Daniel Bernecker and Ashton Cole (35322). Fourth - Matthew Valentine and Lucy Maier (4 3.5 4 3 5) sharing Samba in a tie with Wyatt Jennings and Mina Brunson who came 5th (5 3.5 5.5 5 4), who in turn tied with Moroni Wright and Vashti Smith in Rumba (66 5.5 46).

Cabaret was also run on Friday with eight couples competing, where the first place went to Juan Mendez and Briana Bartholomew.

But perhaps the favorite event of the night was the high school team match, with several schools represented at the event.

Saturday commenced with probably the ultimate favorite event of the weekend, the Newcomer Bronze Cha-cha, with 116 couples, where the judges were required to first recall 96, then 60 and so on. The whole floor was packed with unparalleled positivity and a whole spectrum of talent, joy, artistry and laughter. Watching or judging this event momentarily reminded all of the officials the number one reason why we all started dancing in the first place. After dancing seven rounds, the ultimate winners were Ethan Scott and Arwen Wetzel.

The Country Western two step and polka were also fantastic. If someone felt somewhat half awake at that early hour trying to work or judge, well the participants of these events surely knew how to awaken us momentarily with their exuberant energy, jumping and screaming at the top of their lungs when entering and exiting the floor.

Fascinating how at times the naive energy, love and joy pouring out of the Newcomers, taps over the expertise of the more experienced dancers, making one want to witness more of that raw, somewhat untrained energy and thirst.

The day continued with some fantastic Junior events, followed by the Adult Amateur Rhythm as well as the Amateur Ballroom.

Must say it's great seeing more amateur couples dancing American Rhythm. This event started with a semifinal and the final placements were as follows. Easy winners were Brandon and Serena Keck. Second went to Cezar Rojo and Anna Morales (22232). Third Eli Eugenio and Sophia Jones (44323). Fourth - Julio Lazarte and Nina Adams (33444). Fifth - Anthony Moeller and Victoria Tatum (55555). Sixth - Ben Ulloa and Danielle LAWS.

The final event of the competition was the Amateur Ballroom, commencing from a quarter final. The overall winners were Caleb Judd and Kyra Christensen (11112). Although they got the majority firsts, they also received a few 4th and 5th place marks. Second went to the dynamic duo, Shandon Hoffman and Caroline Money (32221). Third- Wyatt Jennings and Mina Brunson, very classy yet very quiet on the given night (23333). Fourth - Mathew Valentine and Lucy Maier (44554). Fifth - Brandon and Serena Keck (55445). And concluding this final, Jordan Heaton and Kennidy McOmber (66666).

And with the last Quickstep played by the wonderful Brent Mills, these two days of what seemed like nonstop dancing came to an end. Congratulations to all the organizers of this amazing event and thank you to all who helped in running it so smoothly.

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