Keith Todd

Keith Todd

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Volunteer State Hosts Global Finale and Star International Latin Tour

 This was an important year for David Medeiros’ Volunteer State Dance Challenge, held in Nashville, TN this past July.  Volunteer was the host for the finale of the Global Series of competitions and the year’s top awards were presented here.  The Global Series is now one of the longest running competition series as it began in 2000 and Volunteer Challenge is a founding member.

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Manhattan Dance Championships – it’s a “Must!”


There is no doubt in my mind that Manhattan Dance Championships is a “must” for serious competitors in the USA today and this includes all levels and grades. Organized by one of our highest profile duos, former World 10-Dance Champions, Gary McDonald and Diana McDonald, the competitive elements are all in place  - great panel of judges, good-sized ballroom and of course, plenty of competition in your heat!

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Yankee Classic Kicks off Star International Latin Tour


The Yankee Classic was the first official stop on this year’s Star International Latin Tour where the finalist couples are required to perform a solo routine of their choice and this was certainly a headline event this weekend.

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Open Professional Divisions at Atlanta Open 2016


All of the Open Professional Divisions at Atlanta Open took place on the last night of competition and it was quite a marathon!  The two international styles had semifinals and the two American Styles had quarter-finals.  On top of this we had what I believe was an unprecedented “13-couple” cabaret final at the end of the night.

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In the Open A, Natalie Crandall w/ Decho Kraev was the victor.

Natalie won all dances with the majority of 1st places.  2nd in all was Isabella Libertore w/ Charles Cunningham who picked up some 1st places in all dances and for the rest had mostly 2nd’s and 3rd’s.  Only judge Eugene Katsevman did not favor her, awarding 4 6th places and a 4th. 

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Junior II Latin

This marked a “double” for the Washington based pair Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor....

1.  Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor (WA) 1,1,1,1,2.  Erik & Rickie are a very successful 10-dance couple.  For me the Latin is their weaker style in that it is a little lacking in passion.  I would also like to see more precise leg action from Rickie.  That being said, I thought they were worthy winners today.

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If you wanted to see every event of this year’s Emerald Ball, you basically had to check into the LAX Hilton on Monday April 26th and check out Monday May 1st. That’s right a full week of dancesport competition! Emerald Ball, run by Wayne & Donna Eng for the past 27 years, is certainly one of the USA’s largest competitions and the largest on the West Coast. This year, more time was added to the schedule with an earlier start on Tuesday and this made everyone a little less stressed and allowed some downtime for competitors and officials alike. It is certainly the trend of competitions to become longer and longer nowadays, but as entries continue to increase for many, there is little option.

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Getting the “Vibe” in Miami Beach! Miami Vibe 2016

Report by Keith Todd

Photography by Ryan Kenner

It is always a treat to attend a competition in your hometown and for me, Miami Vibe offers just such a treat. Its venue, The Eden Roc Hotel, is barely ten minutes from my residence. And what a venue this is! The Eden Roc is a MIMO masterpiece, designed by Morris Lapidus and completed in 1955. It has been lovingly restored, keeping all of its original flavor.  I was very lucky this year to be housed in the fully renovated ocean tower and I could literally hear the Atlantic surf if I opened my windows.

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