Emerald Ball’s 30th Anniversary!

Wayne and Donna Eng are pleased to announce the 30th Anniversary of the Emerald Ball!

 

This year is bound to be bigger than ever before, and you won’t want to miss it! The Emerald Ball is one of the longest-running Dancesport competitions in the United States. It started 56 years ago under dance legends Ken & Sheila Sloan and now 30 years under Wayne & Donna’s supervision. The Emerald Ball attracts every status of dancer from beginners to professionals from Dancing With the Stars. It’s always the beginning and finale of the Dance Vision Circuit and a great place to see where your rank is in the national spotlight. Original organizer Ken Sloan will also be attending the big celebration!

Wayne and Donna Eng competing in the 1980’s

The Emerald Ball has an unmistakable and excitable charisma that has attracted dancers from all around the world! As Wayne says, it’s all about energy. He even uses an energy healer to help him incorporate his energy as effectively as possible while at the Emerald Ball.

A happy, excited energy always draws crowds of people, and we believe that’s part of the charm of the competition.

Rather than using status to intimidate newcomers, the Emerald Ball encourages new dancers to set new goals and see where they rank. It also gives them a chance to participate in a dancesport competition and get a feel for it. For the pros, it’s the beginning of the circuit, the starting point for the rest of the year, and a chance to compete against friends and colleagues that come every single year.  It’s even great for visitors and family members, particularly during the Pro and Show Dance portions. There’s something for everyone at the Emerald Ball!

Don’t miss the 30th Anniversary Celebration!

Mayo Alanen – How To Create Your Own Art On The Dance Floor!

 

Mayo Alanen is ranked second in the world and was a featured professional on Dancing With the Stars.

He is incredibly dedicated to the success of his students and well respected in the dance community. A talent scout spotted him at the Emerald Ball and he was on the show a year later. Alanen now lives in New York and has students from all over the continent who enjoy learning from him as he teaches professional ballroom dance, specializing in American Smooth.  He donates to charity by competing often and is passionate about bettering the community around him.

Make the world a better place – through dancing!

We agree when he says you should take your art and truly make it your own. Of course there is a time to ask for help, or to strictly follow an expert’s advice. However, we adore the emphasis he places on really taking your art and making it mean something to you. Each participant has a unique view that makes them special and memorable. He sees his students and other dancers as equals, and believes in all of them.

Alanen mentions a charity he created with one of his students. He and Aiyesha Dey donate their winnings to a different charity, giving them a bigger purpose and motivating them to work harder.

Join them as they help the world around us with programs like Meals On Wheels, supporting seniors that are living in solitude and hunger. They also worked with Dancing Dreams to raise funds that provided disabled children weekly dance therapy classes. Donations are also given to the Child Welfare project that supports underprivileged children in Bengal, India. The charity purchases school uniforms, meals, extracurricular activities, and study materials.

Dance for a bigger purpose! Donate and learn more here: https://competingforacause.org/

An Interview with Jenell Maranto

We have the privilege of sharing with you an interview from Jenell Maranto!

She is the owner and teacher with Jim Maranto of the Academy of Ballroom Dance in Phoenix, AZ.  Jenell is a Fellow of the Imperial Society Ballroom Branch and has produced numerous US Ballroom Champions. She is also a DVIDA examiner.

Let’s begin with, what was the most challenging dance routine you have performed or learned?

Every performance is challenging for me because I’m always nervous.

 

Your favorite dance performance?

My favorite thing is competition.  Competition is fun and makes me happy   Being alone on the floor performing is not as satisfying.

 

Who/what inspired you to start dancing?

When I saw Australian Ballroom Champions Kerry Wilson & Ann Harding perform in 1981 in Reno Nevada, I knew I had to lean how to ballroom dance.

 

What is your most memorable experience in dance?

My most memorable experience in dance was winning the U.S. Professional Smooth Championships in 1993-94

 

What is your favorite quote?

Once a mind has been stretched, it never regains its original shape.

 

What do you look for when judging a Pro/Am competition?

When judging Pro/Am I look for; Assured footing, balance over ones own feet, musicality, body stretch, and partnership.

 

What considerations go into turning Pro?

I was already a professional dancer before I learned ballroom so I didn’t know I had a choice but when my Pro/Am student – Jim Maranto won the U.S. American Smooth Championship we decided to turn Pro together and compete with the big kids.  I already owned my own dance studio and Jim joined me and started teaching. It was a great decision for both of us.

 

And finally, what would you like to tell dance students that you wish you knew when you started dancing?

No regrets, being in the ballroom dance business has always been great for me.

Stay tuned for more interviews!

Click Here to view Instructional videos by Jenell Maranto for Dance Vision

How To Have The Heart To Win – David Hamilton

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

To learn how to keep moving forward in the face of adversity, keep reading.

David Hamilton had many roadblocks to overcome to reach the success he has today. Firstly, at the peak of his career, his partner Olga Foraponova decided to stop competing in Dancesport competitions to start a family. Having recently grown his status as a professional dancer, he knew if he stopped it would be the death of his career. So for the next few competitions, he competed without a consistent dance partner, which can be risky. On top of this, his entire career David struggled physically. He was born with 6 lower lumbar instead of 5 in his back, causing nerve pain; which was worsened by a car accident. A necessary back surgery reduced his flexibility by 33% in his back. He knew even then, to give up at that moment would have been the end of everything he had worked toward. Even with discomfort and charlie-horse like pains in his legs that he felt during a final Viennese Waltz competition that would define his championship title, he won 2nd place! What does he credit it all to?

Persistence.

Don’t fall into the trap of learning to accept something as it is if it isn’t what you want.

To reach your goals, you must:

  1. Design your life with intent, and reject what does not fit.
  2. Be quick-witted. Navigate intelligently and consider the consequences of your next step to the best of your ability.
  3. Be self aware. Appreciate your strengths, accept your weaknesses, and define yourself with both of these in mind.
  4. Advocate for yourself as a professional. Stand up for what you want and who you are so believably that no one can deny you.
  5. Lastly, be grateful. Faith in the future comes from knowing what good can come of doing what you’re afraid of, or what is difficult. You will never feel like good things are in your future until you appreciate what you have already experienced, and decide that you want more.

Now, through his Persistence, David Hamilton is an American Style Smooth Champion with the national time with his first partner, Teresa Shiry. That title is followed by two more with Olga Foraponova. He also has three  World Showdance finalist titles and 68 National Dance Council Championship event titles. He does lectures on smooth at competitions and now owns Dance World of Nashville where he coaches.

To be successful, persist!

Dress for Success – An Interview with Donna Hamza

Let’s say you go to the doctor. Your doctor walks in with a ratty t-shirt, shorts, and flipflops.

Are you going to trust his opinion? Probably not. How you present yourself is important. In a way, the ballroom gown or suit is almost like a work uniform – designed to send a clear message of your skills and who you are. Donna Hamza explains why her dancers presenting themselves with confidence is the most important part of her work (her dresses are fabulously beautiful as well as you can see here,) in this interview.

This is why the most important part of your gown is presenting yourself well. To dress for success means to show your passion, magnifying the best parts of you. As a performer, there is nothing more important.

Appearance is about impression, not beauty.

This might sound strange coming from the ballroom community. You’ll always see dancers in sparkly dresses, heavy makeup, and spectacularly styled hair. These things are expected, particularly for a professional star.

Like any other community closely involved with the beauty industry, it is competitive about appearances, to say the least. It can be easy to be swallowed up in the midst of perfect bodies, tans, slicked back hair and dresses that fit a princess. However, try not to not lose yourself in the endless spiral that is “self improvement”.  The gowns should be primarily a form a self expression, rather than a way to compare yourself to others depending on how much skin you’re showing, or how tight your dress is.

Donna Hamza shows us that charisma and personality has no weight, no height, no skin color.

Wearing ballroom couture, as Donna Hamza states, should suit you. She even goes as far to replace her handmade dresses if she feels it does not suit the dancer because it is that important to represent the person wearing the dress. We all love to play dress up and enjoy the glamour of the ballroom (and who wouldn’t?!) but you are your own best asset as a performer.

 

Check out Dance Teacher’s Academy for more great interviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5aPyxJTNF7ySw6EmpRak-g/videos

Check out Donna Hamza’s online boutique here: http://donnainc.net/

Our Hot Picks for June!

Summertime is here! Now’s the time to learn exciting social dances to enjoy throughout the season. We have handselected some of our favorite video lessons taught by world-renowned champions and teachers with a reputation that can’t be beat.

American Style Rhythm DVIDA Bronze Cha Cha Syllabus by Donald Johnson & Kasia Kozak

Cha Cha is one of our most requested dance videos. The perfect dance for a night out, Donald Johnson and Kasia Kozak break down this fun, lively dance here:

International Style Tango Technique by Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova

Taught by the winners of 2018 Blackpool Dance Festival, Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova demonstrate tango with annotations to show each move they are doing. Check it out here:

DVIDA Bronze Salsa Syllabus by Felipe Telona Jr & Carolina Orlovsky

Watch a fun and easy breakdown of the exciting salsa here by Felipe Telona Jr and Carolina Orlovsky! Perfect for hot summer nights:

International Latin Samba Technique by Shirley Ballas

Former Latin champion Shirley Ballas expertly breaks down Samba Lock timing in this easy to follow video! Watch here:

Join us for our Instagram giveaway!

Dance Vision Circuit is offering a free 1 month subscription to Dance Vision’s dance video library

to the winner! Visit their instagram for details: https://goo.gl/oKwmz4

When To Say Enough Is Enough – An Interview with Maria Hansen

The only thing standing between you and winning is yourself.

Many of us can relate to Maria’s experience as a new dancer. When you are a new dancer, you are completely open to learning and often see the teachers or dance partners around you as superior in every way. You want to learn everything correctly from the very beginning. You take everything to heart. If you are not careful, however, you may be manipulated by a short tempered, demanding, and degrading dance partner. It can be especially confusing if they are not always so unpredictable. You will feel like you are starting to get the hang of it until they snap at you again. This adds to your self doubt in which you listen even harder the next time.

Passion is always authentic.

Humility and open mindedness is certainly important in a new student, but tolerating disrespect is not. A person’s skill level and experience should never be an indication of the respect and patience that person deserves. Decide that being berated is beneath you. You deserve patience, to be able to make mistakes freely, and praise. With an encouraging partner, you are more likely to enjoy dancing, and in turn pursue it passionately! Passion is always authentic and can’t be forced or faked.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Then, with this newfound determination and passion, you can focus on the important part of competing: improvement.  Of course, winning always feels good. It makes others envious and validates the long hours you invested into something tangible that others can see and respect. However, you can only win by persistently and ruthlessly improving. The only thing standing between you and winning is yourself. It’s your need to improve, to know and stand up for yourself, and the need to work well with your partner. Not one other person on the dance floor can take that away or give that to you.

Once you build up a sense of confidence from improving yourself and knowing yourself well, you will know when to accept a harsh critique… and when not to!

How To Tell The Difference – Social Latin Dancing

If you are new to the dance world, it can be difficult to tell dances in the same genre apart. Here’s a quick guide to few in the ever-popular social Latin dance category!

MERENGUE

Firstly, we’ll start with the simple and casual Merengue dance. Originally a Dominican dance (and the official dance of their country), Merengue is an easy dance to introduce a new student to Latin Dancing. It follows a very steady  1-2-1-2 beat with a simple hip motion that can be built upon later for other types of dance in the future. It’s a very social and lighthearted dancing, not nearly as passionate and intimate as most Latin dances.

CHA CHA

Cha Cha, or “cha-cha-cha!”  is one of the more popular social Latin dances. Made popular in the 1950’s when Americans often visited Cuba. It’s often used danced to with Latin Pop and Latin Rock with moves that are sharp and attention-grabbing. It’s rhythm is easy to master, of course. One, two, cha-cha-cha! But the technique is a bit harder to master. Basic Cha Cha steps consist of a rockstep and chasse. That rockstep and, of course, flourishes and hip movement, this playful dance one of the most loved Latin dances today!

 

SALSA

Originating from groovy and stylish 1970’s New York, Salsa dancing is a combination of dance styles. It’s based in techniques found in Cha Cha and Mambo with an influence of Swing dancing. The music it’s danced to has influence from African drums. The steps are usually two quick steps and one slow, and more advanced social salsa dancers will add flourishes and turns to add to their performance.

 

SAMBA

Samba originated in Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century. It is danced in 4/4 or 2/4 time and can be danced alone or with a partner.  This dance is very popular among Latin dances and is characterized by being danced to Samba music and the slight dropping movement that come with a small dropping action in basic steps.

BACHATA

Bachata is another social Latin dance originating from the Dominican Republic, named after Bachata guitar music. It’s a dance that is very close to the body and involves lots of hip swaying and turning. Typically the dance is done holding both hands but it tends to become more intimate, much like the tango.

 

Keep studying different types of Latin Dance and you will be able to recognize them with no problem. Never limit yourself to just the more popular ones! It’s wonderful and fun to know so many kinds of Latin dance and will earn respect among your peers.