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Manhattan Amateur Classic 2003 - commentary

by Rachel Rabkin, Robert Abrams
January 24, 2003
Columbia University's Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway at 114th Street
New York, NY 10027
212.854.5800

Manhattan Amateur Classic 2003

By Rachel Rabkin
January 24, 2003

The Manhattan Amateur Classic (MAC) has been held annually for 13 years and is one of the longest-running DanceSport events in New York City. For me, however, this year's MAC, held from January 17-19 at Lerner Hall at Columbia University, was the very first ballroom dance competition I had ever attended. Nothing prior to the event could have prepared me for the world of sparkles, eye makeup, slicked-back hair, skimpy outfits, swiveling hips, dramatic facial expressions, and incredible technique.

Hosted by the United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association and Columbia University's Ballroom Dance Team, the competition was indeed a world unto itself and a joy to be a part of-even if only for a day. 312 of adult couples entered the MAC this year and 163 of junior couples. I had the good fortune (thanks to Robert Abrams' suggestion) of attending the Junior MAC on Sunday, the last day of the event.

As I walked into the auditorium filled with dancing couples in the center of the dance floor and cheering friends and family surrounding them, I was amazed by the energy in the room. It was only when I got close to the dance floor that I saw that the dancers were tiny! The dancers, dressed just as adults in sexy costumes complete with high heels for the girls and open-chest shirts for the boys, were between the ages of about 7 and 15. But their limited height and limited years did not translate into limited dancing style. These dancers were vivacious, focused, talented, poised, and practiced. I was truly impressed by how professionally these young dancers handled themselves.

The dancers all demonstrated excellent technique and detailed choreography in the required dance styles, including the rumba, cha-cha, jive, mambo and more. When the announcer called for a new dance, the dancers all switched styles swiftly and pulled off each transition with grace and expertise. That's not to say, however, that the dancers didn't show room for improvement. While their energy was outstanding and their moves were engaging, these youngsters were not quite as polished as they will eventually become-and there were a couple of collisions between couples out on the dance floor. But all in all, their spirit and style made their performances a pleasure to watch. I particularly enjoyed watching their facial expressions-such intensity and sensuality on such young faces!

This MAC competition got me hooked. I look forward to attending next year's MAC 2004.

For more information about this year's MAC and the competition results, check out: www.nyusabda.org/mac2003.html




Photos by Robert Abrams







American Smooth and Rhythm 1/17/03
All Styles 1/18/03
Junior Mac 1/19/03


ExploreDance.com sponsored the Team Match at the MAC 2003.

Information on some of the teams that competed can be found here.

Igor Ofenbakh's pictures from the Team Match!

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