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Robert Abrams
Mila Gorokhovich
Dance Events
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Manhattan Amateur Classic 2001

by Robert Abrams, Mila Gorokhovich
March 17, 2001
New York, NY

Manhattan Amateur Classic 2001

March 17, 2001

Comments and Photos by Robert Abrams

The Manhattan Amateur Classic 2001 was held in the Roone Arledge Auditorium in Alfred Lerner Hall on the campus of Columbia University. Well over 100 couples participated. The dancers were excellent in every style of dance.

One of the highlights of the comp was the team match. There were seventeen teams representing SUNY-Binghamton, RPI, MIT, Columbia, SUNY-Stony Brook, NYU, Dance New York, Long Island, Boston, and the MAC organizers. The dancing was driven. The roar of the crowd was deafening. If dance is a sport, this is it.

The MAC was co-hosted this year by the Columbia University Ballroom Dance Team. Everyone involved did a great job. Things ran so smoothly that at times the comp was ahead of schedule! The organizers, the volunteers, the judges, and all of the generous sponsors deserve a round of applause for their great efforts.

Part of the point of ExploreDance.com is to bring together practitioners of different dance traditions so as to enrich dance as a whole. For one such success, read the following article by Mila Gorokhovich, ExploreDance.com's ace Ballet correspondent.

See you at MAC 2002!

The Ballroom Extravaganza!

by Mila Gorokhovich

The hips swing, the expressions light up and as the music plays away, the couples on the ballroom floor exhibit their unique talent ­ the talent of ballroom dancing. The 2001 Manhattan Amateur Classic was the first ballroom competition I attended and thanks to Robert Abrams, the experience of being there, exposed to this bright world, was unforgettable.

The competition took place at the ballroom of Columbia University on March 17 and 18. It featured couples from around New York City as well as dance teams from well-known universities such as Binghamton, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Stonybrook, RPI, Yale and Northeastern. Admittedly, it was entertaining to see students from MIT dance away because MIT has a reputation for being a math and science university. The MIT dance team particularly excelled in the cha-cha. The use of the hips in the cha-cha is very important and the couple from MIT did it very well.

It was at event 35-Smooth Championship-that I saw the Viennese Waltz for the first time. After seeing several couples dance it, I learned that their facial expressions were one of the most important aspects of this dance. A smiling and relaxed face makes all the difference; even when the dancers are only amateurs.
The Tango is another dance where expression plays a very significant role in the performance. Chris Nunes and Liane Onish were one such couple that displayed vivid expressions; as if she was Carmen and he, her Jose. Not only did it appear as if the Tango music absorbed them, but their movements were very synchronized and clear ­ revealing their strong technique.

However, the most exciting part of the competition was the evening Dance Extravaganza that took place from 8 to 10 pm. Sponsored by Robert Abrams and ExploreDance.com, the Latin Championship included dancers as young as sixteen or seventeen years old. Although young, the technique and vivacity of these couples blew me away. Their glittery costumes, tan skin, pulled back hair and dark eyes full of fire made them sparkle on the dance floor. The two young couples that were especially favored by the audience were Alex Kaloferov and Lera Kozharinova, and Valentin Chmerkovsky and Diana Olonetskaya. I was shocked at seeing the names of these dancers because they were Russian. It amazed me how such Latino vibes flowed from these young Russian dancers. Before seeing these names in the program, I was positive that they were truly of Latin background.

From observing these younger couples, I learned that some important aspects of Latin dancing are energy, expression and a display of powerful attitude. #324- Alex Kaloferov and Lera Kozharinova, who were the first place winners, presented all those qualities in addition to what seemed a flawless technique.
The evening concluded with the Standard Championship, sponsored by Alan Boucher. This included the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep and the Viennese Waltz. I was delighted to see competitors who were in their sixties and seventies dancing with the energy of those who were in their twenties and thirties. It proved how ballroom dancing is an art that has no age limit and brings out the youth in everyone who takes part in it.

For more on the MAC, go to the Greater New York Chapter of USABDA's home page at www.nyusabda.org

Early round winners

More early round winners

Even more early round winners

More winners

Even more winners

There were a lot of early round winners

Waiting to dance

Woman with a blue dress on

Oleg Kritsun and Chili Lati (158)

Ronson Ramkissoon (193)

Who says you have to be a man to lead?

Roy Richardson and Ellen Levesque (196), Valentin Polishchuk and Rachel Lee (190), Ronson Ramkissoon and either Emily Levine or Tatyana Furer (193 - the woman in the blue dress)

Valentin Polishchuk and Rachel Lee (190)

No numbers visible

A Waltz (QuickTime video)

Degan Mircevshi and Maria Minkoff (178)

A Waltz (QuickTime video)

An International Standard Waltz (QuickTime video)

Michael Posner and Reena Freedman (191), John Sinal and Vanessa D'Amato (222)

Team Match - Waltz - includes very enthusiastic NYU supporters (QuickTime video)

Team Match - Cha-cha - see the conference organizers dance! (QuickTime video)

Team Match - Tango (QuickTime video)

Team Match - Swing - This was an open format event, so some people danced East Coast Swing, and others danced Jive. In the middle of the event, they switched the music to Samba. (QuickTime video)

Woman in a gold dress.

The lady in red.

Team Match

Team Match

Team Match

The Dance New York team took first place in the team match. (,,, Liane Onish)

Cha-cha (QuickTime video)

International Samba (QuickTime video)

Jive (QuickTime video)

A little Latin (QuickTime video)

Paso Doble (QuickTime video)

A big meaty hunk of Paso Doble (QuickTime video)

Decked out in gold

This photograph demonstrates that "patty-cake" and dance have a lot in common.

James Chen and Tracey Tebrow (123)

Around they go.

Cha-cha (QuickTime video)

International Samba (QuickTime video)

A Rumba (or possibly a Bolero) (QuickTime video)

Paso Doble (QuickTime video)

Jive (QuickTime Video)

International Samba (QuickTime video)

If you need help with your Paso Doble, these are the people to ask.

This move is called the "Slingshot around Neptune"

Jerry Doshen and Li Ran (136)

Robert Bond (115)

She moves like a cat.





Waiting for the awards

International Standard Waltz (QuickTime video)

Even her dress has great lines.

Itali Reizini and Toma Klimovani (194)

She dances like a dove.

International Standard (QuickTime video)

Ed Simon has his eye on you.

Andrew Dong and Tongyan Wang (135)

Itali Reizini and the ever so elegant hand of Toma Klimovani (194)

International Standard Viennese Waltz (QuickTime video)

International Standard (QuickTime video)

International Standard Red

The MC with the Perpetual Trophy

Non-standard blue (no feathers)

233, Tails a flying

A peach colored blur

Blue, Pink


Oh so happy to be in your arms.

Xingmin Lu (168)



More happiness

Trotting down line of dance


Thank you for dancing with me.

The winners

More winners

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