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Ballroom Dancers Bring Home Several Ribbons from Harvard

By Vikas Bhushan
Team Member

The ballroom dance team competed at the seventh annual Harvard Invitational Ballroom Dance Competition, held on Jan. 31Feb. 1 at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center in Watertown.

Over 300 competitors were in attendance. The rookies on the team reaped the benefits of their months of hard work by bringing home ribbons in most of the beginner level events.

At the beginner level, with more than 60 couples entered in the competition, Wynn Sanders G and Catherine Sanders G grabbed first place in the international style waltz event. Meanwhile Eugene Bae G and Stephanie Shaw G took first place in the American style waltz and foxtrot and the international style quickstep events. They also placed second in the international style waltz and third in the American style tango.

Placing right behind Bae and Shaw in the international style quickstep were MIT competitors Yedil Workeneh '98 and Marleigh I. Norton '99, placing second, and Seth Webster G and Christine Tsien G, placing third. Workeneh and Tsien also placed second in the American style waltz and won the American style tango.

Tsien and Webster took fifth place in the international style Waltz, while Webster and Norton took fifth in both the American style Waltz and Foxtrot events. Elena Sapozhnikova and Karen Pivazyan '98 placed fourth in the foxtrot. Pubudu Wariyapola G and Viktoria Kheifets '00 placed second, third, and fourth in the American style rumba, cha cha, and swing events, respectively. They also took fourth in the international style rumba and waltz events, eighth in the jive, and second and third, respectively, in the American style tango and foxtrot events. Workeneh and Shaw placed fourth in the American style cha cha, eighth in swing, and seventh in jive.

Martin Szummer G and Kate Mahoney '97 placed seventh in the American style foxtrot. Rounding out MIT's outstanding performance at the beginner level, Mark Herschberg G and Tammy Yap '99 placed second in the jive, sixth in the quickstep, and fifth in the American style cha cha.

Dancers do well at higher levels

At the intermediate level, Feng Li '97 and Rong Zhong in the American style waltz/foxtrot/tango event and placed fourth in the international style standard events. Jennifer Hammock '98 and Arthur Lue placed sixth in the international style foxtrot and tango event, followed by Stephen Gildea '87 and Anne Moroney '85 in seventh place.

At the advanced level, Yuying Chen G and Tom Nugent G swept first place in both of the international style standard events (waltz/quickstep and foxtrot/tango).

Rich Finlay and Reena Freedman were right behind them in second place, followed by Andreas Gast G and Karen Moksnes in fourth and Li and Zhong in fifth.

In the international style Latin events, Chen and Lajos Molnar G placed third in the samba/jive event while Michael Otero and Freedman placed seventh in the cha cha/rumba event. Chen and Michael Posner placed third in the American style rhythm events.

Posner and Freedman won the American style smooth events, followed by Li and Zhong in second place. Posner, dancing with Ling Liau from Northeastern University, also won the open level American style rhythm and smooth events, and placed fourth in the international style open level Latin events. Also dancing at the open level, Otero and Marta Lipinski G placed third in the international style standard events, followed by Finlay and Freedman in fifth place.

The MIT team is looking forward to hosting the next major collegiate competition in the Boston area. On Apr. 45, the second annual MIT Open Ballroom Dance Competition will be held at the DuPont Athletic Center.