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Ballroom Dancers Place Well in NYC

By Lauren Bradford
TEAM MEMBER

The MIT Ballroom Dance Team made an amazing showing at the Manhattan Amateur Classic over the weekend at Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, New York. The event was hosted by the New York Chapter of the United States Amateur Ballroom Dance Association and there were over 100 couples attending. Despite long car rides and very little sleep, the MIT team did very well and brought home the ribbons to prove it.

Friday night started with Rhythm events, and Pre-Bronze was the first level on the floor. The first event, Cha Cha, had a five couple final, three of them MIT dancers. Tony Maesto G and Sally Yu ’00 placed fifth, Boris Berdnikov G and Sofya Raskhodnikova G took second, and Sam Sopiee and Nicole O’Bryan won the event.

The next event was Swing, and this six couple final was two-thirds MIT. Maesto and Yu once again took fifth, Mohammed Zaman and Lauren Bradford ’02 placed fourth, Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova took third, and Sopiee and O'Bryan placed second.

The last Pre-Bronze event was the Rhumba and MIT dominated the final once again. Zaman and Bradford took sixth place, Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova took fourth, and Sopiee and O’Bryan placed second, making them second place overall in the Pre-Bronze Rhythm category.

The Bronze level opened with the Cha Cha/Swing Two-Dance in which Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova placed sixth and Sopiee and O’Bryan took second; they also placed fourth in the Rhumba. Dancing at the Silver level were couples Pubudu Wariyapola G and Vikky Kheifets ’00 and Stephanie Shaw G and her partner, who placed fourth and second, respectively, in the Cha Cha/Swing Two-Dance. Both couples also did well in the Rhumba/Mambo Two-Dance. Wariyapola and Kheifets took sixth, and Shaw and her partner placed second. Also dancing at the Gold level Shaw and her partner took third in the Cha Cha/Swing Two-Dance and in the Rhumba/Mambo Two-Dance, which Wariyapola and Kheifets also did well in, placing sixth.

The night progressed to Latin and, once again, started with Pre-Bronze Cha Cha. Four out of the six couples in this final were MIT dancers; Jatin Misra G and Adora Lin ’02 took sixth, Zaman and Bradford placed fifth, Maestro and Yu placed fourth, and Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova took second. The Pre-Bronze Rhumba was also overrun by MIT couples, five out the seven in the final. Maestro and Yu placed sixth, Misra and Lin placed fifth, Zaman and Bradford took fourth, Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova took third, and Sopiee and Nicole O’Bryan won the event. In the Pre-Bronze Samba Maestro and Yu placed seventh, Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova took fourth, and Sopiee and Nicole O’Bryan once again won the event. The last Pre-Bronze event was the Jive, and four MIT couples made its final. Zaman and Bradford placed seventh, Maestro and Yu placed sixth, Sopiee and Nicole O'Bryan took second, and Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova took fourth, making them the second place over-all winners of Pre-Bronze Latin.

At the Bronze level, MIT continued to do well. The Cha Cha/Rhumba Two-Dance found Misra and Lin in seventh place and Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova in third. In the Samba/Jive Two-Dance Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova placed seventh and Sopiee and O'Bryan took fourth.

Dancing Silver, Shaw and her partner took third in the Cha Cha/Rhumba Two-Dance and fifth in the Samba/Jive, which Wariyapola and Kheifets placed seventh in. These couples continued to do well at the Gold level. In the Cha Cha/Rhumba Two-Dance, Mark Herschberg ’95 and Tammy Yap 99 tied with Wariyapola and Kheifets for sixth place, with Shaw and her partner placed fourth. In the Samba/Jive Two-Dance, Wariyapola and Kheifets placed sixth and Shaw and her partner took fifth. Stephanie and her partner also took a break in the action to participate in the fun dance Hustle and placed fifth place. The night ended for MIT with three finalists in the Latin Masters of Syllabus. Herschberg and Yap took sixth, Wariyapola and Kheifets took fifth, and Stephanie Shaw and her partner placed fourth.

The next day started early with Pre-Bronze Smooth. In the Waltz, four out of the six finalists were MIT couples. In sixth place was Bill Liteplo G and Lin, in third, Berdnikov and Raskhodnikova, in second, Sopiee and Yu, and winning the event, Misra and Leah Sinrich NYU. The Tango once again had four MIT couples in the final: Misra and Leah Sinrich of New York University took sixth, Liteplo and Lin took fifth, Sopiee and Yu placed second, and Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka won the event. In the Foxtrot, Liteplo and Lin placed fifth, Sopiee and Yu took third, Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka placed second, and Misra and Sinrich won the event. The final event of Pre-Bronze was the Viennese Waltz: Misra and Sinrich took sixth, Liteplo and Lin took third, Sopiee and Yu placed second, and Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka won the event making them the first place couple overall. Sopiee and Yu placed second overall in the Pre-Bronze Smooth events.

The Bronze level began with the Waltz/Foxtrot Two-Dance, in which Sopiee and Yu took fourth and was won by Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka. The Foxtrot/ Viennese Waltz Two-Dance found Liteplo and Lin in sixth place, Sopiee and Yu in third, and Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka, once again, won the event making them the over-all winners of Bronze Smooth.

The Silver events opened with the Waltz/Tango Two-Dance. Seth Webster G and Christine Tsien G took eight, Yen-Hong Lim G and her partner took seventh, Herschberg and Yap placed fourth, and Wariyapola and Kheifets placed second. In the Foxtrot/Viennese Waltx, Lim and her partner came in seventh, Webster and Tsien took third, and Wariyapola and Kheifets placed second, making them the second place over-all winners of the Silver Smooth category.

MIT couples also did well at the Gold level. In the Waltz/Tango Two-Dance Herschberg and Yap placed sixth, and Wariyapola and Kheifets took fourth. Both couples also did well in the Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz, joined by Webster and Tsien in fifth place, Herschberg and Yap took sixth and Wariyapola and Kheifets placed fourth once again.

The final portion of the competition was the standard dances, starting again at Pre-Bronze Waltz. MIT dominated this dance, with Liteplo and Lin in sixth, Sopiee and Yu in third, Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka in second, and Misra and Alicia Alvaranga of NYU winning the event. In the Tango, Misra and Alvaranga took sixth, Liteplo and Lin took fifth, Sopiee and Yu placed fourth, and Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka won the event. The Foxtrot turned up a first-fourth place sweep, with five MIT couples in the six-couple final. In sixth place was Mikhail Veshtort and Maria Minkoff, in fourth Misra and Alvaranga, in third Liteplo and Lin, in second, Sopiee and Yu, and winning the event once again, Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka.

The last Pre-Bronze dance was the Quickstep. Liteplo and Lin took sixth, Misra and his partner placed third, and Sopiee and Yu tied for first place with Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka. The second place over-all award for Pre-Bronze Standard went to Misra and his assortment of partners, and first place went to Berdnikov and Raskhodnivoka.

At the Silver level, Herschberg and Yap and Wariyapola and Kheifets took eighth and seventh, respectively, in the Waltz/Quickstep Two-Dance. In the Foxtrot/Tango, Lim and her partner placed sixth, and Webster and Tsien took fifth. Dancing Gold, Arthur Lue Columbia and Shaw took fifth in the Waltz/Quickstep Two-Dance and second in the Foxtrot/Tango.

The competition ended with the team match, in which MIT did quite well. Team K (Zaman and Bradford, Maestro and Yu, Veshtort and Minkoff, and Liteplo and Lin) took sixth place and Team C (Herschberg and Yap, Shaw and her partner, Wariyapola and Kheifets, and Warren Dew ’81 and Elizabeth Ditchburn ’92) placed fourth.

The ballroom dance team competes next on April 10-11 here at MIT. For more information, go to: http://web.mit.edu/mitbdt/.