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Ballroom Dance Novices Dominate U. Conn Meet

By Eric D. Nielsen

Eight ballroom dance team newcomer couples joined two experienced couples at the University of Connecticut’s DanceSport Competition on November 6. The newcomers did very well, winning five of the eight events, with other ribbons scattered throughout the field. The approximately 150 couples at the meet hailed from around 15 college located throughout New England and reaching down into Pennsylvania.

The first set of events were the American Smooth events: Foxtrot and Tango for the newcomers and the Silver Waltz/Tango/Foxtrot Three-Dance for the experienced couple. Mark Herschberg ’95 and Karen Atkinson took first place in the Three-Dance. Alex Bernstein G and Katya Dolginova ’98 placed third in both of the newcomer events. Daniel Pope and Lyudmila V. Zemlyakova G took fifth in Foxtrot and Mark D. Knobel ’00 and Jennifer A. Healey G took sixth in the Tango.

In the International Standard dances -- Waltz and Quickstep for the newcomers, Silver Waltz/Quickstep Two-Dance, Silver Tango/Foxtrot Two-Dance. Bernstein and Dolginova placed first in both newcomer events. In Waltz they were joined by Pavel Langer ’01 and Genya Zemlyakova G who placed third and Pope and Zemlyakova who placed fourth.

The MIT contingent dominated the Quickstep, winning six of the eight ribbons in the event. Langer and G. Zemlyakova placed second, Eric D. Nielsen G and Sofya Pogreb G placed fourth, followed by Pope and Zemlyakova in fifth, Knobel and Healey in seventh and Daniel Weber ’98 and Tilke Judd ’04 in eighth. In the silver events Herschberg and Atkinson took second in both two-dance events.

Success continues into afternoon

Following the lunch break and before the main competition resumed, a competitive fun dance was held that was basically a free form event involving American Rhythm dances, with the dance changing in every round as couples advanced towards the finals. William Litpelo G and Michelle Goldhaber placed second in this event.

The afternoon events commenced with American Rhythm: Rumba and Swing for the newcomers, Silver Swing/Mambo Two-Dance and Silver Rumba/Cha-Cha Two-Dance.

In Rumba, Langer and G. Zemlyakova took first with Bernstein and Dolginova in second and Nielsen and Pogreb in sixth. In Swing, Bernstein and Dolginova placed first followed by Langer and G. Zemlyakova in second and Knobel and Healy in fourth and Jefri Mohdzaini G and Karin U. Sigurd G in seventh. In the Silver Swing/Mambo, Litpelo and Goldhaber took fifth and Herschberg and Atkinson took seventh.

The final set of dances at the competition were the International Latin events: Cha-Cha and Rumba for newcomers, Silver Rumba/Cha-Cha Two-Dance, and Silver Samba/Jive. Nielsen and Pogreb placed fourth in Cha-cha with Bernstein and Dolginova in seventh. Langer and G. Zemlyakova placed first in Rumba with Nielsen and Pogreb in fourth.

Despite the small number of MIT couples participating in the competition, the team brought back several ribbons at the Silver level and practically dominated the competition at the Newcomer level. The rookies came back with a lot of confidence and are looking forward to the next competition which will take place at Brown University on Sunday, November 14.