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Ballroom Comes Up Big in Florida Dance

Beginner Level Dancers Sweep Events

By Eric D. Nielsen

Eighteen dancers from the MIT ballroom dancing team joined over 800 other dancing enthusiasts at the 13th annual Intercontinental Dance Sport Festival. The team members fared well, with every member competing in a least one final. Over the course of the roughly 150 events the team made 307 cuts to higher rounds and took home 78 places, with eight first places.

The festival, held at the Ocean Center convention center in Daytona Beach, Florida during the week of January 3rd, was a full seven day series of dance workshops and competitions. A typical day entailed five to six hours of workshops in the morning and early afternoon. Competitions ran from around 3:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. most nights. During the two occasions when their were no scheduled competitions, the main competition floor was used for social dancing.

Mark Herschberg ’96 and Vesna Kadelburg of Cambridge University, England, placed first in the Student American Rumba, Student American Tango, and the Intercollegiate Tango events. Seth Webster LL and Christine L. Tsien G placed first in the Gold American Foxtrot-Vienna Waltz two-dance event. Alex Bershtyen G and Katya Dolginova ’99 placed first in both Beginner International Waltz and Beginner International Tango, while Eric Nielsen ’99 and Sofya Pogreb ’99 placed first in both Beginner International Cha Cha and Beginner International Jive thereby claiming all the beginner events for MIT.

Herschberg and Kadelburg also placed third in the first ever National/World Nineteen Dance Championships. MIT claimed eight first places, nine second places, and 22 thirds.

The dance festival returns to Weymouth, Dorset, England next year. In the meantime team members are gearing up for the Spring competitions which begin in February. Some competitors, however, will be competing earlier at La Classique du Quebec.