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Ballroom Dance Team Excels At Annual Brown Competition

By Yanfeng Lin


Members of the MIT Ballroom Dance Team rocked their way through Brown University’s Seventh Annual Ballroom Competition on November 11th.

There are four styles of competitive Ballroom in the United States: Rhythm, Latin, Smooth, and Standard. In most collegiate competitions, there are five levels: Newcomer, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Open.

In some events MIT dancers made four of seven finalists, so the honors were many.

Successes in Rhythm

At the Gold level, Tuan Q. Phan ’02 and Aurora C. Schmidt ’03 were second in Chacha, third in Rumba and third in Swing. Eric D. Nielsen G and Margaret A. Wong ’02 were fifth in both the Rumba and Chacha, and sixth in Swing.

In the Open category, MIT had William Liteplo ’00 and Michelle Goldhaber take third.

Sparks fly in Latin

In Newcomer Latin, Cheng Su G and Ekaterina V. Lesnaia G placed second and Bradley Morrison G and Irina Medvedev G placed third in Rumba.

Philip Hsu ’87 and Maricore Santiago took fifth in the Silver Rumba, while Liteplo and Goldhaber took seventh in Chacha/Rumba and sixth in Samba/Jive in Gold.

In Open Latin, the last event of the competition, MIT was represented in the final by Filip Ilievski ’03 and Rita Kraner. Ilievski and Kraner took home fourth place.

Highlights of Smooth

MIT had a splendid showing by the Newcomer dancers. Luca Dona G and Lesnaia placed first in Waltz, fourth in Tango and third in Foxtrot. Morrison and Medvedev took second in Waltz, fifth in Tango and second in Foxtrot. Hazhir Rahmandad G and Nicole Megow G took third place in Waltz and first in Tango. Rahmandad and Parisa Fallahi G won Foxtrot. Mark Sin G and Aline Lerner ’04 took seventh in Waltz.

Overall, MIT dancers took ten of the eighteen finalist spots--including all the first places--in the Newcomer Smooth category. MIT also gathered a fifth place spot in Bronze Tango.

Victor Mark Knobel ’00 and Schmidt won all honors, and took home first places in all three Silver dances (Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot).

Hsu and Santiago took fifth in Silver Waltz and sixth in Silver Foxtrot.

In Gold, Nielsen and Goldhaber won the Tango, and took second and third for the Foxtrot and Waltz respectively.

In Open, Mark Hershberg ’99 and Jessica Ahlers landed fourth place.

A sweep in Standard

There is no doubt that Standard is where the strength of MIT’s Ballroom Team lies.

In Newcomer Waltz, of 81 couples competing, MIT had Su and Lesnaia leading the pack with first place. Morrison and Medvedev were hot on their heels in second place, and making it an almost an all-MIT final, MIT had Rahmandad and Fallahi in fifth, and Man Sze Ko ’03 and Jamie Y. Mak ’03 in sixth place.

In Bronze, Sola Grantham ’98 and Megow were fifth in Waltz and fourth in Quickstep.

Silver Standard, like Smooth, was completely swept by Knobel and Schmidt, who won all three events in the level: Waltz, Tango, Quickstep. Hsu and Santiago placed fifth in Waltz, while Jacques Olivier G and Carrie Sougnez placed fifth in the Tango. Gold Standard saw Nielsen and Goldhaber bagging both fifth spots: Waltz/Quickstep, Tango/Foxtrot.

In Open standard, the honors go to the four MIT couples who made the final. Boris Berdnikov ’98 and Sofya Raskhodnikova G led by capturing second place amidst the fiery competition. Ilievski and Elizabeth Dew ’92 captured the fifth, while Thomas Nugent ’99 and Reena Freedman took the sixth, Phan and Ika Setyanati the seventh place.

Katsevman and Manusova

Despite the many personal successes, the climax of the day’s competition for all was certainly a special show by Eugene Katsevman and Maria Manusova. They are the reigning U.S. Amateur Latin Champions, and are ranked seventh in the highly competitive world of Latin Dancesport. Needless to say, they stunned the audience with their exquisite rumba, their spectacular samba and chacha, and ended by bringing down the roof with their impossibly fast and yet playful jive.