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Ballroom Dance Team Dominates First Event Of Season at Harvard

By Olga Shevnyuk 
and Shlomo Meislin

Last week, while people were dressing up for Halloween, 441 ballroom dancers from 21 schools throughout New England were donning dresses, collars and ties for the 13th Harvard Beginner’s Competition. The event marked the beginning of the collegiate competition season. The MIT Ballroom Dance Team rookies performed fantastically, occupying the top two and top four places in each of the beginner events out of approximately 160 couples each.

As the name implies, the Harvard Beginner’s Competition focuses on newcomers who have only been dancing since August. Three MIT couples made the final in Newcomer American Swing: Greg D. Pintilie G and Yuqiao Huang ’09 took first place, Ran Yi and Olga Rostapshova, second, and James F. Vanzo ’06 and Amy Lawrence, seventh .

In the Newcomer American Foxtrot, for the second year in a row, five out of the seven couples in the final were from MIT. Yi and Rostaphsova came in first place, Pintilie and Huang in second, Vanzo and Lawrence in third, Jules D. Walter ’04 and Jackie A. Gold ’09 in fourth, and Zhaohui Zhang and Christina Lam in sixth.

MITBDT veterans also did well in the Intermediate events, with three couples in the finals for Standard, Latin, and Smooth events. Shlomo H. Meislin G and Olga S. Shevnyuk ’08 won International Waltz/Quickstep, followed by Kenny Siu and Yiqun Bai ’06 in second and Eng Sew Aw G and Yan Zhao in fourth.

In Intermediate International Rumba/Chacha, Dmitry Abanin G and Zhao Chen came in third place, Joe Pompei PhD ’02 and Esther Ryvkina in fourth, and Muyiwa Ogunnika G and Caroline Psutka in fifth. In Silver American Foxtrot/Tango, Meislin and Shevnyuk came in fourth, Aw and Zhao in fifth, and Anthony Kozloff and Theresa Vallese in seventh.

Overall, MIT placed at least three finalists in five of the six events offered, winning three. Tufts won another two, leaving only the Intermediate American Smooth event to be won by the host team.