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Ballroom Dance Team Excels in Competitions Held at UConn, Brown

By Shlomo Meislin 
and Fil Hsu

The MIT Ballroom Dance Team maintained strong showings as the collegiate competition season continued through the month of November.

Earlier in the month, several team members attended the competition hosted by the University of Connecticut. The reduced MIT contingent performed quite well, placing couples in the finals in a variety of styles and levels.

Rookies Ran Yi & Olga Rostapshova shined at the Newcomer level, placing second in swing and winning all seven other dances, besting fields of over 80 competing couples. Not to be left far behind, Andrew G. Tennyson G and Yi Cai ’08 also made the finals in Newcomer Smooth, Standard, and Rhythm styles.

Among the veterans, Konstantin Deman and Irina Medvedev placed third in Silver International Rumba/Chacha. Despite having attended the competition as partnerless ‘TBAs’ and having never danced with each other prior to the event, Adel Ahanin G and Carolyn Crull made the finals in Bronze Latin, placing second in Rumba and third in Chacha. As the sole couple at their level, Brad Morrison and Margaret A. Wong ’02 performed a wonderful demonstration of Open American Smooth.

November also brought the Brown Competition. Unlike the Harvard Beginner’s Competition, the season opener, Brown showcased dancers of all levels from newcomer to open. MIT performed strongly, with three or four couples making it to the finals in several events.

Two couples, Ran Yi and Olga Rostapshova and Grigore D. Pintilie G and Yuqiao Huang ’09, each won four dances to ensure an MIT victory in every newcomer event. Each newcomer event had at least two MIT couples among the top three, and in six of the eight events, at least three MIT couples made the final.

It was almost an all-MIT final, with MIT placing first through fifth places (out of a six-couple final) in Newcomer American Waltz. MIT rookie teams bested 24 rivals at the Christina Cryan Newcomer Team Match, winning first and second place.

Upper-level events also saw their share of MIT-crowded finals. Vladimir Dizhoor and Kateryna Kukuruza ’08, David Xie and Amy Y. Tang ’06, and Joe Pompei PhD ’02 and Esther Ryvkina ’02 won three of the top four placements in Silver Latin International Jive and Chacha/Rumba. The latter final had a fourth MIT couple, Adel Ahanin G and Christina Willis, in sixth place.

In Silver International Tango, Shlomo H. Meislin G and Olga S. Shevnyuk ’08, Eng Sew Aw G and Yan Zhao, and Ron M. Hoffmann and Eileen Depakakibo placed second, fourth, and fifth, respectively. Two couples represented MIT in both Standard and Latin at the open level finals, the apex of dancing ability at the competition. Other finals with MIT representation included Bronze and Gold International Chacha/Rumba and Silver International Waltz/Quickstep.