California Open 2016

Photo by Alex Havasi

There is no other world quite like the dancesport arena. If you were lucky enough to either be a performer or spectator at the California Open Dancesport Championships held at the Hilton in Costa Mesa, California, February 10 – 14, you know exactly about the kind of excitement that only exists in this kind of environment. It was also a great way to spend Valentine’s Day!

From the moment you enter the ballroom, your senses are on auto-pilot immersed in dancers movements, music, showmanship and organized semi-chaos.  You are reeled in and hooked all at the same time.  If you come in with something on your mind, or not feeling great or in a bad mood, I guarantee that will all disappear with the dancing, creativity and gorgeous costumes.  Your mind will soon forget  about what bothered you in the first place. Dance can do that to you, it has its own special way of making you feel happy. I’m telling you; it’s another world in there. Between

the scribes, scrutineers, master of ceremonies, floor craft judges, and the people who work the music console, this is the best three-ring dance show anywhere! I love it, never get tired of it and learn something new every time I attend one of these events.  We must give special credit to Debbie Avalos Kusumi, she is the organizer of this amazing event and she really does a marvelous job of keeping it all together so beautifully!

Photo by Alex Havasi

You will see youth competitions, pre-teen competitions, even teddy bear competitions, amateurs, juniors, ballroom champions, pro-am, special dance performances, solos, international heat and  every combination dancesport that exists. Each year there are more people displaying their talents, dancing and competing then any time in ballroom history.  These competitions are becoming huge and more popular by the year. You literally could be there from morning until night watching people compete at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels to win awards..

There is one thing I saw that made a huge impact on me when viewing these competitions. I would now like to share this with our readers and dancers who wish to compete in competitions in the future. Often times when I’ve watched dancers compete in one of the categories, depending on the particular dance, there may be

only one or two couples competing. Why is that, I thought? The answer is simple when you think  about it. When the dance is easier, many couples will be entering that competition, doing a dance like the Cha-Cha. But a dance like the Paso Doble is much more intricate and harder to do. Are you getting the picture? The more skill the dance requires, the less people usually perform in that particular competition. In other words, why follow the crowd. Be the one who excels at the more difficult dance steps or the dance that requires more precision. Your odds get better and you start

Photo by Alex Havasi

raking up points in a hurry, all the while, keeping your eye on the prize! Ballroom dance requires great accuracy and technique. All of you over-achievers, I’m giving you a big hint here, get to the head of your class by being the ONLY ONE who does exactly what you need to do, to be the very BEST!  Remember, it’s a lot easier to succeed, if you are the only one doing it!

That being said, I now would like to share with you the fabulous moments of this event. All of these photos were taken by Alex Havasi, the co-founder of the Fordney Foundation. Marilyn Fordney, the founder of the Fordney Foundation was also in attendance, as a special guest of this event.

Thought Of The Week:

There’s only one very good life, and that’s the life you know you want, and you make it yourself     –  Bernie Bernie



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website