California Open Championships – February 15 – 19, 2017

Nothing could be better for the Fordney Foundation, then to see the young dancers we know, represent and work with, grow in their ballroom dancing skills. I take that back, there is one thing better than that, seeing them win at competitions! If you were at the California Open Championships, February 15 – 19, then you got to see some of our favorite people knocking it right out of the ballroom. The Fordney Foundation is so proud of you and want to congratulate all the winners.

Our Founder/Director, Marilyn Fordney and her husband, Alex Havasi, Assistant Director, were at this event and filled me in on all the exciting details of this fun event held in Costa Mesa, CA. Here is what Marilyn Fordney had to say as well as seeing it for yourself from the great photos Alex Havasi took at this event.

Marilyn Fordney with Jody Swinney, Photo by Alex Havasi

“It was another awesome event.” Loren and Monet (our past scholarship winners) won the Latin finals for the scholarship awards at this event! When Marilyn told me, I was awestruck. That’s huge and wow…we’ve been with them from the beginning of their careers and they just keep winning! And by the way, Sam Sodano and Bill Sparks were there too. And not only that, our ‘Ladies of Ballroom’ guru, Brent Thomas Mills was also there. We must tell you, when the ‘Ladies of Ballroom’ cd arrives, it will have the hottest tracks on a cd you have heard in a long time. We promise you that! And it’s not too late to be part of it. If you would like to donate or be a participant in this project, please go to our site under Programs for more information.

Richard Swinney and Alex Havasi

If you have been keeping up with our DREAM program, then we must tell you about a young girl we met who attends Woodlake Elementary School and is in the DREAM program. Her name is Emily Dobson. Emily and her partner, Anthony Tatoosi were knockout dancers. Everyone was totally taken with how good they performed. Even the MC made a comment about it. You don’t hear that very often! When Emily and her partner performed at our DREAM program, they got a standing ovation. Marilyn Fordney says “Emily is just a natural and she is only 8 years old.”

Emily and Anthony

Marilyn went on to say that “Daniel Novikov was there with Mishella Vishnevskiy and they won first place awards in their age category, so the Fordney Foundation gave them awards. I gave out awards at 3 grand slam events. There was standing room only and the teddy bear group was so adorable that you could not take your eyes off these little darlings. Some of the first prize winners got stuffed emoticon dolls that were so cute.”

Daniel Novikov & Mishella Vishnevskiy

Marilyn Fordney wanted to say “thank you” to the many people who came up to talk to her and thanked her for our sponsorship. We’re always happy to know that what we do is valued. We also want to thank Sandor “Alex” Havasi for taking all of these exquisite shots. We also thank Debbie Avalos Kusumi, the organizer of the California Open for inviting us to this event.

For those of you out there, who are thinking of entering your first competition, we hope the excitement of dancing at a comp is contagious. Come on out and let us cheer for you! I’d love to post your picture right here – next time.

Thought Of The Week:

Dance Makes Music Something To See!



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