California Open Dancesport Championships

I would like to share this blog with you, as told by our founder, Marilyn Fordney.  Mrs. Fordney and her husband, Sandor ‘Alex’ Havasi attended this championship dancesport competition and I think you will really enjoy learning about it through their experience.  You will especially like the fantastic photos Alex Havasi took of the dancers.  These photos are guaranteed to make you wish you could have been there yourself!

Organizer, Debbie Avalos Kusumi, invited us to attend the California Open Dancesport Championships held at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa, California. This event has grown from a three-day to a five-day comp. On the fifth day, Sunday, February 15, 2014, the Amateur, Pro/Am Teddy Bear, Pre-Teen, Junior, and Youth competitions begin at 8:00 AM and end at 7:30 PM. We attended Sunday because these are the groups we wanted to watch and cheer for. This competition is part of the Fordney Foundation Junior and Youth Dance Series and the dancers that place receive reward points. Month by month points are totaled and appear on a leaderboard. The winners receive their awards in November at the Ohio Star Ball in Columbus, Ohio.

Besides the little dancers, there are spectators and supporters traveling from near and far to give their encouragement to their favorites. This was a new venue but it looks like they have already outgrown it because there was standing room only.

I asked John DePalma, one of the Emcees of the event why one of the categories is called Teddy Bear and he said it is because at award time the winners receive small Teddy Bears. In fact, there was no time to allow for awards to be given in the ballroom and they had to make a special area outside of the ballroom to hand out all of the awards.

Most of the time the ballroom dance floor was split in half with judging going on for various levels on both sides at the same time. This allowed time for everyone to get a chance to compete.

Emotions were everywhere with much nervousness, tension, excitement, laughter, passion, energy, and celebration when seeing the dancers perform a difficult movement. There were loud hoots and hollers as the spectators gave support to their favorites.

The On Deck area was restricted to competitors and On Deck Captains who directed the young dancers when their comp was to occur. While waiting, you could see the joking, laughing, and anxiety of the wait among the competitors. When one tried to walk through that area, it was like dodging bullets when walking through a battlefield because of much activity.

We had a wonderful experience, so plan to attend next year and be part of this special competitive event. All we can say is WOW–it is unbelievable that dance events can get so huge that they are bursting at the seams.

Thought Of The Week:

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an art, but a habit.”  –  Aristotle



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