Journey DanceSport/West Coast Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games/CBZ Foundation

Daniel Novikov, Mishella Vishnevskiy, Photo by Alex Havasi

Have you been watching the Olympic Games in Rio? Well you might be interested in learning that during the Fall of 2015, we discovered that ballroom dance sport had been reinstated by the Olympic Committee as a possible sport for consideration when the World Olympics are offered every four years. To prepare for this possibility, several ballroom dance sport competitions have been and are being offered in various parts of the United States. We heard about one occurring in Garden Grove, California on July 23-24, 2016 and since it was close to where we reside, we decided to attend. It was held at the Great Wolf Hotel not too far from Disneyland.

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports. During the early years, the AAU served as a leader in International sport representing the United States in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic games. After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the AAU focused its efforts into providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the grass roots level. The philosophy of “Sports for All, Forever,” is shared by over 670,000 participants and over 100,000 volunteers.

Marilyn Fordney, Deborah Huffman, Photo by Alex Havasi

At the event, we were greeted by the organizer, Deborah Huffman, and her husband, Robert who own and operate PeZazz, a ballroom dance fashion business in Jurupa Valley, California. One of the sponsors of this event was CBZ Foundation directed by Maria Kordit. CBZ stands for Connor Bishop Zion who was born in 1993 and died in 2013.

All competitors and volunteers of this event became members of AAU. Dancers who compete at NDCA and USA Dance membership events qualify if they are in the top three. However, to qualify for the multi-dance events, competitors also had to register and dance all single dances and they did that in Session 1. Many of the dancers who have obtained points during the year at various competitions that offer the Fordney Foundation Junior and Youth Dance Series were able to qualify.

Both American and International style ballroom dance competitions were offered. However, some competitions were specifically earmarked as medal championship and the winners won gold medals that look similar to those seen in the Olympics. The judges used iPads to record results and these were transmitted electronically so no runners were needed.

Loren Silverman, Monet Pinkett, et al, Photo by Alex Havasi

It was wonderful to experience when Loren Silverman and Monet Pinkett won the overall Junior I Latin competition and received gold medals. You might recall that at the end of the first year of the Fordney Foundation dance series that they won the Latin first place award receiving it in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio Star Ball.  In this photo is dance coach–Meagen Mendoza-Balykin, gold medalists–Loren Silverman and Monet Pinkett, dance coach– Pasha Balykin, and Ricki Taylor, and Eric Linder who are finalists in world events such as Blackpool and other international world championships.

Another top dancer we observed was 9-year-old Daniel Novikov and his partner, Mishella Vishnevskiy, who won first place awards and also compete in our dance series. They recently made the finals for the live TV show “America’s Got Talent” to be held on August 23 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.  This year another qualifier dance competition for the Junior Olympics was Millennium DanceSport in Orlando, Florida.

Daniel Novikov, Mishella Vishnevskiy, Photo by Alex Havasi

Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. All of us–Deborah and Robert Huffman, Maria Kordit, Alex, and I have the same goals and are helping the future generation achieve their dreams by developing their strengths and talents to be the best that they can be in dance and in life.

I hope you enjoyed learning about what the AUU is and how it operates and affects the Fordney Foundation going forward.   This blog was done by Marilyn Fordney, Founder and Director of the Fordney Foundation who attended this event.   All of these photos were taken by the Co-Founder of Fordney Foundation, Alex Havasi, who is also the husband of Marilyn Fordney and also attended this event.

Thought Of The Week:

Return to the Basics of Life:  Forgiveness, Courage, Gratitude, Love and Humor   –  Louise Hay



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