USA Dance’s 2011 Mid-Atlantic Championships in Bethesda

If you follow me on Twitter, you might know that I am also an arts contributor for online news site Borderstan. Borderstan covers news, crime, business, arts and entertainment, and food in the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods. Last Sunday, fellow contributors-editors Michelle Bradbury and Mike Kohn competed at USA Dance’s 2011 Mid-Atlantic Championships in Bethesda. Several Borderstan team members, myself included, were on hand to cheer them on at the ballroom dance competition. Mike and his partner Sara took 5th place in the Adult Novice Latin category. Here’s part of the interview with Michelle and Mike. To read the full story and to see more pictures from the competition, click here.
Mike Kohn

photo credit: Luis Gomez Photos

Michelle: I have been dancing ballroom for the last two-and-a-half years. I got started through school my freshman year. But I did ballet and jazz for seven years before college.

Mike: I’ve been ballroom dancing for seven years now. I started when I was a freshman in college and I got hooked — I’ve been dancing ever since. At the beginning it was more about social dancing and having fun with my friends, but I slowly got more and more into competing, which I do about once every two months or so in a full year.

How often do you compete? What’s the prize for winning?

Michelle: My partner and I currently compete three to four competitions per semester, so somewhere between six and eight a year. But, we don’t compete in the summer because we aren’t in the same state and can’t practice together.

At some competitions the prize for coming in first is a scholarship if that event is sponsored. Often times, making it to the final is an indicator as to whether or not you are ready to be moving up to the next level… placing several times in a row is a pretty good way of knowing that you are ready for the next step. But you don’t have to be number one to make that decision.

Mike: For me, the “prize” of winning has always been an intrinsic one: knowing that I’m getting better, having validation from a judging panel that I’m improving and generally loving being out on the floor. At the highest level, there are some scholarship awards in the competitions that I attend, but they tend to be just enough to offset the cost of registration for the event with a little leftover, not enough to earn a living.

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About Cecile
Cecile Oreste is an arts marketing and public relations professional living in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @cecileoreste.

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