Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Fairmont State Ballroom dancing team recently competed in a major regional and a national competition.

The DC Dancesport Inferno was held on Nov. 4-6 at the University of Maryland’s College Park Campus. The DCDI is hosted by Washington, D.C., area universities (Maryland, Catholic, Georgetown, George Washington) and is open to college and university students and other members of the amateur ballroom dancing community. About 400 students from about 20 universities competed during a fully scheduled two-day program. Private universities represented included Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, MIT, NYU, Princeton, UPenn and William and Mary.

The FS team consisted of co-captains Upendra Singh and Mariko Tsuruta,
rookies Travis Guzzi and Jacqueline Albright and, for his debut as an adult competitor, FS ballroom dancing coordinator Dr. Michael Fulda. Singh and Tsuruta danced at the bronze level. In the American style they danced the waltz, the foxtrot, the tango and the Viennese waltz. They reached the semi-finals in the tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz, and earned eighth place in the final round of the waltz. They also danced in the international style of the cha cha, rumba, samba and jive. They reached the quarterfinals in the cha cha and rumba and the semifinals in the samba and jive.

Dancing with members of other teams, Tsuruta competed with Chris Nguyen of the University of Maryland at the bronze level American style and reached the quarter finals in cha cha, rumba, and swing. Singh competed with Karishma Desouza of University of Virginia at the newcomer level. They competed in the Latin syllabus events of cha cha, rumba and jive and reached fourth place in the final round of the cha cha and rumba. Rookies Travis Guzzi and Jacqueline Albright danced in five events at the newcomer level and attained the quarterfinal round in the cha cha and swing and waltz, semifinals in the tango and finished in fourth place in the fox trot. With the coaching of former team co-captain Jason Raimey, Fulda and Albright danced at the silver level of the American waltz and tango event.

Two weeks later, the Dancing Falcons traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the National Collegiate Championship sponsored by the Youth and College Network of US Dance. As is traditional this collegiate dance competition was collocated with the Star Ball, one of the top ballroom dancing venues in the United States. Over 400 students belonging to over 20 teams competed in this two-day event. The FS team consisted of co-captains Singh and Tsuruta and rookies Troy Ware, Sarah Grumblatt and Marlene Harford. Singh and Tsuruta competed at the bronze level in both American and international style events. They danced the waltz, foxtrot, tango and the Viennese waltz and the cha cha, rumba, samba and jive. They achieved the quarterfinals in the waltz, and the semifinals in the samba and jive.

Dancing as a leader Tsuruta competed with Grumblatt at the newcomer level. They finished third in the finals of the swing and fifth in the rumba. Rookies Ware and Harford danced in the American cha cha and swing, waltz, tango and foxtrot. They were recalled to the quarterfinals in foxtrot.

The Star Ball finals were televised by PBS and will be shown nationally in February 2006.