By Deb Aspen
Special to The PREVIEW
Deb Aspen recently returned from the Arthur Murray “Once Upon A Time” Winter Showcase competition in Albuquerque, held on Feb. 9. It was a delightful experience, resulting in first-place ribbons for the 23 freestyles entered, a large trophy for performing solos with three of her pro partners, and one of the coveted trophies for winning the Open Tango Freestyle.
For those of you not familiar with dance competition “jargon,” let’s explore some of the terms. International comps like the Dance-O-Ramas have the most categories ranging from Closed Freestyles, Open Freestyles, Solos Exhibitions, All-Around Championships, Pro/Am Scholarships and Professional Championships.
The freestyle and solo events are danced by couples consisting of either an amateur dancing with a professional, or an amateur couple. Each duo enters the freestyles of their choice, and dance on the floor at the same time with other couples, to randomly selected music. There are several adjudicators on the perimeters of the floor judging each couple according to their performance in the level entered: Newcomer, Associate Bronze, Full Bronze, Associate Silver, Full Silver, Associate Gold, Full Gold or Associate Gold Bar, and Full Gold Bar/Star.
The numerous dance genres are grouped into the following categories: American Style Smooth (Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Waltz), International Standard (Foxtrot, Quickstep, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Waltz), Country Western (Cha Cha, Shuffle, Polka, 2-Step, Swing, 3-Step and Waltz), International Latin (Cha Cha, Jive, Rumba, Paso Doble, Mambo and Samba), American Style Rhythm (Argentine Tango, Bolero, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Hustle, Lindy Hop, Merengue, Rumba, Salsa and West Coast Swing) all in both Closed and Open Categories.
Solo events are different in that each couple performs a routine to music of their choice, and are the only ones on the dance floor. In the larger Dance-O-Ramas, a couple can only have one solo entry, and they compete for a coveted “Best Solo” trophy in their level.
The Arthur Murray Showcases differ from the International competitions in that there are fewer categories, and they can vary from studio to studio. For instance, in the Albuquerque studios, their divisions are mostly Closed Freestyles which include all dances that students wish to enter; but in the Open Freestyle division there are only two dances chosen from the list of the six standards: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Cha Cha, Rumba or Swing. This year, the picks were Tango and Cha Cha.
In the smaller Showcases a student can enter as many solos as they desire, and are rewarded with a trophy of equitable size.
On a more local note, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 13, as In Step Dance will host “Country Swing & Salsa Workshops” with world renowned Arthur Murray Ballroom Champions Bob and Cindy Long, from Albuquerque. The couple will travel to Pagosa once again to share their expertise, this time in Intermediate Country Western Swing and Beginning Salsa. Stay tuned to The PREVIEW in the nextfew weeks for more details on this exciting event.
In the meantime, In Step Dance is offering free “demo classes” on Sunday, March 3, upstairs in the Momentum Fitness building, 450 Lewis St. It has been brought to instructor Deb Aspen’s attention that not many folks around our area know what Bolero is, and what is looks like. So, there will be a demo-introductory class on Bolero starting at 2 p.m., and a free demo class in Cha Cha will start at 3.
Call Deb at 731-3338 for more information.