Wednesday, March 07, 2007

WDC World Pro-Am Championships, Feedback From A Competitor

Letter from Pro-Am competitor Melissa Rodgriguez (as posted on newsflash)

Having just returned from the WDC World Pro-Am Championships in Argentina, I wanted to share my experience with other dancers.

This competition was truly a "world" event. There were dancers from 14 countries; I was personally beat by a beautiful Italian couple, and a sexy couple representing Argentina.

I have been competing in Pro-Am comps for many years now and have never had an experience even close to this one. Where else could I have danced side by side with dancers from other countries? I made friends from Serbia, the Philippines, Argentina and South Africa.

This event was not just great for the competitors; it was a great event for all nations and the dancing of the future. Some countries were very new to pro-am dancing and were encouraged by the level of dance they saw. Delegates from South Africa had so many questions about how we do things in the USA. Argentinean dancers were particularly thrilled to have ballroom dancers in their country and took great advantage of having professional dancers on their soil. I heard of many coaching sessions being set up with the adjudicators and professionals that were there in the days following the competition.

Being an American Style dancer, I was surprised and pleased to find that the American Style is gaining worldwide popularity, as is pro-am competition.

As the amateur half of a pro-am couple, this weekend was one that made ME feel like the star. I was able to compete on a World Stage, surrounded by World Athletes, cheered on like I was a soccer star, not just a pro-am competitor. I have never had more fun at a competition nor have I ever danced any better.

Thank you to Donnie Burns from the World Dance Council and Andrew and Anna Smart from World Promotions for recognizing Pro-Am dancers and giving us such a great venue to perform at and such an unforgettable experience.

Also, thank you to our host country, Argentina. Not only does Argentina have an amazing culture with Argentine Tango but also the appreciation for all forms of dance is evident throughout the city. The people are passionate about dance and did not hold back to show their appreciation for ballroom dancing.

I will never forget how it felt to follow the flag of the United States of America into a packed arena to the cheers of "USA, USA", nor how it felt to wear a medal around my neck, not representing my studio or my state, but representing my country. I will wear my Bronze Medals with pride and treasure them always.

Melissa Rodriguez, USA

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