Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
When did you start dancing?
5 years ago, in Ohio.
Why did you become a dancer at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Jupiter?
Two years ago, I came to Florida for a long vacation with my mom. I took a few lessons at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Jupiter while I was on vacation. I liked it, actually loved it, so I decided to stay with this studio. I come to train here every other month and spend most of my time in the studio; I go back to Ohio. I spend one month in Florida taking lessons, and one month in Ohio practicing.
What did you want to become a dancer?
The movie “Dance with Me” inspired me to take lessons. I hated the first year because I felt I did not know anything, and then later I started to like it.
What goals were you hoping to achieve through dancing?
I started to set goals for the first time when I started to dance at this studio. I realized that I wanted to become a professional dancer and that I would like to open my own Fred Astaire Dance Studio when I am older.
How did dancing better your life?
It is keeping me in shape; it made me stronger, improved my posture, and I am not as shy as I used to be when I started. I am a lot more outgoing with my friends and I feel I became a better person.
Did your personal expectations for your dancing change since you started?
Oh yeah! The first year I hated it. I had no goals; I did it just for the exercise. Now I love it! I want to become a professional, I want to improve more and I want to have more understanding of the sport.
What kind of activities do you take part in at Fred Astaire Jupiter? I dance at regional and national competitions. My biggest success so far was becoming 2nd at the World Pro/Am Junior Standard Championships and 5th at the World Pro/Am Junior Latin Championships at Ohio Star Ball. I have taken Top Youth Student at many Fred Astaire Regional and National Championships. My biggest competition yet was the Cross Country Dance Championships in Las Vegas last April. I also love to do Showcases and I perform at studio events like Holiday Galas and at some Friday practice parties. I participate in most of the events.
“We just started in September and already rank second,” Riccardo noted, “Yulia is the best and we’re happy to be dancing together.” Their preparation for Blackpool was intense and, at times, “a nightmare” but it was all worth it when they got on the dance floor. “Everything was great once we started dancing,” Riccardo said.
Born in Terni, Italy, Riccardo has been dancing since he was six years old at his parents’ dance studio. He began to compete in ballroom at the age of eight but didn’t become a Latin dancer until about ten years ago, when he partnered with Joanne Wilkinson. Riccardo and Joanne were two times World Amateur Latin Champions, ten times Italian Amateur Champions, Professional Italian Latin Champions, and Professional Grand Finalists at the UK, British and World Championships.
After this dynamic duo ended their professional partnership in 2007, Riccardo took a break to wait for the right person to be available. His wait was worth it when he found Yulia, one of the most successful and talented dancers in the world today. Dancing together less than a year, Riccardo and Yulia have already come in 1st at many major dance competitions around the world, including the Holiday Dance Classic, the BDF Star Championships, the Philippine Star Ball, the Indonesian Open Dancesport Championships, the 8th Singapore Asian Open, and the Emerald Ball. At Blackpool, Riccardo and Yulia helped the USA win its first-ever Team Match!
Riccardo recently moved to New Jersey but don’t count on him to stay still for very long! Riccardo and Yulia plan on representing the US around the world, performing and competing at various prestigious events. Upcoming events include the US Nationals, the National Capital DanceSport Championships in Australia, the Manhattan Dancesport Championships, and the International Championships in London. When not busy competing, Riccardo will be available for coaching; he will be at the Fred Astaire studio in Indianapolis on August 2-4, along with world-acclaimed coach, choreographer, and former World Champion, Shirley Ballas.
Fred Astaire Franchise Developer Dan Rutherford was instrumental in introducing Riccardo to our chain and helping him with the paperwork necessary to move to the United States. Dan met him about four years ago and was immediately impressed by his talent. “I knew I wanted to train with him on a regular basis.”
The future for Riccardo and Yulia couldn’t be more promising. With their magical chemistry on the dance floor, they are well on their way to becoming the first World Latin Champions from the United States! We are proud to have someone of such immense talent with the Fred Astaire organization.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
During a span of ten days, I judged a beginner’s competition in White Plains, spent a few days in Boca Raton, Florida coaching, and finally ended in Scottsdale, Arizona for Antoinette Benevento’s June competition. I’d like to share my experiences with you, which was nothing less than perfect… oh well, maybe close.
White Plains Beginner’s Competition
It has been awhile since I judged one of those and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The students and their teachers were literally having a ball in a packed, spacious room full of rowdy spectators. The highlight of the day for me was the Trophy Ball where at least 10-15 students received their certifications after being showcased by their teachers. The Trophy System is, no doubt, at the core of our business. As a person who has gone that route, I strongly encourage all of our students to get their certification through the Trophy System as this will surely help improve their dancing.
This event was superbly organized. To Laura and Armando Martin, I say: “WELL DONE.”
Boca Raton, Florida
Coaching in Boca was like working in paradise, if there is such a thing. Although it wasn’t the first time that I’ve been to that spacious studio, I felt that my job was the best in the world as the owners, Jean-Marc and Pam Casanave, greeted and treated me like royalty. The teachers were very professionals and eager to learn, which is an excellent attitude for success. The students were like sponges…they wanted knowledge. I loved them all.
To the students there, I say: You belong to a great studio. Listen to your teachers and the managers as they will take you to the path of brilliance.
To the teachers and owners, I say: “Bravo.”
The Hilton Hotel, which housed the two-day dance competition, was by all standards a five-star hotel with amenities to boot. Antoinette Benevento, with the help of Tim Bohnett, did nothing but live up to her legendary reputation as an organizer and host. The competition itself was well run, even running ahead of schedule sometimes. I judged some very good talent within both the student and teacher ranks.
Saturday evening’s festivities included three Closed Professional competitions and a delightful show by a top United States Latin couple, Jurga Pupelyte & Vaidas Skimelis. I was personally floored by their rendition of passion (a medley of modern and Latin). To me, this competition was a great example of how Fred Astaire is taking the lead in the dance business industry, through personalities like Antoinette Benevento.
To Antoinette, Tim Bonhett, Bill - who incidentally did a great job MCing, the DJ, and many others not mentioned here, I say: I take my hat off to you (chapeau bas).
To the teachers and students, I say: Congratulations! Come and show your stuff at the National Competitions. The rest of the country needs to see what Arizona is made of.
Monday, June 23, 2008
In a recent New York Times article, the Executive Producer of Dance On Sunset Jane Lipsitz was quoted as saying, “Kids love to dance, and they always have...We wanted to give them something interactive that they can’t get from computers. And we wanted to keep it pure, to focus on the joys of being a kid and the joy of music.” Testa's choreography was refreshingly age-appropriate for Nickelodeon's pre-teen viewing audience.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
MTV joined the dance competition craze with Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew. Now on its second season and hosted by Dancing With The Stars runner-up Mario Lopez, this show focuses on street and studio dance crews showcasing their fancy footwork each Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. EST.
Master of Dance is TLC’s new dance competition series airing on Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. EST. This show tests contestants’ moves and flexibility by changing the song in mid-performance. Hosted by another Dancing With The Stars celebrity alum, Joey Lawrence, the grand prize is $50,000.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Tickets are on sale now for $25 each. For ticket sales, please contact Brittany Matthews at the Red Bank studio at 732-741-4188.
Monday, June 16, 2008
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Desire Street Ministries facilities in New Orleans, the Executive Director, Danny Wuerffel and his wife Jessica, wanted to put together a benefit to help displaced inner city youth get back into a permanent facility. Having taken dance lessons at the Fort Walton Beach studio, they turned to Fred Astaire for help. Luann and Bruno Collins were more than happy to help. According to Luann, tickets sold out early this year and they had to add chairs to accommodate all the calls for the show. They also had a “Make A Wish” family join the show as their guest!
Most of the guest dancers were longtime friends of the Astaire studio staff. Among the performers were Maks Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko, Mark Ballas, Derek Hough, Fabian Sanchez and Marlee Matlin, Jonathan Roberts and Valentina Kostenko, Jesse DeSoto and Jackie Josephs, Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian, Ilya Iframov and Nadia Goulina.
“This was our biggest to date and the phones wouldn’t stop ringing,” said Luann Collins about the event.
Click here to read a recap about this exciting event.
Houston area students will be accompanied by their teachers to dance over 80 different musical routines to a variety of music for the Professional/ Amateur part of the show. The music will be a mix of fun oldies, ranging from the 1930s to the popular music of today. This show has something for everyone. Nevertheless, Fred Astaire Dance Studios would not be an awesome host if they did not give the audience a taste of the professional star power during the night's Professional Act. It’s a family treat for not only the hometown of Houston, but from afar as well. Make sure you pick up your tickets for this Broadway musical dance revue by clicking here.
Coaching will be available for anyone that would like to come in. Both Riccardo and Shirley will do pro, pro/am and amateur couple coaching. Contact Dan Rutherford at 317-291-6500 for more information.
This was one official's reaction to Fred Astaire's first screen test in 1933. He kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.
Fred Astaire once said: "When you're experimenting, you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, and you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion." But his perseverance paid off. “The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.”
Thursday, June 12, 2008
One self-proclaimed "soccer mom," Ann Luongo, chronicled her time at the party in an article in the local paper. Searching for something to do with her husband, Anne and her husband arrived at the studio and found it overflowing with happy people smiling and dancing. Although they didn't stay long, they signed up for a lesson, inspired by the upbeat and uplifting atmosphere! Click here to read the full article.Catherine (Casey) Baird and her manager Forrest Burke-Moran look forward to seeing everyone in the studio again very soon to teach the Swing, Foxtrot, Salsa, Waltz, Tango, or any other dance you would like to learn! Don't hesitate to call them at 508-732-6790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your lessons now.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Ballroom dancing is on the International Olympic Committee's 31-sport waiting list for a spot in the Summer Games. With ballroom dancing's world-wide audience (local versions of Dancing With The Stars air in 25 countries with 20 million viewers watching the U.S. version and an astounding 40 million viewers in China) promoters believe that ballroom has as much a claim to Olympic status as beach volleyball, a recent addition to the games.
Click here to read more.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
1. Andy Sage & Sara Sage
2. Cliff McCullough & Cathy McCullough
3. Michael Lahue & Robin Lahue
4. Tim Duffy & Bette Anne Duffy
5. Bruce Kennedy & Sharon Kennedy
6. Jim David & Maria David
7. Eric Nielsen & Jennifer Courtney
8. Ron Snyder & Sharon Snyder
1. Kent Savage, Houston Kingwood
2. Andy Sage, Lake Park
3. Eric Nielsen, Belmont
4. Claude Carnahan, Norwalk
5. Andy Serio, Milwaukee Central
6. Tim Duffy, Chicago North
7. Jess Armitage, Scottsdale North
8. Sean Orr, Tarrytown
10. Ken Euge, Phoenix North
11. Larry McNary, Daytona Beach
12. Fred Doeing, Albany
13. Andy Dopuch, Milwaukee Downtown
14. James Weathers, Chandler
15. Mike Urban, Milwaukee Downtown
16. Lou Dixey, St. Petersburg
17. John Scheuren, Ft. Walton Beach
18. Ed Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
19. Poxie Xumsai, Chicago North
20. Robert McComsey, Tarrytown
1. Patricia Becker, Jupiter
2. Gracelynn Tuoti, Buffalo
3. Sara Sage, Lake Park
4. Dawn Greenleaf, Norwood
5. Savanna Michael, Jupiter
6. Debbie Bates, Houston Woodlands
7. Sherry Ramsey, Mesa
8. Joyce Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
9. Marilyn Bailey, Phoenix North
10. Pam Swerdlick, New York East
11. Laura Ganley, Buffalo
12. Marilyn Derrick, Phoenix
13. Bette Anne Duffy, Chicago North
14. Louisa Jornayvaz, Denver
15. Ashley Coles, Phoenix
16. Joan Hayner, Albany
17. Lois Springer, Scottsdale
18. Mary Mitchem, Houston Katy
19. Cheryl Anderson, Mesa
20. Lauren Bushman, Scottsdale
1. Andy Sage, Lake Park
2. Steve Jamerson, Chicago North
3. Michael Lahue, Montville
4. Gary Adams, Indianapolis
5. Joe Gorman, Upper Montclair
6. Ed Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
7. Poxie Xumsai, Chicago North
8. Larry McNary, Daytona Beach
9. Jerry Roland, Westwood
10. Cliff McCullough, Mystic
11. Peter Couto, Chandler
12. Brian Hamilton, Chandler
13. Mike Urban, Milwaukee Downtown
14. Kevin Roland, Westwood
1. Sara Sage, Lake Park
2. Ashley Coles, Phoenix
3. Susan Padgham, Scottsdale North
4. Alyssa Patmos, Chandler
5. Dawn Morehead, Durham
6. Lauren Bushman, Scottsdale
7. Marian Swoboda, Madison
8. Patricia Becker, Jupiter
9. Alana Chester, Warren
10. Dyana Fonda, Mystic
11. Robin Lahue, Montville
12. Kristen Atienza, Red Bank
13. Barbara Barbarite, Mamaroneck
14. Debbie Gillis, San Antonio
15. Laura Ganley, Buffalo
16. Norma Hickey, Red Bank
17. Jasmine Fourquet, Red Bank
18. Joyce Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
19. Judi Duchossois, Chicago North
20. Mimi Dickerson, Norwalk
TOP BRONZE STUDENT
1. Andy Sage, Lake Park
2. Kent Savage, Houston Kingwood
3. Claude Carnahan, Norwalk
4. Tim Duffy, Chicago North
5. Andy Serio, Milwaukee Central
6. Fred Doeing, Albany
7. Larry McNary, Daytona Beach
8. Ken Euge, Phoenix, North
9. Jess Armitage, Scottsdale North
10. Andy Dopuch, Milwaukee Downtown
11. Jack Clifford, Scottsdale North
12. Lou Dixey, St. Petersburg
13. Joe Tafuri, Mamaroneck
14. Jim David, Washington,DC
15. Richard Bell, Mamaroneck
16. Mike Urban, Milwaukee Downtown
17. Ed Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
18. Steve Jamerson, Chicago North
19. John Scheuren, Ft. Walton Beach
20. Dr. Jim Murphy, Westerville
1. Gracelynn Tuoti, Buffalo
2. Patricia Becker, Jupiter
3. Dawn Greenleaf, Norwood
4. Sara Sage, Lake Park
5. Sherry Ramsey, Mesa
6. Debbie Bates, Houston Woodlands
7. Bette Anne Duffy, Chicago North
8. Marilyn Bailey, Phoenix North
9. Marilyn Derrick, Phoenix
10.Chloe Hart, Ft. Myers
11. Laura Ganley, Buffalo
12. Pam Swerdlick, New York East
13. Joan Hayner, Albany
14. Joyce Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
15. Cathy Wheeler, Houston Kingwood
16. Dr. Roslyn Fretwell, Houston Katy
17. Connie Eskelson, Phoenix North
18. Kathy Kish, Tinley Park
19. Donna Gescheidler, Schererville
20. Jennifer Barbarite, Mamaroneck
TOP SILVER STUDENT
1. Kent Savage, Houston Kingwood
2. Eric Nielsen, Belmont
3. Ed Hammond, Durham
4. James Weathers, Chandler
5. Carl Gottlieb, Westwood
6. Andy Serio, Milwaukee Central
7. John Rogers, West Springfield
8. Lou Dixey, St. Petersburg
9. Michael Lahue, Montville
10. Harold Pfitzner, Westwood
11. Bob Rauch, Winston Salem
12. Ed Rampacek, Milwaukee Central
13. Richard Bell, Mamaroneck
1. Mary Mitchem, Houston Katy
2. Louisa Jornayvaz, Denver
3. Sarah Gillespie, Tarrytown
4. Kay Hammond, Durham
5. Janet Bruttell, Boca Raton
6. Susan Tringas, Ft. Walton Beach
7. Ellenor Shephard, Greensboro North
8. Savanna Michael, Jupiter
9. Margaret Mateeff, St. Petersburg
10. Margaret Norton, Greensboro North
11. Ann Sossamon, Greenville
12. Jan Polak, Nashville
13. Sharon Wells, Greenville
14. Suzanne Boivin, Milwaukee Wales
15. Elizabeth Aldridge, Greensboro North
16. Diane Howard, Columbus East
17. Lindsey Willis, Tarrytown
18. Deborah Johnston, Canton
19. Linda Faulkner, Hamden
20. Linda Hansen, Milwaukee Central
TOP GOLD STUDENT
1. Sean Orr, Tarrytown
2. Robert McComsey, Tarrytown
3. James Weathers, Chandler
1. Lindsey Willis, Tarrytown
2. Natasha Konon, Tarrytown
3. Randi Zedeck, St. Petersburg
4. Betsy Bell, Norwalk
5. Tina Broccole, Norwalk
6. Alaina French, Mesa
7. Alaina French, Mesa
8. Savanna Michael, Jupiter
9. Kay Hammond, Durham
10. Diane Howard, Columbus East
11. Josephine Howser, Memphis
12. Carol Koth, Denver North
13. Pam Swerdlick, New York East
Click here or call 330-453-4028 for more information.