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Dance News September 2003

Date Published:
September 9, 2003

"Five Cities in Five Weeks," By Shannon Knauss-Mant
And so begins the competition season for Peter Mant and his three partners in dance.
August started off with the Seattle Star Ball and
Maria Moiel and Leslie Peterson both debuting their new red gowns by Nina Maluda and being finalists in their divisions,
Maria in Bronze Intl. Latin and Leslie in Open American Smooth.
Leslie was also debuting four new smooth routines in preparation for the United States Pro/Am Championships in September.
Another week of training in Portland and Peter and Maria headed for The Nevada Star Ball where they danced even better to very stiff competition.
Maria is from Portland and although she has been social dancing for about three years she is brand new to Intl. Latin and competitions but from the looks of it she has got the bug! Not only is she a beautiful lady she also has strong feet and ankles which is so attractive for dancing! Her very first Comps, the California Open and the Colorado Star Ball she took all firsts and seconds. Maria's next comp will be New York.
The following week took Peter and Leslie to The Embassy Ball in Irvine,California.
Having worked out some of the bugs at their debut comp they confidently placed second in the Open Gold Scholarship 4-dance
second only two Jeffrey Garza and Pamela Henry.
Their new and unique style is a combination of creative energies
Peter's choreography being very diverse in influences, Leslie's talent and (years of handwork) and the more recent addition of Beth Knoll as a key feminine ingredient.
I was very excited by their dancing. They appear not to have four smooth routines but
four complete Theatre pieces, each one an act portraying the character of the dance from start to finish. Many of their movements were unique for American Smooth, definitely not a list of patterns. They had borrowed Ballet, Latin, Swing, Argentine & Intl. Tango. I am still interested too see where they go with it because as in the professional divisions the American style is becoming the most colorful of all styles. Each couple brings from their backgrounds different technical skills but a desire to dance with the most freedom of physical contact
and creative allowance for expression in Ballroom.
Leslie is a delicate partner for Peter, she plays soft and nice and he compliments her as the perfect gentlemen.
The Embassy Ball was also the debut for Anne Shapira in the
OPEN Intl. Latin category. Giving herself only one competition in preparation for The US Pro/Am Championships.
They had some choreography bugs and costume snafus to work out and danced a better semifinal than final round ending up sixth in the scholarship but for someone's first time out of syllabus division everyone was still very impressed by Anne's sassy flavor for the Latin dances.
Anne and Leslie flew straight off to Miami for a couple of days of rest before Peter would join them at The Westin Hotel in Hollywood, Florida for The United States Dance Sport Championships to compete for National titles and also to cheer on our friends from Seattle!
In the Smooth Division Leslie competed in Ladies A. Open Gold
One Dances and although she did not place in the top three
the judges marks were 1.1, 7.7, 4
Which shows that the judges clearly,
loved,loved,hated,hated,didn't see her!
In the open division for the title Leslie was very happy to dance two rounds to the semifinal, She performed wonderfully amongst a very experienced group of competitors. She remains inspired to shoot for the title again next year! Also notable in the semifinal
Karen Angel and FJ Abaya from Seattle. It is my opinion they should have advanced further as their routines are polished & full of highlights. Karen is an athletic dancer with very "professional"qualities to her expression. They have competed a lot and it shows in their confidence.
The Winners of the event were Ben Ermis & Ruthie Perkins
2nd - Eddie Ares & Nancy Senner 3rd- Michael Mead & Christine Baitis
Anne competed in the Ladies B Open Gold One Dances
and placed third in 4 dances and WON the Paso Doble over last years champions and so with that result already announced they confidently danced two rounds to the semifinal of the Open Championships
where as they put it "we were getting even better!" but as they finalists numbers were announced they were disappointed to find that this was not to be their year.
Checking the marks they were 8th (6 couple final)
and the Winners were Jonathan Roberts and Pam Butler.
Anne has one thing to say "I'll be Back!"

We were very happy to see our friends Brian & Kristina place third in The US Rhythm, a new partnership Tony Dolovani and Inna placed second Bob & Julia won the US Title it for the 11th Time! Did they retire? No ! WHY should they they?
They are still winning! If you had the fastest car would you park it? They are great champions, indeed confident enough to be supportive of other competitors too. It was cool to watch Bob come off between rounds and stand sideline to cheer on Brian & Kristina.
Brian does have some new moves that everyone is trippin over!
They looked fabulous and their dancing is getting noticed by the most influential in International Dancing. They have been invited by several Blackpool finalists to travel, train and perform in Europe.
They also placed third in THE WORLD MAMBO CHAMPIONSHIPS earlier in the week which will bring them International Fame! Congratulations to them, they work so hard
practicing and exercising, everyday all day, they deserve it!
Peter has worked hard too "for an old man" he is teaching in Seattle and Portland for the next two weeks and then we are headed off for some much needed
Hawaii time and before we get back just in time for the next big competitions Hotlanta, Ohio Star Ball, Holiday Ball!
It has been a bit much for me too, all of this traveling, smoothing over everyone's nerves, hair, makeup trying to be helpful without being too critical,
trying always to say the right things, don't hurt anyone's feelings, be a coach, mind my own business.
We really just need to get out on the golf course and whack some of this competition edge off of us so we can come back fresh!
While Peter has only prepared three people for performance this year I have had over 60 couples, Bride & Grooms graduate from my "First
Dance" program to go on to perform beautiful dances to the awe and amazement of thousands and to form successful partnerships in marriage. This too is exhausting and I eagerly await Maui!
Meanwhile I recommend that every competitive dancer read the 2001 book "Dance To You Maximum" The competitive Ballroom dancers workbook by Maximiliaan Winkelhuis available at for $60 . It is a must have for planning your physical and mental training for competitions and your dance career.
Check out Our Dance Calendar at,
Cheers, Shannon & Peter