The Maryland Dancesport event happened this past weekend, and what a show it was. It's not the biggest, and it doesn't host any "world championships", but there was plenty of talent. If you like "Dancing with the Stars", a competition like this will blow you away.
After the competition Saturday night there was a show by Andrei Gavriline and Katya Kryuchkova. Mr. Gavrilene makes Jim Carrey look downright arthritic, and both he and his partner know how to put on a show. It was based on Latin dances, but on the high end it becomes all but indistinguishable from show dancing.
Some of it is hard to appreciate unless you've tried it yourself, but everyone ought to be able to notice athleticism. They could move very quickly, and very precisely, totally in sync with one another while covering the floor from one end to the other. The sheer energy alone was about enough to make your eyes sweat just watching. And that's from some old t-square and compass left-brained engineer - most of the crowd was "artier", and they were at least as impressed.
Want to see stamina? There was Slava Sergiev, from here in Baltimore. He danced with enough students well enough and often enough to come in second as Top Teacher, then competed himself with his wife as a professional and finished second. In between did at least one show dance number, and that's just what I saw.
A few nights back I was dancing with a couple of the local professionals (dancers, wise guy). On Sunday I got to watch them compete for the first time. Ya know, they've been holding out on me. I seem to recall them dressing more conservatively then too.
Anyway, you'd think they'd have to be bored out of their skulls with someone at my level. Then again, they have some idea what a professional partner might do, and they know he'll do it well - with me they really have to be on their toes. And it can even risk injury - there are elbows flying around, I'm a lot bigger, and duffers have poor balance and don't know when or how hard to hold or let go.
So don't just sit there - go to your local competitions! There's one at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, the Manhattan DanceSport Championships, and if I get a wild enough hair I might even show up there myself.