Competitive ballroom dance is huge in Florida, thanks in large part to the Florida Classic Series.
The three-part competition series, run by Tom and Pam DiTommaso for 15 years, kicked off with the Florida Spring Classic on April 29 and 30 in Orlando.
More than 30 studios from five states and 36 cities participated, bringing together more than 150 dancers aged between 7 and 90 years old. They competed in ballroom styles, including Latin, International Standard, American Rhythm and American Smooth. Among the dances categories were cha-cha, swing, mambo, waltz, tango, foxtrot and rumba.
Neal Currow is presented with the Top Overall Male trophyFlorida Classic Series
The competitive portion of the event took place on the second day, April 30. Top overall studio went to Dance Life Dance Studio in Panama City, FL, which also conclusively placed first overall in the same category during the 2016 Florida Classic Series. Top Junior went to Jay Wall, who took the title for the second year in a row, while Sally Childs won Top Solo after placing Top Silver in the category the year before.
Top Bronze Female, Top Bronze Female Student and Top Overall Female went to Pat Houseman from Murfreesboro, TN, who also won Top Female Student at the conclusion of last year’s series competition. Top Silver Male Student wen to Daniel Blau from Jackson, FL. Finally, Top Bronze Male and Bronze Male Student, and Top Overall Male and Overall Male Student went to the incomparable Neal Currow from Panama City who swept the competition this year among the men after winning Top Newcomer in 2016.
The event also featured workshops by renowned instructors Dan Rutherford and Nicole Carroll on April 29 and shows by professionals Andre and Natalie Paramonov on both nights.
The Florida Classic series offers opportunities for dance students and teachers to win scholarships and studio money. The DiTommasos gave away $4,000 to this year’s Spring Classic winners, who also racked up points toward the series’ Grand Finale, which takes place at the end of the third competition, the Tampa Bay Classic, on September 23 and 24. Also in the 2017 series is the Ft. Lauderdale Classic taking place June 10 and 11.
Check out some of the dance moves from this year’s competition.