University of Alabama Dancers won the American Team Match.
University of Alabama Dancers won the American Team Match. Photo: Luke Erlandson

Exciting Southeastern DanceSport Welcomes a New Generation!!!

By Rose-Ann Lynch
Managing Editor
What can be said about the 2022 Southeastern DanceSport Championships, February 19-20, held in Atlanta, Georgia?

What can be said about the 2022 Southeastern DanceSport Championships, February 19-20, held in Atlanta, Georgia?  It was a great competition, in a large ballroom, in a beautiful hotel, with top-notch vendors, great lighting, perfect emcee, lovely music, knowledgeable officials, and gracious hosts.  Wait…there is so much more!!!

Southeastern was smaller this year.  But what it lacked in entries, they made up for in SPIRIT!!!  Certainly, the decibels were the highest they have been in any USA Dance over the last few years, and we are not talking about the volume of the music.  The crowds were screaming.

Why was it different?  Seasoned-organizers Wayne and Marie Crowder, coupled with new organizers Daniel Boman and Tiffany Bouquet, figured out how to do more with less.  They brilliantly rearranged a few events to allow the young to mix with the not-so young, and the results left everyone excited.  

Wayne and Marie Crowder have always held great competitions.  As one group of senior competitors put it, “They just run the best organized competitions.  They really do!”  Their events are well-orchestrated, well-run, well-advertised, and never have you guessing.  There is no doubt in a dancer’s mind as to schedule, transportation, location, rooms, and vendors.

This year the schedule looked a little different.  The College Team Matches were placed in the middle of the Saturday night activities, and all age groups witnessed a great contest.  The American Team Match between the University of Alabama, North Carolina State University Dancing with the Wolves, and the Ballroom Dance Club at Georgia Tech was rousing and energetic.  It was won by the dancers from the University of Alabama, placing second in Viennese Waltz, second in Swing, first in Tango, and second in Mambo.  The International Team Match added two more talented teams, both from the University of Houston’s Cougar DanceSport.  The ballroom was even louder, with North Carolina State University Dancing with the Wolves winning the overall event — fifth in Foxtrot, third in Jive, first in Quickstep, and first in Rumba.  Who were the true winners of the evening?  THE SPECTATORS, who were treated to a lot of fun and high energy.  

The dynamism from the Team Matches carried over to the rest of the evening, and especially registered loudly during the “Highlight Events”.  The what?  What’s a “Highlight Event”? “Highlight Events” were the hard-earned finals of syllabus events from earlier in the day, including Senior III Gold International Standard and Amateur Adult Bronze International Standard.  The dancers in these events were treated to special recognition and an evening crowd anxious to reward their hard work and beautiful performances.  Final top spots went to Clayton and Sandra Bodnarek in Senior III Gold (first in Waltz, first in Tango, second in Foxtrot, and first in Quickstep), and Brittney Bush and Julia Zhu in Amateur Adult Bronze (first in Waltz and first in Quickstep).  Congratulations Dancers!!!

The weekend’s events included a loud “Happy Birthday” from the dancers to Wayne on Friday night, and the Crowders’ official turnover of the competition to its new organizers — Daniel and Tiffany.  

“Daniel and I are honored and excited to become the new organizers for Southeastern,” said Tiffany.  “We learned an immense amount this first time around and have lots of ideas on how to improve.  All the thanks to Wayne and Marie for training us, and we apologize in advance for ruining their future tee times with phone calls and questions. They really put a lot of work into making this a smooth transition, and this is to everyone’s benefit.” 

She added, “Daniel and I get a support system and advice, the competitors get the same level of quality and commitment, and Wayne and Marie get to stay involved in a much more relaxed, hands-off role. We think the transition of ‘old’ to ‘new’ is a lot less scary when there is clear communication and teamwork between the parties.”

The date for next year’s Southeastern DanceSport Championships has already been secured, it is Presidents Day Weekend February 17-19, 2023.  It will be held in the same proven venue, the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, in Atlanta, Georgia. 

“Marie and I strongly believe the location, venue, and date of the Southeastern will easily make this one of the most successful dance competitions moving forward,” noted Wayne.  “All four of us worked together to organize the 2022 event, and during that time Marie and I gained a tremendous amount of confidence in Daniel and Tiffany’s ability to continue to grow the Southeastern to its full potential.”  

Thank you to Wayne and Marie for your hard work, talent, and love.  American Dancer and the dancers of USA Dance wish luck to a new generation of organizers — Daniel and Tiffany, and look forward to future Southeastern DanceSport Championships.  American Dancer happily gives Wayne the last word: “As Marie and I turn our attention to new projects, we know ‘our baby’ is in good hands.”

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