Anna and Dennis
Anna Jonczyk (age 21) and Dennis Matveev (age 22) are 2022 World Championship Semi-Finalists in Youth and Under-21 Ballroom. Photo compliments of Anna and Denis.

International Training Camps Provide New Perspective and Opportunities

By Anna Jonczyk (age 21) and Dennis Matveev (age 22)
Contributing Author
Photos by Michael Wade
United States Dancers Prepare for International Competitions
Anna and Dennis recently attended the Treviso, Italy Summer Top Dance Camp.  Here they are dancing with their fellow dancers during the evening rounds.  (Anna is in the grey patterned shirt and white shoes)  Video compliments of Rose-Ann Lynch.

If a couple plans to compete at the German Open Championships, any International Open, or anywhere beyond the United States, there are so many unknowns: couples, floorcraft, music, and so on.  From even our own personal experiences, these multiple unknowns create irrational fears before entering the international competition floor.  However, attending a camp overseas not only tremendously improves the quality of dancing, but also stimulates a competitive atmosphere before the real competition.

Firstly, on the basis of improving dance skills, many of these international camps invite world-renowned teachers and dancers. Although training with your own personal coach is absolutely essential for your progress, receiving a new perspective from a fresh set of eyes will boost and catalyze your improvement. These international coaches often train the current champions of the dance floor, have been World Champions themselves, or judge the GrandSlams and World Opens.  They have an expert eye on what they want to see on the competition floor. Training with these teachers give couples new skills and techniques to solidify and practice when they return home. 

These international camps also work on the emotional level.  Many times, they provide the opportunity for couples to train beside their idols or with legendary coaches they have only seen on the internet.  When we travel to these camps, we always feel a combination of excitement, nerves, and motivation.  Since the majority of ballroom and Latin dancers are from Europe or other parts of the world, we rarely get to see the raw and unfiltered forms of our idols in person.  Practicing alongside, attending groups with, and dancing rounds with these high-level dancers create a bustling atmosphere that inspires dancers to push beyond their maximum.  One of our favorite times of the day is the run-throughs with sixty or more couples broken up into a few heats.  Experiencing rounds with so many couples in a practice setting, compared to a competition, helps us see every dancer from a new perspective. 

The unique atmosphere the dancers create at these international camps is one of the main reasons we love to attend them.  Going blindsided into a large international competition feels completely overwhelming and stressful.  However, by attending these camps, couples become accustomed to the rush of large European competitions, the sheer number of couples on the floor, the number of heats between dances, and the length of the music.  Overall, these camps reduce the shock factor of the large competitions, such as the German Open, since couples already experience a similar environment. 

Anna and Dennis at Treviso Summer Top Dance Camp
Anna and Dennis have attended the Treviso Summer Top Dance Camp four times. Here they are with their fellow USA Dance members and friends. Photo compliments of Anna and Dennis.

International camps have only bolstered our performance, skills, stamina, and so on.  Very often after the daily run-throughs, the dancers from the camp gather in the lobby to grab dinner together, play a round of ping-pong at the hotel, or unwind on the couches.  Each time we attend an international camp, we grow our community of friends. Seeing these familiar faces at competitions, camps, and other dancing events only makes dance more exciting and inspiring, and makes dancing internationally feel like home.

Anna and Dennis

Anna Jonczyk (age 21) and Dennis Matveev (age 22) are the 2022 National Amateur Adult Ten-Dance Champions and 2022 National Amateur Adult Standard Vice-Champions.  They are Six-time National Champions, German Open Youth Ten-Dance Finalists, and World Championship Semifinalists in Youth and Under-21 Ballroom.  They dance under Coaches Ronen Zinshtein and Alexandru Munteanu.  Anna and Dennis will be competing for the United States in the World Ten Dance Championships in Bratislava Slovakia on September 3, 2022.  American Dancer wishes them the best of luck!!! 

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