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Sunshine Challenge on the Horizon

By Rebecca Kelley
Contributing Author
Early Registration Ends April 19

USA Dance’s Florida Sunshine Challenge is quickly approaching.  You haven’t heard about it?  Well, here is a little information from Organizers Lolita Brawner and Rebecca Kelley.

  • The Florida Sunshine Challenge will be held June 8 in Tallahassee, Florida, as part of the 4th annual Florida Sunshine Dance, June 7-9. The competition website is:
  • Early Bird registration is currently open and will remain so until April 19.  Regular Registration is from April 20– May 14 and Late Registration is from May 20 – June 1.
  • The Florida Sunshine Dance offers Top Awards and prize money to top instructors and studios. They also offer scholarships for International 10-dance Silver, American 9-dance Silver, Youth 10-dance Silver, and Youth American 9-Dance Silver, with 1st place $250, 2nd $125, and 3rd $75.
  • This is not a hotel-site competition. It is held in a separate community center with permanent wood floors in both the practice area and the main competition area.
  • While the competition is only held on one day, June 8, there is a welcome reception on Friday night, to allow the competitors a chance to see the floor layout, practice, and meet the officials in a relaxed environment.  Charcuterie boards and drinks will be served.
  • The hotel reserved for the Sunshine Challenge guests is the Holiday Inn Express. Room rates are $129 per night, up to three days before and after the event, so you can stay and visit some of the historical landmarks of Florida’s capital, as it celebrates its bicentennial. (all the main historical places to visit are on the website: navigation tab – event information, drop-down menu: venue and local guide).  The room rate includes complimentary breakfast for Florida Sunshine Challenge guests.
  • Saturday’s lunch is complimentary for competitors.  Plus there will be complimentary protein snacks, coffee and other drinks served during the day sessions.
  • There’s a supervised Kid’s Program for the children (ages 7-13) of athletes.  This program will be in the same facility as the competition.  It is a way for the kids to be with their parents…yet away. 
  • Competitors, when they receive their registration packet, also get several goodies, not just the heat sheets, competition number, and standard items.
  • The vendor list is growing with a hair & makeup vendor, photographer, and (still in the works) an airbrush tanning vendor, plus a few extra surprises.
  • After the competition, there will be a general dance to the big band sound of the Tallahassee Swing Band.  All are invited…Yes, the officials too!
  • There will be classes and workshops. By popular demand, Patty Panebianco will be returning to hold another Shared Axis class.  Plus, there will be private coaching with Martin Smith, Dana Edwards, Inez Sahlin, Susie Buck, Irina Trebunskaya, and Andrea Zaramella. Pizza for lunch is included in the price.

Want to read more about this event.  Catch last year’s stories: “Peace, Love, and Ballroom Dancing” and Competition at the Florida Sunshine Dance and Symposium.


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