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Latin Dancers Artsiom Pazniakov & Daria Goryaynova (left) and Kairat Algadaev &Julia Seleznyov (right) kept the crowd screaming for more!

Long Live The MAC!!

By Rose-Ann Lynch
Managing Editor
Photos by Carson Zullinger
Organizers Promised and Delivered!

“What a fabulous weekend, with a combination of USA Dance, WDO, and Hustle events, topped off with a great dance camp!” said Latin Dancer Ilona Prouty.  “We thank all of those who helped make this event possible and cherish your camaraderie!  Long live the MAC!

Now you are wondering what you missed…Right??

United States Senior I Smooth Dancers Justin Chiou & Hannah Bundus are WDO World Champions!

The MAC was held over the 2024 Martin Luther King Weekend, January 12-14, at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott.  It was a jam-packed weekend that included a three-day competition and a National Training Camp. 

Dancers from age groups Pre-Teen to Senior V danced in four styles from 8:00 in the morning to midnight. Events were danced at every level from Newcomer to Championship, as well as Professional.  There were Show Dances, Formation Dances, Assessed Rounds, Professional-Amateur events, Teacher-Student events, Solo Proficiencies, Mixed Proficiencies, Syllabus Rounds, and Regional Championships.  For the first time, Championships included the World Dance Organisation (WDO) World Championships in Senior I Smooth and Rhythm, Senior II Latin and Ballroom, and Senior III Latin and Ballroom.  

Officials included Adjudicators from seven different countries — Armenia, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Slovenia, and Ukraine, plus of course the United States.  They were Barbara Nagoda Ambroz, Ilya Barmotin, Inna Brayer, Dmytro Dmytrenko, Viktoriya Drubetskaya, Shawn Fisher, Vladimir Karpov, Roman Kutskyy, Alessandro Maggioni, Patricia Panebianco, James Prouton, Yuriy Shelkovy, Lesya Sinitsa, Kimberly Smith, Arto Tsaturyan, Tomas Vasicek, and Yuehwern Yih.  This talented panel served under the ever-vigilant Chair of Judges Daniel Calloway.  The team rounded out with Scrutineer Daniel Dilley, Emcee Ricky Semlitz, Music Director Robert Friedman, and Dance Rules Officials Sharon Jones and Svetlana Khaletskaya.

“We enjoyed it a lot!” said, Standard Dancer Elena Simonova.  “Organizers did an amazing job!!!!”

Throughout the day, Organizers Daphna Locker, Lisa Spencer, and Renata Shvarts were seen out and about — behind the registration desk, talking with dancers, and checking on the ballroom.  No one knew how they remained standing after so many hours, but everything ran smoothly, and they were always smiling.  And, they should have been…they had a lot to be proud of. 

“Cheers to the gang — fantastic job organizers, volunteers, judges, and competitors!!!” exclaimed Latin Dancer Christine Lys.

United States Senior III Latin Dancers Michael Murphy and Christine Lys brought home the WDO Gold!

Four years ago, in 2020, a once highly successful MAC disappeared from the USA Dance list of competitions.  This was a tragedy to the competitive dance world and left a hole felt by dancers across the country.  “MAC is like our home-away-from-home comp,” said Latin Dancer Ida Jones.  “MAC and the former Mid-Atlantic stayed on our dance calendars as the for-sure comps every year.”

Last year, however, the MAC was resurrected and once again took its place as a USA Dance National Qualifying Event and Northeast Regional.  This year, the MAC’s number of entries grew, and it is currently the most successful USA Dance competition, with 366 dancers, four countries represented, and six newly crowned WDO World Championship couples. 

WDO World Senior I Championship Smooth

  1. Justin Chiou & Hannah Bundus (USA)
  2. Mikhail Belfer & Julie Garcynski (USA)
  3. Mike Lynch & Rose-Ann Lynch (USA)

WDO World Senior I Championship Rhythm

  1. Ross Hill & Carolyn Reis (USA)
  2. Daniel O’Connell & Rosemary O’Connell (USA)
  3. Patrick Datoc & Antoinette Datoc (USA)

WDO World Senior II Championship Latin

  1. Anatoliy Shvarts & Tatiana Keegan (USA)
  2. Michael Murphy & Christine Lys (USA)
  3. Khuong Pham & Allison Bailey (USA)

WDO World Senior II Championship Ballroom

  1. Richard Leclerc & Matine Lambert (Canada)
  2. Denis Polyakov & Tatiana Polyakov (USA)
  3. Mikhail Belfer & Julie Garcynski (USA)

WDO World Senior III Championship Ballroom

  1. Richard Leclerc & Matine Lambert (Canada)
  2. Yusuf Mihaylov & Elena Simonova (USA)
  3. Fabio Cassi & Marzia Morini (Italy)

WDO World Senior III Championship Latin

  1. Michael Murphy & Christine Lys (USA)
  2. Leland Andrew Prouty &Ilona Prouty (USA)
  3. Victor Tsemko & Sylvie Bourguignon (Canada)

Not only was the MAC a success, it was beautiful.  The artistic hands of Lisa Spencer were evident everywhere.  Dancers and spectators entered a ballroom treated in lovely rich black and gold adornments. Even the clackers on the table were gold.  It set a gorgeous background for the dancers and spectators alike. 

Senior I Rhythm Dancers Daniel and Rosemary O’Connell wow the crowd with their moves.

“I could not dance this time,” said 10-Dancer Lena Dudko, “but…had the pleasure to watch all evenings’ events and cheer for our friends!”  She and her husband, Arkady, could be heard throughout the weekend doing just that.

For the first time, a USA Dance event held Grading Rounds sponsored by the North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association, with seven couples participating in the Standard and Smooth rounds.

Outside the ballroom was more excitement, as vendors filled the hall with shoes, dresses, accoutrements, consignments, services, and more.  But what was that disco music emanating from the fully decked-out room across the hall?  The MAC had brilliantly partnered with the 2024 New Jersey Hustle Congress, and hustle couples were “Staying Alive” with New York’s own Disco Diva Lori Brizzi.  What a great way to blend the two dance communities.  At various times throughout the weekend, Disco Dancers could be seen peeking through the ballroom doors, while at other times the Ballroom Dancers were doing the peeking.  All had the “Saturday Night Fever” and were having a great time. 

Senior III Standard Dancers Howell & Mary Scott step into frame to start their round.

The competition went smoothly and strongly for all three days and never fell behind schedule.  Dancers danced and bowed, while spectators applauded and judges made their best selections.  Everyone was tired when the final awards were presented on Sunday night, but smiles were prevalent, dancers hugged, and friendships were solidified.  The Organizers had promised “truly something for everyone,” and they had delivered.  But it wasn’t time to go home yet. 

On Monday, approximately 30 tired couples shuffled back down to the ballroom for the USA Dance Training Camp.  This was a chance to learn from the best and the dancers took advantage of it.  The featured coaches were: Barbara Ambroz, Patricia Panebianco, Viktoriya Drubetskaya, Vladimir Karpov, Roman Kutskyy, Alessandro Maggioni, James Prouton, and Lesya Sinitsa.  This sanctioned National Camp satisfied the new requirement (Rule in the 2023 Rulebook) for all World Team Representatives to have attended a sanctioned training camp.  Activities began promptly at 8 a.m. with stretching and ran until 6 p.m.  The camp featured group workshops, rounds, and private lessons in all four styles. 

Did you miss the dancing, the competition, the camp…the MAC!  Don’t let it happen again.  How about a few words from our organizers…

“So nice to see you guys!” said Lisa Spencer.  “Thank you for being with us.  Your dancing was so enjoyable to watch.  Hope we see you next year!”

“I want to thank everyone for supporting MAC,” said Renata Shvarts.  “We did our best to make the competition enjoyable…Already thinking of ways to make it better next year!”

“I echo both Renata and Lisa in our appreciation of everyone’s support,” said Daphna.  “We want to thank everyone who attended and helped make MAC 2024 a great success.  We hope to see you all at MAC 2025 and also hope that you all respond to our survey that will be going out to everyone who attended in a week or so.”

Yes indeed!  The MAC organizers are making plans, and dancers have a lot to look forward to.  So, put it on your calendars now.  The 2025 MAC will be held January 17-20 – Martin Luther King Weekend – again at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. 

“Thanks for doing such a fantastic job with the MAC,” said Latin Dancer Wade Butaud, “and for having us here!”

Standard Dancer Yusuf Mihaylov concluded for everyone…“We will definitely be there next year!” 

Still wondering what you missed?  Check it out!!!

Long live the MAC!!

Adult Rhythm Dancers Stephen Sekoulopoulos and Sabrina Sharmeen demonstrate their well-known gorgeous lines.


Did you miss the 2024 MAC?  Are you qualified for the 2024 USA Dance Nationals, scheduled for March 22-24 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?  Do you need one or two more competitions under your shoes?  You’re running out of opportunities, but it is not too late.  The Atlanta DanceSport Cup (Sanctioned Event) is scheduled for January 26-27 in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Southeastern DanceSport Championship (Regional Championship) is scheduled for February 16-18 in Dunwoody Georgia.  These competitions are a great opportunity to try out those new costumes and last-minute choreography and styling changes.  For more information, see the American Dancer Competition Calendar  

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