MITBDT Goes to Harvard

by Peggy Zhu

On April 5th and 6th, MITBDT competed at the Harvard Invitational 2014, held at Hynes Convention Center in Boston. One of the biggest collegiate dance competitions of the year, Harvard Invitational hosted more than 600 competitors from all over the country. Despite the fierce competition, MITBDT members and alumni brought out their best performances, with more than 20 couples placing in finals across different levels and styles.

Saturday Morning & Afternoon — Syllabus Standard and Smooth

The first day of the competition started with Smooth events, followed by Standard events in the afternoon. In Newcomer Smooth, Amy Qiu won 8th place with her TBA partner, Chris Chen from Harvard. Other rookies who joined the team last fall moved up to Bronze, with two couples making Waltz and Tango finals, and four couples dancing in the Foxtrot final. Dan Chen and Casey Crownhart placed first in Overall Bronze Smooth, with Corey Cleveland and Clio Flikkema coming in second. Cleveland and Flikkema also placed first in Silver Smooth Viennese Waltz while Vitaly Abdrashitov and Amy Ishiguro claimed first place in Overall Silver Smooth.

The Gold Smooth events also saw the award-winning dancing from MIT couples. Anthony Kozloff and Julia Shen, and Dilip Thekkoodan and Amy Fan placed in all finals, and Ian Slattery and Arlene Hijara entered the final for Foxtrot/Viennese Waltz. Anthony Kozloff and Julia Shen claimed second overall.

With significantly more couples dancing in Standard, the competition became tougher as the day progressed. In Bronze events, Chen and Crownhart missed only the Waltz final, and Cleveland and Flikkema placed in all finals, winning second overall. In Silver Standard, Abdrashitov and Ishiguro placed in all finals, and Ross Finman and Ji Shiyan placed fourth in Viennese Waltz.

Saturday Evening — Open Events

Following Syllabus Standard, the exciting Open events started in the late afternoon. In Open Smooth, Matt Sorrentino and Theresa Vallese claimed second place. In Pre-champ Latin, Giorgio Gaglia and Patricia Hao placed fourth for both Rumba/Cha and Samba/Jive, and Rafael Oliveira and Essie Kalishnikova placed sixth in Samba/Jive. Even more ribbons were claimed in Pre-champ Standard, with Mark Chen and Bella Pindrus, and Alex Martinov and Julia Shen entering all finals, and Giorgia Gaglia and Leila Hofer placing seventh in Viennese Waltz.

In the last event of the day, Championship Standard, MITBDT couples claimed three places among six finalists: Arthur Lue and Sarah Wong won second place, Ben Moss and Esther Rheinbay third, and Alex Arazawa and Jing Wang fourth. The night ended with a spectacular performance from world vice champions Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravyeva.

Sunday — Syllabus Rhythm and Latin

Sunday began with Bronze Rhythm events, where the MITBDT rookies continued to excel. Dan Chen and Brittany Bautista placed fifth in American Chacha and third in Swing; and Zohaib Mahmood and Francesca Majluf got seventh in Swing. Cleveland and Flikkema placed second overall in Bronze Rhythm and managed to place fifth in Silver Bolero. Jorge Valdez and Laura Petrovich claimed first place in Silver Rumba/Cha and Mambo/Swing.

In the very competitive Latin events, Cleveland and Flikkema claimed first Overall for Bronze, and Zohaib Mahmood and Francesca Majluf entered the final for Bronze Jive. In Silver Latin, Jorge Valdez and Laura Petrovich placed fifth in Rumba/Cha and fourth in Samba/Jive; while their teammates Brian Solomon and Jessica Bernier placed third in Samba/Jive. Two MITBDT couples danced in Silver Paso Doble final, including Cleveland and Flikkema, who won third, and Abdrashitov and Hijara, who placed fifth. Furthermore, Kuang Xu and Eileen Depakibibo placed seventh in Gold Rumba/Cha final, bringing back the last ribbon for MITBDT in Harvard Invitational 2014.

MITBDT has two more weeks to prepare for the next and the biggest collegiate ballroom competition of the season, their very own MIT Open. The team looks forward to hosting another successful competition and competing at its highest level.

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