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Made to Dance

Dance Extravaganza at Cinema Ballroom

By Libby Ryan

Sitting in the audience at the evening show of Dance Extravaganza at Cinema Ballroom, one thing became very clear: some people are meant to dance.

It was evident in the faces of the soloists and the couples who filled up the dance floor during the social dance breaks between performances. There was a proud joy in each and every smile when it came time to demonstrate the skills they pour their time, patience, and perseverance into learning. But there is something deeper than that. Dancers dance because something in the movements brings out feelings nothing else can.

The evening show began with a Peabody lesson, a ragtime-era style foreign to many of the participants. Later in the evening, more than a dozen couples danced a freestyle Peabody to benefit the Children's Cancer Research Fund.

Soloists performed numbers from a show earlier in the year to kick off the evening's performances. As Dustin Donelan walked out on the floor with Sam Dahn posed gracefully on his shoulders, the audience cheered and shouted encouragement before their powerful Viennese waltz had even started.

An energetic poodle-skirted jive, dramatic bolero with impressive lifts, and a fast salsa with quick dips followed the Viennese waltz before Donelan returned once again with student Dora Dolphin for a jive. Dolphin is ten years old and already an open-level dancer. Her adorable jive seemed effortless, and no one was surprised when, later in the night, she received the best smile award.

A special contemporary performance from Larkin Dance Studio showcased the Larkin group's precision and dedication to dance. The excellent choreography was matched by the technique of the dancers, and they never broke character. Three Larkin soloists performed, young girls whose flexibility had no bounds and whose pirouettes seemed able to go on forever.

Before the headliners of the evening entered the floor, it was taken over by social dancers including a group of Larkin hip-hop performers eager to try out their own version of ballroom dancing: giddily spinning each other around and around until someone had to explain line of dance for safety's sake. Those dancing a tango simply pivoted around them, and everyone eagerly joined in the samba line dance. The exuberant smiles on everyone's faces did not stop for a moment.

The stars of the evening show were Ilya and Amanda Reyzin, U.S. nine-dance champions, performing several rhythm dances, including an Austin Powers show dance. The number was complete with a light-up costume and go-go boots for her and fake, glue-on chest hair and rip-off pants for him.

The Reyzins sparkled with both enthusiasm and fun in their performances throughout the night. It was impossible to decide who had the better facial expressions between the two of them, as they both had a way of catching the eye of the audience member closest to them. Every motion was exact, every movement drawn out into the tip of the toe or finger. And Amanda Reyzin's genuinely excited smile brought the dancing to an even higher level.

Cinema Ballroom's staff and instructors closed out the night demonstrating the Evolution of Hip Hop as they took their bows. After hours of competing, everyone was still on their feet, cheering and dancing for the pure fun of it.