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Local Amateurs Participate and Perform at TCO

By Daniel O’Connell

It's summertime in the Cities, and the Twin Cities Open has come and gone once again. Minnesota has produced some truly exceptional amateur dancers, and several of the state's current top amateur couples performed on the night of Thursday, July 10th.

In the Latin division, Jacob Borg and Sijia Wei performed their gorgeous open Latin routines. Jacob and Sijia hail from St. Olaf College, just an hour south of the Cities.

Michael Kasinkas and Taylor Wall, current gold smooth national champions and runners-up in the gold rhythm division, performed their smooth and standard. Michael and Taylor have been working on new routines, and it shows. Minnesota expects them to earn another title in one of the open smooth and rhythm divisions this upcoming fall.

Nels Petersen and Theresa Kimler, current and many-time national champions in the smooth division, continued to look strong performing their current routines. Based on fundamental standard technique, these routines show the strength of their training and many years of experience.

Leland and Leslie Whitney, national finalists in the Senior II and III categories of the smooth, standard, and rhythm divisions, also performed. Leland and Leslie made a good showing recently at the Gumbo DanceSport Championships, qualifying themselves for USA Dance Nationals 2015.

The primary feature that makes the amateur ballroom dance community so strong is the sense of friendship and camaraderie that binds everyone together. After the competition, many of the amateurs in attendance, competitors and spectators alike, went to grab some tasty ribs at Rudolph's BBQ, a nearby restaurant. For Minnesota couples, a post-competition feast is a common feature of many events on the competitive trail, including the Chicago Dancesport Challenge and USA Dance Nationals.

Congratulations to all of the amateur couples who participated at the Twin Cities Open, and best of luck at your future competitions!