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The Twin Cities Open All-Star Weekend

By Libby Ryan

People dance in formation
Even before the second weekend of July, Minneapolis overflowed with big names as athletes and celebrities flocked to Target Field for the All-Star Game festivities. But just blocks away, another show was just beginning—one with a lot more sequins.

The Twin Cities Open (TCO) began on Thursday, July 10th, with amateur and pro/am rhythm freestyles and scholarships. Friday showcased smooth, Saturday displayed standard and Latin, and Sunday featured workshops with top professionals from around the country.

Over 250 competitors participated in TCO, including many first-time newcomers and professionals new to the event. The evening show on Saturday sold out quickly, gathering over 500 spectators, including those who purchased standing-room-only tickets.

As the Hyatt Regency Hotel ballroom began to fill Saturday night with ballroom aficionados dressed in their best eveningwear, social dancers made their way to the dance floor. Ladies in six-inch stilettos waltzed around the room as if they wore low-heeled dance shoes.

Scott Anderson, one of TCO’s organizers, walked from table to table handing plastic hand clappers to spectators. The dance floor was a scene of social dancers, with professionals weaving around them as they warmed up.

The order of the evening was smooth, standard, rhythm, and Latin, with the show numbers finishing the night. From the first round of smooth waltz, it was clear to see why the show had sold out. The dancing was incredible; it was impossible to know where to look. In every corner of the floor, a couple was performing their choreography with nothing held back. If you turned in one direction, you could see one couple flawlessly executing a lift, but you would miss the développé and dip on the other side of the floor.

The front-row seats were close enough to the dancers to see rhinestones flying off costumes and sweat glistening on the faces of the dancers dancing round after round.

After revealing the awards for the night and weekend, the show numbers began with a baseball-themed number from Dustin Donelan and Dora Dolphin, who won the weekend’s Best in Show award. This was only the first dance to fit perfectly into the All-Star Weekend theme. Mazen Hamza and Izabella Jundzill, the TCO smooth champions, danced a waltz to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Hamza rooted for one team while Jundzill picked the eventual winners in their adorably plotted choreography. Also in the program was a sassy jive, a '70s rock quickstep, and two a cappella tap dancers.

To finish out the night, three rhythm couples and two smooth couples danced a fusion number, with the rhythm dancers in red and smooth dancers in white. It perfectly blended the competitive edge with the celebration of dance in itself.

The All-Star Show ended with all the performers on the floor, taking their bow, and Scott and Amy Anderson thanking the audience and all the participants for coming out to the Twin Cities Open.