By Melissa Baddin
As a senior member of the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club’s competition team, I am extremely lucky to be able to attend the Ohio Star Ball each year with my team and my friends. Competing at the USA Dance National Collegiate DanceSport Championship in the daytime with so many people is a ton of fun. It’s also very inspiring to see the professionals compete at the Ohio Star Ball, which takes place the same weekend as our competition. This year, the evening show was hands-down the best out of my four years.
While the Ohio Star Ball is impressive, this year’s atmosphere felt entirely different from past competitions. PBS was there to shoot footage for America’s Ballroom Challenge, and it was clear that the Ohio Star Ball intended to be every bit as glamorous as Dancing with the Stars.
There was camera equipment everywhere with large stage lights set up, and the decorations were completely redone and much more extravagant than in past years. Put concisely, the space looked awesome. It’s interesting to see what some extra lights can do to really change a space. In the collegiate venue, there were also some extra stage lights set up, since some PBS camera crews were filming there as well, but at the Ohio Star Ball this year, everything was done up to the next level.
Normally we college students get some nosebleed seats (not that I’m complaining) where we have to strain and crane our necks to see the professional competition in the evening, but this year we got to be on the main level, closer to the dance floor. What made our seats particularly exciting was being next to the on-deck area for all of the dances. It was wonderful to see how friendly the professionals were with their partners and other couples. A couple friends and I even got to talk to some pros as they waited for their heats—so cool! It made the prospect of achieving that level of skill someday seem just a little more possible.
I cannot wait to see America’s Ballroom Challenge air. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much information about it other than it coming sometime in 2015. Still, keep your eyes and ears peeled!