Highlights from Dance Fest
By Taylor Wall
Readers, you'll find that a large part of this issue of Sheer Dance is dedicated to celebrating the successes of Dance Fest, which was held at Union Depot in St. Paul on March 4-5th. A huge number of volunteers put hundreds of hours of work into making this event such a success, and I'd like to take this article to point out some of this year's highlights:
High Participant Turnout from Around the County
Even with a larger, 70x300 ft venue space (that's huge!), the ballroom was packed with excited and energetic dancers from around the country, including as far away as the University of Chicago and Ohio State. We even had judges from Chicago and New Mexico!
New Schools Represented
These weren't all just collegiate participants. In addition to the youth and amateur competitors we have seen in previous years, we also saw two high school clubs participate from Henry Sibley High School (coached by Kate Bratt) and Eagle Ridge Academy (coached by Cindy Nehrbass). Henry Sibley High School assembled our first-ever high school team in the American Team Match competition!
*Professional Representation in our Volunteer Staff
After every competition that we host, I extol the virtues of our volunteer staff, and you'll read about some of the hard work our volunteers perform in this month's issue of Sheer Dance. In addition to relying on the support of the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club, I know that I can also count on our local ballroom dance community, including Dancers Studio students Craig Hagensick, Rochelle Lockridge, Ligaya Carlos, and Julie Johnston.
This year I am even more determined to recognize our volunteers, as we were joined by members of our professional dance community: Beth Hurlbert and Gideon Richer of Fred Astaire Dance Studio and Paris Becker and Cody Arndtson of Dancers Studio. We also saw a larger contingent of non-local volunteers this year, including Amber of Bemidji, MN, Kiah of Vermillion, SD, Maria of Des Moines, IA, and a photography team comprised almost entirely of members of the Ballroom and Swing Club of Luther College in Decorah, IA.
Incredible Generous Sponsorship
Last, but certainly not least, this year realized the highest prize disbursement yet: $38,000 in sponsorships awarded over two days! In addition to prize money awarded for a number of events, this large disbursement is due in large part to the liberal contributions of Scott and Amy Anderson. The Andersons generously provided $20,000 in tickets to the American Style Congress, hosted at Twin Cities Open on July 9, 2017. We look forward to seeing so many of our dancing friends back again in July!
We hope that you also enjoyed Dance Fest, and enjoy reading our coverage of the event in this and upcoming issues of Sheer Dance. Please follow Sheer Dance and Dance Fest on Facebook, and visit www.flickr.com/udancefest to see over 14,000 photos from the weekend. If you would like to make sure that your best shot gets included in our next issue, or would like to write about how much fun you had at Dance Fest, please send your content to firstname.lastname@example.org!