October – December 2021

January – March 2021


Kansas City Dance Classic 2021

A Dancer’s Day at the Kansas City Dance Classic - September 10-11, 2021

The Senior competitors enjoy a “goofy” moment at Saturday evening’s close. Rose-Ann (gold and green dress) is sitting with Mike.
Photo by Matt Pansing

The alarm went off and I looked around the room. Nothing looked familiar. Where was I? Oh yes, a hotel room…Kansas City, Kansas…competition day. I love competition day!!! 

Mike (Lynch) — my husband and partner…I’m so lucky — and I got up and started moving. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought — How odd to have perfectly sculpted hair with a clean face. But I had slept well and was glad that I had my hair done the night before. Now I didn’t have to worry about it.

We got dressed and went downstairs. It was a maze of hotel construction in the Marriott Overland Park Hotel lobby, but we soon found our way to the competition registration desk where Kansas City Dance Classic organizers Matt and Ellen Pansing were all smiles. What great organizers!  They recognized a need, developed a concept into a competition, and now were running a full National Qualifying Event. We were so happy to be there! Couples were already on the floor in full costume and the music was joyfully filling the halls. A feeling of excitement was in the air.

The KCDC distinguished panel of judges.
Trevor Luff, Phillip Stephens, Irina Trebunskaya, Renata Shvarts, Yuehwern Yih, Martin Smith, Kimberly Smith, Daniel Dilley (Scrutineer), Christine Zona, Daniel Calloway (Chairman of Judges), Shawn Fisher, and Ruslan Wilder. Not shown is Stephen Hadley.
Photo courtesy of "The New Studio"

I peeked in on Dilandia Rivera, the hair and makeup artist, to see how she was doing. She had a lady in her chair but smiled and waved. She started around 4:00 that morning, and I was glad I didn’t have to be up that early. Funny, we always think of the poor lady dancer sitting in the chair at that hour; how about the artist trying to create perfection from a serious case of bedhead and tired face?

Senior IV Amateur Gentleman Bill Vaughan (Missouri) danced beautifully with his professional partner, Mary Pinizzotto.
Photo by Edward A. Nockunas

Then it was off to the complimentary breakfast, which was provided both days for all dancers. We entered the room and saw many familiar faces, including some that we hadn’t seen for over a year due to the pandemic. Things were getting back to normal; dancers were starting to travel and were ready to dance. Judges at their tables acknowledged with a permissible nod and friends called us over to sit with them. After greetings and any new introductions, we were all talking, laughing, and catching up. Eventually, we were chased out of the room by the hotel staff, but only after we all grabbed a few extra items for later.

The day progressed slowly after breakfast. Mike and I went for a walk around the hotel and then watched some dancing. Whether it was with new costumes, new choreography, new knees, or new hips, the couples were happy to be on the floor and looked great. The competition was on time and Chairman of the Judges Dan Calloway was engaged and running a tight ship!!

Senior III Amateur couple Grant Wilson and Lora Geisler flew in from Oregon to participate. They competed in both the Novice and Pre-Champ Smooth categories.
Photo by Edward A. Nockunas

When Mike didn’t notice, I snuck off to admire the vendors’ wares – beautiful dresses, shoes, jewelry, and practice wear. Everything set up well and available for the dancing customer. The Pansings really thought their event through. It was warm and welcoming!

Group of expectant dancers awaiting their awards!
Photo courtesy of "The New Studio"

We worked out on the large practice floor, which was adjacent to the ballroom. This allowed the music to be heard by those competing as well as those practicing; really nice touch!! Plus, in between practice dances, we could peek around the corner and cheer for friends on the competition floor.

Lunch and dinner were provided on site, but Mike and I chose to walk out to a nearby restaurant in the afternoon. It was all convenient, and it was a perfect day.

Senior IV 10-Dancers John and Kathy Linn (Tennessee) demonstrate their kicks and flicks during the Jive. John and Kathy won first place in the Senior IV Latin and Standard Championships.
Photo courtesy Edward A. Nockunas

All day long, we had been reminded by broadcasted news and fellow competitors that it was September 11. Twenty years ago, our country was in a horrific state, with the attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It was on all our minds. We all knew where we were on that day and the days that followed, and now realized how fortunate we were, 20 years later, to be enjoying something we love with friends and family. It was fitting that Matt and Ellen opened each morning, as well as the evening session, with the National Anthem, and a large American Flag remained ever-present throughout the weekend.

After the evening opening ceremony, I ran to my makeup session, and Dilandia did her magic. I was her last girl for the day, and she was tired, but I walked out in less than 30 minutes looking perfect and ready to go!

Rose-Ann Lynch, the author of this story, with her husband Mike Lynch showing their championship style.
Photo courtesy of "The New Studio"

Soon we were all in costume and in the on-deck area with our friends and fellow competitors.  The music was lovely. Our local family members were waving and cheering in the audience and having a great time. The Saturday night event was packed, allowing for standing room only; very cool. I looked at my handsome husband, all decked out in his white tie and tails and thought to myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” Kansas City Dance Classic, Great job! WE WILL BE BACK!!!!

My KCDC Experience

Kevin Booth and Genova Morel
Photo courtesy of "The New Studio"

In early September my partner Genova Morel and I had the pleasure of attending the Kansas City Dance Classic. Let me tell you, Ellen and Matt Pansing hosted an amazing weekend of dancing!

Where to start? I guess the location makes the most sense. KCDC was hosted at the Marriott in Overland Park, a beautiful suburb of KC. It was a great venue surrounded by lots of shops, restaurants, and cocktail lounges. Perhaps most importantly, the hotel was fitted with dancer-friendly rooms. Multiple large mirrors, great lighting, and plenty of towels made doing hair and makeup fun and easy. 

There are two major elements that made the actual KCDC competition stand out to me. First, it was quite well run. The organizers and volunteers were very friendly and answered every question we had. The officials were also very nice, something particularly important for us as we had perhaps too many conversations with the invigilator.  Additionally, the event ran right on time, staying true to the heat schedules they posted prior to the event- down to the minute! This was impressive considering the hundreds of heats run that weekend.

The second thing that stuck out was the slow motion dance videos. A video company recorded competitors on the floor and adapted the performances to slow motion videos.  While the slow motion sometimes highlighted some funny facial expressions, it brought a whole new excitement and energy to the videos. If that wasn’t enough, about midway through the first morning they started projecting the videos on the main screen behind the stage. This made for a great backdrop to the comp floor. If you can get over seeing yourself in slow motion on the big screen, this is a feature all comps should have.

Overall, we had an amazing time with our weekend at KCDC. I highly recommend everyone attend. The friendly environment combined with great BBQ makes for a perfect weekend of dancing and fun. We certainly will be going back next year!

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