October – December 2021

January – March 2021


WDSF Open Senior III Standard World Championship

Cagliari, Italy - October 24, 2021

Team USA Finishes in Top 10 Percent!

Eric Austin & Yanina Kisler (MA)

[13 out of 132]

Mike & Rose-Ann Lynch (VA)

[tied 41 out of 132]

Thomas & Renee Malinowski (CT)

[tied 106 out of 132]

Mike & Rose-Ann Lynch, Tom & Renee Malinowski, and Yanina Kisler & Eric Austin.

Eric Austin & Yanina Kisler

How did it feel to be part of the official USA World Team?
ERIC & YANINA: This is the first time we have been National Representatives and it felt wonderful. It was a real honor to wear a USA Dance jacket and visibly represent the US.

The semi-finals must have been amazing. What will it take to reach the next level at this competition?   ERIC: My hope was to make the top 48, which was better than our placement at the last World Championship. Our goal was the quarterfinal, which I thought was a real stretch; anything beyond that was only a dream. We were very pleased to make the top 24 and fully expected to go no further. So, it was a thrill to see our number on the list for the semifinal. When we later had the chance to watch the top couples in the final, we saw how good they were. We could see the amount of control and musicality that we would need in the future to reach that level of competition.

Eric Austin and Yanina Kisler
Photo by David Getchell

What did you observe about other competitors from around the world in terms of performance, style, technique, and appearance?
YANINA: I did not see super fancy or expensive costumes on the European dancers. Our costumes and appearances were in line with what we saw in Europe. On the floor, the dancers seemed more aggressive than what I am used to in the American competitions. They did not avoid collisions as much and ignored them when they happened.

How did you prepare for this important event? Was it different than your normal competition preparations? 
ERIC: There were no different or special physical preparations, but there were different mental preparations. Larger United States competitions may split individual events into two or maybe three heats, so the time between dances is usually only a few minutes. At Worlds, there were 14 heats in the first round, so the time between dances was more like 25 minutes. And with randomized heats, you could be in an early heat for one dance and a late heat for the next dance. Sometimes we are waiting 35-40 minutes.
YANINA: You had to be able to keep your focus and energy up without exhausting yourself before you even got on the floor. It took 2.5-3 hours to complete the first round. The first round started at 10 a.m., the second round was not until 3 p.m., and the third round was at 6 p.m.

What distinguishes you on the floor?
ERIC: I am definitely not a showy person, but on the competition floor it is about being noticed and putting on a show.
YANINA: I discovered that on the competition floor I enjoy “showing off”, performing, and connecting with the audience. It also carries into my off-the-floor activities; I have noticed that when I give a talk at work or wait for the elevator, I stand as if I am ready to dance. I am sure it causes some amusement among the work crowd.

Eric Austen and Yanina Kisler
Photo by David Getchell

How did you come together as a partnership? How long have you been dancing together?
ERIC & YANINA: We are married, which predates our dancing together by 30 years. We have been competing together seriously for about five years.

Do you feel you had to modify your style to be competitive at the international level?
ERIC: You must train yourself to be more tolerant of the close encounters and bumping on the floor, without losing poise.

What needs to happen for USA World Teams to be more competitive at the World Champions?
ERIC & YANINA: To start, we need to get more couples to try World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) competitions in the United States and Canada. A couple does not have to dance at the championship level to dance in these events and the experience is worthwhile. Then, they need to plan a trip to compete in Europe to see what the dance scene is like there. Getting experience is very important.

Mike & Rose-Ann Lynch

What were your thoughts going into this World Championship? 
ROSE-ANN: We were only given five weeks’ notice that the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) Senior III Standard World Championship, would be in Cagliari, Italy, on October 24. How exciting! We love Italy! Finally! But…Wow, how do we prepare so quickly? Then we realized, we had been preparing all along.
MIKE: We knew in 2019, after winning the National Championship for Senior III International Standard, that this opportunity was before us, and we had every intention to represent our country — it is an honor and a privilege. 

How did you prepare for this important championship event?   MIKE: The COVID pandemic, with the cancellation of the 2020 World events, and not having a 2021 date and location did not deter us. We practiced in our basement and remained focused. Happily, freedoms were gained as vaccines came out, and we went to every competition we could. It was fun to support the organizers, see our friends, and get onto the competition floor. Then…finally, came the announcement — Worlds! 

Did you feel prepared (both mentally and physically)?
ROSE-ANN:  When dancing opened, we took full advantage and danced 14 separate competitions in six months, including Worlds and the 2021 Nationals. It was different, fun, and a great run!
MIKE: Dancing the number of competitions that we did helped us to be in the best “dance shape” and mindset. When the World Championship was announced, we took what we had been doing and re-focused our efforts to compete on the World stage.

Mike and Rose-Ann Lynch
Photo by David Getchell

What distinguishes you on the floor? What drives or influences you as a couple?
MIKE & ROSE-ANN: At this point in our Standard dancing, we are pushing to be the “New and Improved” Mike and Rose-Ann. We don’t want to look safe and pretty; we want to be different, expensive, “out there”. That includes our look, our choreography, and our performance. It might not be to everyone’s liking, but it will be noticed. We are athletic and entertaining. We love the crowd and are having a great time with them. The biggest reward of the World competition occurred when we came off the floor at the end of our last round. As we walked by a group of Italian dancers in the bleachers, they started cheering, applauding, and shaking our hands. They said that we danced well and looked so different and interesting. It felt great!!

Mike and Rose-Ann Lynch
Photo by David Getchell

What are the most important things you’ve learned from your partner?
MIKE & ROSE-ANN: We listen to each other. As two retired Marine officers, we understand each other’s foundation, mindset, and ethos. We also recognize that we each have over 17 years of dance experience. We know that we both are highly competitive, will always give 100% to the other, and refuse to be tired. Above all: We’ve learned to respect the other for what they do on and off the floor to improve the partnership.

How did it feel being a part of the official USA World Team?
ROSE-ANN: We were so excited to travel to Italy with our dear friends — Senior IV Representatives Tom and Renee Malinowski — and to cheer on all our fellow Americans whenever we were not on the floor. All danced beautifully. The United States was well represented. Go Seniors!!
MIKE: We were fortunate and deeply honored to represent the United States for the fourth time at a WDSF World Championship. We made many new friends and look forward to the next opportunity.

Thomas & Renee Malinowski

See Tom and Renee’s comments in the Senior IV World Championship article here. Below are photos taken during their  Senior III event.

Tom and Renee Malinowski
Photo by David Getchell
Tom and Renee Malinowski
Photo by David Getchell

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