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Courtesy of John Springli
253 - Jonathan Spencer and Rachel MercedesJonathan Spencer, originally from Sedalia, and his professional partner Rachel Mercedes of Chicago, Illinois, prepare to start their Tango routine on March 9 during the semi-final round of the Professional Rising Star American Smooth Championship at the 2012 St. Louis Star Ball. This was only the second time the couple had competed professionally together. They placed sixth overall in their category. The American Smooth dances are the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz.
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Courtesy of John Springli
260 - Aaron DeSoto and Rachel Lin from Buffalo Grove, ILAaron DeSoto dances with his professional partner Rachel Len on Friday March 9 during the Professional Rising Star American Rhythm Championships at the 2012 St. Louis Star Ball. DeSoto and Lin placed second overall their category. The dances that comprise American Rhythm consist of the Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero and Mambo.
St. Louis Star Ball
By Lauren Young
If I close my eyes tight enough I can still see whirling colors and glittering rhinestones. The whisper of yards of chiffon and satin is drowned out by the constant flow of music and the sent of hairspray and perfume fill the room.
Every second weekend in March thousands of dancers converge at the Renaissance airport hotel in St. Louis for the annual ballroom competition, the St. Louis Star Ball. This year, unfortunately, I was unable to compete (my dance partner couldn’t get time off work--maybe next year).
However, we still went on Friday, March 9, and Saturday, March 10, to support our friends. I was particularly excited to watch the Rising Star and Open Professional competitions. One of my friends, Jonathan Spencer, who I haven’t seen in two years, competed with his partner, Rachel Mercedes. I haven’t seen Jonathan dance since we competed against each other at the Show-Me State Games in Columbia three years ago. Jonathan and I both started ballroom dancing while attending the University of Missouri. Needless to say they did really well for their second competition together. Jonathan and Rachel placed sixth in Rising Star American Smooth. (The American Smooth category includes the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz.)
Going to a ballroom competition is unlike any other event. First of all there is glitter and rhinestones everywhere. Whoever decided to combine art with sports was a genius. Watching the dancing, particularly the American Smooth division is like watching a full contact fashion show. I cannot tell you how many times I saw dancers get hit or slam into another couple. I have seen some falls on the floor during competitions but thankfully there were none this year. So in other words, there is plenty for everyone at a ballroom competition from the glamorous dresses to the incredible athleticism of the dancers.
I highly recommend that you all check out the ballroom dance scene in Missouri. It is here and going strong. Your next big chance to watch a competition is at Heart of America DanceSport Championships in Kansas City on Wednesday, August 8 to Saturday, August 11.