Thomas Nelson’s Ballroom Dance team was recently among over 50 collegiate teams in the annual DC DanceSport Inferno (DCDI) National Ballroom Competition and finished with 12 awards.
The Nov 8-10 event at the University of Maryland College Park saw more than 800 amateur collegiate competitors representing schools from throughout the country.
The group has traditionally focused on team events when competing, but for this latest outing, said Ballroom Dance Team Adviser Pamela Roberts, they concentrated on individual events. As a result, they brought home two first-place awards, three second places, one third place, five fourth places and one fifth-place.
Newcomer Amilia Thompson, who joined the team this fall, won first place in the newcomer division of Swing and International Cha Cha and fourth place in International Rumba and Jive.
“They changed the format and this year to what they call a Jack and Jill rounds where every dance she had to change to a different partner and dance with them. This is very challenging for a seasoned competitor let alone a first-time one,” said Roberts.
Also new on the team, Elizabeth Yimmer danced in the Jack and Jill Newcomer events too making it to the semifinals in all of her dances. Emily Williams also competed in the new format and was in the Bronze division. She placed second in Swing, fourth in International Cha Cha/Rumba, and reached the top 10 in Jive.
Roberts said all of Thomas Nelson’s returning couples moved up to higher divisions this year. And, the competition was formidable as every division had over 80 couples vying for awards.
Eme Bassey-Duke and Faizon Alexander competed in the highly competitive Silver division and advanced to the semifinals in all their dances. Other couples in the Silver division -- J.D. Ellis with Charis Hutton and Tiarra Johnson with D'Aundre Seldon -- placed in all of their dances. Nigel Allen and Mya Worrell, dancing for the first time in the Bronze division, advanced to the semifinals (top 10) in all their dances.
Roberts said while winning the newest round of awards feels great, the team doesn’t plan on resting. It’s back to practice in preparation for the next contest - the National Big Apple Challenge held at New York’s Columbia University. The team’s participation in the Dec. 7-8 event is dependent upon funding, she added.