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story by Danceus Staff for DanceUs.org

Manhattan Dance Championships 2015: Hotter and More Competitive Than Ever

Each year New York City hosts the Manhattan Dance Championships, a competition that features some of the best ballroom dancers in the country. The top finishing pairs go on to compete in an international championship, which draws dancers from big cities around the globe.

ricardo cocchi and yulia zagoruychenko
Pro Latin champs Ricardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko

To get a feel for how stellar the world competition level is, take a peek at this video of reigning Pro Latin champs Ricardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko from the United States. Here they are doing an honorary dance earlier this year in Taipei. Every movement is perfectly finished, they work every step together as a pair and present to the audience wonderfully too. With motivation like this, you know next year is going to be even better.

The Manhattan Dance Championships are artistry and athleticism rolled into one event. In fact, the competition is sometimes referred to as the "Manhattan Dancesport Championships," an accurate reflection of both the strength and coordination on the dance floor and the raucous cheering from the fans on the sidelines. 

While the competition offers numerous categories over its five nights of events, including Professional and Cabaret, the Amateur Latin group really took it to a new level in 2015, perhaps echoing the popularity of Latin dance these days on shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance." Here are some clips from that group, so you can check out the electrifying choreography and try to replicate that all-out energy the next time you hit the floor.

Paso Doble

The percussive Spanish influence is everywhere here in this dance, as are elements of ballet and, of course, bullfighting. Be sure to appreciate the beautiful carriage of the backs, the filips with the hands to finish the arm gestures and the elegant pointed toes that are characteristic of the paso doble.

 

Samba

The samba is a smoother, quieter rhythm, but it does nothing but smolder here with these pairs in NYC. It's fun to see the men having every bit as much chance to strut their stuff as the ladies, and the couples are really covering the floor nicely. Notice how well some of the dancers use pauses in their movement to emphasize certain parts of the choreography and make the next steps even hotter!

 

Rumba

The languid rumba sizzles too and gives the dancers an opportunity to show off some gorgeous arm movements and turns. The skilled support of the male dancers for their partners' backs and stunning adagio ensemble work can't be beat here.

 

Jive

Many people aren't aware that the jive is actually a Latin dance. Both the dancers and the audience get hopping with this number. You'll have a hard time keeping up with their dazzling footwork, jumps and fast spins. The hips and the shoulders are all Latin, and they don't stop moving from the first measure to the last!

 

The Manhattan Dance Championships will be held from June 29th through July 3rd in 2016. The competition will be at the same location, the Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge (Borough Hall subway station). If you decide to attend, you're certain to get your money's worth out of your admission, as each night runs from about 7:30 until 1:00 in the morning, and the caliber of competition just keeps going up every year!

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