Official site | Toni Redpath, ballroom dance champion and choreographer

2013 U.S. Dance Championships, Rising Star Smooth

The final of the R.S. Smooth last night was so dramatic. I’m thrilled for Sergei & Ania who won (all dances). Ania has so much charisma and love of dance that you just get enthralled by her performance (plus she has the technique to back it up!). I felt like she connected to Sergei physically and emotionally in last night’s performance, which made him look stronger than ever. This made them the complete package and worthy winners.

I’m immensely proud of all the other finalists. They all brought something special to the competition and I feel excited for the future of Smooth with seeing all the upcoming talent we have in the field.

Special congrats though to Mariusz and Steph for placing 2nd in all dances in a very tough field. They are finding a new dynamic range and maturity in their dancing and I felt this was one of their best performances.

Shout out to Leonid and Maria. I know they would have been very disappointed with their 4th place finish, but they should be proud of how they danced. I think they have one of the best Tangos you’ll see… fantastic choreography!

Also, I’m so happy for 6th place Kyle and Allie. They are really starting to find themselves in this style. After a very successful amateur career, they are discovering now what it takes to make a push in the pro field. This is a couple to watch out for over the next 12 months.

I have to address the major drama of the night, which was Michael Eric and Chelsea not making the final; this couple had been in every major R.S. final since 2011 and were one of the favorites to win the title last night. They should be crushed by being left out of last night’s final, but knowing the fortitude and resilience of this beautiful couple, I know they will recover from this setback and return as a mighty, fighting force to be reckoned with. We love you guys and LOVE your style on (and off) the floor!!

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