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Magazine » DanceSport » USOC Camp 2013

USOC Camp 2013

Lisa Dubinsky

This May, USA Dance introduced a new initiative and organized a one-of-a-kind World Team Dance Camp at the USA Olympic Training Facility for the nation's top Junior and Youth DanceSport Athletes. The purpose of the camp was to prepare competitive dancers for the world championships and to ensure their overall readiness for upcoming challenges and performances.

USA DanceSport chose ten partnerships, ranging from Junior I to Youth, based on their results at the 2013 USA National DanceSport Championship in Los Angeles, California. Mikhail Vorobiev and Sonya Tsekanosvky, William Stansbury and Jenny Sokolsky, Gregory Rybakov and Naomi Spektor, Mike Monokadilos and Cara Loo, Kinsley Lin and Michele Yiu, Erik Linder and Rickie Taylor, Dennis Matveev and Valerie Dubinsky, Justin Lin and Sasha Dubinsky, Joshua Lishnevetsky and Angela Gerzberg and Alex Lukasik and Konwalia Owczarz were invited to participate in the Olympic Training Camp in Lake Placid, New York. On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the dancers and their coaches arrived at the fabulous facility in Lake Placid.

At the training center, dancers met with USA Dance officials Ken Richards, Stan Andrews, Lydia Scardina, Shawn Fisher, and Inna Brayer. Dancers were excited to see their friends from all parts of the United States. They were thrilled to meet master coaches, Mikhal and Susanne Stukan, the German 10 Dance Champions and WDSF Cup, and European Cup Professional Ten Dance Finalists, who provided instructions on the most innovative Ballroom and Latin techniques.

Each day, dancers attended lectures, seminars, and group and individual practices. On Thursday, May 23, Dr. Mara Smith presented a workshop on mental strengthening. Peter Toohey, the Head Medical Provider at the USOC Training Center, instructed athletes on injury prevention. There were also lectures on nutrition and physical strengthening by Brad DeWeese, the USOC strengthening coach. DanceSport athletes worked with the top Olympic sports professionals, who instructed athletes in many disciplines. In the evening athletes took part in rounds organized by the team of coaches.

Even though the dancers and the coaches trained and learned for many hours, they still had time to socialize. On Saturday the athletes and the coaches, accompanied by the USA Dance organizers, explored the USA Olympic skating arena, strolled down the main street of Lake Placid, and enjoyed some crepes at a local restaurant. The dancers also celebrated Erik Linder's birthday with cake in the facility's cafeteria.

The culmination of the training camp took place on Saturday night. Many residential athletes from all over the world gathered for a very special performance in the gymnasium. Parents rushed in, cameras ready, to capture the magical moments. The evening started with a speech by Ken Richards who gave an overview of the Ballroom and Latin dance program. Inna Brayer choreographed a fast paced cha cha relay, performed by all the DanceSport athletes. The evening concluded with individual demonstrations by the dancers. The performance was fast paced, precise, and elegant. The spectators cheered and applauded, and when the athletes and the organizers posed for a group photograph, they had tears in their eyes.

On Sunday, the camp drew to an end. Many of the dancers wanted to stay longer and one even suggested to stay for a month. It was wonderful for dancers not only to increase their knowledge in the discipline, but also to form a long lasting bond with their friends and fellow competitors

The dancers, coaches, and parents are extremely grateful to the USA Dance organizers for putting together such an amazing camp for dancers at Lake Placid.