2017 Officials


SUBSCRIBE

Get all the news direct to your inbox.


CHAIRPERSON Jackie Rogers Florida "The most embarrassing moment was when the zipper on my evening gown split completely open and I had to sneak out of the ballroom with a shawl around me."

CHAIRPERSON

Jackie Rogers
Florida

"The most embarrassing moment was when the zipper on my evening gown split completely open and I had to sneak out of the ballroom with a shawl around me."

EMCEE  John DePalma Florida While emceeing in Ireland, “The organizer asked me to announce that two women from Dublin needed a lift. I got on the mic and said, 'Two women from Dublin need a ride’. The whole audience erupted in laughter. The organizer came running over to me and I asked, ‘What did I say? Why are they all laughing?’ He said, RIDE over here doesn’t mean the same thing as RIDE where you come from.” __________ Relief Emcee Mark Brock Ohio

EMCEE 

John DePalma
Florida

While emceeing in Ireland, “The organizer asked me to announce that two women from Dublin needed a lift. I got on the mic and said, 'Two women from Dublin need a ride’. The whole audience erupted in laughter. The organizer came running over to me and I asked, ‘What did I say? Why are they all laughing?’ He said, RIDE over here doesn’t mean the same thing as RIDE where you come from.”
__________
Relief Emcee
Mark Brock
Ohio


JUDGE Debbie Avalos Kusumi Arizona "I was dancing a show with Victor Veyrasset. Back then we wore ball gowns with tulle or net crinolines. In the dress I was wearing for our quickstep, my crinoline had a waistband and a hook to hold it to the dress. We were flying down the floor to the song 'If My Friends Could See Me Now'' when the hook broke and the crinoline detached. I reached over Victor's arm to grab the falling petticoat and there was tulle reaching from the floor to up over the top of Victor's head while we danced. I thought maybe he would stop, but he didn't. It looked like a giant fan following us around the floor."

JUDGE

Debbie Avalos Kusumi
Arizona

"I was dancing a show with Victor Veyrasset. Back then we wore ball gowns with tulle or net crinolines. In the dress I was wearing for our quickstep, my crinoline had a waistband and a hook to hold it to the dress. We were flying down the floor to the song 'If My Friends Could See Me Now'' when the hook broke and the crinoline detached. I reached over Victor's arm to grab the falling petticoat and there was tulle reaching from the floor to up over the top of Victor's head while we danced. I thought maybe he would stop, but he didn't. It looked like a giant fan following us around the floor."

JUDGE Didio Berrera Florida  

JUDGE

Didio Berrera
Florida

 


JUDGE Mark Brock Ohio "I was in the 'no underwear' phase of my life and dancing in the Pro/Am A Latin at Texas Challenge. During the Jive I did a real fast squat and the whole bottom seam of my pants ripped and everything fell out. I finished the dance doing very tight basics and waddled off the dance floor. Needless to say, I bought underwear the next day, and that ended my ''no underwear' phase."

JUDGE

Mark Brock
Ohio

"I was in the 'no underwear' phase of my life and dancing in the Pro/Am A Latin at Texas Challenge. During the Jive I did a real fast squat and the whole bottom seam of my pants ripped and everything fell out. I finished the dance doing very tight basics and waddled off the dance floor. Needless to say, I bought underwear the next day, and that ended my ''no underwear' phase."

JUDGE Nathan Daniels Minnesota "It happened in the Pro Rising Star Rhythm at Ohio Star Ball. My partner and I were mid-way through our Rumba when I totally forgot our routine. I couldn't remember anything and there was nothing that I could do to get back into it. So I just lead cross-body breaks and cuban walks the whole second half of the dance. And, the craziest part is – we won the Rumba! We didn't with the comp, but we won the Rumba!"

JUDGE

Nathan Daniels
Minnesota

"It happened in the Pro Rising Star Rhythm at Ohio Star Ball. My partner and I were mid-way through our Rumba when I totally forgot our routine. I couldn't remember anything and there was nothing that I could do to get back into it. So I just lead cross-body breaks and cuban walks the whole second half of the dance. And, the craziest part is – we won the Rumba! We didn't with the comp, but we won the Rumba!"


JUDGE Melissa Dexter California "My most embarrassing moment? Oh my God, there were SOOO many! One that comes to mind is when Rick and I were competing at Breakers on their marble floor. We were dancing right in front of Bobbie Irvine who used to refer to me as 'the punk rocker' because I had short spiked hair. My foot slid on a rhinestone and I fell right on my ass and then swiveled and bounced back up. Bobbie gave me one of her famous looks where she peers over her glasses, her eyebrows rise, and her neck pulls back a bit. Then, Rick gave me a look. Afterward, all kinds of people were coming up to me saying what creative choreography we had. They thought the fall was intentional. It's amazing what you can come up with out of fear."

JUDGE

Melissa Dexter
California

"My most embarrassing moment? Oh my God, there were SOOO many! One that comes to mind is when Rick and I were competing at Breakers on their marble floor. We were dancing right in front of Bobbie Irvine who used to refer to me as 'the punk rocker' because I had short spiked hair. My foot slid on a rhinestone and I fell right on my ass and then swiveled and bounced back up. Bobbie gave me one of her famous looks where she peers over her glasses, her eyebrows rise, and her neck pulls back a bit. Then, Rick gave me a look. Afterward, all kinds of people were coming up to me saying what creative choreography we had. They thought the fall was intentional. It's amazing what you can come up with out of fear."

JUDGE Maria Hansen California "I was dancing with Paul Holmes at a competition in England. We were dancing quickstep and my feet got tangled up with another girl's feet. Paul didn't realize it and took off, but I couldn't move and wound up going backward – and then he flew over me. I was flat on my back with my legs in the air and my gown all over the place. Paul's mother came up to me afterward to let me know that she 'saw my knickers'."

JUDGE

Maria Hansen
California

"I was dancing with Paul Holmes at a competition in England. We were dancing quickstep and my feet got tangled up with another girl's feet. Paul didn't realize it and took off, but I couldn't move and wound up going backward – and then he flew over me. I was flat on my back with my legs in the air and my gown all over the place. Paul's mother came up to me afterward to let me know that she 'saw my knickers'."


JUDGE Ilya Ifraimov New York "At Blackpool Festival I caught Nadia's foot in Paso in the semifinals and flew about 10 feet in front of entire dance world. I landed so hard I couldn't sit, walk normally or lie down for almost a week."

JUDGE

Ilya Ifraimov
New York

"At Blackpool Festival I caught Nadia's foot in Paso in the semifinals and flew about 10 feet in front of entire dance world. I landed so hard I couldn't sit, walk normally or lie down for almost a week."

JUDGE Denise Jourdaine California "I had a 'dress malfunction' during a televised International Latin Championship in Baden Baden, Germany."

JUDGE

Denise Jourdaine
California

"I had a 'dress malfunction' during a televised International Latin Championship in Baden Baden, Germany."


JUDGE Beth Knoll Oregon "My most embarrassing moment happened at my very first World Championships in Germany. I was nervous and overwhelmed and the floor was coated in dance wax, which I hate. I was wearing a lace dress that developed a tear in the bodice. While we were dancing I slipped on the wax and my dress caught on Steven's tail suit. I was dancing like a marionette and he was yelling, 'Get up. Get up.' and I kept saying, 'I can't. I can't.' In between rounds I tried to repair my dress, but I didn't have any pins or scissors with me. All I had was a bottle of nail polish so I decided to try to polish the lace together. I was so frazzled that I didn't realize I was holding the bottle upside down and spilling polish all over my costume."

JUDGE

Beth Knoll
Oregon

"My most embarrassing moment happened at my very first World Championships in Germany. I was nervous and overwhelmed and the floor was coated in dance wax, which I hate. I was wearing a lace dress that developed a tear in the bodice. While we were dancing I slipped on the wax and my dress caught on Steven's tail suit. I was dancing like a marionette and he was yelling, 'Get up. Get up.' and I kept saying, 'I can't. I can't.' In between rounds I tried to repair my dress, but I didn't have any pins or scissors with me. All I had was a bottle of nail polish so I decided to try to polish the lace together. I was so frazzled that I didn't realize I was holding the bottle upside down and spilling polish all over my costume."

JUDGE Stephen Krauel California "At the Heritage Championships I was dancing a solo Viennese Waltz Fleckerl and fell flat on my ass – got stuck on my patent leather shoes."

JUDGE

Stephen Krauel
California

"At the Heritage Championships I was dancing a solo Viennese Waltz Fleckerl and fell flat on my ass – got stuck on my patent leather shoes."


JUDGE Chantal Leclerc Georgia "When I moved to the U.S. from Montreal, Canada I thought I was bi-lingual. But the English you learn in school isn't always what you need on the job. I was teaching a beginner male student who didn't own dance shoes yet, and his feet kept sticking to the floor. So, I asked him, 'Are you wearing rubbers?' He started laughing, then stopped the lesson and told everyone in the studio what I said. They all started laughing and I had no idea why. I kept asking, 'What? What? What is so funny?'"  

JUDGE

Chantal Leclerc
Georgia

"When I moved to the U.S. from Montreal, Canada I thought I was bi-lingual. But the English you learn in school isn't always what you need on the job. I was teaching a beginner male student who didn't own dance shoes yet, and his feet kept sticking to the floor. So, I asked him, 'Are you wearing rubbers?'

He started laughing, then stopped the lesson and told everyone in the studio what I said. They all started laughing and I had no idea why. I kept asking, 'What? What? What is so funny?'"

 

JUDGE Larinda McRaven Missouri "We were doing a show and most of my costumes had a built-in leotard. But, for this show I was wearing a practice-type skirt and I forgot the dance trunks to wear with it. I always wore fishnets with a thong underneath, and I'd cut off the waistband of the fishnets so they didn't squish me. So, during this show I did all of my developpe's with my foot only inches off the floor and all of my spins and turns with a hand on my thigh to keep the skirt from flying up. But, I forgot that fishnets with no waistband need dance drunks or a leotard to hold them up. So, as I'm dancing, my fishnets are navigating halfway down my legs. Fortunately, nothing showed."

JUDGE

Larinda McRaven
Missouri

"We were doing a show and most of my costumes had a built-in leotard. But, for this show I was wearing a practice-type skirt and I forgot the dance trunks to wear with it. I always wore fishnets with a thong underneath, and I'd cut off the waistband of the fishnets so they didn't squish me. So, during this show I did all of my developpe's with my foot only inches off the floor and all of my spins and turns with a hand on my thigh to keep the skirt from flying up. But, I forgot that fishnets with no waistband need dance drunks or a leotard to hold them up. So, as I'm dancing, my fishnets are navigating halfway down my legs. Fortunately, nothing showed."

JUDGE Marianne Nicole Florida "I was new to judging and was at a Fred Astaire event where we were judging from the stage. I was all dressed up in a hat and everything. They introduced us one by one and we each stood up. I always like to feel my chair behind my legs and a I did as I stood up. One of my fellow judges, Lyle Bradshaw, was being a gentleman and pulled my chair back for me while I took a bow. Of course, I didn't see him do this. When I sat down I fell right to the floor. Boom! Gary Pierce was emceeing. He looked at me down there and said, 'Miss Nicole, this is no time to practice your new theatrical moves!'"

JUDGE

Marianne Nicole
Florida

"I was new to judging and was at a Fred Astaire event where we were judging from the stage. I was all dressed up in a hat and everything. They introduced us one by one and we each stood up. I always like to feel my chair behind my legs and a I did as I stood up. One of my fellow judges, Lyle Bradshaw, was being a gentleman and pulled my chair back for me while I took a bow. Of course, I didn't see him do this. When I sat down I fell right to the floor. Boom! Gary Pierce was emceeing. He looked at me down there and said, 'Miss Nicole, this is no time to practice your new theatrical moves!'"

JUDGE Heather Smith California "I was at my first United States Championships with Victor. I'd never done a Grand Slam event before and all the winners used to go up against the winners from all the other divisions – including the open to the world events. Victor said the U.S. Ballroom couple never wins, so we needed a gimmick. He dressed me up like Morticia Adams. I was wearing a bloody awful long black wig and a long black lace gown. I figured everyone dressed up, but backstage I realized that I was the only one. We had a segue with multiple dances and when we got to the quickstep, Victor's patent leather shoes stuck together and he flew down the floor and under the judge's table. He went all the way under the tablecloth – only his feet were sticking out. The audience was cracking up. I thought they'd stop the music and let us start over, but, they didn't. It was so awful. My dad was there watching and afterward he didn't say 'well done' or anything. Just 'good night.'"

JUDGE

Heather Smith
California

"I was at my first United States Championships with Victor. I'd never done a Grand Slam event before and all the winners used to go up against the winners from all the other divisions – including the open to the world events. Victor said the U.S. Ballroom couple never wins, so we needed a gimmick. He dressed me up like Morticia Adams. I was wearing a bloody awful long black wig and a long black lace gown. I figured everyone dressed up, but backstage I realized that I was the only one. We had a segue with multiple dances and when we got to the quickstep, Victor's patent leather shoes stuck together and he flew down the floor and under the judge's table. He went all the way under the tablecloth – only his feet were sticking out. The audience was cracking up. I thought they'd stop the music and let us start over, but, they didn't. It was so awful. My dad was there watching and afterward he didn't say 'well done' or anything. Just 'good night.'"


JUDGE Sam Sodano Ohio "My most embarrassing moment? God, there were so many... A long time ago, one happened at Ohio Star Ball. The choreographer for the opening show convinced me to ride in on a chariot wearing a crown. I looked like an ad for Imperial Margarine."

JUDGE

Sam Sodano
Ohio

"My most embarrassing moment? God, there were so many... A long time ago, one happened at Ohio Star Ball. The choreographer for the opening show convinced me to ride in on a chariot wearing a crown. I looked like an ad for Imperial Margarine."

JUDGE Bill Sparks Ohio "My most embarrassing moment – (laughs,.. there were many...) Falling. Not just once, but many times throughout my professional career."

JUDGE

Bill Sparks
Ohio

"My most embarrassing moment – (laughs,.. there were many...) Falling. Not just once, but many times throughout my professional career."


JUDGE Giacomo Steccaglia California  

JUDGE

Giacomo Steccaglia
California

 

 

JUDGES

Debbie Avalos Kusumi
Arizona

Didio Berrera
Florida

Mark Brock
Ohio

Nathan Daniels
Minnesota

Melissa Dexter
California

Maria Hansen
California

Ilya Ifraimov
New York

Denise Jourdaine
California

Beth Knoll
Oregon

Stephan Krauel
California

Chantal Leclerc
Georgia

Larinda McRaven
Missouri

Marianne Nicole
Florida

Heather Smith
California

Sam Sodano
Ohio

Bill Sparks
Ohio

Giacomo Steccaglia
California


CHAIRPERSON

Jackie Rogers
Florida

EMCEE 

John DePalma
Florida

 

SCRUITINEER

Ava Kaye
California

REGISTRAR

Sally Lee
Minnesota

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR 

Brent Mills
Arizona

DECK CAPTAIN 

Justin Deehr