Jo Popadynetz and her dance partner, Deborah Fields Perez took home the bronze medal in ballroom dancing at the 10th annual Gay Games held in Paris, for the Women’s Senior Latin for the World Championship!
Five months ago, one of our group class students came in wondering if she would be able to compete at the Latin Ballroom Dance Division at the Gay Games in Paris, France. Deborah gladly took on the challenge which would normally take a minimum of 1 year of ballroom dancing preparation, and started training Jo Popadynetz.
Deborah trained Jo hard as they only had half the time to prepare for the ballroom dance competition. Training involved choreographing 5 Latin dances, adding ballroom styling, technique, showmanship and stamina. Many of you witnessed the arduous dance training they did together after the group classes late at night and during the weekends.
The Gay Games is similar to the Olympics. It happens every 4 years, and it includes multiple disciplines including Dancesport (competitive ballroom dancing). It is required to dance a qualifying round to ensure that you’re at the right level and in the qualifier Deborah and Jo got bumped up to the highest proficiency level! They danced multiple rounds in 90-100 degree weather and made it to the top 6. Once they danced the final round, Deborah and her student Jo were considered one of the favorite couples. On the final score, they placed 3rd in the World and were neck and neck with the 2nd place couple.
This is an outstanding achievement for a teacher and coach, and an amazing job from Jo for taking in the flood of information coming at her. Talk about leading by example! Deborah continues to show us the way!
Jo, thank you for representing By Your Side Dance Studio and the USA, and making us proud! Definitely a great way to start the ballroom dancing competition season for our studio!