Here it is. Photos to follow - some photos from my camera, some from Jackson Cho with his permission to post on your blog.
Aloha Ball 2015
|Marie and Paul Laderta|
Aloha Ball 2015
The weekend of our neighbor island escape finally came after weeks and months of anticipation. We were all abuzz at Divino Ritmo dance studio for Friday dress rehearsal, readying ourselves for this one-day competition in our Kona backyard.
|Jackson Cho with Ally|
October 25th marked the second year of ballroom legends, Ron Montez & Tony Meredith's Aloha Ball at Kona's Sheraton Keauhou Hotel.
& Marie Laderta
Aloha Ball is part of the Paradise Dancesport Tour series. On its website, Paradise Dancesport Tour introduces its mission and purpose with the following description: The Paradise Dancesport Tour was started by an amateur dance student who recognizes the hard work and dedication it takes not only for the professionals but also the amateurs who spend countless of hours not only on the competitive dance floor but in the studios. Each Dancesport Competition on the Paradise Tour recognizes this and wants to provide you an escape to paradise. Returning to Aloha Ball to kick off its 2nd year, was none other than the energetic and charismatic organizer, ambassador & patron of the Paradise Dancesport Tour, Lauren LaPointe.
For more information about the Paradise Dancesport Tour series, visit
|DRD "Gang" @ the Great Lawn|
Converging at the great lawn by the Manta Ray look-out, Aloha Ball kicked off its competition with a magical sunset reception including island themed drinks of mai tais & chi chi, ono pupus and of course, no party can be complete without our Hawaiian music and hula.
We were there with our Divino Ritmo teachers, Lucas & Yanna, and the rest of our dance Ohana, playing tourists at the kick-off party, being reminded that we are so lucky to be living in Paradise. This was more than a ballroom comp for us, it was a studio outing, a neighbor island getaway, and holoholo-ing with our dance ohana, a little mini vacation combined with a fun dance experience... What more can us eager ballroom fanatics ask for.... We were giddy with pleasure at the great lawn, hobnobbing with Ron and Tony, judges, and fellow competitors....adrenaline was high and in full swing....
The major attraction this year was undoubtedly the professional showcase featuring mega ballroom stars Victor Fung and Anastasia, world class competitors and Blackpool contenders. It was incredible and a rarity to have Professionals of Victor & Anastasia's caliber perform right in front of our eyes! Dancing International Standard, with impeccable technique and showmanship, they took our breathe away not just once, but twice, on Oct 24th & 25th as they took the Tango, Foxtrot, Slow Waltz, Viennese, & Quickstep to new heights! Wow wow wee this was what most of us can only dream of, but just witnessing the possibilities was inspiring!
On to the competition floor at the stroke of 8 on Sunday morning. I had arranged for a wake-up call at 5 in the morning, with a half hour extra to snooze...then it was shower, make-up, room service breakfast, hair, and dressing...all in that order. Getting ready takes a good 2 hours, even for hubby Paul without the hair &, make-up...
Some rounds later, coming up for air and still energized for the evening heats, we looked around, gratified to see familiar faces sharing the floor and in the audience. Our customary handful of local amateur dancers from Honolulu
joined us on the floor.
joined us on the floor.
|Lucas Jaime & his Students|
Local presence clearly dominated the competition landscape, with Divino Ritmo taking center stage, making a broad sweep of the Top Awards including Top Teachers, Top Studio and Top Students. We busted okole for this, and distinctly felt the comraderie and joint effort of achievement as a studio.
Like winning any other kind of recreational tournament, it was both exhilarating and humbling to win. A well deserved "pat on the back," "addaboy you done good," never hurt, and is always a good feeling. Certainly Paradise Dancesport Tour Ambassador Lauren LaPointe would agree that all the hard work, from studio to competition floor deserve a good pat on the back!
Awards and trophies this year featured handcrafted wood plaques designed by Tony Meredith's sister and world
renowned artist, Regina Antoinette Meredith, using wood from trees grown on their family's plantation in Samoa.
|Aloha Ball Awards & Trophies|
You think it's over with the awards.. Heck no! The day after the comp (Monday) was a day of workshops and coaching. Hubby Paul and I, together with fellow students and competitors, participated in workshops by Tony Meredith, Victor Fung, and Giacomo Steccaglia. After the workshops, Paul & I went on for some private one-to-one coaching with various Pros.
To top off this "complete" weekend experience, were group photos, a Polynesian show, and a luau fit for Kamehameha...it sure felt good to be treated like Royalty, AND, to stop to appreciate the rich culture of a unique Paradise we call home.
Amidst the ashes and lava, we danced....and found Paradise.
With Much Aloha & Mahalo,