• JUDGES AND OFFICIALS

  • NEW THIS YEAR!

    • Send your questions to our judges. Ask anything, nothing is off limits!”
    • Submit your questions by email to hbdschallenge@gmail.com with the subject line "My Question to a Judge"
  • Chairman of Judges - Dana Edwards

    Ohio

    Dana is a USA Dance Chairperson, Invigilator and adjudicating official as well as, an Adjudicator with the WDSF.

     

    She holds Licentiate degrees in Standard, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm and Theatre Arts with the American International Dancers Association and Licentiate degrees in International Standard and Latin with Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and the World DanceSport Federation.

     

    She is a retired NDCA Open Professional American Smooth and Rising Star American Rhythm Champion and a Fred Astaire Professional American and Canadian / American Smooth Champion. She has trained her students to achieve much success in the Am/Am and Pro/Am world including FADS Pro/Am Smooth and Rhythm National Champions, Top competition students with the FADS, USA DANCE, NDCA and Youth DanceSport Syllabus Champions 7 years running at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival. Dana has many Top Teacher Awards from FADS and was the Top Teacher and Top Studio Arnold Sports Festival.

     

    She worked for Fred Astaire Dance studios for 10 years and manages her own dance studio called Invitation To Dance in Hilliard, Ohio since 2001. Dana has choreographed hundreds of showcase routines and award winning formation team routines for over 10 years. Dana has also worked on an animated film for the Walt Disney Films.

    She is the head coach for the Competitive team DanceSport at OSU team and formerly 2009 to 2012.

     

    Dana currently Coaches Amateur couples to compete at NDCA and USA Dance competitions. She serves on the 2016 – 2023 AIDAs National Committee. She is the editor of the associations Topline Magazine.

     

    My purpose: I want to support all dancers and give Professional dancers more opportunities to dance and compete.

    Adjudicator - Yuehwern Yih

    Indiana

    USA Dance+WDSF - Chair+ A+ B+ C+ D+ Chair of Judges - World Dancesport Federation (WDSF) and USA Dance.

    Certified Adjudicator - World Dancesport Federation (WDSF)
    Championship Certified Adjudicator by North American
    Dancesport Teachers Association (NADTA) and USA Dance
    Certified Scrutineer by National Dance Council of America (NDCA)

    Throughout her dancing career, Yuehwern has been passionate about learning, teaching, and helping students find their pathways to success on and off the dance floor. Besides dancing, she completed her B.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, specializing in smart operations and system engineering. She is currently a full professor in Industrial Engineering at Purdue University.

  • Adjudicator- Ronen Zinshtein

    Massachusetts

    3-Times Undefeated United states Amateur Ballroom Champion
    United States World Representative
    WDSF Amateur Ballroom World Cup Semi Finalist
    Ohio Star Ball Professional Rising Star Champion
    United Kingdom Professional Rising Star Finalist

  • Adjudicator- Giacomo Steccaglia

    San Diego, California

    Raised in the small Northern Italian town Arcola (population 100), Giacomo excelled at sports like soccer, track & field, and swimming. At age 14, however, he chose dancing because “that’s where all the girls were.” Three months later, he won the first of his five National Amateur Championships and went on to represent Italy at both the European and World Championships. After marrying Melissa Dexter, Giacomo turned professional and together they won four Italian Professional Championships, two Vice South American Showdance Championships, as well as Imperial, All England, and Universal Championships. In addition, they placed second in the World Professional Masters, and were finalists in the European and World Latin American Dance Championships. Having performed in places like the Kremlin in Moscow, Royal Albert Hall in London, Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, and New York’s Madison Square Garden, Giacomo is a popular international lecturer, world class judge, and coach.

     

    Adjudicator- Phillip Stephens

    Houston, TX

    Phillip Stephens holds a World DanceSport Federation B license and is a National Adjudicator for USA Dance (A+B+C+D+E+). He has judged USA Dance National Championships, several Collegiate events, and National Qualifying Events (NQEs) such as Gumbo of Ballroom. Phillip has judged National Dance Council of America events such as United States DanceSport Championships, Ohio Star Ball, Heart of America, Texas Challenge, and others. He has served as an Invigilator at USA Dance NQEs and Nationals, Ohio Star Ball and United States Dancesport Championships, among others. With partner Lisa Sandifer, Phillip was the 1989 Easter United States Rising Star American Smooth Champion and has held titles in various other events.

     

    As an Examiner for Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and USA Dance, Phillip provides professionals with academic teaching degrees in dance and adjudication certifications for judges. He holds ISTD Fellowship Degrees for International Ballroom and Latin along with Fellowship Degrees for American Smooth and Rhythm. He also holds Licentiate degrees in Theatre Arts and ISTD Viennese Waltz.

     

    A member of ISTD, Phillip has served as a Former Treasurer and Past President of the USISTD and served as a Member of and Secretary for the USISTD Board of Trustees and was honored in 2007 to present an American Style Dancing lecture at the ISTD Congress in Worthing, England.

  • Adjudicator - Konstantin Yakunin

    California

    Konstantin Yakunin has been in the dance world as a working professional for over 30 years. He is an adjudicator with USA Dance an WDSF, instructor, choreographer, coach and Pro/Am competitor. He is a former competitive Ballroom and Latin dancer who competed extensively in Russia and was Regional 10 Dance Champion from 1987 to 1993 in Russia. He had extensive experience training Formation Teams, which annually competed in Russian National College competitions.

    Konstantin has received many honor certificates and awards from the Russian Federation Professional Union of Ballroom Dance and has been an invited lecturer for Russian Regional Seminars at various competitions.

     

    Adjudicator - Robert Porch

    Long Beach, California

    Robert Porch earned a Master of Fine Art's degree in theatre performance from University of California.

    Robert danced professionally in several ballroom touring shows, including “Simply Ballroom with Host Debbie Reynolds”, Las Vegas residency show and the filming of the U.K. tour of "Simply Ballroom".

    For the past 10 years, Robert has served as the Director of the Orange County School of the Arts Ballroom Dance Conservatory. Under Robert's leadership, the program has attracted some of the finest ballroom dancers and teachers in the area. Robert teaches and coaches competitors in all 4 styles of Dancesport and directs the "Bring OCSA To You" team "Ballroom Blitz”.

    Robert has been certified as a Grand Master of Dance in International Ballroom and Latin, currently working towards his certifications in American Rhythm and Smooth.

    Robert is an established judge and is active in the Junior Olympics circle of competitions and he is the Director of the AAU Junior Olympic Ambassador program for Dancesport.

     

    Adjudicator - Andrea Zaramella

    Charlotte, NC

    Andrea Zaramella started dancing at the age of 9 in a small city on the Southeast coast of Italy called Brindisi. He started traveling and competing all over the world from the age of 14. In his 27 year career in ballroom dance, several of his accomplishments include being the 5-Time undefeated Italian Ballroom Champion, UK RS Professional Ballroom Champion and a finalist and runner-up in the Blackpool Dance Festival. Andrea is now a certified WDC international adjudicator for Italy and a USA Dance adjudicator as well. Now based out of Charlotte, NC he currently teaches, coaches and choreographs for top performing competitive students, amateur and professional couples, and produces and manages shows and dance competitions in the US and Europe. Some of these include The Excellence Dance Festival, The Charlotte Star Ball, Dance Legends, The Masters Global Training Camp, The Chicago Dancesport Challenge, and the P3 program designed for top level competitive couples. In almost one decade of living in the US, Andrea was able to develop his career as a businessman and an entrepreneur through his involvement in the restaurant and hospitality industry, as well as creating and developing Zaramella International Realty, owning many properties in the Carolinas totaling over a few million dollars. Andrea is also the founder of Tomorrow’s Champions Foundation, which is a charitable project that provides ballroom dance education and lessons for children and youth with disabilities with the goal of improving their future and creating an impact in their lives.

  • Adjudicator - Salvatore Todaro

    Bulgaria

    UK champion, Germani Open & Blackpool Vice Champion in Rising Star

    11 times Bulgarian National Champion

    World championship Finalist

    2* IWGA World Games finalist

     

    Salvatore began dancing at the age 10 and has been teaching since the age of 16. With his partner and wife, Violeta Yankova he has participated in all major competition finals. He and his partner were 11 time Bulgarian national champions, rising star winner of the United Kingdom open championships, 2nd at the British open in Blackpool and 2nd at the German open. They were finalists at the international open in London and 2 times finalist at the World Games in Kaoshung in 2009 and California in 2013. They were 5th at the WDSF adult world championship in 2013 in Kiev. and WDSF world cup winners in Burgas in 2013. Together with his brother, Salvatore is owner of one of the most prestigious dance studios in Italy, Todaro Dance Academy, which attracts couples from many countries. Salvatore is a fully licensed WDSF judge.

    Adjudicator - Oksana Kalinuka

    California

    Originally from the small Baltic country, Latvia, Oksana Kalinuka grew up in Riga, the Latvian capital. She attended the Moscow Industrial University, graduating with a Masters in Economics and Management, in 2000. Kalinuka began taking ballroom dance lessons at the young age of 8, and fell in love with everything about it: The music, the movement, the expression. As she grew up, her dancing slowly evolved, from a fun pastime she would enjoy after school, to opening a dance school in Orange County. In 2006, OC Dancing Ballroom Studio opened its doors to the children, adults, and families of Newport Beach, and expanded its facilities in 2019 to the city of Irvine. However, Oksana is not your average business woman, but rather a dance coach to many in Orange County. Oksana's knowledge, dedication, and true passion, resonated into her career as an Instructor, Coach, Businesswoman, and competitive ballroom certified Judge, as well. She received her judging credentials in all 4 styles of Ballroom: International Latin, International Standard, American Rhythm, American Smooth. Aside from managing the studio and coaching, Oksana still competes in Professional Latin. In over a decade of spreading the knowledge and appreciation of dance, OC Dancing's ballroom programs have truly nourished ballroom as not only an Art, but as DanceSport as well. Oksana has raised, created, and developed many successful dance individuals and couples, more than a few growing to become U.S. Finalists and World Ranking dancers, as well as, winners of ballroom championships, both nationally and internationally Oksana Kalinuka is a genuine person, with an inexplicable gift that only she carries… To not just teach dance, but to share the same passion she has for ballroom with others, transcending to any and everyone she meets.

  • Adjudicator - Lesya Sinista

    California

    -Blackpool Professional International Ballroom Semi-Finalist
    -Ohio Star Ball Showdance Champion
    -US Open Professional International Ballroom Finalist
    -US Open Professional Rising Star International Ballroom Champion
    -US National Professional Rising Star International Ballroom Champion
    -US Amateur American Smooth Champion

    Adjudicator - Elena Samodonava

    California

    Elena Samodanova is an international multi-award winning artist, who has worked extensively throughout Asia, US, Australia and Europe as choreographer and dancer. Some of her major credits include having featured as a Dancer/Choreographer in the Australian and India versions of hit TV show "Dancing With The Stars" and she was a choreographing on the Australian and American version of “So You Think You Can Dance”. Elena also holds the highest credentials and qualifications to teach in Russia, Hong Kong, Australia, England and United States. She was born in a dance family so she started dancing before walking. During her youth Elena won many Russian championships and awards in Latin American and Ballroom genres internationally and she became a professional dancer at the tender age of 17 thus becoming the "World Youngest Professional Latin American Dancer" and soon after such, Elena was ranked the Top 20 dance couple in the world ranking in Latin American genre. Elena graduated from the Arts and Culture Theatre University in Russia [Moscow] and she has masters in Choreography degree.Elena Samodanova is also the National Australian Professional Latin American Champion having won the 4 major dance titles down under and as a result she has represented Australia on the World Dance Championship also reaching Top 10 world ranking in Latin American with WDC. Her international championship titles also include being the Asian Professional, Hong Kong, Japanese, Singaporean,Australian and England Champion.

    In 2015 Elena was invited as a Judge on "Dancing With The Stars" Russia where she became a most recognisable Latin Dancer/Choreographer in Russia.

    Adjudicator - Deborah Fields Perez

    Culver City, California

    Owner of By Your Side Dance Studio in Culver City for fifteen years as well as Marina del Rey which will be opening soon. Deborah is a former professional competitor in American Smooth, American Rhythm and Theater Arts and is a former Rising Star U.S. Theater Arts Champion. She currently competes with her students in Smooth, Standard, Rhythm, Latin and social dances and is very active in the social dance scene.

  • Adjudicator - Andrey Dragunov

    California

     

    - Owner of “LA Dancesport Club “;

    - Coach , Raised Champions :

    -USA Dance National Latin and Ballroom Finalists

    - World WDCAL Ballroom and Latin Prize-winners and Finalists

    - NDCA Ballroom and Latin USA Finalists

  • Adjudicator - Alla Novikov

    California

    - Owner of “Edelweiss Premier Ballroom “;

    - Choreographer at TV Show “DWTS”, “AGT”, “World of Dance”

    - Winner of numerous Professional Ballroom Events in USA;

    - Coach , Raised Champions :

    - World WDCAL Ballroom and Latin Champions

    - Blackpool Juvenile Latin Champions

    - National Ballroom and Latin USA Champions

  • Technical Director - Mark Weiss

    California

  • Scrutineer- Daniel Dilley

    Indiana

    USA Dance+WDSF - Scrutineer A+ B+ C+ D+

     

    National Judge, USA Dance registered; Certified by the North American Dancesport Teachers Association (NADTA) and World Dancesport Federation (WDSF); Certified Scrutineer (by NDCA) with extensive experience, and enough equipment to run O2CM wireless judging for 30+ judges. Professional Rhythm Competitor. Finalists in many US competitions; Daniel is the head coach of the Purdue Latin & Ballroom Dance Team, which has about 125 members each semester, requiring competitive coaching in all levels from Newcomer to Champ. Daniel also co-organizes the annual Purdue Ballroom Classic Competition, which attracts more than 400 collegiate ballroom dance competitors each year in the Midwest.

    Registrar - Geri Chaudhri

    Redondo Beach, California

    Geri Chaudhri is a retired software engineer and an avid dancer. She has competed at the bronze and silver levels in both the American Smooth and International style of dancing. Geri has been an integral part of Hot Ballroom DanceSport Challenge since its inception in 2017 and has more recently taken on the role of registrar. On the weekends, you may see her out on the road with her cycling club or hiking some of the beautiful trails in Southern California.

  • Emcee - Holli Hornlien

    San Pedro, California

    NDCA+USA Dance+WDSF

     

     

    Holli Hornlien is a US National Champion in both the WDSF and WDC leagues, was ecstatic to become a World Bronze Medalist in the WDCAL World Championships in 2014, has placed in the Top 24 at Blackpool Dance Festival. Holli was honored to be on the USA Dance World Team in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and had the great privilege to represent the United States in France, Spain, Italy, and Slovakia. Holli is also a professional actress.

     

     

    Emcee - Matt Mancuso

    New Jersey

    Matt is a Professional Ballroom dancer who has performed, instructed and competed nationally in the American Rhythm style of ballroom dance. Throughout his professional dance career, Matt has been a finalist in many competitions. He has danced in numerous live shows, and has trained with well-known choreographers: Anna Trebunskaya, Carolina Orlovsky, Corky Ballas and Jonathan Roberts. Choreography by Matt has been featured at institutions such as You Can Dance Studio in Hermosa Beach, California, and he has been guest artists at many other institutions and studios including the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts in Irvine, California. Matt is also an accomplished actor and musical theatre performer. He has performed at such regional houses like Walnut Street Theatre and has been a member of premiere casts on both east and west coasts. As a choreographer, he has been an assistant on a productions of Evita and Rent and provided his own staging to musicals like Songs for A New World and just recently finished choreographing a production of Guys & Dolls in New Jersey. To see what Matt is up to you can always check his website - mancusomawwwtt.com

  • On Deck Captain Lead- Kym Zion

    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Kym Zion is the founder of CBZ Reboot and secretary of the organization. CBZ Reboot is an organization supporting physical, emotional, and mental well-being through dance movement programs. CBZ Reboot currently provides both physical education and enrichment programs in several schools throughout the Los Angeles area. She along with President, Herbert McGurk are releasing in the summer of 2022 a book written about the history and events behind the non profit, it’s vision and programs.

    In addition, she is the founder of the Connor Bishop Zion Foundation (CBZ), www.cbzfoundation.org – a non-profit organization named for her late son to promote his vision to expand and ensure dance access to Dancesport youth, individuals with disabilities and youth-in-need. She has served as the National Director of K-12 Programs in USA Dance and on the General Council. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors for USA Dance – Los Angeles Chapter. Ms. Zion is SafeSport certified.

    Like her late son, Ms. Zion fully believes dance movement is a viable tool to help maintain wellness. In 2015, in partnership with the Dorothy Jayne Foundation founded by Dr. Sanford Wright, Jr MD, and his wife Olga Foraponova, a two-time US American Smooth Dance Champion, Kym assisted in the development and launched Dance Wellness, a program for K-12 school age children.

    Ms. Zion is actively involved in Special Olympics and works with Louis Van Amstel, Ambassador for Dancesport. She also supports bringing Van Amstel’s, LaBlast Fitness to schools.

    She has organized and produced numerous events in the Dance Industry including National Competitions and Productions. She has been a supporter and volunteer for Hot Ballroom Dancesport competition in previous years and looks forward to helping bring this competition to the community again in 2022.
     

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