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Angela Prince, Public Relations Director, USA DANCE, Inc.

Vivian Hans, Organizer USA Dance Fort Wayne Dancesport Championships

Easter Seals Arc -- Steve Hinkle (260-456-4534), President
Special Olympics Indiana -- Michael Furnish (317-328-2000), President



WHAT: USA DANCE FORT WAYNE DANCESPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS. A sanctioned ballroom dance competition for amateur dancers) including the First Special Olympics Ballroom Dance Competition in the USA

WHERE: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo III in Fort Wayne, IN

WHEN: July 5 & 6, 2008

FORT WAYNE, IN -- Fort Wayne Dancesport, a social dance chapter of USA Dance, Inc., is hosting the First Special Olympics Ballroom Dance Competition in the United States on July 5, 2008 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Expo III in Fort Wayne. This new competition is the Saturday morning portion of the USA Dance Fort Wayne DanceSport Championships to be held July 5 and July 6.

On July 5, the Opening Ceremonies will start at 8:05 am with the Special Olympics dance competition starting at approximately 9:30 am and ending at 11:00 am. The Special Olympic competitors will be dancing American Waltz, American Cha Cha, American Rumba, and American Swing events.

This entire event of Special Olympics is open to the general public FREE of charge.
General admission tickets for the amateur competitions following this event are $5 per person or $10 for reserved seating.

After the Special Olympic games are declared closed, the amateur couples ballroom dance competition will begin with Rhythm dances (Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero) and Latin dances (Cha Cha, Rumba, ,Samba, Jive) on Saturday from 12:30 pm until 4:00 pm.

On Sunday, July 6, 2008 from 10:30 am until 3:30 pm the competition will demonstrate American Smooth dances (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz) and International Standard dances (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep).

On Saturday night, July 5, 2008 there will be a semi-formal Social Dance from 8:30 pm until 11:30 pm. Music will be provided by DJ Jack Meinking. Special entertainment includes the Ian and Jonny dancers from Australia. Social dance tickets are available at the door for $20 per person with proceeds helping to fund the USA Dance chapter’s planned 2009 Special Olympics Competition.

Event Background Information from USA Dance Event Organizer Vivian Hans --

“Three charities joined together to form a team and make ballroom dancing available to individuals with special needs -- Special Olympics Indiana, Easter Seals Arc and USA Dance Chapter Fort Wayne Dancesport #2046 .

“Special Olympics Indiana trained and did back ground checks on the all the volunteers; Easter Seals Arc transported their members to the dance studio and paid the instructors for group lessons from funds raised at the Fort Wayne Dancesport Charity event, helped them select their dance shoes and costumes for the competition, while Fort Wayne Dancesport provided volunteers to be the Unified Sports Dancesport Dance Partners and organized and fund this competition event. “The Quest for the Gold” is now a reality for so many dancers in the Fort Wayne area.”

Attending the Event on July 5 --

“Mayor Thomas C. Henry will be there to cut the opening event ribbon and say a few words of welcome to our dancers. Mr. Michael Furnish, President of Special Olympics Indiana will be there. He will be one of the gentlemen holding the ribbon during the ribbon cutting ceremony and he too will give a few words of welcome and encouragement to the competitors. Mr. Peter Pover, President of USA Dance, will also be at this event and he too will be holding the other end of the ribbon during the ribbon cutting ceremony. He will also have a word of welcome to USA Dance participants, volunteers and guests. Mr. Pover is an internationally recognized ballroom dance adjudicator, and he will be one of the Adjudicators at the Special Olympics Ballroom Dance competition on July 5.”

Notes on some of the participants from Vivian Hans, USA Dance --

“There will be a father and daughter couple dancing in the competition -- Angel Ellenberger and her father, Kenneth Ellenberger, of Bluffton, Indiana. There is also a dance couple from Elkhart, Indiana and there are 23 couples from Allen County participating in this Special Olympics Ballroom Dance competition.

“Fort Wayne Dancesport (a social ballroom dance chapter of USA Dance) has been preparing for this event since January, 2007. In addition to this being the First Special Olympics Ballroom Dance Competition it is also the first amateur ballroom dance competition for this chapter.

“The Special Olympics dancers themselves have been learning to dance since September 2007 and in March, 2008 they were partnered with their Unified Sports Dancesport Dance Partners with whom they are going to be dancing in this competition. These Unified Sports Dancesport Dance Partners are all volunteers from Fort Wayne Dancesport a chapter of USA Dance who have given of their time each Wednesday afternoon since the 1st of March to dance with the Special Olympics dancers in preparation for this dance competition.

“Unified Sports Partners are individuals who already know how to dance and they are training with Special Olympics athletes who do not know how to dance. Special Olympics have found that this is a much faster method of training for Special Olympics athletes and our particular sport is perfect for this approach since it takes two to dance ballroom.

“According to Vivian Hans, USA DANCE event organizer, “As the USA Dance chapter has been working on this pilot program, we have been developing a model for how to start ballroom dancing lessons to holding a competition in which the Special Olympics athletes can compete. It is our goal to take this model to other cities in Indiana and work with Special Olympics in those locations. We will also be introducing this program in other states as well through the USA Dance chapters around the country.”


USA DANCE is a 501c3 non-profit organization responsible for the promotion of recreational ballroom dancing and competitive DanceSport in the United States. As the National Governing Body for DanceSport, as recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and by the IDSF (the International DanceSport Federation), USA DANCE organizes and hosts the USA DANCE national qualifying events and the National DanceSport Championships each year in the U.S. It is the additional mission of USA DANCE to gain the International Olympic Committee's final approval of DanceSport as an Olympic medal sport. For more information, please visit

REFERENCE – Current Media Coverage for Fort Wayne DanceSport Special Olympics Competition –

Bluffton News Banner
"Ellenbergers ready to rumba" June 30 front page

Monthly Fort Wayne Magazine
"Dancing together" July, 2008 issue page 11

Fort Wayne News Sentential

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Event calendar (Weekender) July 3

Whatzup Event calendar

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