Judges & Officials - Royal Palm DanceSport Championships - NQE

We are proud to announce that the following
Distinguished Panel of World-Class Adjudicators & Officials will preside at
The 2019 Royal DanceSport Championships (NQE)

February 9, 2018

Adjudicators

(Adjudicators are listed below in alphabetical order, after Chairman of Adjudicators & Adjudicator/ Invigilator)

Key to Adjudicator Certifications: A=Standard; B=Latin; C=Smooth; D=Rhythm; E=Theater Arts.  
+ means Championship Level Certification; – means Associate Level Certification

Note from the Organizer: These World Class Adjudicators and Officials have been very modest in the brief biograpies they submitted to the O2cm database. The following more expansive biographies are the result of research by the Organizer.
Having discovered these many extremely impressive achievements of these truly World Class Professionals,
we wanted to share them with you, knowing that you will be interested and impressed, as we are.

Exciting News!! Two Additional Highly Distinguished Adjudicators, Patricia Goh and Phil Lee, both from Canada, have joined our World-Class Panel of Adjudicators & Officials! Both are WDSF Certified, and Certified at Championship Level A+ B+ C+ D+ in All Styles of Dance. Their pictures and impressive bios will soon be added to this page of our website.

Sami Yli-Piipari         Chairman of Adjudicators – From USA (Georgia) and Finland
Sami Yli-Piipari

Certified: USA Dance + WDSF – Chair+ A+ B+ C+ D+

Sami Yli-Piipari is a USA Dance and WDSF Certified Chairman of Adjudicators and USA Dance and WDSF Certified Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, and Rhythm, at Championship Level in both Standard and Latin.

Sami serves as Chairman of Adjudicators and Adjudicator for numerous USA Dance National Qualifying Event Competitions throughout the United States, and for the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships. In addition, representing the U.S., he serves as a WDSF Chairman and Adjudicator. He has judged several World and Continental Championships.

Sami started ballroom dancing at the age of 10 in his native country, Finland. During his career with his wife Karita Yli-Piipari, he achieved numerous international and national titles including 15 total Finnish National Championship Titles, in both Amateur and Professional Standard, Latin, and 10-Dance.

He is also a former World & European Professional 10-Dance Grand Finalist, United Kingdom & International Professional Rising Star Finalist, and Blackpool Professional Rising Star Semi-Finalist.

His Competitive Accomplishments, with his partner and wife, Karita Yli-Piipari, include, among many others:

  • 15-Times Finland National Champion, in Standard, Latin, and 10-Dance
  • World Professional 10 Dance Grand Finalist
  • European Professional 10 Dance Grand Finalist
  • UK Open Professional Rising Star Finalist
  • International Professional Rising Star Finalist
  • Blackpool Professional Rising Star Semi-Finalist
  • Slovenian Open Professional Standard Champion

He is located in Athens, Georgia.

Lee Fox                        Adjudicator & Invigilator – From Florida and Georgia
Lee Fox

Certified: USA Dance – Invigilator+ A+ B+ C+ D+ E+

Lee Fox is a USA Dance Championship Level Certified Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, and Rhythm, and also holds Licentiate Certification in Theater Arts from the Imperial Society of the Teachers of Dance. He is also a USA Dance Certified Invigilator.

Lee has acted as an Adjudicator and Chairman of Judges at many regional competitions and showcases for many years, as well as having adjudicating at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships.

Lee is President and an Examiner of the National Dance Teachers Association of America (NDTA). In that position, he trains dance teachers for examinations, and administers examinations, for professional certifications. He is Certified as a Fellow (the highest level) in International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, and American Rhythm by NDTA, and Certified in the licentiate level of International Standard, International Latin, American Rhythm and Theater Arts with the Imperial Society of the Teachers of Dance.

Lee has had over 35 years of teaching experience, teaching and coaching individual students, as well as formation teams, at all levels from beginners to intermediate to advanced level choreography and competition coaching. A Certified USA Dance Invigilator, he is known for his vast and exacting knowledge of all official syllabi of both USA Dance, ISTD, and NDCA in all styles of dance, including International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, and American Rhythm dances, in addition to and other Social Dances, such as West Coast Swing, Hustle, Country/ Western and others.

Lee has competed professionally in various events nationally and internationally over several years. He is now a frequent guest instructor at national and regional dance events, conventions and cruises. He has been invited to instruct and judge in San Francisco, Montreal, Atlanta, Copenhagen, New York, and Los Angeles, among many other cities.

A true Southern gentleman, Lee hails originally from Macon, Georgia. When in college he caught the dance bug while performing in musical theater. He started his dance career in Atlanta, training at Fred Astaire Dance Studios during the disco era of Saturday Night Fever. After furthering his training in New York he opted for the vibrant dance scene of South Florida.

Lee is actively involved in teaching group classes to the communities of South Florida reaching from Miami through Fort Lauderdale and into Boca Raton. His popular classes and lessons take place at several different studios and venues.

Melissa Dexter         Adjudicator – From California and Italy
Melissa Dexter

Certified: USA Dance + WDSF – A+ B+ C+ D+ E+

Melissa Dexter is a USA Dance and WDSF Championship Level Certified Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, and Theater Arts.

She is a former three-time United States Latin American Champion, four time Italian Professional Latin Champion, Italian Showdance Latin Champion, British Open Finalist, “World Professional Masters” Vice Champion, World Professional Latin Finalist, Grand Slam Champion, three-time European and World Finalist, and British Open Professional Latin Finalist, and she received the Distinguished Feather Award, the dancing world’s Oscar, two times.

With her partner and husband Giacomo Steccaglia, Melissa won many top titles in Italy, Europe, England, the United States, and World Championships. Among Melissa’s many Accomplishments:

  • World finalist
  • European Finalist
  • Blackpool Finalist
  • World Latin American Showdance Vice Champion
  • “World Professional Masters Championship” Vice Champion
  • 3-Time United States Latin American Champion
  • 4-Time Italian Latin American Champion
  • Italian Latin American Showdance Champion
  • 2-time South American Showdance Vice Champion
  • British Open Professional Latin Finalist
  • European Professional Latin American Finalist
  • Imperial Professional Latin Champion
  • International Finalist
  • Ohio Star Ball Championships Professional Latin Champion
  • All England, and Universal Professional Latin Champion

Today, her extensive resume includes choreographer for film, television, and stage, as well as world-class adjudicator, coach, and lecturer.

Melissa Dexter together with her partner and husband Giacomo Steccaglia are the founders of Dancessense Studios in Carlsbad, CA

Melissa is Vice President, Professional Dance of USA Dance, Inc.

Inez Sahlin                   Adjudicator – From Florida and Czech Republic
Inez Sahlin

Certified: USA Dance + WDSF – A+ B+ C+ D+ E+

Inez Sahlin is a USA Dance and WDSF Championship Level Certified Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, and Theater Arts.

She is a Championship Judge and International coach, teaching and coaching independently in United States and Europe. She is trained and licensed in both the International and American Styles.

After achieving many top Titles in her native Czech Republic, Inez moved to the United States in 1992 and continued her competitive career as a Professional here. She now resides in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Among her many credits and accomplishments, she is a:

  • Member and accredited member of WDSF, ISTD, USISTD DTCB and USA Dance.
  • World Championships Finalist. US Open Professional Semifinalist.
  • Former Amateur Champion and Runner-Up in Standard, 10 Dance, Team and Formation Dance World Champion Finalist, in her native country of the Czech Republic, and
  • Champion, Winner or Finalist of over 300 competitions all over Europe.
  • Professional Champion or Finalist in many Championships and competitions in the USA, including Ohio Star Ball, Constitution State Challenge, New England Imperial Championships, New England Championships, and American Star Ball, among others, and achieved the semifinals at the U.S. Open.

Currently Inez is teaching independently in the United States and travels regularly to coach in Europe.

Her coaching successes include World and Blackpool Champions in Senior Latin, several National Champions of the countries where she teaches, World Standard and 10 dance Junior II and Youth Finalists and recent World Cup adult Finalists.

Inez is qualified and licensed as an international Adjudicator by the WDSF, in both Latin and Standard Disciplines and in both Professional and Amateur Divisions. In addition, she is qualified as an Adjudicator under the new, rigorous WDSF Olympics-style Judging System 2.0.

She keeps a busy schedule as an adjudicator, judging numerous WDSF and USA Dance Championships and competitions, including World Championships, World Cups, Grand Slams and Continental Championships and competitions all over the World, in addition to USA Dance National Championships and NQE’s, University competitions, and other Championships and competitions in the U.S.A.

Susan Silva                Adjudicator – From Florida, New York and Connecticut
Susan Silva

Certified: NDCA + USA Dance – A+ B+ C+ D+ E+

Susan Silva is a USA Dance Championship Level Certified Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, and Theater Arts (Theatrical, Exhibition and Performing Arts).

She served as an Adjudicator at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships in 2018.

Susan is a Professional Adjudicator, Dance Coach, Lecturer, and former United States National Professional Champion in American Style, Theatrical and Exhibition.

A native of New York, Susan started dancing at the age of three. She trained in all styles of Ballroom Dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, and Theatrical.

As Professional Competitors, Susan and her partner David Van Hamilton, were United States National Professional Champions in American Style, Theatrical and Exhibition, as well as Blackpool Invitational Exhibition Bronze Medalists. They were renowned and top ranked Professional Ballroom Dance Champions and Performers in the United States for over 10 years. They competed in all styles of Ballroom Dance and were National Professional Champions and finalists, and achieved many top Titles, including Ohio Star Ball Exhibition Champions, and many others in the United States and Canada.

In addition, Susan Silva and David Van Hamilton appeared on several television shows, including “A Night of Championship Dancing” with Juliet Prowse and others, lectured and held master classes in many major dance conventions & studios, and appeared as the very popular Adagio Team of Hamilton & Silva at venues throughout the United States and Mexico, performing extended shows in New York City and Las Vegas.

Susan also performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway, and at the age of eighteen, as part of the Discotheque Dancers, she performed at Shea Stadium, NYC, in the opening act at the Beatles Concert, and then toured with the Beatles throughout the United States.

Susan developed and wrote a Theatrical Ballroom Syllabus in written manual and video form, which can be used to enhance every style of ballroom dance today. She has been actively involved in writing and developing USA Dance’s official Syllabus for Theatrical Ballroom, and she is also currently working on rules and an adjudicator’s exam in Theatrical, Cabaret Style, and Show Dance for USA Dance.

During her career Susan had a life-changing experience. She was ill and in a wheel chair in 2003, and was told she may never dance again. But, her passion to dance has never left her. She believed to dance again, and she did in 2007. She became a Personal Life Coach and Ordained Minister.

Today, Susan is a Ballroom Dance Consultant for many Independent Ballroom Dance Schools, and a coach and teacher for professional, amateur, and pro/am students throughout the U.S.A. She has supervised and trained teachers in Ballroom Dance Technique, and holds Master Classes, Seminars, and Workshops in all styles of dance.

Susan writes a regular column for DanceBeat. And, she serves as the Vice President of the National Dance Teachers Association of America.

She served as an Adjudicator at the USA Dance National DanceSport Championships in 2018.

Yuehwern Yih             Adjudicator – From Indiana and Taiwan
Yuehwern Yih

Certified: USA Dance + WDSF – Chair+ A+ B+ C+ D+ +Scrutineer

Dr. Yuehwern Yih is a USA Dance and WDSF Certified Adjudicator, with Championship Level Certification in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, and Rhythm, as well as a USA Dance Certified Chairman of Adjudicators and NDCA Certified Scrutineer.

She is a Certified Adjudicator by World Dancesport Federation (WDSF) in International Latin and Standard. She is a Championship Certified Adjudicator with North American Dancesport Teachers Association (NADTA) and USA Dance in both International Styles and American Styles.

Dr. Yih is a professional ballroom dancer, coach, choreographer, and adjudicator.

In addition to judging and choreographing, Yuehwern and her partner, Daniel, spend most of their time being the head coaches of the Purdue Latin & Ballroom Dance Team. In 2010, when the Team was invited to compete on Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars on Fox, they coached the dancers to a 1st round victory, and placed second in collegiate formation team competition at the finale.

Yuehwern was a finalist in many professional events and runner-up in USA Dancesport Championships in a span of 15 years. Throughout her dancing career, she is always fascinated by the dynamics, intricate synergy and kinetics between partners in competitive ballroom dancing. She is passionate about learning, teaching, and helping students find their pathways to success on and off the dance floor.

She founded a college competition team at Purdue over 20 years ago and this team is not only ranked highly nationally, but also the incubator of many Dancesport competitors, professionals, and lifelong dancers. Each year Yuehwern is also the key person to organize the Purdue Ballroom Classic, which attracts more than 400 collegiate competitors each year from 20+ universities in the Midwest area over the last two decades.

Yuehwern studied ballet and performed with the Lafayette Ballet Company before learning ballroom dance.

In addition, she completed her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering, specializing in operation management and system engineering. She is currently a Full Professor in Industrial Engineering at Purdue University and the Associate Director of Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering.

Karita Yli-Piipari     Adjudicator – From USA (Georgia) and Finland
Karita Yli-Piipari

Certified: USA Dance + WDSF – A+ B+ C+ D+

Karita Yli-Piipari is a WDSF Certified Adjudicator at Championship Level in all styles of dance, as well as being a USA Dance Championship Certified Adjudicator in Standard and Latin.

Karita started ballroom dancing at the age of 10 in her native country Finland.

During her career, she has achieved numerous international and national titles including 15 Finnish National Championship Titles in International Style Standard (Ballroom), International Latin, and 10-Dance in both Amateur and Professional categories.

She is a former World & European Championships 10 Dance Finalist, International Championships and United Kingdom Ballroom Rising Star Finalist, and Blackpool Dance Festival Semi-Finalist in the International Style Standard (Ballroom) Category.

Among her accomplishments:

  • 15 times Finland National Champion in Ballroom, International Latin, and 10-Dance
  • World Championships 10 Dance Finalist
  • European Championships 10 Dance Finalist
  • International Championships Ballroom Rising Star Finalist
  • United Kingdom Ballroom Rising Star Finalist
  • Semi-finalist in Blackpool Dance Festival category Standard

Karita is teaching and coaching dancers around the United States, as well as being a choreographer.

As a USA Dance and WDSF Certified Adjudicator, she has judged numerous WDSF World, Continental, and Grand Slam Championships.

She is located in Athens, Georgia.

Ronen Zinshtein       Adjudicator – From Massachusetts and Israel
Ronen Zinshtein

Certified: USA Dance + WDSF – A+ B+ C+ D+ E-

Ronen Zinshtein is a USA Dance and WDSF Championship Level Certified Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, and Rhythm, as well has holding Associate Certification in Theater Arts. He is an Adjudicator for numerous Competitions in the United States and Europe.

As both an Amateur and a Professional Competitor, Ronen achieved many Top Titles in the United States and the World, including among many others:

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

Ronen started dancing at age 7 because it was a mandatory class in his elementary school in Israel. At 14, he realized that he wanted dance to be his career. Before his 17th birthday, Ronen moved to the United States by himself to pursue his dream.

He became the undefeated three-time U.S. National Amateur Ballroom Champion, the Manhattan Amateur Classic Ballroom Champion, a WDSF Adult Standard World Cup Semi-Finalist, the Asian Tour Professional Rising Star Champion, and a WDC World Professional Standard Rising Star Finalist.

Ronen is driven by the satisfaction of achieving full emotional expression through dance. Alongside his national and international achievements, Ronen is the coach of United States National Champions, United States National Finalists, and World Representatives. He is also highly involved with developing and teaching a Ballroom Dance program known as “Medhot Cambridge” in educational institutions. Ronen believes Martha Graham said it best: “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”

Currently, Ronen owns and operates Todos Dance & Fitness Studio in Natick, Massachusetts (USA) and co-organizes the annual American DanceSport Festival (ADSF) held in Miami, Florida in October.   The ADSF is the first USA Dance Sanctioned competition to bring spectacular WDSF World Championship Events to the United States.

Following are a few more of Ronen’s many other accomplishments:

  • La Classique du Québec Open Professional Ballroom Finalist
  • WDC World Professional Standard Rising Star Finalist
  • Asian Tour Professional Rising Star Champion
  • IDSA World Professional Ballroom Semi-Finalist
  • UK Open Professional Rising Star Ballroom Finalist
  • 3-time Canadian Open Professional Ballroom Finalist
  • Ohio Star Ball Professional Rising Star Champion
  • International Grand Ball Professional Rising Star Ballroom Champion
  • 3-time World Masters Professional Ballroom Finalist
  • London Open “Universal” Amateur Ballroom Championship Finalist – 3rd Place
  • 3-time U.S. National Amateur Ballroom Champion
  • 3-time Manhattan Amateur Classic Ballroom Champion (Northeast United States Regional Championship)
  • Participated as a Coach in the first U.S. National Team Training Camp held in the Olympic Training Park in Lake Placid
  • Star Feature In The Film “Serena’s Song”

Officials

Yang Chen                 Emcee – From New York
Yang Chen

Yang Chen has been dancing for more than twenty years and is currently the President of the Greater New York USA Dance Chapter. He has previously served as National President of USA Dance.

Yang has extensive experience as a Master of Ceremonies of many ballroom competitions including the Manhattan Amateur Classic, NJ DanceSport Classic, National Qualifying Events in Bethesda, Maryland, Knoxville, Tennessee and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the USA Dance National Championships and numerous collegiate events, including the DC DanceSport Inferno.

Yang is currently serving as Organizer of the January, 2019 Manhattan Amateur Classic (MAC) competition.

Yang Chen is an attorney and graduate of New York University School of Law and Binghamton University. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, the United States District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Having practiced law with large law firms in New York City for a number of years, Yang now serves as the Executive Director of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), a position he has held since August 2009. He served as that Association’s President in 2008.

Yang lives in New York City, and yes, his first name is pronounced “young.”

Daniel Dilley               Scrutineer – From Indiana
Daniel Dilley - Scrutineer

Daniel Dilley is Certified by USA Dance and WDSF as a Scrutineer A+ B+ C+ D+, and also Certified by USA Dance and WDSF as a Chairman of Adjudicators and as a Championship Level Adjudicator in all styles of dance, Standard, Latin, Smooth, and Rhythm. He is also Certified as an Adjudicator by the North American Dancesport Teachers Association (NADTA) and Certified as a Scrutineer by NDCA.

He has extensive experience as a Scrutineer and Adjudicator, and enough equipment to run O2CM wireless judging for 30+ judges.

As a competitor, Daniel was Cincinnati Ballroom Classic Rising Star Champion, Volunteer State Rising Star Champion, and a Finalist in many U.S. competitions.

Daniel is 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 Championship.

Daniel also co-organizes the annual Purdue Ballroom Classic Competition, which attracts more than 400 collegiate ballroom dance competitors each year in the Midwest.

Vinny Munno              Music Director – From Florida and New Jersey
Vinny Munno

Vincent (Vinny) Munno is Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Goldcoast Ballroom, along with Jeff Sandler. Vinny is known not only throughout Florida but nationally and around the world for his electrifying music as a DJ. It has been said that he sets the standard for disk jockeys not only in South Florida but world wide.

Vinny has served as Director of Music for the annual Royal Palm DanceSport Competition for all of its prior 15 years of existence. He has a vast knowledge and repertoire of music, meeting the regulation tempos and length for each style of dance and competition heat.

As an example of the international recognition and acclaim that Vinny Munno and Co-Founder Jeff Sandler have received, they were invited to preside over the first ever Annual Euro Salsa Congress in Munich, Germany. Vinny acted as DJ and Jeff acted as Host and Master of Ceremonies at that spectacular international event. Vinny is pictured above in his role as DJ at the First Annual Euro Salsa Congress in Munich, Germany.

As the man behind the music both at Goldcoast Ballroom and the Music Director and DJ for our Annual Royal Palm DanceSport Competition, he is a most important and integral member of the team.

Vinny also is a very accomplished dancer. At the age of eight, he began his dancing career by training in ballet, jazz, and tap. During his school years, he also was exceptionally skilled in gymnastics. He continued to study ballet for eight years at the New Jersey Dance Theater Guild. He graduated from the Dance Educators of America Teacher’s Training School in New York City. For six years he appeared in the New Jersey Dance Theater Guild’s production of “The Nutcracker”.

Vinny later studied Ballroom dance seriously, and became an accomplished Ballroom dancer and competitor. Dancing with US Champion Professional Susie Thompson, he won titles including US American Rhythm Pro-Am Gentleman Champion in 1999 and 2000, and US American Smooth Pro-Am Gentleman Champion and Ohio Star American Rhythm Finalist in 2001.

Recently he has danced with Pro Olga Bogdanov, and they have given some amazing, extraordinary performances in American Smooth and Standard dances at Goldcoast Ballroom Showcases.

Vinny is originally from New Jersey. Before moving to Florida and dedicating himself full time to dance, he had a career in banking, which included starting as a loan processor and serving eight years as bank branch manager.

Jeff Sandler               Vinny Munno            Co-Founders & Co-Owners of Goldcoast Ballroom –
Our Competition Venue

Jeff Sandler Vinny Munno

Our grateful recognition and special appreciation go to Jeff Sandler and Vinny Munno, Co-Founders and Co-Owners of Goldcoast Ballroom, for hosting and generously co-sponsoring the Annual Royal Palm DanceSport Championships NQE at the Beautiful and Nationally Renowned Goldcoast Ballroom, as they have done for our Competition each year for the past 15 years! Read more about Jeff and Vinny on the Goldcoast Ballroom website ».

Competition Organizers: A Great Team of Volunteers, Coordinated by:

Connie Barnhart Koontz

Connie Barnhart Koontz
Competition Organizer, and
President, USA Dance Royal Palm Chapter # 6016
Lee Fox

Lee Fox
Co-Chair Competition Organizing Committee, and
Vice President, USA Dance, Royal Palm Chapter # 6016

 

…………………………………………………………….. Back to Top…

 

2018

 

Count Down to Our Next Competition - February 9, 2019

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USA Dance National Qualifying Event (NQE)

World DanceSport Federation (WDSF)

The Royal Palm DanceSport Championships NQE
on February 9, 2019 in Sunny South Florida will be the
First USA Dance National Qualifying Event (NQE) in Florida!!
Open to the World!   WDSF Open Standard Events Included!

The Annual USA Dance Royal Palm DanceSport Competition,
now in it's 16th year,                                    
is one of the most highly regarded
dancesport competitions in Florida and in the United States.
We welcome Amateur, Pro/Am, Teacher/ Student, and Professional competitor couples
from around the United States, Canada, and the World!

Competition Sponsors & Principal Donors:

See List of Scholarship Donors

 
The Catherine & Francis Burzik FoundationUSA Dance, Royal Palm Chapter
Goldcoast Ballroom
           

Vendors

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