Are you ready for ….. Emerald?

If you are on the other side of the ocean, living in Europe or near by, then Blackpool Dance Festival, European Championships, and many others are on your map already, but what if……

Have you ever been thinking of competing in The US? Fun Fact: In the US there is no such thing as “the end of the season”. Dancesport industry is running non stop. Every weekend somewhere in The US there is a championship, or two, or three…. They are all listed at the official site of The National Dance Council of America.
It is hard to navigate through the long list of the available competitions serving the ballroom dancers! Where do you start?

First of all you’ll start with those that are highlighted in RED and then you look for the word OPEN included in the name of the event. OPEN means that the event is open to the people from all over the world, but here is one event that has to be included in that category but it doesn’t have the word OPEN next to it, , and that is the event we will be talking about Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships.

Justin Lujan & Julia Zilman on the Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships 2017
Justin Lujan & Julia Zilman on the Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships 2017

Emerald Ball is one of the biggest and the most prestigious competitions in the world. The theme of the event is “Emerald”. What comes to your mind when you hear the word Emerald? You may think of a precious stone, something regal, specific tone of green. Well, you are absolutely right!
It is all of those things and more! Emerald is on the forefront of the DanceSport Industry. For example, Emerald Ball asked all their potential attendees to vote for the judging panel at the event, and so people from all over The US did – and now Emerald has 52 judges! Karina Smirnoff and Corky Ballas are just a few to name, that are on the panel this year.

The competition is one week long. It offers the dance camp prior to the event, and the competition itself is a grand finale for two more dance series that take place within the US during the year! You can only imagine the attendance of the event! The event caters to multiple dance styles, and it has a KIDS DAY on Sunday.

Why do we recommend The Emerald Ball as a place to start competing in the US? Probably few things, but the first and the most important one is its location. Emerald Ball takes place at the Hilton Hotel located within the LAX, which stands for Los Angeles Airport. Grab your luggage, and wait for a FREE SHUTTLE to take you directly to the doors of the Hilton. The Hilton Shuttles are running non-stop just watch for the Light Up sign saying Hilton LAX.
LAX is a big hub for many major airlines, which means your tickets will be a little bit less expensive when you fly to Los Angeles.

One more thing, do not think of Hilton LAX as your typical airport hotel, the name HILTON brings you luxury and comfort, and The Emerald Ball delivers the rest.
The hotel offers nice rooms, few restaurants, few guest shops, and even a special area to walk your dog! It is located on the fourth floor.

The hotel is fully sold out on the days of the event, besides lots of dancers from Los Angeles and nearby cities are driving to the event to compete. You should expect a lot of people everywhere! It means long lines to get food, especially in the evening, and long lines of people waiting to get a cup of coffee in the morning. Plan your day accordingly! There is a coffee machine in every room to get you by, there are always options for food being delivered to the hotel for you. One little detail, you may need to meet a food delivery outside of the hotel, due to some policies.

The dance floor is big and it is located on the first floor near the elevators. The ballroom is beautiful. In my opinion, Emerald Ball has the best lighting and the background set. Pictures of the dancers at the Emerald Ball are always beautiful.

There is a big crowd inside of the ballroom. There are two different types of tickets – more expensive with the assigned seating around the tables surrounding the dance floor and the less expensive on the bleachers without the assigned seats. Guard your seats! It will be a quick second and someone “lucky” will be taking “your” spot.

Emerald Ball does not offer electronic screen showing the results. The results after each round will be written on the white board with dry erase markers, the final results will be announced during the award ceremony, but in between each round watch the faces of the ones reading it. Usually you can tell if they made it to the next round or not!

Emerald Ball offers few practice rooms on the second floor that you can access on the elevator or by taking a beautiful staircase. The second floor also is a place to shop. Multiple vendors are attending the event, and as a dancer, you can find everything you need! I do recommend to schedule hair and makeup in advance, because during the competition it could be challenging. The list of vendors could be found here

Another great thing about Emerald Ball is that they offer water for dancers and general public attending the event everywhere. You can find it inside of the Practice rooms, in the main Ballroom, and in the hallways near the vendors. Fun fact, people in the US like cold water, meaning that the big water dispensers will be filled with water mixed with ice. If you do not like icey freshness then you need to plan for it.

Regardless of all the pros and cons, The Emerald Ball is here to stay, and it welcomes everyone from all over the world to experience it! Dancers are strong and adventurous by nature, so
If you are lucky enough to have a valid US Visa, brave enough to fly across the ocean (10-14 hours, of course it depends on where you are flying from), then come and discover the Emerald for yourself. It is OPEN!

Violet Zilman

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