Buffalo Grove Dancers Try for National Awards

Ballroom dance students will compete for individual and studio titles in April.

A group of Buffalo Grove-trained dancers will put their skills to the test this month at a national dance competition. 

Nine students at Fred Astaire Dance Studio will travel to Las Vegas in mid-April to compete in the Cross Country Dance Championship. They will be judged in American Rhythm (cha cha, rumba, swing, mambo and bolero) and American Smooth (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz) competitions.

The dancers are not professionals; some took ballet when they were young, but “most of them haven’t had very much dance experience” before enrolling in the Buffalo Grove studio, manager Elle Sprague said.

“A lot of them have been taking lessons for two to six years,” Sprague said.

The students take private lessons multiple times each week in Buffalo Grove. At the competition, they have to be prepared to dance to whatever song is played when their turn comes. The dancers will perform either a correographed routine or a freestyle dance, Sprague said.

In addition to lessons from their regular instructors, the dancers get assistance from studio owner Jesse DeSoto, a Lake Zurich resident who competed on Season 3 of Dancing with the Stars. This month they will also receive training from Jonathan Roberts, who competed in multiple seasons of the show.

The dancers include:

  • Donna Bade of Arlington Heights
  • Bette Anne Duffy of Glenview
  • Darcy Ehrlich of Arlington Heights
  • Sharon Elkin of Hawthorn Woods
  • Robbi Fox of Lincolnshire
  • Sue McCowin of Harvard
  • Nancy Trumper of Oak Brook
  • Bonnie Schoenberg of Northbrook
  • Brianna Yadgir of Palatine, who is a student at St. Viator High School 

They will compete for individual titles as well as an overall studio award based on total scores. Buffalo Grove’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio has won top studio awards at past competitions, said Sprague, who has high expectations of this year’s dancers.

“We’re hoping to win it again this year,” she said.


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