Now that we’ve had a few nights of actual sleep following Delta Cup 2016 and life has mostly returned to normal, we felt this was a good opportunity to share a few insights from our recent competition event.

A Community Effort

There is nothing like an event of this magnitude to give you an appreciation of the value of community. We had an incredible level of support from our Delta Dance community, even more than during our first year. We simply could not have done it without you. Our volunteers went above and beyond. As it turned out, many of the experienced people who took on key roles in 2015 were unavailable this year. That meant putting brand new volunteers into vital roles. But everyone took on these challenges like true champions and did a remarkable job. We were amazed every hour how well these people adapted to being thrust into the pressures of these tasks.

We had great financial sponsors and with the extra costs involved in having showcase performers and judges from across the country, these sponsorships were critical. Thank you! A number of people sponsored prize money for key events, which encouraged more entries and added to the drama of the event. We had great support from the Seattle dance community, which added a vibrance and energy that could be felt all weekend. Thank you for making the trip north to join us! We love your passion for dance! And thank you all for looking after KinVillage. Dancers are always gracious and well behaved, but we were amazed at how well you all looked after the facility, keeping it remarkably clean and tidy.

At the end of the day, even with the higher costs, we were able to make donations totaling $2,175 to KinVillage Association, the non-profit organization whose facility we are using for the event.

The help we received at the end of Saturday evening, when dozens of people jumped into cleanup mode despite the time of day, was remarkable. In less than an hour most of the takedown had already been completed due to all those bodies involved. Again, thank you!

We were also impressed by the merchants and vendors who contributed to the printed souvenir program. Your support allows our program to become a distinctive magazine unlike anything available at any competition in the world that we know of.

Our judges were terrific. It was such a thrill to have people of their calibre involved. Pierre and Mireille came from Montreal and it was a thrill to have this well-known couple, two of Canada’s most highly respected coaches, as adjudicators for our event. They were willing to get up early the morning of the competition to make an appearance at Global TV studios to put in a plug for Delta Cup on the Global News Morning program, as well as teach a quick Jive lesson to the host. Martin Lefebvre came from Calgary despite the fact that it was just one week before his own major event, Rocky Mountain DanceSport Gala, at a critical time when he had so much work to do for his comp. And many of our adjudicators were willing to make themselves available the day after the competition for the Dance Camp to teach a workshop session. All the workshops were taught with humor and commitment and energy. Those who took part can’t stop talking about the Dance Camp.

I also want to recognize official photographer Ivo Dimitrov who took thousands of great photographs, as well as photographer Dean Guzman who used Delta Cup as a way of restoring his soul after suffering a deep personal tragedy in his life just a few months ago.

And of course, a huge thank you to the showcase performers. You took our breath away. When we actively competed, Wendy and I always sought out competitions that featured showcase couples because we wanted to see the highest level of quality in ballroom dancing. Our two showcase couples, Slava and Jessica Stefanov and Alexey and Vlada Karaulov, were spectacular. Alexey and Vlada flew here directly from Russia and immediately after Delta Cup flew to London for the International Championships, where they placed second in Professional Rising Star Latin. We were so blessed to have their presence at our event.

Showcase with Alexey & Vlada
Youth Standard with Anton & Jessica
Showcase with Slava and Jessica
Youth Latin with Zachary & Bernice

BC Legends of Dance Award

bclegends-2016One of the highlights of this year’s Delta Cup, and my favorite moment, was presenting the first ever BC Legends of Dance Award. Inspired by events further east that recognize top figures in the ballroom dance community, we have started a tradition to honor someone each year at Delta Cup. Our first recipients were Andy and Wendy Wong, and it was a joy to present them with a beautiful hand-made glass sculpture to commemorate their unprecedented influence on the BC dance community.

Looking Ahead at 2017

We are already planning next year’s Delta Cup, which will take place October 6-8, 2017. Our partnership with KinVillage is important and even though we are growing, we’ll continue to use this facility for the time being. We’re aware that eventually we’ll outgrow the centre but it’s a great place with a wonderful floor and suits us well at this time. Moving to another location brings a host of additional expenses and challenges.

Some people have asked if we’ll always hold Delta Cup on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The holiday weekend means we have an extra day after the event for people to enjoy, keeping things from being too rushed. But of course it means that some dancers and even audience members don’t want to take part because it interferes with holiday plans. We get that and it’s okay. In looking at the dance community calendar, this is the best weekend for the event and we’ll continue to use it as our signature weekend. One week later is Rocky Mountain DanceSport Gala in Calgary and Autumn Dance Classic in California, two large, well-established events that draw many competitors and judges. By holding Delta Cup a week before those events, couples can use it as a warmup opportunity. The date also places us far enough ahead of SnowBall Classic that it won’t compete for attention with that signature Vancouver event, and can act as a warmup for those who are taking part in SnowBall.

Being so close to the start of the academic year means that some young dancers have not had enough time to get back to the dance floor after the summer break. But there will always be challenges no matter what date you choose for a competition so we’ll live with those shortcomings.

Lessons Learned

We learned a number of lessons this year that will be addressed in 2017 to make the event even better.

We plan to increase the number of judges so that we can continue the unique format for the Saturday daytime session that makes it so interesting for the audience. But this means even higher costs, so we’ll be looking at this carefully. We’ve already lined up a couple of great new adjudicators for 2017. We’ll be improving the lighting and making a few other cosmetic changes to create an even more glamorous setting, especially for the showcase performances. Our volunteers were overworked and we need more of them to ensure that they don’t burn out. We’ll work hard to add more sponsors and we’ll be promoting the event throughout the year to bring in more Pro/Am participation so that even more of the Pro/Am events have multiple competitors. We’ll continue to have great showcase performers and are making plans to offer the Dance Camp in a different format next year.

Author George Pytlik

Before turning pro, George achieved impressive results as an amateur competitor, holding the Senior (30+) Latin championship in BC, Canada for 7 consecutive years with his wife Wendy. The couple twice achieved a top-3 Canadian ranking in Senior Latin as well as a 3rd place Canadian ranking in 30+ Ten Dance. Today, George and Wendy are professional teachers with a vision of growing a strong dance community in Delta near Vancouver, BC.

More posts by George Pytlik

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Valerie Andrusiak says:

    As my first participation/experience (volunteer) at a ballroom dance competition, I commend the organizers and all involved with their sincere efforts and professionalism. I was also able to chat with a few of the competitors, and happily can relate to all that ballroom dancers are certainly not necessarily snobs as some say, but people just like us, with added dedication to their craft (I can imagine the hours and costs in direct relation to their level of expertise!) and thank them for their personableness (ok I invented a word). It was also terrific to see the closeness of the community, while competitive and working their hearts out in their heats, were able to encourage and cheer each other on from the sidelines and support fellow dancers on and off the floor. I am sure it gets a little tougher as the levels go up, but here it is good to see the encouragement particularly for the newer participants who need this to continue on their dance journey. Well done, all.

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