It was on a Wednesday in July at the Mirage Hotel Las Vegas that Ted Postolachi first met his dance partners for the 2015 Fred Astaire World Championships (FAWC). Ted, a Dance Instructor at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bardonia NY, was set to dance with Anna Tabolina and Ashley Michelle Jones, both of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Boca Raton… in only a few hours. Because Ted was already scheduled to compete with students, he had a just over an hour to practice with each of his partners before the competition.
The idea to compete with women he had never met, nor danced with, transpired a month before the competition. Ted had never been to Las Vegas and was planning on competing in the Pro-Am and Professional competitions until he learned that his original professional partner was no longer able to attend. Ted’s passion for dancing in the professional competition lead him to cultivate a plan so that he wouldn’t miss out on something he was so looking forward to doing. He came up with an idea: to find another partnerless professional that he could work with from a local studio. He approached his studio owner, Victor Russu, and asked for help. Victor made use of his contacts, calling all of his local FADS affiliates, but was still unable to find a local dancer to practice with Ted.
Finally, in late June, he received notice that the Boca Raton studio had two teachers who were willing to work with Ted from afar. They spoke briefly on the phone, exchanging measurements and dance background, then decided to move forward with their unique idea. Their biggest challenge, naturally, was the distance. There was no time to arrange a gathering of the three dancers, so they turned to technology, using Facebook, video calling and phones to plan their method of practice.
Ted assumed responsibility for deciding the figures and sequence of steps. He was dancing Closed Bronze/Silver Smooth with Anna and Closed Bronze/Silver Rhythm with Ashley. He submitted the list of figures to both women only a few days after first speaking. Luckily, Anna and Ashley, being Fred Astaire Dance Studio employees, were already comfortable and well-acquainted with these figures. Their biggest task came with executing the open standard. A teacher from Ted’s studio created the standard choreography and performed it with Ted on a video that was sent to Anna for review. Ashley also received a video for the basic figures they would be using in rhythm. Unfortunately, time ran up before Ted could prepare a video for he and Anna’s second dance. Ted gave her only a list of the basic figures and made a gamble that it would all come together. They were all experienced dancers and communicated with each other frequently to get updates on each person’s performance issues. When they finally met, just hours before competing together, they seemed to be prepared and comfortable with their material. All routines went wonderfully and they all felt a great chemistry with one another. They each found the experience to be rewarding and are considering their partnerships again next year.