Joel and Clara Marasigan

Snowball Classic


Photo courtesy of David Marasigan Photography

The Snowball Classic.  The biggest competition of the year here in Vancouver.  Starting out back in 1987 (I believe) by a committee headed by now Professionals, Calvin Lee & Andy Wong, it has been organized year after year by DanceSport BC (formerly known as the BC Amateur DanceSport Association).  Now, 27 years later, with a budget of over $100, 000, it manages to bring out the most competitors local and International, as well as the most spectators from the general community, out of any competition here in BC.

Being a non-profit organization and having to deal with a turnover of new directors and volunteer committees every few years, it must be quite a challenge to keep the Snowball Classic running.  However, every year the organizers still manage to put on an eye-opening experience for all to enjoy:  spectators, social dancers and competitors; amateurs and professionals alike… and people of all ages too!

I brought my 2 girls on Saturday night, and they had a blast.  Samantha (age 4) had her eyes glued to the dancers the whole time, while Michaela (age 2) was busy going from Mom to Dad and to all the grandparents, singing “I Could Have Danced All Night” (from My Fair Lady)!  Honestly, I don’t know how 2 girls coming from the same genetic make-up could be so different!  😀

Photo Courtesy of Nelson Wong,

This year was my first year competing in the Pro-Am division at Snowball.  I was really excited about being on the floor again, as I hadn’t competed in years.  I wore an old dress of mine from years back and got a fancy hairdo done at Kanai Hairstyling across the street from the Hyatt Regency, where the competition was held!  My student did a great job, and I was very happy that I could participate and support such a great local community event.

Every year that I attend the Snowball Classic, I always leave the competition with great impressions of what ‘quality dancing’ is all about.  Sometimes, I do not agree with the style that some competitors portray, but regardless, there is absolutely no denying the fact that the top echelon of competitors exemplify an amazing quality of dancing.  What hit me especially hard this year was the foot pressure exhibited by the top couples.  Round after round, the couples who made it through had foot pressure that was far superior than those who got cut.

Photo courtesy of Nelson Wong,

What the lower echelon of dancers needs is a much greater understanding of foot pressure in order to compete with ‘the best’.  Foot pressure does a number of things, most importantly for me are:

1)  supports the body line for better posture and energy
2)  allows foot propulsion for increased movement
3)  creates smooth transitions from foot to foot for better quality of movement

The winners of the Open Standard on Saturday night, pictured at the right, show amazing foot pressure coming out of Promenade position.  Great split weight position caught here by Nelson Wong (, supporting a beautiful top line and getting great propulsion (or skateboarding, as we call it in PEAK) across the floor.

Because of the inspiration from these top couples at the Snowball Classic, Joel and I have decided that we will be focussing on foot pressure at PEAK for the next 6 sessions leading up to the Vancouver Challenge Cup.  We will be exploring foot pressure through exercises and guided practice in order to improve posture, energy and movement.  If you’re interested, come and join us Wednesdays from 8:45-10:15pm at the Broadway Ballroom.

If you haven’t registered for the Vancouver Challenge Cup, which will be held on January 16 & 17, 2015, do it now!!!  If the Snowball Classic hasn’t inspired you to get back into the studio, honestly, I don’t know what will!  :)

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