‘From the Heart! Ballroom Extravaganza’ Feb. 14

Six of the world’s greatest dance couples, including reigning Cabaret and Theater Arts world champions Shane and Shannon Jensen, headline “From the Heart! Ballroom Extravaganza” Saturday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m., at Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Arrive early for a glass of bubbly compliments of the Quick Center. Morris Media is the media sponsor for the evening.

“From the Heart” is the perfect Valentine’s Day treat. The show features six ballroom couples highlighting all phases of ballroom dancing – sensuous rumbas and Viennese waltzes, dramatic tangos and sambas, cha-chas and paso dobles – in two 50-minute acts in showcase presentations.

The couples include Shane and Shannon Jensen, the reigning Cabaret and Theater Arts world champions and masters of American rhythm. The Jensens are former members of Brigham Young University’s world-renowned formation team and currently teach out of the Metropolitan Dance Center in Stamford.

Marat Gimaev and Alina Basyuk from Moscow are the only ballroom couple ever to win Russia’s “Athlete of the Year” award. They are known throughout the world for their excellence and stamped their mark in the United States by recently winning the coveted Millenium Classic in Florida.

Jorge Torres and Maria Blanco are recognized by many aficionados as the greatest Argentine Tango partners in the world. Torres, who dances with a quiet and smooth style occupied the Captain of Dancers role in Broadway’s “Forever Tango” for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. New York Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay recently called Blanco “among the world’s loveliest dancers in both physique and style.”

Israel’s powerful Latin team of Tal Livshitz and Ilana Keselman will be among the cast of superstar performers. In their first competition in America they won the bronze medal at the United States National Championship and finished ninth out of 425 couples in the world’s most prestigious event at Blackpool, England. “The chemistry in their dancing is undeniable.” (Dance Beat)

A second couple from Connecticut joins the show with Marko Urosevic and Ashley Mokris, the new National Ballroom Champions in American-smooth style of all Fred Astaire studios in America following their recent triumph in Orlando. This handsome pair, who work out of the Fred Astaire studio in Trumbull, were earlier winners of New England Dancesport and  American Star Ball. They were also bronze winners at the Colorado Star Ball.

Rounding out the cast are International Latin stars Pavel Stepanchuk and Gabrielle Sabler, who recently renewed their partnership. They won the San Francisco Open and Constitution State Challenge. Two years prior to their separation they were reigning National Latin champions and grand finalists in every world competition. They were also finalists for the United Kingdom title.

The audience is invited to a “Meet and Greet With the Dance Stars” at the conclusion of the show.

For tickets, at$45, $40 and $35, visit quickcenter.com or call 203-254-4010.

Maria Blanco and Jorge Torres

Maria Blanco and Jorge Torres

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