About Washington Open DanceSport

It is with great excitement that we are welcoming a new chapter in the history of the Washington Open Dancesport Competition under the organizers Lydia Petrigova, Eddie Ares and Robert Woods.


Lydia Petrigova

Lydia is a world-class dancer, choreographer, and coach.
Lydia graduated with honors from St. Petersburg’s Humanitarian University with a degree in Dance Performance, Teaching and Choreography as well as having studied children’s physiology and psychology. Her focus areas are Ballroom, Latin, Ballet Character, and Jazz Dance.
Lydia has spent the last 20 years training dancers across the world. She established the very first children’s program in Minneapolis, MN and worked as the Artistic Director for the children’s dance schools Altair in St. Petersburg, Russia, and InterDance in the United States.

Lydia’s competitive dance record and expertise place her in the top echelons of ballroom dance. Her students have won international recognitions at shows and competitions throughout Russia, Europe, and the United States.
Lydia was trained by and has worked with many world famous coaches and choreographers. She is a member of the Russian Dance Union (RDU) and the National Dance Council of America (NDCA).
In addition to being a highly-regarded instructor, Lydia has won numerous competitive titles. Among them are:
US Open National Professional Ten Dance Finalist
Ohio Star Professional Rising Star Latin Champion
US Open Professional Rising Star Vice Champion
Youth European World Finalist
Two Times 2009 World Pro-Am Champion


Eddie Ares

Dance Champion, Choreographer & Coach. Owner, Academy Ballroom Atlanta; Co-Founder of Atlanta Ballroom Dance Theater; Organizer of Hotlanta The Classic; Founder of the Global Spectrum Circuit of ballroom competitions and the SSS Pro/Am Club; co-founder and contributing editor of the Pro/Am Voice newsletter; co-founder of Spotlight Dance Videos.

Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Eddie grew up with music and Latin rhythms. He moved to New York at a very young age and began dancing as a teenager. He moved to Atlanta in his early twenties and joined the Fred Astaire Dance Studios organization to become a professional dance instructor. Eddie immediately became one of the top instructors in the world-renowned organization.
While with Fred’s, in addition to training students, he began choreographing shows which gained him national recognition as a dancer and choreographer. Eddie has since choreographed for So You Think You Can Dance (FOX), Dancing with the Stars (ABC) and for DeVyne Stephens, CEO of UpFront Megatainment. Eddie is one of the most sought-after choreographers and coaches for top professional teams, pro/am teams as well as amateur teams in the United States.
Professional and Pro/Am Championship Titles
After achieving the ultimate goal of becoming a United States & World Professional Champion, Eddie turned his focus to Pro/Am dancing and continues achieving titles with his Pro/Am students today. In addition to his Professional and Pro/Am titles, Eddie also has numerous United States and World Pro/Am finalists.

Professional Championship Titles
2003 Professional World Mambo Champion
1989 United States Professional American Rhythm Champion
1987 United States Professional Theater Arts Champion

Pro/Am Championship Titles, 43 Total
12 United States Open American Rhythm Champions
10 United States Open International Latin Champions
9 United States Open American 9-Dance Champions
4 United States Open American Smooth Champions
2 World Open American 9-Dance Champions
2 World Open American Rhythm Champions
2 World Open American Smooth Champions
1 United States Open Rising Star American Rhythm Champion
1 Unites States Open South American Showdance Champion

Performance Experience
Eddie has performed in ballroom competitions and show exhibitions for 20 years. In 2003, Eddie performed 17 shows with his professional partner in the United States, and worldwide including Russia, Monte Carlo, & Morocco. In addition, Eddie, along with one of his pro/am champions, was featured on the ballroom show, America’s Ballroom Challenge (PBS). Eddie continues to perform throughout the year with his Pro/Am competitors in various competitions across the United States, including the United States Ballroom Dance Championships, Ohio Star Ball, & Emerald Ball. Eddie’s performance company for which he choreographs all show numbers and participates in performances, the Atlanta Ballroom Dance Theater, has performed in Savannah, GA, Oklahoma City, OK, Augusta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Knoxville, TN, Las Vegas, NV, Greenville, SC, and Atlanta, GA throughout 2011 and continuing throughout 2012.

NDCA sanctioned event

Washington Open DanceSport Competition, a 2-day competition featuring American and International Ballroom Styles, is an NDCA sanctioned event occurring at the peak of Washington’s glorious springtime experience. This year’s competition, taking place April 29 – April 30, 2016 features both Pro/Am and Amateur events, as well as Rising Star and Open Professional categories, with opportunities for more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. The Washington Open is also a key event of the World Pro-Am DanceSport Series, in which competitors can accumulate points towards a Regional and World ranking, and earn further rewards at the end of the series each year. Whether you’re looking to compete or just experience some fabulous dancing at a great time of year, Washington Open has something for everyone.

World ProAm DanceSport Series

Washington Open DanceSport Competition is proud to be a World Pro/Am DanceSport Series event - a series designed with the competitor and spectator in mind. Participation at the Washington Open DSC will earn you points to determine your Regional and National Ranking.
For every DanceSport Series Qualifying Championship qualifying event entered, the teacher and student will each earn 50 bonus points. A student who competes in all seven regions will receive 1000 bonus points at the end of the season. The Washington Open DSC is located in Region 2 and has many opportunities for point accumulation. Participation is the first step towards winning! Start building your scores!

Superstar Dance Series

Washington Open DanceSport Competition is proud to be a Superstar Dance Series event - the goal of this series is for both students and teachers to maximize their time on the dance floor and also to minimize costs of competing by offering a lineup of both 1-day events as well as several multi-day events, all recognized by the NDCA. In addition, students and teachers earn points at each of the events for Top Awards.

The William E. Unkle Amateur Senior Standard Scholarship

The William E. Unkle Senior Scholarship Competition is now Open to All Open Level International Standard Senior Amateur Competitors (over 35).
Bill Unkle was a long-time revered Ballroom coach in the Washington DC area. Bill and Heidi Unkle were finalists in most of the major competitions during their competitive career. After Bill passed away in 2000, Heidi Unkle, Bill's students and friends created the William E Unkle Scholarship to support Senior Amateur Ballroom dancers.

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