The 40th Annual Ohio Star Ball Kicks Off Today

by Michael Mahany | 11/14/2017 8:09 PM

Photo Credit: The Ohio Star Ball


The historic Ohio Star Ball kicks off today from Columbus, Ohio and Dance Network will be bringing stories all week from what many consider to be one of the fiercest weekends of Dancesport competition taking place all year long. Beginning November 14th, the Ohio Star Ball brings in the best of the best from around the world to compete, teach, learn, and spectate in the World’s largest Pro-Am competition and features dancers from every level including Collegiate, Amateur, Junior, and Professional.


The Ohio Star Ball was founded by the legendary, award winning, and trailblazing ballroom dancer and instructor, Sam Sodano. Sam Sodano, originally from New Jersey, found his way to dance back in 1957, first dancing in high school and then becoming a regular on the Clay Cole Dance Hour. With the intention of finding his way to Broadway, Sodano went to Arthur Murray’s Studio thinking it might give him a road to the stage, however, in the process, Sam began to excel in social dance and soon became the master of the Mambo. Sodano went on to create a competition that grew from a small one-day Pro/Am showcase into the prestigious Ohio Star Ball, now an annual gathering of some of Dancesport’s best known and most distinguished contenders.


MORE: See Dance Network’s Elements Of Elegance- The Ohio Star Ball to get a behind the scenes take of the Fall classic.


This year, the OSB itself is expected to pull in hundreds of dancers in every level and category of competition. Dancers at the beginning of their dance journey all the way to top-notch professional DanceSport athletes compete in American Rhythm and Smooth, International Standard and Latin, Theatre Arts, and more.


According to the Ohio Star Ball, in order to keep the competition running on its strict time schedule, organizers bring in, “70 judges, 3 Chairmen, 3 Emcees, 7 Scrutineers, 2 Deejays, 9 Deck Captains,” and detail the line-ups in a, “300-plus page program.”


MORE: See Dance Network’s Elements Of Elegance- Teaching To Transcend and see what it takes to be a world class Pro/Am Dancesport instructor


The Ohio Star Ball acts as the final competition in the World Pro-Am Dancesport Series, as well as being a member of the Dancers Cup Tour, Global Dancesport Series, and the US Dancesport Series. The Ball not only draws dancers well known in the Dancesport world, but also some household names as well. Later this week, Dance Network’s Kristyn Burtt has an interview with Season 14 So You Think You Can Dance contestant Allen Genkin, who is competing in this year’s Ball.


Highlight dances throughout the competition include the best of the Amateur American, International, and Latin competitions, the Pro/Am Senior’s Final, and Thursday night’s World Pro-Am Team Match. Friday and Saturday nights, spectators can look forward to the Open Professional Competition heating up in the Battelle Hall Arena, and, one of the biggest draws throughout the week, the Best of The Best Dancesport Challenge. The Best Of The Best Challenge is an annual Pro/Am competition bringing together top-placing qualifying competitors from 39 Dancesport events all vying for the Top Honors in a Grand Finale dance-off fought out at the Ohio Star Ball.


Dancers who are interested in learning from some of the premier dancers and teachers attending the Ohio Star Ball are able to do so in the OSB Dance Camp. Some of the sport’s most respected teachers and professionals are accessible in this world class training ground to help participants master their craft. Dance Network’s Bridget Conrad will have more on this year’s Ohio Star Ball All-Styles Dance Camp, including an interview with four-time Latin champion and camp speaker Bill Sparks, later in the week.


Saturday and Sunday hold the Ohio Star Ball’s Collegiate Dancesport Challenge and is always an audience favorite. The Collegiate Challenge hosts some of the nation’s best university level ballroom dancers from 47 different schools


Photo Credit: Wooster College


New to the Ohio Star Ball this year, thanks to a joint venture with the Fordney Foundation, is the Junior and Youth Dancesport series, with an overall prize purse totaling over $25,000. The OSB also provides prize money for all scholarship competition winners, with all top named dancers in “Pro/Am, Amateur, and Junior Divisions” earning prize money.


One of the most noticeable and memorable aspects of the Ohio Star Ball are the competitor’s costumes, and on hand to dancers and spectators are over 40 of the most respected designers in Dancesport.


MORE: See Dance Network Correspondent Marabeth Hough-Poole go behind the scenes at the Ohio Star Ball to learn what goes into making the elaborate gowns worn by Dancesport Dancers


Dance Network will be bringing in the latest from Columbus all this week. Keep your eyes peeled for more team coverage, news, and stories at