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John Blanchette

John Blanchette is a Lewiston native and a Bates College Alumnus, Class of ’87. Although he began his ballroom career late in life, John quickly made up for lost time! Studying with Fred and Liz Dunn at Seacoast Ballroom, he parlayed his experience into competitions throughout the North East Ballroom as well as Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Ohio. He even spent several years competing as an independent on the collegiate circuit in which his students now compete. Highlights of his competitive career include a 2nd place in the Eastern US Championship (Open Gold American Smooth) and a 3rd place finish in the North American Championships (Open American Smooth), both in 2008.

John began working with the Bates Competitive Ballroom Team at around this same time. Since then, he has co-coached with Margot Garnick, who left the team in 2012 for bigger and better life and dance opportunities in New York City. Since then, he has taken over as sole instructor starting in the 2012-2013 academic year. He also works hard at establishing his own ballroom studio here in the Lewiston-Auburn area where he will teach both group and private lessons and focus both on social and competitive dancing. In addition to his ballroom experience, John brings over 30 years of theater and performance experience to his teaching.

The focus of the Bates Ballroom Team is on clean technique and strong basics – making sure that each and every Bates student presents at their best ability and is a reflection of excellence upon themselves and upon the college. The 2011-2012 competition year saw several strong individual finishes with many members making it to quarter and semi finals, as well as a few finalists! The team hopes to continue to grow in the upcoming years and to push the students to achieve even higher levels of ability. John also teaches a PE class wherein students are introduced to 6 ballroom dances (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Swing, Rumba and Cha-cha) at a more leisurely pace. Many students try the PE Class and then decide to join the competitive team later. Many Bates Ballroom students also become involved in the Gala Performance piece, which synthesizes their ballroom and performance abilities at Bates’ premiere Spring Social event.

Visting Coaches

Amanda Clark

Amanda Clark began her dance career in 1998 when she joined the Northeastern University ballroom dance team. For 5 years while studying architecture, Amanda trained in all 4 styles of ballroom and competed throughout the collegiate circuit placing her way into the open category in all four styles. Post University, Amanda continued her studies in ballroom and in 2006, she became a professional dancer and began her career as a dance teacher and professional competitor.

Amanda enjoys working with all levels and ages of dancer, with goals that vary from fitness and social recreation to serious competitor. She is currently the head coach for the University of Mass, Lowell collegiate team, the smooth/standard coach for the Boston University collegiate team and a visiting coach for Bates Ballroom Team. Amanda teaches throughout New England and her home base is Balera Ballroom in Newton, MA where she teaches all styles of Ballroom/Latin dancing and DanceSport Endurance, a ballroom based fitness class.

Competitively, Amanda specializes in International Standard and American Smooth. Her most recent accomplishment in Standard was winning the Professional Rising Star Standard event at the Commonwealth Classic in November 2010. In the fall of 2011, Amanda found a new partner, to compete in the American Smooth category, beginning Spring 2012. Amanda is constantly growing as a teacher and professional dancer by training and seminars with some of the country's best dancers and coaches. "Dancing is a wonderful way to physically express your emotions. Communicating with people through movement and music is an exciting and expressive experience. Sharing my passion through teaching and dancing is one of the most rewarding things I do in my everyday life." Amanda is available for shows and coaching throughout New England

Contact information:

E-mail: amandaclarkdance@gmail.com
Website: http://www.amandaclarkdance.com/