Carmel ballroom dancer wins national, world competitions


By Chris Bavender

Dancers from Carmel’s Fred Astaire Studio recently attended two of the largest ballroom dancing competitions in the country. And, despite thousands of competitors, local dancer, Vicki Barbera, brought home the gold.

“We came home with the world amateur champion and national champion (titles),” said Dan Rutherford, owner of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios at 116th Street and Guilford Road. “This is a big deal for any dance studio or student.”

Barbera – who owns Vicki Barbera Marketing – has been dancing with the Fred Astaire Dance School for six years.

“I was over the moon. I was honored to even be in the finals with such awesome dancers, but to win? I work hard, but never imagined I could achieve so much in such a short time,” Barbera said. “I couldn’t help thinking how fortunate I am to be able to study with such a wonderful and talented instructor, and with former and current professional world champions – without even having to leave my own city.”

The first event Barbera won – the Fred Astaire World Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico – boasted more than 8,000 entrants.

“Studios and students from all over the world were in attendance,” Rutherford said. “The Pro/Am (a professional dancing with an amateur) competitions are divided into many different groups, from the beginner to the most advanced. The most advanced division is called ‘open.’ In an open division, a competitor must dance a multiple of dances and the score is based upon a culmination of results.”

Barbera will showcase her skills on the dance floor again at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 when the studio hosts a team match.

“Students in the studio will be divided into three separate teams and will be competing against each other,” Rutherford said. “The event is being judged by the current world professional champion, Riccardo Cocchi. This would be like having Michael Jordan teach you how to play basketball or Tiger Woods how to play golf – it’s a big deal.”

Admission is $15. Soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served. For more information call 846-3237 or visit


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