29th Annual Ballroom Dance Competition

The Heritage Classic Dancesport Championship dance competition was hosted by the Grove Park Inn from March 1 through 5. According to the event’s website, the competition has been held at the Grove Park for 29 years.

The week included multiple dinner dances, competitions for all levels of ballroom dancing, both American and International styles, and performances from professional dancers. Tickets to individual events were all sold separately, according to the event’s website.

Colin Joy Hillary, who co-founded the competition with his wife, said roughly 1000 people attended the Saturday night performance, but he estimates around 1200 people attended and participated throughout the week.

“Twenty years ago, my friend asked me to look into this resort,” Hillary said. “We came up there and the Vanderbilt wing wasn’t even built yet. Back then no one knew where Asheville was.”

Hillary said they thought it would be difficult to pull off the competition, but the hotel gave them lots of assistance. Hillary credits tremendous promotion and advertising for the success of one of the largest ballroom dance championships.

Male dancers wore numbers on their costume to easily name each couple.

Male dancers wore numbers on their costume to easily name each couple.

The competitors dance to the audience and judges seated all around the rectangular ballroom floor.

The competitors dance to the audience and judges seated all around the rectangular ballroom floor.

Many elaborate costumes could be seen on the dance floor as well as the walls and entrance of the event, as vendors displayed their craftsmanship for sale.

Many elaborate costumes could be seen on the dance floor as well as the walls and entrance of the event, as vendors displayed their craftsmanship for sale.

The competition included all ages and levels in respective heats.

The competition included all ages and levels in respective heats.

The jive is one of the more upbeat styles danced by the competitors.

The jive is one of the more upbeat styles danced by the competitors.