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Friday, December 3, 2021

Village of Hawkins woman’s Scottish heritage pays off at prestigious Ohio Star Ball

Villager Joan Bys dances with her partner Alexander Novikov
Villager Joan Bys dances with her partner Alexander Novikov

A Villager’s Scottish heritage paid off at the prestigious Ohio Star Ball dance competition.

Joan Bys of the Village of Hawkins on Nov. 18 earned a place among the top ballroom couples in the United States during the Ohio Star Ball

The competition is held at the Columbus Convention Center every year. Bys qualified to compete in the Best of the Best Finale held during the Ohio Ball, which is the largest ballroom competition in America and featured on PBS.

To qualify, dance couples must win their division at one of the pre-selected competitions held across the United States, and then dance off against other winners to determine the best dance couple. Bys and her teacher, Alexander Novikov of California, earned their spot to the final at the Emerald Ball, which was held in Texas this past April. After moving to The Villages in May, Bys continued to travel to California in order to train with Novikov for the Best of the Best Finale.

The chosen couples are asked to perform a specially choreographed number for a panel of top judges at the Ohio event. Bys drew on her Scottish heritage to develop a quickstep to bagpipe music. The top six couples are then recognized in the grand final, which contained 24 entrants. Bys and Novikov earned a fourth-place finish and $300.

Novikov is the owner of Edelweiss Premier Ballroom, which is the top dance studio in California. He was a mayoral candidate for the City of Upland in California and recently appeared on the PBS documentary Human: The World Within.

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