Category Archives: DANCING

Ballroom Dancing National Champs!

ORIENTAL — Local residents John & Penny DeFino have once again been crowned National Ballroom Champions!

The award-winning couple recently returned from the USA Dance Senior IV National Ballroom competition held this year in Bethesda, Maryland. Hundreds of competitors from across the country gathered for this three-day, prestigious dance contest.

Participants must first qualify to dance at the National Competition by placing in the top 65 percent of a National Qualifying event during the previous year.

The DeFinos snared four National titles for their division in International Style Standard dances to include: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot & Quickstep, as well as International Style Latin Dances including Samba, Cha Cha, Rumba and Jive. This is the sixth time the couple has danced in a National Dance competition and the second time they have been recognized as National Ballroom Champions.

John & Penny live in Oriental and teach ballroom dancing at several area locations. Visit their website:

Ballroom dancers excel in Raleigh


RALEIGH — John and Penny DeFino of Pamlico County are known locally as National Ballroom champions, but now a number of their students are making the news. Thirteen dancers recently competed at the Triangle Open Dancesport Championships in Raleigh – the 17th annual episode of this ballroom competition at NC State!

All of the group placed in a great number of events that included American Style and International Style dancing in Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing and Quickstep. Proving that it is never too late to start, the students range in age from 20s to those well over 70.

The competitors included Joy and Dan Baker, Bernie Mallon, Candace Grove, Margaret Ryan, Tyler Pollock, Paul & Gayle Hager, Calvin & Ruth Long, Nic Retz, Carolyn Pollock and Stacey Klein.  John and Penny DeFino have been coaching the dancers and preparing them for this Dancesport event in their Sunday competitive technique workshops which are open to all.

John & Penny also served as part of the competition staff. John was the Master of Ceremonies while Penny served as Deck Captain. The Triangle Open is hosted by the NC State University “Dances with Wolves” dance team. It is a USA Dance sponsored Ballroom competition.

For more information and photos, see the website

Ballroom instructors groom competitors

Special to the County Compass

RALEIGH — Several months ago, National Ballroom Champions John and Penny DeFino of Oriental, began weekly training for aspiring ballroom competitors. On the weekend of Feb. 8th, the couple took 12 of their students to compete at the Triangle Open Ballroom Championships in Raleigh. Nine competed for the very first time. The DeFino’s expressed great pride in the outstanding results the students achieved during two days of competitive dancing. They have results, photos, and videos posted on the website:

Seen in the photo, from left, are: Lynette Pearsall, Dan Barber, Scott Tanseer, Candace Grove, Joy Carawan, Paul Hager, Gayle Watson, Calvin & Ruth Long, Kandy & Mark Caccio, Margaret Ryan, Bernie Mallon, Ania Leroy. Reclining in front are their coaches, seasoned competitors John & Penny DeFino.

Couple brings home the Gold

NEWS1-CUT-Ballrooom-Dance-picCHARLOTTE: John and Penny DeFino, perhaps best known locally as the ‘Ballroom Dance Couple,’ came away from a regional competition earlier this month with high honors. Over a three-day period in the Carolina Fall Classic Ballroom Competition – a National Qualifying event – the DeFinos danced some 55 times and won their divisions in American Style Smooth and International Style events, taking First Place in Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz. Their outstanding performances make them eligible for the USA Dance National Ballroom competition in March of 2014, the fourth time they have competed at the National Level. See photos and video at