'Dark horse': Kristina surprised championships organizer Theo Derleth with her skill in ballroom when he trained her - it is a dance genre she had never previously performed. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
'Dark horse': Kristina surprised championships organizer Theo Derleth with her skill in ballroom when he trained her - it is a dance genre she had never previously performed. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
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Bermuda’s Kristina Amaro is a “dark horse” who has every chance of winning the World Pro-Am Championships, its organizer said.

The 20-year-old will not have an easy ride as her background is in jazz, ballet, tap and modern while the competition focuses on ballroom.

Theo Derleth was doubtful that, as a newcomer to the ballroom genre, Ms Amaro would be successful, but he is confident she is firmly in the running.

“Had you asked me (if she could win) before I trained her I would have said there is no way in God’s green earth she could get anywhere near it,” Mr. Derleth said.

“But after working with her for a week I realized that she has awesome talent.

“She has a strong ballet, tap and jazz background and she used to go to New York for two weeks a year to study at Broadway Dance Centre, so she has had really good training.

“There are also obviously some really great teachers on the island. She has been working with Travis Gilbert doing the salsa (Sabor Dance School) so she has good partnership training as well.

“She is also a gifted athlete — some people really have to work at it but for some people it is just part of her makeup.

“We know all the other Pro-Ams around the world, I trained many of them, but this girl is special.”

Ms Amaro will be the first Bermudian to compete in the World Pro-Am, which is organized by the World Dance Council. She will be the only local in the competition.

As an amateur, she will be partnered with professional dancer David Florey, a teacher at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, for which Mr. Derleth is dance director in Florida.

 “It’s a great opportunity and a great honour to be representing Bermuda — especially as I am the first one,” Ms Amaro said.

“I’m excited but a little bit nervous at the same time because I’ve no idea what to expect. I’ve never even done ballroom before and this is tough stuff.”

Mr. Derleth taught Ms Amaro five professional dance routines in four days — Mambo, Rumba, ChaCha, Bolero and Swing.

One significant drawback is that although Ms Amaro occasionally has dancers to practice with in Bermuda, she will not dance with her competition partner until a couple of days before the championships.

“I’m going to get thrown to the wolves,” she laughed.

“I haven’t met David, I don’t know what he is like. If he is like Theo it will be alright.

“I recorded all the routines Theo taught me and every day I practice at Sabor. It’s really difficult on my own because it is partner work. You do what you have to do.”

The Bermuda College student is an assistant teacher at Sabor Dance School, which recommended her to Mr. Derleth.

She began dancing at the age of three and gained her advanced background at the InMotion School of Dance under the direction of Lizz Pimentel.

When she was 14 she began dancing with Sabor and has been there ever since.