Bloomfield Hills teen competes in national ballroom dancing championship

Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 21, 2022

 Ava Jacobs competes at the United States Dance Championships.

Ava Jacobs competes at the United States Dance Championships.

Photo provided


BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Ava Jacobs is an 18-year-old dancer from Bloomfield Hills who is already winning awards at major ballroom dancing competitions.

Jacobs, a high school senior at Cranbrook Schools, has been a student of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios Bloomfield Hills location since 2018.

In July, Jacobs traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the Fred Astaire Dance Studio World Championships for the youth division. She won Top Junior for both American Rhythm and International Latin categories.

Following this competition, Fred Astaire Dance Studios sponsored Jacobs to dance and represent all Fred Astaire Dance Studios at the 2022 United States National Championships held at the United States Dance Championships in Orlando, Fla.

Jacobs is the first junior (18 and under) to have represented the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bloomfield Hills at the USDC.

Co-founder of Dance Mobility and owner of Fred Astaire Bloomfield Hills Evan Mountain refers to the USDC as the Superbowl of dancing in the United States.

Jacobs ended up earning first place in single dances mambo and cha-cha, second place in bolero and third place in rumba and swing. She also received a third-place bronze medal for five dance Rhythm Championships for the youth division and third place for all single dances in International Latin – cha-cha, rumba, jive, samba and paso doble.

Mountain recalled when Jacobs first became a student at Fred Astaire, she wanted to improve her dancing for musical theater. Since Jacobs joined, Mountain said, he has seen her grow as a dancer.

Jacobs said she started ballroom dancing when she was in eighth grade.

Some of the instructors who have helped shape her dancing career so far are Viktor Tkachenko, Yuliya Lukina and Tamerlan Gadirov.

Once COVID-19 hit, Jacobs took precautions while meeting with Yuliya to hone her ballroom dancing skills.

“Yuliya would have me come over and she helped me get really competitive,” Jacobs said. “She really helped me understand why ballroom was important to me. Her influence was huge on me, so then I wanted to get really competitive,” Jacobs said.

Prior to her recent success, Jacobs has competed several times before. Her first competition was in March 2019 at the Michigan Dance Challenge, where she was Junior Ballroom Dance Champion for American Rhythm and American Smooth.

Jacobs even participated in a virtual competition at the Virtual International Dance Championships in January 2021, where she was awarded first place Top Junior and first place for both American Rhythm and American Smooth.

She has had success at other competitions as well, including the Cross Country Dance Challenge in 2021 and 2022, the Fred Astaire Dance Studios World Championships in 2021 and 2022, the Ohio Star Ball in 2021, and the Michigan Dance Challenge in 2022.

Jacobs’ persistence and passion for dancing are two of the main characteristics that make her a successful dancer, said Mountain. He said Jacobs is very good at following the guidance from her coaches and practicing it to perfection.

“She is very artistic, and this helps her give an artistic expression and also a physical expression too,” Mountain said.

Between getting ready to start school, working on college applications and preparing for USDC, Jacobs said the end of summer vacation was a little stressful. But her excitement for USDC balanced it out.

Jacobs said the community-based support involved in ballroom dancing is one of her favorite parts of the sport.

“What I like about ballroom dancing is it is very interactive, because you can be on the sidelines cheering on your friends who are on the floor,” Jacobs said.

Out of all the dances, Jacobs said samba is her favorite.

“It feels really good in my body and the movement feels more clear than some other dances,” Jacobs said. “I also really love the music.”

When Jacobs is not competing, she enjoys helping out with Dance Mobility, which is wheelchair ballroom dancing at Fred Astaire Dance Studio.

In July, she was the deck captain at the first Para Dancesport competition in the country.

She has not officially signed up for it yet, but the next competition she hopes to compete in is the Ohio Star Ball in November.