AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE RETURNS TO PBS WITH THREE HOURS OF SIZZLING COMPETITION

AMBL-HomeBallroom is back! AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE returns on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET on PBS. Hosted by former U.S dance champions Mary Murphy and Tony Meredith, the series features three one-hour episodes of super-heated competition and gravity-defying exhibitions, shot at the world’s largest ballroom dancing competition in Columbus, Ohio. Broadcast in stunning high-definition, AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE once again takes viewers onto the dance floor and behind the scenes as 25 world-class couples compete for the ultimate dance title: “America’s Best.”

From the producer who first brought the magic of competitive ballroom dancing to public television, this series features all four major styles of competitive ballroom dancing, each with its own personality: American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard and International Latin.

AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE is the only American television dance series to feature world-class dancers in a real competition with accredited judges. The finalists in each style compete first as a group, with six or seven couples on the floor at once, performing the required dances in their category. Each couple then takes to the floor by themselves to perform a “Showdance” solo. After a winning couple is crowned in each of the four styles, the four champions compete across dance styles in a “Best of Show” Grand Finale to determine a single winner.

“I’m thrilled to be able to bring this ever-popular program back to PBS, where it belongs,” says producer Aida Moreno, “and I’m grateful to PBS and the Dance Ready Foundation for the financial support that allows us to treat viewers to this showcase of the finest ballroom dancers in the world.”

“After a six-year hiatus, PBS is delighted to bring back one of our most beloved performance programs featuring the best of competitive ballroom dancing,” said Donald Thoms, Vice President of Programming, PBS. “Our viewers have truly missed this program, and we’re excited to introduce fans to the new competitors who have raised the bar on this popular style of dancing.”

Providing commentary throughout are Mary Murphy, a former U.S. nine-dance champion best known as a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and Tony Meredith, a former U.S. Latin Dance Champion and longtime choreographer and judge.

“I’ve seen a lot of great dancing over the years, but the couples on this show are just dazzling,” says Murphy. “Not only are they the top professional ballroom dancers in all of North America, but the show’s format, with its emphasis on the Showdances, really unleashes their creativity. The solo performances are just breathtaking.”

In addition to the sizzling competition, the new season of AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE gives viewers a backstage pass into the world of ballroom — from the making of big hairstyles to the mystery man who selects the music for the competition. Also featured are exhibitions by top couples in a range of styles — from precocious children to Pro-Am champions and cabaret dancers.

AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE (Hour 1)
Friday, April 24 (9:00pm-10:00pm ET/PT on PBS)
The series kicks off with the American Smooth and American Rhythm divisions. Six finalists in each style compete first as a group, with all the dancers on the floor at once, as expert judges gauge their mastery of such dances as waltz, tango, cha cha and mambo. Viewers will see graceful, gliding “Fred and Ginger” moves during American Smooth and watch things heat up with the lively, sultry steps of American Rhythm. Each couple then has a chance to shine: a Showdance solo with all eyes on them alone. By the end of the evening, two couples are crowned champions in their respective styles, advancing to the Grand Finale.

AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE (Hour 2)
Friday, May 1 (9:00pm-10:00pm ET/PT on PBS)
The second episode is a study in contrasts — from the flowing ball gowns and graceful waltzes of the classic International Standard style to the sensational footwork, provocative moves and seductive costumes of the sizzling International Latin division. Find out which two couples in these dance styles advance to the Grand Finale.

AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE (Hour 3)
Friday, May 8 (9:00pm-10:00pm ET/PT on PBS)
The Grand Finale! Four championship couples compete across dance styles to determine a single winning couple. Each duo performs two pull-out-all-the-stops solos, limited only by their own imaginations. At the end of the grueling competition, the judges name one of these couples “America’s Best.”

About AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE
AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE
is produced by Moreno/Lyons Productions, a Boston company with more than two decades of experience in television production. Aida Moreno, creator and executive producer of the series, is best known as the creator and original executive producer of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, one of the most popular programs on PBS for nearly two decades. Moreno worked on a wide variety of programs during a 24-year career at Boston’s WGBH. In 1980, she introduced American viewers to the world of competitive dancing with a program called CHAMPIONSHIP BALLROOM DANCING. What was supposed to be a single 90-minute special went on to become a perennial favorite — one of the highest-rated specials in the PBS schedule for 20 years. The ballroom community recognized Moreno’s contribution to the sport by inducting her into the World Dance Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2006, Moreno brought ballroom back to PBS with a new program called AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE. It quickly re-established ballroom’s place as one of public television’s favorite art forms.

For more information about the series and fun facts about ballroom dancing, viewers may visit
www.pbs.org.

About PBS
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