“America’s Ballroom Challenge” Launches Online - Tune-in to PBS February 1st and 8th to See Who Will be Named “America’s Best”

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“America’s Ballroom Challenge” is a two-hour PBS special—Part 1, “The Trials,” premieres Wednesday, February 1, at 8pm and Part 2, “The Finals,” airs Wednesday, February 8, at 8pm. (Check local listings.) Until then, waltz on over to the Web site at http://www.pbs.org/ballroomchallenge for more information, and to watch a promo.

PBS has been bringing the excitement, glamour and sensuality of ballroom dancing to living rooms across America since 1980. Now the creator of the long-running annual special “Championship Ballroom Dancing” is back with an exhilarating new primetime program. “America’s Ballroom Challenge” takes viewers onto the dance floor and behind the scenes as ballroom dancing’s elite go toe-to-toe for the title “America’s Best.”

Hosted by Marilu Henner (“Taxi,” “Evening Shade,” Broadway revival of “Chicago”) and Tony Meredith (former US Professional Latin American Dance Champion), “America’s Ballroom Challenge” is a two-hour special that airs over two nights. Part 1, “The Trials,” premieres Wednesday, February 1, at 8pm. Part 2, “The Finals,” airs Wednesday, February 8, at 8pm. (Check local listings.)

Until then, waltz on over to the Web site at http://www.pbs.org/ballroomchallenge to watch a preview clip; read an interview with the program’s creator, Aida Moreno; learn more about the competition, hosts and dances (more on the dancers to come after the first broadcast!); check out related sites, and sign up to receive a broadcast reminder via e-mail.

Produced by Moreno/Lyons Productions and presented by WGBH Boston, “America’s Ballroom Challenge” is the first program to feature all four major styles of competitive ballroom dancing: American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Latin and International Standard. Twenty-four couples – six in each of the four dance categories – compete first in group dances, with an international panel of judges ranking their performances. After the group dances, the top three couples in each category advance to “The Finals,” where each couple will perform a showdance solo, vying to be named champion of their dance style. Finally, the winning couples in the four categories compete across dance styles in a “Best of Show” grand finale to determine the overall winner. Who will cha cha, samba, tango, and waltz their way to the title “America’s Best”?

“We originally brought ballroom dancing to PBS because we thought viewers would be drawn to the brilliance and expressive nature of the genre, and we couldn’t be happier that mainstream America has begun to really show an interest,” says Aida Moreno, producer of “America’s Ballroom Challenge.” “This new special has it all––the extraordinary talent, the competition and the passion.”

“America’s Ballroom Challenge” is a production of Moreno/Lyons Productions, LLC, and is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Funding is provided by the World Federation of Ballroom Dancers and Arthur Murray International. Viewers can learn more at http://www.pbs.org/ballroomchallenge.

Moreno/Lyons Productions, LLC, is a Boston-based production company formed by Aida Moreno and Stephen Lyons, two longtime contributors to public television. During a 24-year career at WGBH, Moreno worked on a wide range of programs, from “Julia Child and Company” to “Candidates ‘88 with Marvin Kalb.” She is best known as the creator and original Executive Producer of the PBS megahit “Antiques Roadshow.” Lyons is the former Senior Editor for Program Development at the WGBH Science Unit, where he helped launch series on topics such as evolution, string theory and ancient technology.

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s primetime lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information visit http://www.wgbh.org.

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Lisa Cerqueira
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