For every competitor, there are those distinctive cues that put you into the competitive mindset.

The smell of self-tanner or E-6000 rhinestone glue.

Seeing a familiar face lining up couples in the on-deck area.

The silky feel of the charmeuse as you slide on your ballgown.

And you know it’s GO-TIME when you hear that certain, warm, calm voice say:

Dancers, take your places, please for the _________.

That unmistakable call is from John DePalma, the voice of ballroom.

 john depalma

Linda Wakefield, Jonathan Roberts, Karina Smirnoff, John DePalma Anchors for the American Sports Networks Millenium Dancesport Championships


Emceeing over 32 events a year and with 40+ years in the industry, if you’ve been in the competition world for any amount of time, this voice calling you to the dance floor is as familiar as your coach’s voice saying “Again!”.

John is not only the Master of Ceremonies at every major (and minor!) competition in the U.S., he is also a co-organizer of two prestigious competitions (with his wife, adjudicator Marianne Nicole). 

We got a chance to catch up with John at the Desert Classic Dancesport Championships and get his unique perspective from atop the podium.

(This video was filmed live streaming on Periscope.)

Video Breakdown:

1:17 how do you pronounce all those names?!
2:17 what does the emcee see that the judges might miss?
3:48 judges on the floor vs. elevated view
5:11 John’s 40 years in the ballroom!
5:50 the challenge of advancing from dancer to teacher
6:25 Capital Dancesport Championships in Virginia
7:20 Galaxy Dance Festival in Arizona


A BIG thanks to John DePalma for chatting with us at the Desert Classic Dancesport Championships!


Dance with Us!

Join us LIVE at Periscope: @DanceSport Place
Follow us on Facebook: /dancesportplace
Watch our free videos on YouTube: /dancesport place
Try one of our snack-sized video lessons FREE:
Expressive Hands with Carolina Orlovsky
Telemarks & Telespins with Max Sinitsa