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Today’s video is an extra special one.

Why? To begin with, it’s my first official interview and it’s my first interview with a Dancesport judge talking about women’s competition dresses so you can find out what this judge likes to see (and not see) on the dance floor.

Interview Dancesport judge, Jenell Maranto, about women's ballroom costumes, U.S. Smooth Champion with Jim Maranto


Meet Jenell Maranto, world-class Dancesport adjudicator and…

  • Two-time U.S. Professional American Smooth Champion, with her business and dance partner, Jim Maranto.
  • Finalist in U.S. International Standard Championships
  • Winners of every Professional Rising Star Standard competition in the U.S.
  • Winners of every professional American Smooth title in the United States.
  • Ranked among the top 6 in the World Showdance.
  • She and Jim are winners and four-time nominees of the U.S. Feather Dance Awards.
  • Co-organizer of the one-day, NDCA-sanctioned event, Phoenix Fall Festival
  • Finally, creator of the Simply Smooth Ballroom Bootcamp, a just for women American Smooth intensive training weekend


Those are impressive accolades! As a result, I’m thrilled she took time out of her busy schedule to do this interview.

A fun fact about Jenell and me is that we have known each other for decades. When I lived in Phoenix, Arizona in the early 1990s, I taught students and rehearsed with my pro partner at her studio,  The Academy of Ballroom Dance. 

In other words, it was a blast to once again spend a few hours in this tiny, powerhouse studio where so many amazing professional and amateur dancers have been trained.


My interview with Jenell is unique. For instance, this is perhaps the first video interview ever with a Dancesport judge willing to discuss some of the items adjudicators look for in a competition dress. Therefore, we discuss details about the good and bad critiques that every dancer has received.

I hope to do more of these interviews so you ladies are in the know and feel dress-confident on the floor!


Who needs to watch this video?

  1. Competitive ballroom or Country dancers - either professional or amateur
  2. Women who want tips on how to choose an appealing dress that will catch the judge's eye for the "right" reasons.
  3. Women who are having a dress custom-made by a designer.
  4. Seamstresses who make their own dresses and therefore want to make sure they are dressed for success.
  5. Similarly, dress designers who want to know what a top level Dancesport adjudicator considers appealing and distracting so your client's dresses are always spot-on.


Thanks SEW much to Jenell for taking time for this interview.


Have you had a (dreaded) moment when a judge said your dress wasn't appropriate?

What did you do? How did you handle the bad news?

Is there a question you would like a addressed in future interviews?

Leave a message at the bottom of the page!




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Check out Jenell's Simply Smooth Ballroom Bootcamp to enroll in the course!

Or consider attending her one-day NDCA competition, Phoenix Fall Festival and take a few private lessons with her while you're in the Phoenix area.

Interview Dancesport judge, Jenell Maranto, about women's ballroom costumes, Simply Smooth Bootcamp

Interview Dancesport judge, Jenell Maranto, about women's ballroom costumes, Simply Smooth Bootcamp










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