Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 02-07-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | FEBRUARY 7-13, 2019 LINCOLN 9 LINCOLN – A cowboy hat and boots are not part of Zachary Jawharjian's typical wardrobe, but the 17-year-old Lincoln resident recently traded his daily threads for both, plus a world champion title in country ballroom dancing. Competing in Nashville, Tenn., at the Country Dance World Championships last month, Jawharjian and his partner, Lincoln High School junior Nevaeh Chito, place first in the juniors age brack- et's classic couples competition, earning top marks for dancing the triple two-step, polka, nightclub two- step, cha-cha, two-step, East Coast swing and West Coast swing. Jawharjian, a senior at the Providence Country Day School, first began ballroom dancing with his grandmother when she came to visit the family, dancing the waltz and the tango for fun. As a 7th-grad- er he started taking lessons at Studio One in Lincoln. It was there that he met Chito, who was similarly introduced to ballroom dancing by her grand- parents after watching them take a country ballroom lesson at age 13. With similar personalities, Chito said she and Jawharjian hit it off quickly. "It's been fun dancing with him these past couple years. I think since we got along so well that our con- nection while dancing is the part that stood out the most," she said. At the most recent champion- ships, hosted by the United Country Western Dance Council in early January, Jawharjian and Chito com- peted with dancers from as far as Holland and China. Jawharjian said dancing competitively has given him the opportunity to travel, explore new cities and meet new people from around the country and world. "It's a great way to get involved in something unique, as well as making friends and experiencing different places around the country. The entire process is fun to choreo- graph, feeling the music and learn new techniques," he said. "I was very shocked that someone my age would be into it, but there's a sur- prising amount of kids involved." Winning was an amazing experi- ence, said Chito, who said she works hard to achieve the goals she sets when she competes. "To be able to reach these goals is all I ask for," she said. "It's a great feeling knowing that you have achieved what you have been work- ing for all year." Jawharjian aspires to rise through the ranks of competitive dancing, but only has a year left before he heads to college. He's considering New York or Los Angeles for school, but said the dance scene won't com- pare to what he's come to love here in Lincoln. "I know my partner well and we're very comfortable with each other," he said. Neither partner plans to stop danc- ing anytime soon. "I am going to continue to dance and further my knowledge so hope- fully one day I will become a profes- sional dancer and eventually teach," said Chito. "I love challenges, and country ballroom is a challenge," she added. "I love the feeling of improving. I love the way dance makes me feel. I love how I can express myself in a routine. I love being able to really feel and listen to the music, choreo- graphing to songs or just dancing socially … it makes me happy." Other locals have also gotten in on the country ballroom dancing trend. Dr. Thomas Sepe, of University Gastroenterology, has been practic- ing medicine for decades, but said dancing was foreign to him. With high hopes of being able to dance with his wife without stepping on her toes, he decided he'd start train- ing to compete. Since strapping on his country ballroom dancing boots more than a year ago, he said he's lost weight and gained a passion. "I love it. I can't get enough of Local duo dances their way to championship By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer Lincoln residents NEVAEH CHITO and ZACHARY JAWHARJIAN, who have been dance partners for several years, recently placed in their division at the Country Dance World Championships held in Nashville in early January. See DANCE, Page 14 S STANLEY TREE Since 1986 • Professional High Quality Service At Reasonable Rates • Licensed Arborists • Serving RI & Nearby Mass. • Our Team Of Professionals Is Fully Equipped To Handle Your Job In A Safe Efficient Manner N. 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