Film Review

CHICAGO — In the world of ballroom dancing, Tommye Giacchino and Gregory Day have achieved it all, from winning both U.S. and world championships, to being featured on PBS’ “Championship Ballroom Dancing,” ESPN, BBC and Eurosport TV, to even starring in a children’s dance video.

Now you can add the silver screen to their list of accolades as their local competition, Chicago’s Crystal Ball, makes an appearance in “Shall We Dance,” which opened Oct. 15 and stars Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez.

The premise of the movie is all too familiar to Giacchino and Day who, with a staff of highly trained instructors, open the doors of Chicago Dance to anyone who wants to learn the basics of social dancing, compete at an amateur or professional level or anywhere in between.

In the movie, Gere, thoroughly bored with his job and his humdrum existence, thinks that something is missing in his life. He soon starts to explore the world of ballroom dance and regains his passion, not only for dance, but also spilling over to his entire life, including his relationships with his wife, friends and family.

He then begins to train for Chicago’s biggest dance competition, Chicago’s Crystal Ball, and realizes that he has finally recaptured that lost spark.

While the majority of students at Chicago Dance seek to fill the “something’s missing” part of their lives and aim to improve both physically and socially, many strive for the competition level and compete locally at Chicago’s Crystal Ball.

The Crystal Ball is an annual event, held every June. Taking place over three days, the event features professional, professional/amateur and amateur competitions in various forms of Latin and ballroom dance. The most recent Chicago’s Crystal Ball attracted more than 3,500 entries for the weekend and was standing room only as people came out in droves to watch the Midwest’s finest dancers compete. The 2005 Chicago’s Crystal Ball is scheduled for June 17-19 returning to the O’Hare Marriott. For more information go to