The Toronto Winter Ball, a ballroom dancing competition for both amateur and professional dancers, is high stepping from Dec. 16-17 at the Markham Pan Am Centre. Dancers, aged four to 94, from across Canada and the United States are set to be competing in four categories: ballroom, Latin, smooth and rhythm. Though most routines will be performed by couples, there are additional categories that allow for group performances.

“The Toronto Winter Ball is the combining of arts and sports,” said Inessa Strelnikova, one of the event organizers of the competition. “Categories are performed at very high tempos, and these people are true artists. Look at the control of the body and the movement they have to the music. This is when sport and art meet.”

Dancers and guests can expect performances from the top Canadian Latin couple, Ilya Maletin and Polina Mayer, and Americans, Justinas Duknauskas and Anna Kovalova. There will also be a special performance from Karina Smirnoff, TV personality and professional dancer on the hit show “Dancing with the Stars.”

“I think it is very exciting because we’ve been following many seasons of Dancing with the Stars on TV,” said Strelnikova. “Dancing with the Stars picks the best dancers for the show, and Karina’s one of them.”

Although there have been similar events, this will be the first Toronto Winter Ball. Strelnikova said it was only appropriate to host a holiday-themed competition with the winter season on its way, and said that this particular dance competition is “unique” due to the location of the event.

“We brought ballroom dancing into the sports centre, and typically most major dance competitions happen in the hotel ballroom. We wanted to have the sports atmosphere; the ambience,” she said.

Visit www.torontowinterball.com for information.