To catch top athletes from around the world, go to the Olympics. Or hop in the SUV for an event right in town -- less of a schlep, plenty of flash and sparkle, talented teams, and sexy garb. The United States Dance Sport Championships presents its 35th-annual event in Hollywood, attracting twirling participants from dozens of countries. They'll waltz, rumba, jive, and foxtrot for about $180,000 in prizes. The dancers who compete in ballroom and Latin dance divisions work to impress the judges with their timing, posture, technique, and synchronization with partners, according to John Kimmins, president of the American Ballroom Company, the Miami-based business that puts on the event. Kimmins is also a coach and former world champion. "The couples have to be so fit," he says. Top dancers practice at least two hours a day. Such events also attract spectators. Kimmins says that even his nondancing golfing pals enjoy watching: "It's a great spectacle." And, should the music prompt spectators to tackle the dance floor, it does open up to the crowd during breaks. The competition, which features matinee and evening dancing, runs from Tuesday, September 7, through Saturday, September 11, at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa (3555 S. Ocean Dr., Hollywood). Tickets cost $30 to $70. Call 305-442-1288, or visit www.usdsc.com. --Patti Roth
Quaff the night away
Hemingway loved his rum. Poe loved his absinthe. Hunter S. Thompson loved whatever mind-altering substance he could get his hands on. It's true: nothing makes a big-ass book come out -- or go down -- better than a shot of spirits or a glass of cabernet. Tonight at Archives Book Café (Gateway Shopping Center, 1948 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), a winetasting happens from 6 to 8 p.m. Once the bottles are uncorked, you can chit-chat with owners Arthur Page and Robert Jordan and thank them for bringing their bright little business to our cultural wasteland. You can also mingle with other book lovers. Or, if nobody talks to you, do what we do: Hang onto your bottle, plop yourself in a corner, and get intimate with our old friend Al. Call 954-764-8212, or visit www.archivesbookcafe.net. --Deirdra Funcheon
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