Anthony A. Coberg, owner of the franchisee of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Merrillville, believes many people are still unaware of the size and scope of ballroom dancing around the world.

The shine of an international spotlight, in addition the popular ABC series "Dancing with the Stars," which just broadcast the Season 15 finale last week, helps spread the word.

From Oct. 30 through Nov. 4, the third largest dance competition in the entire United States was held at Wynn Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. Participants hailed from six countries and from around the U.S., amounting to 15,000 total dance entries competed in both Smooth and Rhythm categories for The Arthur Murray Dance Studios National Competition.

"If you place first, you are the national champion within that category and it's a reason to be very proud," Coberg said.

"Given the scale and scope of this accomplishment, it reflects very well upon Northwest Indiana."

Colberg and his student Linda Metzger, both of Valparaiso, were named the National Pro/Am Champions for 2012 in American Smooth National Pro/Am Champions in American Rhythm National "All-Around" Associate Silver Champions.

"Linda competes in the most heavily contested category which is called the 'Pro-Am' Division, which stands for a Professional Dancer and an Amatuer Student," Colberg said.

"There are literally thousands of students around the country that compete in various competitions around the country in this division. To win this at a national competition at the highest student level is vary prestigious and noteworthy.

He said the exact titles Linda won were American Rhythm Scholarship National Champion, a monetary award, and American Smooth Scholarship National Champion All Around Division.

"In order to win any one of these divisions is extremely rare and difficult to achieve," he said.

"To win them all, is simply astounding."

In addition to his success with Metzger, Colberg is equally proud of two of his instructors, Kenneth Kollasch III and Caroline Hamilton, who competed in the New Professional Division, in American Smooth and American Rhythm.

"They won both divisions, first place, as the new Professional National Champions in both Smooth and American Rhythm. Kenneth, who has been one of our instructors at our studio for two years, is just 20 years old,  and a resident of Valparaiso. Caroline is a resident of Hebron and a full time instructor at Arthur Murray since May, and started as a student in December 2011."

Colberg said the honors arrived at an ideal time since Arthur Murray Dance Studio is celebrating its 100 year anniversary, as his Merrillville franchise is celebrating 32 years, all in the same location on Route 30.

Arthur Murray Dance Studios are in more than 22 countries.

"Many readers are unaware that we teach students of all ages the joy of ballroom and social dancing," Colberg said.

"You do not have to participate in a competition to have a great time at our studio. We have students as young as 18 all the way to over 80 years old. We teach both singles and couples and we specialize in helping people who say they have 'no rhythm' or 'two left feet.' Linda herself never danced a single step prior to coming to our studio six years ago."