BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Ballroom magazine. Volume 1, issue 2

Vol. 2 August 2014
A Letter from the Editors
Welcome to our second edition of The Australia Times “BALLROOM”, we are eager to
present you with more stories and information about the world of DanceSport. In this
edition we have a look at what’s hot in DanceSport fashion, as well as a great interview
with David and Irena Brooks, long time ambassadors for the “Masters” section of
DanceSport Competition. Please enjoy our second edition. Jason & Erin.
David & Irena Brooks
Photo by Mark Gadsden
Letter from the Editors...................Pg 3
The Questions you want to ask.....Pg 4
World Athlete’s Commission......Pg 14
WDC German Open...................Pg 16
Shenzhen China Open...............Pg 22
Blackpool Lecture Series.............Pg 30
Where Are They Now?.................Pg 40
Fashion Police.............................Pg 46
Have Your Say.............................Pg 50
Want to be a contributor?
Please email us
David & Irena Brooks
Antonio Micheli
Hannes Emrich
Anthony Hurley
Julie Jones
Tony & Amanda Dokman
Chelsea Richardson
•Where Are They Now?
•World Athelete’s Commission
•Fashion Police
•We interview another great
Dancing Partnership
•and much much more!
This month in “Off The Floor” we chat to one of Australia’s leading Masters 2 couples and Australia’s
representatives to the 2014 WDSF World Championships. What a great interview with two very genuine
people who obviously love to dance and really know what it takes to make it. We hope you enjoy David &
Irena’s interview with us at Outside Change.
Firstly, When, Where and Why did you both starting dancing?
Irena: My brother John tried to influence me to take Ballroom lessons when our children were young, but with
no partner and a husband who was not interested, the prospects of dancing were strictly limited. Many years
later, in 1996 I bought some raffle tickets from ‘Blue’ a work colleague, to help raise money for some local
ballroom dancers Jayne Robards now Dawson and Paul Witchard, who was Blue’s son. The following Sunday
we took our two youngest children Jacob and Emily to a social class at the local high school in Coffs Harbour.
By the end of 3 hours David was adamant he was not spending his Sunday afternoon watching everyone
dance, if he had to be there he wanted to learn as well! I was in shock! I never in my wildest dreams thought
my husband would ever take up ‘dancing’!!!
The next week our eldest son Samuel joined in and then the Brooks family of 5 were all on the dance floor in
the beginner class having a wow of a time. Our teacher Barry Paff was fabulous, we learnt the basics and for
most of the time still stumbled all over the place, but it was enjoyable and something we could all do together
as a family. Barry was and still remains one of the lightest men I have ever danced with. We have very fond
memories sharing this whole journey with our little family.
I recall the social classes were so much fun and the more experienced students helped out in these classes.
Afterwards we would stay and watch the competition dancers in their training session and couldn’t believe how
these young people could look so beautiful dancing together.
When I called my brother to tell him that we started social ballroom dancing, he was thrilled and said, ‘it’s about
time!’ He had been involved in ballroom for a good number of years at that time.
David: Ah yes that Sunday afternoon, Irena must have caught me at a weak moment. Coming from a Rugby
Union background having played for many years, I had no idea where it was all going to end up. We were in fact
actively looking for a sport or interest we could do together as a family and this was ideal as it involved us all.
I was always involved in sport, either squash, pistol and rifle shooting at a State level, basketball, cycling,
bowling and of course Rugby for St George for 13 years. But dancing? Well, that was certainly never on the
So it would be true then, that you have not had any other dance partners?
No other partners, just each other.
We have heard you live quite far away from a main hub for Ballroom Dancing, so how many hours
of lessons do you have a week and how many hours of travelling time do you have to do?
Irena: We drive from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane (round trip 9 to 10 hours) once a month to have lessons. I
Photo by Mark Gadsden dancesportphoto.net
can sometimes utilise an RDO from work to accommodate and include a training session. Other than that,
our routine is to train two to three times per week in the local community hall depending upon availability. The
hall is awesome, beautiful floor, fully air-conditioned, surround sound system, full kitchen, projector and huge
screen. We are blessed to be able to train in such an amazing facility in regional Australia.
As our lessons are few and far between we rely on each other for support and motivation. Training without
someone overseeing your dancing is difficult, because you are never sure if your effort and hard work is exactly
what your coach intended you to be doing. So for us, the sharing of information and understanding of each
other’s role is very important.
Because we come from very different backgrounds, we tend to look at things very differently. David looks at
dancing from an engineering perspective, whereas my ballet background sees it from a totally different angle.
I essentially do what comes naturally, I like to dance the routine and then to break everything down and play
with the movement and music. Because we spend so much time away from our coach, we have to make the
most of our training sessions and often that means we concentrate on a few dances each session.
David: We are very lucky to have the hall, although the floor is a little bit small. Training by ourselves the
majority of the time makes us very responsible for our own dancing. Fortunately we do not argue over dancing,
we both believe it is a total waste of time and energy and certainly does not help us achieve our goals. It
certainly takes that little bit of extra commitment but I think it has made us better dancers. And besides, Irena
is a (Libran), everything has to be evenly balanced for it to work. Peace and harmony!
Irena having such a strong ballet background has been an immense advantage in our partnership although she
does become very animated and excited at training to say the least!
You are obviously very committed and dedicated to keep going, so who are your current coaches?
Irena: Our Coach is Ross Heidke in Brisbane. He is definitely a man of devotion and dedication to the world
of Dance and he instills his passion into all of his couples. He is a huge support to us both on and off the floor
and we respect him as a coach and friend. His balance of motivation, enthusiasm, experience and hard work
makes us strive to achieve what we thought was never possible. Then he wants more! More? Yes more, a
lot more! He is a ‘hands on’ coach, tough when he needs to be and expecting the best at all times. We are
very lucky to have Ross as our coach as he is very busy with back to back lessons, so early mornings or late
evenings fit in very well for us. He and Trish are extremely generous in more ways than one, we are truly very
grateful. Earlier on our dancing journey we were very lucky have to Jody Rollason and Steven Galdona as our
teachers, two people who have been wonderful contributors and mentors and who have been tremendous
support both on and off the floor. Thank you Miss Lady and Dr. Steven.
David: We have had a number of Coaches over the years and sourced the individual expertise of other
champions from time to time, all of which have helped us achieve wonderful success in dancing and it would
be remiss of me not to mention them. Kylie Ballard certainly started the process of the bigger picture in
dancing and we thank her for her expertise and guidance. Jody Rollason always there from the start both on
and off the floor, she continues to be an inspiration and great support not to mention an exceptional friend.
Photo by Greg McCormack gmack-photography.photoshelter.com
Steven Galdona took us for lessons at the same time as Jody, both coaches working us extremely hard to try
to get us up to speed. Steven too was a massive support both on and off the floor. We travelled to the Gold
Coast once a month and took 3-hour lessons with Steven and it was worth every minute. Steven and Jody
were both great mentors. When Steven went overseas for work, Anthony Egan took over our Ballroom also
working very hard with us. Unfortunately due to work commitments, lessons were few and far between. Then
there is our current Coach the fabulous Mr Ross Heidke who takes us for both Ballroom and New Vogue. Ross
is extremely dedicated to his couples putting in many hours of hard work to ensure they are the best they can
be. He is very much loved by not only us but by all his couples whom he works tirelessly with. His commitment
to us goes beyond all boundaries, both in our dancing and personally. Ross has also arranged lessons for us
with Glen Tierney, need I say more.
Who or what Inspires you, or has inspired you over the years?
David: In the early years, 1997 onwards Irena and I loved watching the Australian Dancesport Championships
on television with all the fabulous dancing. In particular a couple who we were in awe of and watched over
and over was Jason Beaman and Penny Bowden in their New Vogue Finals. We loved the Ballroom but their
New Vogue was certainly the main inspiration for us both. A secret, Irena used to call them Jason and Doris
Day. Their dancing set the scene and our love for our dancing ever since. The other main driver for myself
when watching the Australian Championships was imagining how fabulous it would be to make a final, walk
down the stairs and be presented onto the floor with a big audience watching. Well it took a long time but we
did get to live that dream and have done so now on many occasions, this is something we truly treasure and
are extremely proud of.
Irena: Yes very true. As newbies to the dance scene back then, we were certainly inspired by Jason and
Penny. They were a couple I could relate to. I thought they were gorgeous. I was so taken with the whole
ballroom world by this time that David just became swept up in it too. This evolved as an extension from my
ballet days but a whole new experience for us both, so making it to where we are today makes me very proud,
something I never imagined would ever happen. I still feel the same way about dancing today, I just love it all.
As with the advancement of technology our world has opened up to International exposure and this means I
am constantly inspired by many people both here in Australia and all over the world, I am forever learning and
still enjoying the experience.
You must have had many dresses over the years Irena, who makes your outts?
Sue Raymond of Coffs Harbour makes my ball gowns. Sue’s children were ballroom dancers and she made all the
ball gowns and latin outfits for her family over a number of years. Until recently Sue mainly made wedding gowns,
Physical Culture outfits and ballet attire including leotards and tutus. Sue not only makes my ball gowns, she is
also our very dear friend and great supporter. I am very thankful and grateful to Sue for all her hard work and
perseverance with me. I’m not a good decision maker, so the final product is a combination of whatever evolves!
Photo by Mark Gadsden dancesportphoto.net
What is your favourite competition and why?
This is a difficult question to answer, as we like so many of the competitions and all for different reasons. We
like the Queensland Open for the convenience of having the accommodation and competition at the same
venue. It has a wonderful atmosphere and only 4 hours drive from home!
We love the competitions that have beautiful floors, like the South Pacific’s, National Capital and Australian
Dancesport Championships. We also really love the Tasmanian Open, for the floor, the people, the atmosphere
and Tasmania itself. Attending the competitions allows for us to catch up with friends and spend some social
time together. We very much appreciate the effort from the organisers, marshal’s and everyone behind the
scenes that make these competitions accessible to us all. The competitions provide a platform for which we
are able to dance in our full attire making us want to come back year after year to support these events. It’s
also a good opportunity to spend some social time with friends.
All those events have something special to offer that’s for sure. So you have danced now for many
years, what has been the highlight of your career so far?
Irena: Entering our first major competition, South Pacifics and winning the D grade New Vogue. It was really
overwhelming for me. The volume of competitors was very large and for us as beginners to win was certainly
among some of our treasured highlights. Our first win at The Australian’s and subsequent wins taking it to 6
Australian Titles in New Vogue and walking down those stairs and onto the ballroom floor, something that had
eluded us for a good number of years. More recently winning the closed Ballroom at Easter at the National
Championship Jupiter’s Casino and gaining the opportunity to represent Australia at the World Championships
in Canada in November this year. A tad excited! We will do our best, but of course we are more than aware
of the amazing standard we are up against. Nothing will match the experience of our competitors, but to gain
our own experience overseas will be immeasurable and flying the flag will be awesome. I am very excited and
indeed very proud, did I mention just a bit apprehensive?
David: I would have to agree with Irena having the opportunity to represent your country at a world championship
is a fantastic feeling. However, when we were nominated and won the Coffs Harbour Sports Persons of the Year
award Australia Day 2014 was also a fantastic feeling, both Irena and I were jumping out of skins at the ceremony
and feeling very proud that our hard work had been acknowledged by our peers in the local community. So many
people follow our every step on the dance floor via our facebook page and local media. Of course winning our first
Australian Dancesport Championship in 2008 is right up there as an exhilarating highlight.
What would you be if you were not a dancer?
Irena: A dancer. My former life I was also a dancer and dancing is something I have done since I was a little
girl. I suppose I’m still little, but no longer young! I started ballet from age 7, studied under the Royal Academy of
Dancing and gained my Advanced Solo Seal. I joined The Australian Ballet at age 17 and later The London Festival
Ballet England. My mother asked if would like to learn Ballroom like my older sisters but I wanted to learn ballet
Photo courtesy of David & Irena Brooks
instead. Basically I come from a dancing family, ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, eisteddfods, competitions, theatre
and then there were pantomimes, The Flying De Pauls, Ross Coleman and so much more. My sister was in the
Vegemite Ad and my Mum made all the costumes for the commercial. She was the most talented person I have
ever known and being profoundly deaf never once stopped her either and with six children in tow, she never once
missed a beat. To this day her heightened awareness and communication still puzzles me.
David: Wealthier!
Last but not least, What would you change about Ballroom Dancing/DanceSport if you could?
David: I think “Our Ownership of Dancesport”. We are all very aware that the participation rate in Dancesport
has been on the decline for some time. I think every single person involved in Dancesport needs to take
ownership and be responsible for its welfare , to be an Ambassador, to foster the interest of newcomers, to
make studios warm and inviting and a great place to socialise, to make new friends. To promote and attend
events away from the Competition floor and we definitely need to make it more affordable.
We need to let people know the fun times we have, the exhilaration experienced when performing, the glitz
and the glamour, the enormous amount of satisfaction we all get when achieving our gaols whether it be that
first medal placed around our neck at the local competition for our first win in recreational beginner division
or an Australian Championship Title. To let people know just what they are missing out on by not being part of
Dancesport or at least giving it ago.
Irena: First I would like to see Dancesport promoted a whole lot more. Have Dancesport more accessible to
children, they are an essential part to our growth. Not all families have the finances to be able to send their
children to dance lessons and often this is where you find your untapped talent that would otherwise never
be discovered. After speaking with a professional and learning of the way Dancesport is run in Estonia, their
method certainly sounds like a winning idea, where many many children get the opportunity to experience
the world of Dancesport in group lessons at a minimal cost. From there the talent is discovered, nurtured and
developed. In saying that, I would like to commend the fabulous work our young professionals are putting into
the children coming through the ranks. Everything from technique, grooming, mentoring and support is very
evident. The coaches, children and parents should all be congratulated. They are all such a joy to watch. They
are our future. It would also be great if a syllabus were introduced to enhance understanding of technique and
to include the history of dance. This syllabus can begin from any age over all styles.
The following is usually the type of thing I say to people who are interested in starting ballroom lessons:
“Unlike other sports where age is a barrier, fortunately Dancesport is for everyone, this makes it the most
desired sport across the board regardless of your age or background. But beware, it is very addictive, you’ll
love it, once you take the first step, you’ll find it hard to stop”
Editors Note: We would like to thank David & Irena for a fantastic interview for “The Australia Times BALLROOM”
and all of us would like to wish them the very best of luck at the World Championships in Canada. They are
great ambassadors for dancing in this country and we are sure they will do Australia and themselves very
proud in Canada.
WDSF Athlete’s Commission
Edition No. 3
In addition to the established GrandSlam prize money that will be at stake as always, the top 12 couples in the
Latin and Standard standing will benefit from travel subsidies granted by the Wuhan organisers.
The Chinese DanceSport Federation and the Wuhan Sports Administration announced that couples placing
first to third will receive 1,500 €, couples from fourth to sixth 1,200 €, and couples from seventh to twelfth
800 € to offset their travel expenses.
Wuhan takes the place of Beijing as host city of a GrandSlam leg in the annual series through 2017.
WDSF Athlete’s Commission
While all other amendments to the Competition Rules went into effect on the very day of their adoption by the
Annual General Meeting in Bucharest, the changes to Rule H (Showdance Competitions) will only be enforced
from 1 January 2015. Quite a few changes to Rule H were proposed by the Sports Commission and adopted
by the AGM. From H.3.2 limiting an entrance and an exit of the athletes to 15 seconds, to H.5 with clearer
definitions of a hold and on to a new proceeding suggested under H.6 Rehearsals (*), all these changes will
only go into effect from 1 January 2015 and do not apply to Championships and Cups held this year.
* 6.4.1 All athletes must be aware that their performances should have been reviewed by the National
Invigilators in their National Championships and that their performance is in accordance with the WDSF Rules
and Regulations for Showdance, prior to their participation in WDSF Showdance Championships.
An article on amendments to the Competition Rules published on www.worlddancesport.org failed to make reference
to the fact that enforcement of the Rule B.2.3 is left to the discretion of each WDSF National Member Body.
The rule refers to the eligibility of athletes to compete in major WDSF Competitions. To be eligible to compete in
World Championships, GrandSlams and in games (such as The World Games, Asian Games, World DanceSport
Games, etc.), an athlete may - at the discretion of his or her WDSF National Member Body - be required to have
competed exclusively in the WDSF Competition System in the 12 months leading up to the respective event.
BANGKOK, THAILAND - World Open St/La 06/09-07/09
WUHAN, CHINA - Grand Slam St/La 13/09-14/09
TAIPEI, CHINESE TAIPEI - Open St/La Pro St/La 11/10-12/10
Remember, if you have a complaint, request or suggestion please don’t hesitate to contact me:
Antonio Micheli
Oceanic representative
WDSF Athletes Commission
Ph: +7 9671396101
Mail to: antoniodance@me.com
WDSF Athlete’s Commission
2014 WDC German Open
HANNES EMRICH Reports on the 2014 WDC German Open
After the excitement and historical battles of the Blackpool Dance Festival, the European WDC circuit continues
with the WDC World Super Series Events for Professionals and WDC AL German Open for Amateur in the beautiful
Rosengarten in Mannheim. Whoever has had the privilege of competing in this venue surely remembers its
special atmosphere and the organiser Stefan Ossenkop on behalf of m:con has done his utmost to provide
competitors with all the conditions that have become the WDC and WDC AL Trademark.
A great audience, live orchestra in a fabulous venue and an outstanding panel of expert judges to evaluate the
performances. No less that 61 World Titles are held within the panel of adjudicators: Caterina Arzenton (Italy),
Hannes Emrich (Austria), Gaynor Fairweather MBE (Scotland), Hansi Galke (Germany), Richard Gleave OBE
(Great Britain), Marcus Hilton MBE (Great Britain), Evelyn Hörmann (Germany), Markus Homm ( Germany), John
Kimmins (USA), Gary McDonald (USA), Leonid Pletnev (Russia), Svein Røtvold (Norway), Sergey Ryupin (Russia),
Mirko Saccani (Italy), Augusto Schiavo (Italy), Igor Soronovych (Ukraine), Rudi Trautz (Germany), Michael Wentink
(South Africa), John Wood (Great Britain), Snieguole Wood (Lithuania).
This, coupled with over 5000 overall entries in the entire Festival makes this one of the biggest Festivals in the World.
To the events and the finalists of the 4 main events:
2014 WDC German Open Panel of Adjudicators
Photo courtesy of Hannes Emrich
2014 WDC German Open
2014 WDC German Open
1. Andrea Ghigiarelli & Sara Andracchio-Ghigiarelli (Great Britain)
Danced at their usual best , giving a champions performance. Andrea has the ability to create a lot of light and
shade in the performance keeping the interest of the spectator.
2. Sascha Karabey & Natascha Karabey (Germany)
Sascha and Natascha have long been the exponents of excellent dancing quality when it comes to movement
and they did not disappoint on home ground. Natscha is in my opinion amongst the very best ballroom ladies of
all times, personifying the highest quality of postural awareness.
3. Eldar Dzhafarov & Anna Sazhina (Azerbaijan)
Eldar and Anna are one of the most improved couples in the Ballroom field and Rising Stars of the Professional
Ballroom scene. Big powerful movement and their dynamic qualities make them now a force to be reckoned
with and came in a clear third.
4. Steffen Zoglauer & Sandra Koperski (Germany)
A couple with an excellent Tango and Quickstep and a musical awareness that is coupled with great quality feet
and ankles, which gives them great control. The reigning World Professional 10-Dance Champions created a
good performance today, but were pushed very hard by Gaetano & Manuela.
5. Gaetano Iavarone & Emanuela Napolitano (Italy)
They are newcomers to the Professional field and already making a big impact. After their inclusion in the
Quarter Final of the British Open they have now taken on the challenge of attacking the established Professional
couples and with a mix of Italian flair and very classical English styling, they managed already to the Foxtrot of
Steffen and Sandra, with a very close result in all remaining dances.
6. Rudiger Homm & Julia Niemann (Germany)
Rudy and Julia danced a good competition after a rather quiet British performance and were rewarded with the
inclusion in the final. Further improvement in the topline to present a clearer picture will help to complement
their quality movement.
1. Michael Malitowski / Joanna Leunis (Great Britain)
Michael and Joanna are great exponents of a dynamic approach to Latin dancing and Joanna’s ability to spin
and control her movement is of the highest order. Unfortunately the focus on their strengths has resulted in a
lack of lack of authentic action and precise use of timing and this could be improved.
2. Andrej Skufca / Melinda Torokgyorgy (Slovenia)
Rhythmical and dynamic, with a totally different approach to that of the winners, Andrej and Melinda concentrate
on a more traditional approach based on sound technique and Melinda’s trademark kinetic style. For me they
challenged very strongly in some dances and very clear runners-up.
2014 WDC German Open
3. Emanuele Soldi & Elisa Nasato (Italy)
Emanuele and Elisa excite with a vivacious and rhythmical style and the sensitivity, especially shown in Rumba
is of the highest order.
4. Dorin Frecautanu / Marina Sergeeva (Moldova)
Dorin and Marina are a relatively new partnership, but that does not diminish the huge experience of Dorin as a high level
male exponent of Latin Dancing. I feel with Marina he has found a partner that creates a solid base for his sometimes
very artistic approach. Sometimes too soft for me in action, and creating a too even dynamic throughout the dance.
Denis and Vika are bold and powerful dancers with a strong overall image and those qualities earned them a
2014 WDC German Open
2014 WDC German Open Professional Finalists
Photo courtesy of Hannes Emrich
2014 WDC German Open
final spot. Clarity of intent is now needed to create more refinement. Nevertheless an excellent performance.
5. Denis Tagintsev & Viktoriya Rudkovskaja (Russia)
Denis and Vika are bold and powerful dancers with a strong overall image and those qualities earned them a final spot.
Clarity of intent is now needed to create more refinement. Nevertheless an excellent performance.
6. Valera Musuc & Nina Trautz (Germany)
Valera & Nina and work tirelessly to improve and it shows in their performance. The Depth of action is now of
a much better level and Valera’s natural charisma is now serving them very well. Still need continued work on
the Jive to create more tick.
2014 WDC German Open
The results of the 2 WDC AL German Open events are as follows:
1. Marek Kosaty & Paulina Glazik (Poland)
2. Fedor Isaev & Anna Zudilina (Russian Federation)
3. Jacek Jeschke & Valeria Agikyan (Poland)
4. Kyle Taylor & Polina Shklyaeva (England)
5. Maciej Kadlubowski & Maja Kopacz (Poland)
6. Jack Beale & Nataliia Siianko (England)
2014 WDC German Open
2014 WDC German Open
2014 WDC German Open Amateur Finalists
Photo courtesy of Hannes Emrich
1. Litvinov Vladimir & Nikolaeva Olga (Russian Federation)
2. Vjaceslavs Visnakovs & Tereza Kizlo (Latvia)
3. Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina (United States)
4. Oleksandr Kravchuk & Olessia Getsko (Ukraine)
5. Darren Hammond & Milla Lykke (South Africa)
6. Gleb Cherniavskyi & Maryna Steshenko (Ukraine)
Full marks and results for all events can be found on www.wdcdance.com
The 2014 Shenzhen China Open Championships
ANTHONY HURLEY reports on the Shenzhen China Open Championships
This year was the twelfth presentation of the Shenzhen China Open Championships, during those years the organiser
Manfred Wang’s Ganglong Dance has successfully raised the standards and built this prestigious championship as
one of the largest international events attracting the worlds best couples from all parts of the globe.
This year was no exception and the twenty one overseas adjudicators from nine countries together with their
Chinese counterparts had a very difficult task over the four days of competition.
The venue for the four days was the Shenzhen Gymnasium. It was beautifully decorated to change the sporting
atmosphere to suit the softness required to compliment the ballroom.
The hundreds of Chinese couples ranging from under ten’s, junior, youth and amateur were a delight to
adjudicate, for their floor presentation and enthusiasm was very entertaining and they will undoubtedly
become one of the leading competitive nations in the not to distant future. Much of the high standards now
being attained is largely due to the organiser Manfred Wang’s foresight in presenting the finest coaches and
competitive couples every year, exposing the young talent that china has to offer to the best knowledge and
spectacle of the champions of the day.
It was very gratifying to note that Australia was very well represented in the senior (masters) section and in the
amateur and professional ballroom and latin american championships, they were joined by couples from New
Zealand which was nice to see.
It appears that couples from Australia are now prepared to, and enjoy travelling to Asia to compete. I feel it is
beneficial for them to be able to present their dancing to an international board of judges and at the same time
enjoy competing against some of the worlds best. This exposure will certainly give them valuable experience
that must surely improve their standards and make their domestic competitions even more competitive. With
the growing popularity of competitions in Asia it is becoming a little easier for Australians to be able to take
part in high standard international events. Many cut price airlines are now offering competitive fares to the
Asian destinations.
It is not possible for me to report on all the events over the four days except to say that the first two days were
mainly used to take care of the preliminary rounds to reduce the large entries to the last 48 couples. The senior
event was however completed on the second day, Australian couples featuring very well. Two couples just
missed the semi final and two happy couples contesting the semi, challenging well to make the final.
The main amateur and professional events made the last two days very exciting and the 5000 strong evening
audience enjoyed a feast of ballroom and latin dancing at its very best with no less than sixteen Blackpool
finalists taking part. Unfortunately the world champions Arunas Bizokas & Ekaterina Demidova were unable to
dance, however this did not detract from a fantastic championship which was won by the world’s number two
Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyova representing the USA.
The 2014 Shenzhen China Open Championships
Photo by Greg McCormack gmack-photography.photoshelter.com
The 2014 Shenzhen China Open Championships
The professional latin american title was successfully defended by Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis
representing England. The amateur championships were also world class with no less than five Blackpool
finalists contesting the final. First place was awarded to Marek Kosaty & Paulina Glazik.
The latin counterpart was a win for Troels Bager & Ina Ivanova Jeliazkova from Denmark. This event also
enjoyed many of the world’s best.
With the high international standards of all the events plus the inclusion of the top Chinese couples it was difficult
for the Australian and New Zealand couples to feature in any finals, but they all danced above themselves and
certainly impressed. Notable and challenging performances in the professional sections were in latin Andrey
Gorunov & Karla Gerbes, Craig Monley & Sriani Argaet and in the ballroom section Rhett Salmon & Emma Lee
and Jared Parnell & Ashley Payet.
It was certainly a very busy four days of competition for all concerned. At the farewell party held at the Sunshine
Hotel the organiser announced that he will be introducing youth championships next year and therefore the
festival will be extended to five days.
Results from the 2014 Shenzhen China Open Championships are as follows:
1st. Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyova (USA)
2nd. Domen Krapez & Monica Nigro (SLOVENIA)
3rd. Valerio Coalntoni & Yulia Spesivtseva (RUSSIA)
4th. Yang Chao & Tan Yiling (CHINA)
5th. Aleksander Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova-
Popovic (RUSSIA)
6th. Alessia Potenziani & Veronika Vlasova (RUSSIA)
7th. Stanislav Zelianin & Irina Cherepanova (RUSSIA)
8th. Wang Jing & Hao Yuan Yuan (CHINA)
9th. Li Wei Ping & Zheng Cen (CHINA)
10th. Chen Jian Shen & Chen Yan Jun (TAIPEI)
10th. Kritjan Kuusk & Anri Kokkonen (FINLAND)
10th. Zhang Chi & Zhang Yanna (CHINA)
1st. Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis (ENGLAND)
2nd. Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite (CANADA)
3rd. Jurij & Jagoda Batagelj (SLOVENIA)
4th. Emanuele Soldi & Elisa Nasato (ITALY)
5th. Neil Jones & Ekaterina Sokolova (ENGLAND)
6th. Mirco Risi & Maria Ermatchkova (ITALY)
7th. Zhao Liang & Svetlana Borisova (CHINA)
8th. Valentin Voronov & Alina Imrekova (RUSSIA)
9th. Wang Wei & Chen Jin (CHINA)
10th. Didenko Vitalii & Kristina Pleshcheva (RUSSIA)
10th. Wang Zilong & Yang Li (CHINA)
10th. Xu Yilong & Shi Lin Yue (CHINA)
The 2014 Shenzhen China Open Championships
Photo by Greg McCormack gmack-photography.photoshelter.com
Photo by Greg McCormack gmack-photography.photoshelter.com
The 2014 Shenzhen China Open Championships
1st. Li Wei Ping & Zheng Cen (CHINA)
2nd. Zhang Chi & Zhang Yanna (CHINA)
3rd. Huang Zheng Qing & Liu Jiao (CHINA)
4th. Sun Yi Feng & Zhao Chen Xin (CHINA)
5th. Sheng Chen & Li Hang Bei (CHINA)
6th. Chen Jian Shen & Chen Yan Jun (TAIPEI)
7th. Liu Peng Fei & Zhao Di (CHINA)
8th. Rhett Salmon & Emma Lee (AUSTRALIA)
9th. Jia Peng & Deimante Babenskaite (CHINA)
10th. Yu Bul Hwi & Shin Ji Hee (SOUTH KOREA)
11th. Jared Parnell & Ashley Payet (AUSTRALIA)
12th. Kim Ki Hwan & Son Ye Ri (SOUTH KOREA)
1st. Zhao Liang & Svetlana Borisova (CHINA)
2nd. Wang Zi Long & Yang Li (CHINA)
3rd. Xu Yi Long & Shi Lin Yue (CHINA)
4th. Shi Lie & Wei Xue Nan (CHINA)
5th. Didenko Vitalii & Kristina Pleshcheva (RUSSIA)
6th. Andrey Gorbunov & Karla Gerbes (AUSTRALIA)
7th. Zhang Bolong & Yu Ying Jie (CHINA)
8th. Craig Monley & Sriani Argaet (AUSTRALIA)
9th. Li Yukun & Shao Zhang Man (CHINA)
10th. Xie Fang Yang & Wang Miao (CHINA)
11th. Mikhail Shchepkin & Worapa Jairyathammarat
12th. Shen Bo Chen & Luo Xi Yu (CHINA)
1st. Marek Kosaty & Paulina Glazik (POLAND)
2nd. Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Makar (POLAND)
3rd. He Ching & Shan Qing (CHINA)
4th. Andrew Sadecki & Karina Nawrotc (POLAND)
5th. Lukasz Tomczak & Aleksandra Jurczak (POLAND)
6th. Stanislav Portanenko & Nataliya Kolyada
1st. Troels Bager & Ina Ivanova Jeliazkova (DENMARK)
2nd. Nikita Brovko & Olga Urumova (RUSSIA)
3rd. Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva (DENMARK)
4th. Manuel Frighetto & Karin Rooba (ESTONIA)
5th. Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts (SLOVENIA)
6th. Nasko Gendov & Anna Lisova (ITALY)
Also in the senior latin championship Australian
couple Darol Garchev & Yvette Rousseau placed on
the podium in second position behind the number 1
Chinese latin couple. Congratulations.
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
Day 2 of The BDF Congress ‘experience inspires excellence’ by Julie Jones
I arrived only 2 days ago in Blackpool and after an inspiring first day of the BDF congress in the stunning Spanish
Hall of Winter Gardens, I find myself up at 5am, jet lagged and wanting to write about my experience. I’m so
inspired as I am every year by Blackpool and the history of dance that has taken place here. I can’t imagine
today’s lectures will surpass yesterday’s, but there are names on the program that excite me. Riccardo &
Yulia, Michael & Joanna, Victor & Anastasia who I loved last year and my all time favourite dancer Bryan
Watson together with Andrew Sinkinson. Bryan and Andrews lecture is entitled ‘The Ultimate Experience’
and I try to imagine who among the ballroom greats I’d prefer to see lecture with Bryan. I can think of a few,
but Andrew is the ultimate choice. The organisers have hit the nail on the head with Bryan and Andrew, the
title and by closing this years two day congress with these two greats. This one will be worth the wait for me.
First on the list is Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko with ‘Inspiring Paso Doble’. You can see
many of their die hard fans making a special effort to get a birds eye view and hoping for an intimate encounter
with their idols. Riccardo speaks to us first in his Italian accent, dropping a word here and there. He shares a
few phrases that resonate with me and I nod in recognition of their truth. to be a dancer I think is a great gift,
because we wish once in our life to be touched by god. What do I mean by this? We have a great gift, we dance,
we carry with us a lot of passion, lot of experience and we want to give it, we must give it. We must give to all
of you audience, to share, to share our best feeling to be a dancer.’
Riccardo then invites Yulia to the floor in her stunning flamenco red outfit and they perform an exquisite Paso
Doble show dance for us. Their precision and attention to detail keeps the room in silent awe. Riccardo then
goes on to speak about the man understanding the asset he has in his lady. He often watches Yulia dance on
her own and how beautiful she can be even without him. He never had the pleasure of learning from the master
Walter Laird but his famous words have been passed down to him and he shares their significance. ‘if you can
not make your woman look better than when she is by herself, then don’t touch her, don’t ruin her’.....gold. At
this level they are inspired in their practice by each other and the unknown. They suggest to be perfect is to be
boring. ‘To feel, to experience, but to not know 100% what’s going on.’ That’s inspiring.
My favourite piece of knowledge Riccardo shared about Paso Doble is what his flamenco teacher gave him. Try
to sell the silence, don’t sell the sound.’ Mwah. If you can understand this statement you have found the key. The
strength is in the silence, in the time before and after the action, in the exclusion from the rapid, running beat of
the music, in the space between the man and the woman. This is how to create an ‘Inspiring Paso Doble.’
Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravynova just glow in each other’s presence. Within the first minute he says
Isn’t she beautiful ladies and gentleman?’, to which there was an agreeable applause in response. Victor tells
the story of how he and Anastasia came to discuss what inspires them, after being giving ‘Foxtrot Inspiration’
as their lecture title. Victor rambled on in the car about all that inspired him, most of which related back to
Anastasia. When he finally came to listen to what inspired his lovely lady, he learned it was really only one thing
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
and to his surprise it was not him.
They then turn to the music man for the tune of their choice and dance for us a delicate and flawless foxtrot.
Anastasia then takes the microphone, her voice as sweet, as her look and her dance. She shares her little
secret of what inspires her dancing. The music of course, but when she is most inspired is when she stops
listening and instead is feeling the music. ‘My heart feels that beat which is the foxtrot music, my soul starts to
sing together with the melody of the beautiful foxtrot music and I feel I allow the sound to go through my ears
inside of me’. She goes on to explain how the music then creates an energy inside of her, she shares that with
Victor through touch and that’s where the magic begins.
They demonstrate how the music inspires them by dancing a foxtrot to firstly a very slow romantic tune, then a
quick, jazzy number. Words can’t express the beauty of their final foxtrot to a song that has a special meaning
to them. These two are in love and it’s evident in every gesture between them. Congratulations on your recent
engagement, the love of dance you share with one another is truly inspiring.
Anthony Hurley commences his lecture by gliding across the floor effortlessly with a young lady as his partner.
‘Lifetime inspiration’ is the title and Mr Hurley has plenty to share with us, having started competitive dancing
in 1952. He speaks about the coaches of his day having unbelievable knowledge and everything they taught
was mostly from the waist down. Feet, leg styling were the main point, they never talked about big shapes or
the top line. All these years later he acknowledges that they gave him the understanding, the mechanics and
the beauty of what went on downstairs that looked after what went on upstairs.
One of his early coaches Mr Frank Orvak was obsessed with the use of feet. With his cup of tea in hand and
back to the dance floor, he would shout out ‘foot fault’. ‘But how do you know, Mr Orvak?’ replied a young
Anthony. ‘I can hear you!’ That impressed him and then he goes on to explain a floorshow he witnessed by
Bobby Henderson and Eileen Henshaw which is etched in his mind like it was yesterday. They did 4 dances,
while Anthony sat enthralled on the edge of the floor. He never heard them once, they were absolutely beautiful.
He was amazed at how free they were, moving without effort, you never saw how they produced the energy,
you only saw the result.
He moves on to who he calls the pioneer coaches, who have put what we do today on the map. These genius’s
and their wealth of knowledge have obviously inspired him to dedicate a lifetime to discovering the value in
their every word. We hear yet again that the man must look after his lady, his hands must be sensitive. ‘But
you don’t need to look at them’ like he sees couples do these days almost having an orgasm just taking their
partners hand. We all have a laugh as Mr Hurley mocks the unnecessary dramatics of today’s dancers, not to
mention the variations of hand grips ‘the ridged digits’ and ‘the snooker grip’ all a ridiculous waste of time in
his book. ‘If you glance to the left you should be able to tell the time, these days they have to ask someone
else.’ We all share another laugh.
Mr Hurley’s demonstrations were exquisite, brushing and swivelling the feet with precision, styling the legs and
showing the artistry in the simplicity. I really enjoyed this lecture and this man is living in Australia! How lucky
are we, but are we taking advantage of this genius that has the passion and knowledge of 62 years?
Image courtesy of Julie Jones
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
Latin legend Paul Killick was lucky enough to have the influence of the late Walter Laird. Mr Laird one day
had Paul sit down and watch his partner rumba walk around the room and it was then his ‘Vision of Excellence’
was born. He realised what a beautiful instrument in his lady he had to manipulate and partnering became his
passion. He again emphasises the man must take care of the woman, building a trust between the couple. His
beautiful former partner Hannah Karttunen joins him and he tells the story of their first Blackpool.
Hannah took it upon herself to change direction in the samba and this tormented Paul who has been trained
from the age of 15 to take care of his lady. Paul goes on to explain how he and Hannah communicated through
the sensitive touch of their hands, instantly knowing how she was feeling on that day. He learnt quickly that
Hannah doesn’t like to move fast and if he’s got this beautiful thing in front of him that likes to stay and stretch,
‘then let her stretch....darling.’
These two haven’t danced together in 7 years but as soon as they touch they understand each other and
the trust between them allows them to create magic. Before these two delight us with their rumba Paul tells
us how they were offered the opportunity this year to do a prestigious show in Tokyo. The World Superstars
immediately jumps in our heads and suddenly you feel an excitement build with the thought of experiencing
these two legends in show again. Obviously having retired for some years it was a decision that wasn’t taken
lightly, but they jumped at the idea as they love what they do.
However then came the hurdle, Hannah needed hip replacement surgery. So they came to the conclusion that
although she would be off for a couple of months, she would be back with a brand new hip. And here she is,
in heels, looking gorgeous with no sign of recent surgery. She is obviously one of Paul’s greatest inspirations
and an inspiration to us all. I can’t help but think how much you are given as a person, when you are able to
appreciate another. Their rumba was simply beautiful and I can’t wait to see what they create for their up and
coming show.
Next we are treated to a performance from exhibition dancers Craig Smith & Micheline. The audience are
left gasping at the effortless and precise lift work. Craig and Micheline lecture is titled ‘A Lifting Experience’
and they introduce us to their well thought out principles and structure for executing lifts.
AIM = activation, impact and motion is a simple formula that they have derived to educate the dancers and
the audience, allowing them to appreciate the qualities behind the execution. Micheline goes on to explain the
misconception that the man uses his brut force to lift the lady when really this a 50/50 effort. The lady uses a
lock down technique, where she locks down the shoulder blade towards the hip to create stability in order to
hold herself through a lift.
This lecture was very informative and surprisingly valuable to all those who were thinking it wouldn’t apply
to them. The passion behind the technique was evident from these two. They broke down and demonstrated
different styles of lifts to perfection with Ooo’s and Ahhh’s from the audience. I was definitely left impressed by
these two, who demonstrated that talent alone won’t allow you to produce excellence. Knowledge, technique
and a constant search for perfection is the only way. They left us with an exquisite performance that commenced
with the song ‘Missing You’ from Des’ree. Wow, these guys are good.
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
Colin James takes the floor to share his ‘Moments of Inspiration’ through his journey of dance. ‘The moments
that make your whole being worth being, he says in a serious and very English tone. His first moment of
inspiration came from a teacher who would roll up his trousers and explain to him how the weight moves within
a foot, how the bones change, how using pressure on the foot gives you power and placing the pressure at
different parts of the foot gives you the ability to change that energy. He would caress the floor, he became the
floor, he moulded his body into that floor. He adds how the feet have the possibility to be the ABS of control,
advanced breaking system like that of a car.
His serious tone breaks for a moment and he smirks as he’s able to relate dance to cars, obviously a guy thing.
Much to our delight he invites the current amateur champions Troels & Inna to demonstrate the use of feet in
the control of their dance and the beauty it can create. They do him proud with beautiful placement and control,
necessary for all top dancers. I’m taken back to Anthony Hurley’s lecture at this moment and the similarities in
the precision of the feet and legs. Just gorgeous to see and appreciate.
Colin’s second source of inspiration came from watching a particular lady of latin dance. ‘She was fascinating,
she was brilliant at what she was doing, she was demanding of you and she would also be calling out to you,
encouraging you to possess her.’ Every touch from her encouraged you to work, you couldn’t help but dance.
He realised how important touch was and how you must live your steps.
Thirdly as a 17 year old boy he was introduced to a genius where he thought now he has made it and will now
learn it all. The room for his first lesson was filled with musical instruments and Colin was fascinated when he
walked in. The genius would play various instruments with the music, but this wasn’t where Colin was to start.
He was asked to dance for him Fan and Alemana as lady. He was asked to dance and explain the timing, the
amount of turn, how did he know it and what was the reason it was there.
Time went on and he learnt many of the ladies steps until one day the genius said ‘Now I will teach you how to
lead a lady. I want you to be able to dance your steps and yet think her steps. I want you to be able to time
your body so that it gives her time to time her body.’ He finally realised the genius and his process of giving
him the understanding of how to lead the lady. Absolute moments of gold in this lecture and I feel privilege to
have experienced it. The genius was of course Mr Walter Laird.
Colin closes his lecture by bringing the veteran lady of latin ‘The Lorraine’ to the floor and words can’t describe
the feeling of awe with this ladies presence coupled with the nostalgia in the room. One of my favourite
moments of the two days, that inspired me to write the piece ‘The Lorraine’.
Current Professional Ballroom Champions Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova deliver an ‘Inspirational
Waltz’ within the first 30 seconds and really don’t have to say much more. Arunas greatest inspiration is
his partner Katusha. However in order to find inspiration in their dance and for their practice they use visual
images, imagination, experiences, knowledge and music. Katusha explains how she uses images in her mind
as inspiration. Firstly she uses picture images, where she imagines the ultimate position she would like to
achieve. This is not enough though and she uses movement images also. For example she may see herself
draping over the mans right arm during a figure. During slip pivots, she use the image of a spiral to enhance
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
the movement. During an Oversway she would envisage stretch. They also explain how they use a ‘whish’
sound to describe the swing action and body weight release in waltz, encouraging the body to replicate the
sound. They demonstrate clearly how useful it is to sound out the movement.
Their constant exploration of knowledge and experimentation through their senses inspires them to become
great dancers and they are not champions by accident. They leave us with their show dance waltz to ‘Lament
with a Frozen Flower’. Katusha in an elegant mauve, tulle gown, floats through the music with Arunas. Effortless
lifts and free flowing movement embrace the music and bring it to life...gorgeous.
The mood shifts dramatically to the rhythmic drums of Brazil as current professional champions Michael
Malitowski and Joanna Leunis treat us to their ‘Inspirational Samba’. The skill these two have is profound
and their execution cannot be faulted. It’s always in lectures that I see why these two are undefeated champions.
They leave no stone un-turned and demonstrate perfection from the moment they enter the floor till they exit it.
The charismatic Michael reveals that he was always drawn back to ballroom dancing from other styles for the
fact you have a partner. So for Michael and Joanna partnering is a source of great inspiration for them, sharing
the dance and the experience with someone else keeps them going.
We then get an insight to how Michael and Joanne choose subjects to inspire their bodies and in turn inspire
each and then hopefully the audience. Today they used two subjects A) experimenting with different body
parts to create a different focus and intention, B) Experimenting with speed changes to create rhythmically
challenging and diverse movements.
To finish Michael and Joanna gave Graham Oswick pieces of paper they had prepared earlier which had
different ideas on them. He called them out as they danced and they busied themselves with these ideas in
that moment. What I loved seeing was how these two were so in sync with each other, with no music, just
Michael’s audible interpretations of the movements as cues. They clearly practice what they preach and use all
their senses to create their dance. These two are not only sublimely professional, but extraordinary innovators
in our industry.
It’s time. It’s time for Bryan Watson and Andrew Sinkinson who casually walk on the floor chatting to
one another about what they will do in today’s lecture entitled ‘the Ultimate Experience’. Andrew asks ‘So
Bryan how many world titles do you hold?’ ‘Umm 9 I think, he replies casually. ‘And how many times British
champion?’ ‘8 Professional I think...no?’ SEVEN is offered up from the audience from none other than Michael
Malitowski who is obviously keeping track as he closes in on Bryan’s record wins. ‘Ah right, he’s counting’ the
audience erupts with applause and laughter.
Andrew and Bryan continue a comical banter between them as they contemplate what the ultimate experience
would be. The ultimate experience is like searching for the holy grail and is what inspires dancers to keep
striving. Many dancers experience winning but feeling like they did not deliver a great performance or they felt
they delivered a great performance but did not win. Bryan explains the ultimate experience is often something
we may of tasted but are always striving for and would be for him a moment when everything comes together
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
in harmony with your partner, the music and the environment. They go on to suggest 5 points that would help
achieve the ultimate experience.
The first point being posture and position. Correct posture with no stress or tension allows you to move freely
and in harmony in both styles. Bryan talks about establishing the centre but not being in a set form. He then
demonstrates how he uses form and line in Paso Doble with flexibility in order to be present in his movement.
I adore his effortless movement and am reminder of how it should be. Many couples these days miss these
qualities while stuck in their competitive mind sets.
Secondly, lead and follow if executed correctly conserves the energy and allows more freedom of movement,
less tension and the ability to execute different dynamics easily. Both Andrew and Bryan reminisce on their
youth days when they used brut force and wasted energy in an effort to replicate those they aspired to be like,
leaving them dying of exhaustion after 5 dances. The ultimate experience require’s efficient partnering skills
and can not be ignored.
Thirdly, knowledge of the basic figures. Andrew tells of how his teachers forced him to repeat over and over the
basic figures before allowing him to do choreography. They would take pleasure in demonstrating how they
could perform these basic figures in a way that were worthy of a Blackpool final, much to his distaste. Bryan
talks about how from winning Blackpool as youth in 1988 till when he was in the professional latin final, he
was NOT allowed to change his choreography. Can you believe that?
All his competitors had all this fantastic choreography and here he was doing his basic rumba and basic cha
cha choreography. What that encouraged him to do was to deconstruct this choreography. Every nuance and
every aspect he learnt and studied, tried to make better and experimented with in the given form. This was a
great experience. He demonstrates the basic entry to his Samba and then shows how he Bryanised it, adding
syncopations, leg flicks, quick catches and slow stretches to show how The Bryan Watson has come to life.
Now I understand. When I have watched and admired him over the years I have always felt I was watching
uniquely Bryan that can not be copied not a form of brilliant choreography. He’s like a renowned chef who takes
the 3 bland ingredients left in the fridge and creates a fabulous meal. His ingredients are the basic figures to
which he flavours and Bryanises to perfection.
Fourthly musicality. Without the music we don’t have the character. Two bodies trying to express the music is
one of the most exciting things about our style of dance. Again Bryan demonstrates to different types of samba
music, showing how he can choose to dance with the music differently, accenting what the music is asking of
him in a very organic way. This is my favourite skill and the most difficult to acquire in my view. Andrew talks
then about phrasing and how it helped him to be more musical and although phrasing can be choreographed
it’s not the end of the chapter. Someone like Massimo would capture the audience with his elephant ears, his
huge heart and with great sound and vision. Andrew gives us a solo foxtrot, demonstrating how he uses the
phrasing to support and enhance the basic movements he has chosen. Your left with a smile as he finishes
with the music perfectly as if it’s his best friend.
Finally, all great dancers go one stage further and add power. They don’t start with power. Power is the last
ingredient. ‘You didn’t see the under 21 latin yesterday’ says Bryan with raised eyebrows. ‘Nowadays the
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
couples are so well trained they can keep the incorrect posture the whole competition.’ and applause of
agreement follows from the audience. It’s all about the relevant amount of energy required to complete the
relevant movement. Bryan and Andrew both agree that they aren’t sure they have had the ultimate experience
but the above points have certainly helped them come close.
They finish their lecture with a demonstration each. Firstly Bryan with his imaginary partner Sarah for the
rumba. For me he’s just the king and I’m left speechless. Andrew then invites his former partner Lorraine Barri
to the floor. He acknowledges that she was a great driving force in his career and thanks her for that. They
leave us with a foxtrot down memory lane and you know the years of experience and practice will never leave
their bodies.
What a way to finish. I can’t wait till next year.
You can read more from Julie on her blog at juliejonesdance.wordpress.com
Blackpool Lecture Series - DAY 2
We track down
the champions
of the past to nd
out what they’ve
been up to.
Image courtesy of Tony and Amanda Dokman
We have some interesting facts for you to all read about Tony & Amanda Dokman, a little bit of
information about these two as dancers for those who may not be aware of who Tony & Amanda
are and what they have achieved in the Ballroom world.
Tony & Amanda Dokman were and still remain to this day the most successful Professional Ballroom couple
ever to represent the Netherlands. They are multiple World, European and British Open Professional Ballroom
finalists, Undefeated Dutch Professional Champions and have won many prestigious titles around the world.
Previous achievements with former partners include:
Closed British Professional Ballroom Champion
UK, International, British and World Professional finalists.
Since retiring from competitive dancing in 2006, they now concentrate on lecturing and teaching many students
all over the world. In the UK they are part of the world famous Dance Studio “Starlight” where many famous
teachers are based such as Marcus & Karen Hilton, Augusto Schiavo, Sammy Stopford, Massimo Giorgianni,
Hide & Adele Tanaka and many more.
In Hong Kong, Tony & Amanda are Directors and co own the wonderful ‘DansinnHeavenly Dance Studio’. This
has quickly become the most famous and most prestigious dance studio in Hong Kong and has many famous
teachers both based there and coming and going throughout the year.
Tony & Amanda have made 15 Blackpool finals between them? That is a combination of previous partners and
right through the age levels, Youth, Amateur, Rising Stars and Professionals.
Amanda won the British Youth Ballroom Championship with Timothy Howson a record breaking 3 times, this
has never been equalled. The 3rd year Amada won the Youth Championship, Tony was in the final with his
sister Anita placing 4th.
Tony & Amanda’s first Professional final together was the European Professional Ballroom Championship and
it was also the first time representing Holland.
Tony & Amanda also assisted the legend Mr Bill Irvine MBE in his last lecture during the Blackpool Dance
They were part of the top 10 Ballroom couples in the world as Amateurs and then Professionals for over 18
Tony and his sister Anita were Dutch Amateur Ballroom Champions 7 times and are still the youngest ever to
have won this title in Holland.
Some of Amanda’s previous partners included, Timothy Howson, Andrew Sinkinson and Luca Barrichi.
In the year 2000, Tony caused a stir at the Blackpool Dance Festival by not only wearing a ‘Short ‘ Jacket
Suit (now known as the Dokman Suit), but also by wearing it in Caramel/Beige. It is now extremely popular to
wear this type of Jacket for shows and demonstrations throughout the world and for those brave enough, in
In 2002 while driving to Blackpool for the World Professional Ballroom Championship, Tony & Amanda were
involved in a major car accident. Although sustaining quite serious jaw and facial injuries, Amanda was still
determined to dance and after seeing a doctor (who advised they shouldn’t dance0 they still made their way
and not only danced but made the final.
All of us at Outside Change would like to wish Tony & Amanda along with Jonathan Crossley and John Wood
the very best of luck with what is already a fantastic championship in the FREEDOM TO DANCE OPEN TO
If you are interested in competing in this event while you are in London, please follow the link below and all the
relevant information will be there for you.
The 2015 championship will be held on Friday 8th May.
Image courtesy of Tony and Amanda Dokman
Who’s got the look ?
Have a look at what’s hot right now in the world of DanceSport Fashion!
These gowns are just a taste of the many that were worn at the recent
National Capital DanceSport Championships, held at the Australian
Institute of Sport in Canberra earlier this year.
I recently viewed some Viennese Waltz on Facebook that a young Italian couple had posted, and quite a few
different feelings and emotions went through my mind. Did I like it, did I disapprove, am I being old fashioned
or, was I just a little confused with what I witnessed.
So I felt the urge to write down my thoughts and send to a dear friend of mine for discussion on what I had just
witnessed, and after our lengthy conversation about the current situation in the Ballroom world, they suggested
it be sent to Outside Change for the Have Your say column. So that is exactly what I have done as I just felt the
need to express my thoughts (both positive and negative) with other dance enthusiasts.
I think it’s great and gives Viennese Waltz something to be more than just 1 minute and 30 seconds of
exhaustion per round between the dances you’ve actually worked on. Let’s face it, Viennese Waltz doesn’t get
the same attention as the other 4 dances in regard to tuition time. It would bring it into line with the Latin style
in that way.
What I witnessed although interesting, was complicated, and would require a high standard to be able to get
anything out. I can’t see C or B Graders dancing up with no notice with this. Then again that is out of line with
Latin. Couples are required to have 5 choreographed routines for that. It’s also not what Viennese Waltz is loved
for. I can’t tell you the amount of non dancers that, out of the 5 Standard Ballroom Dances are most impressed
with the “one where everyone goes spinning around at the same time”.
I suppose at the end of the day we ask, is this change “growth” or “unnecessary fiddling” that’s destroying
a classic? I like it but, I don’t think it’s achievable at anything below our highest level or the world’s top level
dancers. I’d also like it to be known as something else like “Viennese Waltz Derivative” or “Non Standard
Viennese Waltz”, something that makes sure the standard rules we understand about Viennese Waltz are not
lost to history in an effort to advance. Certainly yes, it resembles Viennese Waltz rhythmically but I think we can
say the comparison ends there.
Ultimately looking at the series of the 5 Standard Ballroom Dances, currently each one brings something
different, a different swing plane, posture, rhythm and “personality”. To make Viennese Waltz like this would
take away it’s beauty of simplicity and make it (look) much more like it’s counterparts. Is that what we want? I
suppose the same conversation existed at the inclusion of Tango many years ago? Well, talk about a flip flop!
I love change. I love growth. I don’t like change for the sake of fiddling.
Chelsea Richardson
Former Australian Champion
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