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Top 10 Dancesport Competitions To Watch Out For in 2019

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Dancesport competitions – art, sport, and glamour

Both WDC and WDSF have some great competitions that have managed to put themselves in dancesport history. This happened as a result of the exquisite organization, great music & atmosphere, renowned judge panels, and world-class competitors.

In this article, I will discuss why are these some of the most famous comps.

Note: I will leave out the World and European Championships for both federations as it is clear that they are a must for every dancer 😉

WDC Competitions

1. Crystal Ball

The first top-notch competition of the year will be on 19-20 January in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg. The organizers are Evgeny Smagin & Polina Kazachenko and Andrei Golovin & Alenda Vaganova.

Crystal Ball is coated in a veil of pure elegance and luxury with an aura of mystery – it really lives up to its name.

The judging panel is not less incredible. Here are some of the names: Gaynor Fairweather MBE, Maurizio Vescovo, Karina Smirnoff, or Sergey Ryupin.

Hurry-up! The online registration closes 14th of January! Register here.

2. British Open Championship (a.k.a. Blackpool Dance Festival)

Blackpool Dance Festival is, without any doubt, one of the most famous dancesport competitions. It has a huge history behind it, being one of the oldest competitions – the first edition took place in 1920 during Easter week.

Besides the live, classy music that the Empress Orchestra prepares for the competitors every year, the crowd is always fabulous. The spectators are putting on their best clothes and are expecting to see great performances on the stunning Winter Gardens floor.

Oh, and not to mention that you see all your idols roaming around… 😱

This year the Festival will take place starting with 19th of May until 31st of May.

If you want to hear about our experience at the previous Blackpool Dance Festival, click here – it was life-changing.

3. Blackpool Festival China

The dancesport industry in Asia is booming: great teachers, amazing dance studios and fierce competitors. Asian dancers have always proudly represented their countries at European competitions, but always traveling to Europe is not very easy. This lead to an increased number of competitions that are taking place in China or Japan for example.

It was just about time for Blackpool Dance Festival to pack its bags and go overseas to Shanghai. The first edition of Blackpool Festival China was in 2015 and it was a success. This dancesport competition is perfect for you if you are living in Asia and you don’t get the chance to travel to Blackpool. Don’t miss the opportunity experience great quality from world class dancers right there, next to you!

This year’s the event is scheduled for August 15-20.

4. Embassy Ballroom Championships

The Embassy Ball is one of the coolest dancesport competitions in America. It has a rich history of over 30 years. Founded in 1980 by former Ballroom Champions Brian and Christine McDonald, The Embassy has grown to become one of the top dance competitions in the United States.

If you want to experience the American style of ballroom and latin competitions this is a perfect choice. Dance next to the World Champions at the Hotel Irvine Jamboree Center between August 28th – September 1st.

Official website: http://www.embassyball.com/

5. Fred Astaire – Disneyland Dance Festival

Donnie Burns MBE and Sammy Stopford are one of the biggest legends in the industry of ballroom and latin. They are known for their unique styles of dancing, approach to teaching aaaand for organizing the glamorous dancesport competition Fred Astaire – Disneyland Dance Festival. This year, the event is scheduled for December 6-8.

The competition is truly inspiring as the dancing is always at its highest level. What I find the most appealing at this competition are the shows. Top professional couples are putting on their best routines to create emotional moments. My personal favorite is Yulia and Riccardo’s paso doble:

WDSF Competitions

1. DanceMasters – Bucharest GrandSlam

This year, DanceMasters is proudly going to represent the first GrandSlam of the year. It is also a first for Romania, as it has never hosted a GrandSlam before. Congratulations to the Romanian Dancesport Federation and to the organizers! We are looking forward to seeing how the event will turn out.

If you want to find out more about the previous edition of DanceMasters check out our other article.

Make sure you are present on the 16th and 17th of March in Bucharest and be part of dancesport history.

2. GrandSlam Rimini

Rimini is the third stop on the GrandSlam Series tour and it will take place on July 13-14 in Rimini, Italy. As all GrandSlam competitions, Rimini represents a must for top couples. The dancers are letting themselves inspired by the Italian vibe and show amazing passion on the dance floor.

3. German Open Championship

When you think about spectacular dancing with show-stopping moves, GOC is one of the first names that come into your mind. For all WDSF athletes is a dream come true to participate at this amazing competition. The energy is at its highest peak thanks to the cheering audience from the three competition halls: Alte Reithalle, Hegelsaal, and Beethovensaal.

The 1st German Open Championships took place in 1987 over the space of three days. Since then, it is one of the main events for dancers all over the world. This year the event is between August 13th and 17th.

4. Russian Open Championship

If you want to test your power, mindset, and technique there is no better dancesport competition to go to than the Russian Open Championship. The event is organized by the All Russian Federation of DanceSport, this year between October 25-26 in Moscow, Russia.

This GrandSlam will truly prepare you for the high standards of this beautiful sport. Have a look at this beautiful waltz and you will realize the level that this competition promotes:

5. Grand Slam Shanghai

The 2019 GrandSlam Series final stop is on December 7-8 in Shanghai, China.

There, you can witness the crème de la crème of the world of dancesport. Incredible athletes that worked so hard during the year just to arrive at this point now get to show the world what they can do.

And guess what? It’s your chance to feel like a true Hollywood movie star because they have a Walk of Fame laid out for you:

 

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NEWS

Is Dancesport An Individual Sport Or A Team Sport?

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Dancesport, besides being a form of art, is also very athletic and it is also considered a sport. Generally, sports have been divided into two main categories:

  • Team sports
  • Individual sports

Because they are two different categories, they also shape you in different ways and teaches you different things in relation to yourself and with others.

Individual sports

They place you face to face with the reality of the competition. Only you can affect your performance and your result in a positive or in a negative way. Then, when you compete, you cannot count on the help or support of anybody else. There’s only you on the field, with your strength and your fears. What they teach you is that you have to rely only on yourself and be confident.

The peak of individual sports is that you don’t have to split the victory with anybody else. It’s you that wins and only you that loses.

Team sports

They are all about learning how to work as a team – several people discovering how to work together. They teach you how to position yourself with the other members of the team. You have to determine how to work with the others in any circumstances.

Most importantly, you have to learn to accept others’ mistakes – how to lose even if you played good. But one of the best parts is that you can count on the help of your mates and sometimes you win even if you didn’t perform at your 100%.

Dancesport – individual & team sport

Then in which category do we put dancesport? The competition is between couples, so we have to consider them as individual players competing against each other, but a couple is made of two athletes. So would you define dancesport as an individual or a team sport? What if it is both at the same time?

Why a team sport?

Definitely, you can say that dancesport is a team sport. First of all, there are two people trying work as one and the connection between the two partners is crucial in dancing. Everything needs to be in harmony and whatever one partner does, will affect more or less the other. If you make a mistake or do not perform at your best, the other half of the “team” can’t show their best.

Nevertheless, same as in any other team sport, you learn to accept and work with your partner as they are. Along with your coach, you decide what are your strengths and weaknesses and use them strategically. Furthermore, at the base of the partnership should be faith and support. You should believe in each other.

Why an individual sport?

At the same time though, dancing is so much individual. It is you on the floor. As dancing is a sport, you need to have the right technique, you need to be in shape, and take care of your diet. Nobody is going to do it for you – not your partner and certainly not your trainers.

Furthermore, being also a form of art, in dancing, you need to perform for the audience and engage with them. You need to translate the emotions you get from the music and your partner into your own movement. This is what will differentiate you among the other couples. You must be unique and together with your partner, your couple will be recognizable.

Dancesport shapes you as an athlete and as a person like no other sport. It is such a particular situation where two people become one unit, still being individuals inside it.

 

Also, make sure you check 4 Aspects of Dancesport Which You Won’t Find In Other Sports

 

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What Dancesport Training Camps Should You Go To?

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One of the most important parts of the life of dancers is the preparation before a competition. Usually, before a busy season of competitions, there are several camps organized by great dancers or clubs. The role of camps is to help you develop into a better dancer through mastering the technique and learn key principles of dancing from the best teachers.

We have already discussed the topic of training camps in another article here, but this time we simply want to point out some of the best camps from the WDC and WDSF worlds.

1. THE CAMP – Wuppertal, Germany

Most of us dancers search for lectures online. In your searches is impossible not to stumble upon some lectures from THE CAMP – Wuppertal. But, what makes this camp so great?

First of all, it has some of the great teachers from the industry and the location – The Historical Town Hall – is absolutely stunning. Everything is so well thought and the purpose is to leave Wuppertal inspired and focused.

Here is the teachers’ list of the 2019 edition that has just ended:

What Dancesport Training Camps Should You Go To?

To keep a close eye on the next year’s event make sure you visit their website or Facebook Page

2. Dancing Superstars Festival – Bremen

In 2019 the Dancing Superstars Festival will be at its 6th edition and it is announced better than ever. The coaches that will hold the workshops are some of the biggest legends: Slavik Kryklyvyy, Catia Vanone, Fabio Selmi, or Julie Fryer just to name a few.

Here you can see the full list of coaches and apply for the Congress that will happen between 31st of May and 2nd of June. And a small hint from us, don’t miss out on the Galaball on June 1st. You’ll witness some outstanding shows from great dancers in a glamorous ambiance with a live orchestra.

3. Summer Dancecamp – Denmark

What’s a summer without a dance camp? Well, the perfect one would be the Summer Dancecamp. Why is it perfect? They are, as they state on their website a “dance camp independent of federations, dance schools, clubs and organisations – everyone is welcome regardless of affiliation”.

World Champions Kristina and Peter Stokkebroe and Frank Høgh are on their 8th year of organizing this camp for every dancer of any level to come and learn from the best. For us, it sounds like the perfect environment where every dancer will feel welcomed.

This year the camp is going to take place between 7th – 12th July, so make sure you sign up here.

4. Edita Daniute International Training Camp – Trakai

Happening in Lithuania between 14th and 21st of July, this camp organized by Edita Daniute – one of the best names from the ballroom world – is meant to develop all the aspects of a ballroom dancer. You will have morning jogging, aerobics & stretching, lectures and stamina practice.

Coaches: Edita Daniute, Mirko Gozzoli, Fabio Selmi, Pietro Braga, Salvatore Todaro, Catia Vanone, Alexey Silde, Alessandro Firmo, Marek Chojnacki, Michele Bonsignori, Anastasia Titkova.

5. Team Vivo Latino with la Grande Orchestra Italiana – Italy

Between 19-21 July, in Italy, Team Vivo Latino is organizing the biggest International Training camp and competition in Southern Italy. The camp and the competition will be in Mariotto which is 30-40 minutes by car or transfer from the Bari-Palese airport.  

Team Vivo Latino camp has one of the best line-ups of coaches. Are these ringing a bell?

  • Hans Galke
  • Sergey & Melia
  • Paul Killick
  • Andrej & Melinda
  • Viktor Nikovskiy
  • David Yin
  • Goran Nordin
  • Jukka & Sirpa
  • Maurizio Vescovo
  • Joanna Leunis.

And this is not all! The highlight of the event is going to be the “Jungle Pool Party” on the 20th July and the wonderful Grande Orchestra Italiana.

For updates make sure you follow Team Vivo Facebook or the organizer’s Instagram.

6. S&F Camp – Moscow

S&F Camp is organized by Alexey Silde and Anna Firstova dedicated mostly to latin. It is held in the Crocus Expo usually at the beginning of January and the second time it’s at the end of August and lasts for 5-6 days. During these days, the schedule looks like this: in the morning you have stretching sessions, around 4 PM you’ll have general physical preparation and in the evening there are practice sessions.

7. ZK Camp – Moscow

The ZK Camp is organized by Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova and is dedicated only to standard dancers. Same as the S&F Camp, it is held in Moscow in the Crocus Expo. The first ZK Camp is at the beginning of January and the second time is in September and usually, it lasts 3-4 days.

The schedule of the day is divided into two parts: physical preparation and practice sessions in the evening. Also, there are separate groups for children up to Junior II and separate groups for Youth. In charge of these groups are the teachers’ assistants: Matteo del Gaone, Evgeny Nikitin and Anton Besedin.

8. International Championships Preparation Quality Camp – Warsaw

Is organized by Lukasz & Aleksandra Tomczak from 13th to the 16th September in Warsaw, Poland. As the name suggests this camp is dedicated for those who are preparing to give their best at the International Championship that will take place on the 8th of October 2019.

The full list of teachers will be announced soon, but for now here are some of the names: Lyn Marriner, Massimo Giorgianni, Greg Smith and of course Lukasz & Aleksandra Tomczak. If you want to book your place, you can write to Lukasz on his Facebook or Instagram.

9. Mabo Training Camp – Italy

During 19-22 September you can participate at the Mabo training camp and receive valuable insights from some of the biggest legends of the industry.

What Dancesport Training Camps Should You Go To?

For future details, you can check the website or simply write to  mabotrainingcamp@gmail.com

10. Transylvanian Grand Prix

Transylvanian Grand Prix is one of the most important dancesport events in Romania. Top WDSF couples from around the come and fight for a place in the finals. The best thing about this event is the Transylvanian Training Camp which brings teachers such as William Pino, Pietro Braga, Barbara Ambroz, Giordano Vanone, Colin James and many others.

For now, there are not many details about the 2019 schedule, but we are excited to see what the Transylvanian Grand Prix has installed for us. In the meantime, you can read more about the 2017 event, as we were happy to participate at it.

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Maintaining The Core Principles & The Development Of Dancesport

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Development of dancesport

In dancesport, as in any other sport, there are adjustments in the procedures and regulations that have the purpose of developing and keeping this sport evolving. There might be changes in the Federations, modifications in the ways adjudicators mark the dancers, different rules for costumes and routines or innovative ideas for the future of the sport.

Furthermore, as in any other form of art, in dancesport as well there are trends and currents that make an impact on the way dancers express themselves through their routines and movements. These trends come without doubt from the social environment. For example, in the ’60s, the ballroom and latin routines were more conservative let’s say. But so was society. Nowadays people express themselves more freely; the rhythm of life is much faster. And so is the rhythm in dancing.

Nevertheless, if we wish dancesport to maintain its identity, we should always keep in mind the core principles and the roots of this beautiful sport and art form. No matter if we are active competitive dancers, teachers, officials, adjudicators or dance enthusiasts.

Core principles

In a thought-provoking interview we had with Espen Salberg at the 2018 Blackpool Dance Festival, we tackled some important aspects like what he values at a dance couple or the evolution of dancesport.

Value of partnering

Dancesport is a style of dancing that is done in a holding position, thus the partnering skills are essential in order to create a harmonious dance.

Dancing together requires certain chemistry between the two dancers. As Espen said, dancing should be a conversation, a “question and answer situation”. This is obtained through a coherent choreography, leading & following ability and technique. You should see the dance actions being attuned and the bodyweight used in the right manner.

True leading

A very big topic of discussion in our world is the “lead & follow” subject. In dancesport, the man should be the leader and the woman should follow; the man gives the action and the woman has the reaction. Espen encourages men to actually be in charge of the situation and to command the right way.

Correct footwork

Espen confessed that he loves beauty. And what else are the ladies of ballroom & latin but a true depiction of beauty?

Nonetheless, it does not matter how superb the lady is with her hair, make-up, and dress. As long as her footwork is not impeccable, everything is for nothing. For Espen, beautiful leg actions are crucial in dancesport.

Joy of dancing

Let’s not forget that the reason we all dance is because it makes us feel good. This is the way we express ourselves. We love the music, the movement, the emotions, the show, our partners, the crowd and the other competitors.

As Espen puts it, dancers come in on the floor with sheer pleasure and they fill the room. In the end, we wouldn’t want to see a dancer that looks that he or she doesn’t want to be there.

The future of dancesport

Having in mind these values, we also need to think about where dancesport is going. What trends should we follow and which ones should we ignore? What’s for sure is that there should be a balance between slow & fast, traditional & innovative, artistic & athletic.  

“I hope in the reality of maintaining the character of the different dances packaged in a contemporary way – that is basically my desire, my wish.”
Espen Salberg

 

If you want to watch the whole interview and find out more about Espen Salberg’s vision and career, click here.

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