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Why Do Dancers Love The Blackpool Dance Festival So Much?

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For most of the dancers, May is a synonym for The Blackpool Dance Festival. This year it would have been the 95th celebration of this prestigious event and its 100 years anniversary. It is for the first time in history when the Festival has been postponed; the event was cancelled for 5 years during the Second World War.   

On Saturday, it would have been the start of the Blackpool International Congress. Last year the theme was “Concept of Art”. On Monday it would have been the start of the last week of competitions, everyone being excited for the Amateur & Professional finals.

Because The Blackpool Dance Festival is deeply ingrained in our soul as well, we decided to share with you some reasons why dancers love this event so much

“When you are a young kid and you get here, definitely the music, the audience, the history, the hall, even the smell and energy of the room, it just takes over, so you’re not dancing the competition, the competition actually dances you.”
– Yulia Musikhina –

You can also see the full answers in the interviews we had last year with these amazing dancers, on our YouTube channel

The wins

It must be truly out of this world to experience a win at The Blackpool Dance Festival. And by win I am not necessarily thinking about winning the competition. Maybe for someone a win is to get to the next round, into the semifinal or final. As Ferdi Iannaccone puts it: “Your whole life you hope that one day you do a good result here in Blackpool.”

For example, Dorota Rusu remembers with great fondness the Team Match from 2018. Troels Bager is keeping dear into his heart when he & Ina won the Under 21 and when they got into the Amateur Final and won it. Also a big win for him was when they turned Professional and they made it into the Final straight away.

The music 

The Empress Orchestra lead by Mr. Ashley Frohlick is for sure a trademark of this prestigious event. There is no Blackpool without its music! 

Ina Jeliazkova gets goosebumps even now when she thinks of the time when Mr. Ashley Frohlick came out with the Casino Cha-Cha for the first time. Her and Troels had this side-by-side piece in their Cha-Cha routine and they hit exactly the music phrase. She told us that the audience went absolutely crazy!

The Legends

We all need to remember that your idols have idols as well and in Blackpool, you get to perform in front of them! All the biggest legends have each year the same seats in the front rows. You get to see great dancers on every square meter of the Winter Gardens.

Valerio Colantoni told us this story and it must be one of the most amazing ones I’ve heard so far:

“I first came here with my father and my dancing partner. I arrived at the stairs when Marcus & Karen Hilton were dancing their last dance. And there were like a million people inside and the crowd clapped them for 12 minutes. In that moment I realized that this competition is a different world than the world we’re usually staying in. I realized that this is where I want to be.”
– Valerio –

Troels had almost the same experience as Valerio. In the night they got into the final of Professional Latin, Michael & Joanna announced their retirement.  

“It was such a culmination of so many things that night and for us to be able to stay on the floor with those champions and legends.”
– Troels –

But Domen Krapez makes sure to remind us that these legends are still human beings. They all know what the pressure of dancing in front of your idols means and that is why they show support. Even if they are the biggest legends, they always stand up at the last dance of the final, clapping & cheering. 

“This is actually the beauty and the friendship of this world. It puts everybody together.”
– Domen –

The Energy

Without doubt the atmosphere in the Winter Gardens is absolutely addictive. There is an energy in that ballroom that fills your heart and takes you over. But where does this energy come from? 

“Blackpool is very special in so many ways. Like you never get so much energy from the audience as here.”
– Klemen Prasnikar –

“Definitely, of course, the feeling you get in Blackpool, dancing on this floor… you cannot compare it with any other competition. Of course, there are many competitions that are great in the world, but here it just feels… Maybe it’s also because it’s the peak of the season, like you feel that the whole year you are building up to that. In Jive it’s like it’s just building up to this moment, this “10 minutes of the Final”, when you just wanna give everything. And you feel that the audience also gives it back.”
– Sasha Averkieva –

“It’s the stairs. Going down on those stairs…and you start to smell it, probably, even the lightning, and the music, the live music just gives me goosebumps. Because when you practice at home, it’s a different thing. You don’t have this magical factor that is Blackpool.”
– Monica Nigro –

“When we’re preparing for The Blackpool Dance Festival, we think about the venue, the atmosphere, the surroundings.”
– Sergiu Rusu –

“I think in Blackpool, people are more prone to having special moments and they are excited for something happening. I think people are always just waiting for something special to happen. If it’s every year? I don’t know.. I think in a way it depends on us, on dancers, cuz if we don’t do our part, I don’t think the crowd would go mental.”
– Petar Daskalov –

“If we don’t give, we don’t receive anything. So I think it varies, the public is very ready to give, to cheer you on, if you give to them firstly.”
– Zia James –

I dare say that I agree 100% with all of these great dancers. Those stairs, the smell, the legends from the front row who ALWAYS sit in the same place. The beauty of the Empress Ballroom and the music that the Empress Orchestra plays are absolutely fairytale-like. But I think the best thing about The Blackpool Festival is the audience: the clapping of thousands of people who share the same passion – dancing. You absolutely feel alive!

How about you? What’s your favorite thing about The Blackpool Dance Festival?

The post Why Do Dancers Love The Blackpool Dance Festival So Much? appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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5 Lessons 2020 Taught Us

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As horrible as this year must have been, we should be thankful for it has taught us plenty of lessons. The year 2020 forced us to reevaluate our plans and dreams. 

2020 showed us who our real friends are and who is willing to give up on us when we need them the most. This year a lot of partnerships have ended, and others have formed. Some have quit dancing, while others have started new & exciting projects.

I summed up what I think are the most important things that 2020 showed to us. 

1. We Love Competitions

As a competitive dancer, preparing and going to competitions is your main activity and this year showed us that we might take them for granted.

This year I saw how much all dancers, from beginners to dance legends, suffered that they couldn’t attend competitions such as the Blackpool Dance Festival, German Open, and many other competitions that hold a special spot in each dancer’s heart.

This year we missed all the fuss and excitement that surrounds a big event. We missed people that we see maybe just once a year at that certain comp and we certainly missed being on and off the dance floor.

2. How Addicted To Dancing We Really Are

Ok, at first, it was quite nice. Everyone thought, “Oh, I can finally have a well-deserved break now”. 

But we soon realized that we could not live without dancing. We all started dancing around the house, we reorganized our living rooms in mini dance studios, and we used our walls as partners. 

Some of us who gave up dancing a while ago know how difficult it is to stop. But for those who were in full ascension, I imagine this forced pause felt even worse. 

Nevertheless, dancers are not easily broken down. Many of you practiced in your homes and used this time to learn new things about dancing. Some of you listened to interviews or perfected specific dancing skills such as elasticity. 

3. Online Education Is Important

Because we are on this topic, we realized how crucial online teaching resources really are during this pandemic.

Many dancers couldn’t see their teachers, and this is how online classes came into play. Either if you prefer pre-recorded courses as we offer on Dancesportlife Academy, or live classes, you cannot deny that this is what kept dancers growing during 2020. 

4. How Attached To Our Dance Family We Really Are

The connection between partners is something very difficult to put into words. It is that type of fondness that is hard to explain. In 2020 we didn’t only miss dancing. We also missed what goes hand in hand with dancesport – our partners. The connection between the two partners is one of the most beautiful aspects of dancesport.

Besides our partners, we missed our teachers. There is nothing like a good lesson with our favorite teacher. We missed that type of lesson in which you get those “Aha!” moments when everything clicks. 

5. To Be More United

All in all, I think the most important lesson this year taught us that we need to be more united. 

Many dancers came together to create beautiful online projects this year. We’ve watched fascinating discussions between dancers that otherwise might have never seen together. 

I think we should always remember that the most important thing is never to lose our humanity & kindness. 

The post 5 Lessons 2020 Taught Us appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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11 Online Courses For Soft Skills In Ballroom & Latin

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Technique is crucial if you want to be a good dancer. But what do you need to do in order to achieve that higher level? Well, that’s when soft skills subjects like partnering, communication, musicality and style choice come into play.

I put together a list of 11 courses you can find at Dancesportlife Academy that will help you be a more sophisticated dancer. 

A tip from me: because Santa Claus thinks we’ve been good this year & respected all the rules, we have all our courses on SALE.

1. Partnering Skills in Rumba by Espen Salberg

In his lecture at Dance Amore Roma 2019, Espen Salberg is discussing the sensitivity of lead & follow. Dialog and communication between the two bodies are essential in order to create togetherness.

Espen showcases in his lecture, assisted by Oxana Lebedew and Laura Zmajkovicova, two ways in which you can improve your leading actions:

  1. By knowing the order in which you need to communicate with your partner.
  1. By knowing the amount of energy/physicality you need to put into your leading actions.

Length: 35 minutes

Here is the link to the course

2. Finding Your Dancing Self by Oxana Lebedw

Learning how to express yourself through dancing is one of the most beautiful and challenging aspects of dancesport. It’s something that allows a dancer to touch other’s hearts and souls. That is done by discovering and expressing your own uniqueness.

In this course, you will explore the freedom to show yourself as a performer. You will find out how to relate your own self to your dancing self by learning to be aware and open all your senses.

Length: 45 minutes

Here is the link to the course

3. Mastering Of A Partnership by Oxana Lebedew

In a course that feels like a discussion with a wise psychologist, Oxana shares her pieces of advice on how to develop your partnership into something out of the ordinary.

She touches on subjects like how to communicate with your partner and how to connect. She offers examples on how to divide the duties in a partnership and how to choose a style for you, as a couple.

Length: 25 minutes

Here is the link to the course

4. Samba by Slavik Kryklyvyy

In his lecture from the Gladiators Dance Congress 2019, Slavik is touching many important aspects that create and give samba the characteristic of a “body dance”.

He is pointing out that nowadays, many dancers and teachers forgot what are the core principles of this dance or what are its origins. Thus, the character of samba has been lost.

Length: 31 minutes

Here is the link to the course

5. Movement In Rumba by Slavik Kryklyvyy

In this lecture, Slavik is focusing on body movements in rumba, while tackling subjects like freedom and fluidity.

Being the talent that he is, his lecture is truly inspiring if you want to develop your thinking in a more artistic way.

Length: 30 minutes

Here is the link to the course

6. Creating Your Own Dance Story by Klemen Prasnikar & Sasha Averkieva

Klemen Prasnikar & Sasha Averkieva, WDC World Latin Champions, take you into a self-expression journey by playing with one of the most fundamental principles of dancing: connection.

In the first chapter, they tackle the physical connection. Then they show you how to stay connected even if you are not touching your partner. Lastly, they show you how to play with these types of connections to create your own dance style, your own dance story.

Length: 1 hour 25 minutes

Here is the link to the course

7. Freedom Through Breathing by Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar

Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar are one of those dance couples that are simply meant for each other. They are currently semi-finalists in all the major events in WDSF Amateur Latin and former World Champions in WDSF Youth and Under 21.

The course is structured in three parts. In the first chapter, Paul & Cristina will show how deficient breathing can influence your mental state and affect your performance. In the second part, they explain how faulty breathing patterns can affect your body, especially your stamina. Lastly, Paul & Cristina shed light on how you can use breathing to play with your steps during your routine by creating a different dynamic.

The course is very unique and could be illuminating for many dancers out there, Latin or Ballroom!

Length: 34 minutes 

Here is the link to the course

8. Qualities Of A Long-Lasting Partnership by Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar 

Long-lasting partnerships are something we all strive for. They offer us a sense of security and reliability, which helps us truly focus 100% on the dancing.

But how to maintain a good partnership throughout the years?

Through their 18 years of experience together as a dance couple, Paul & Cristina realized what worked for them. Now, they are willing to share some of their key ingredients of such a beautiful relationship.

This course will leave you with the impression that you just discussed with your most responsible and thoughtful friends.

Tip: This course can be found as a BONUS if you decide to buy Paul & Cristina’s course – “Freedom Through Breathing”

Length: 11 minutes

Here is the link to the course

9. How To Make A Ballroom Dancing Hairstyle For Men by Madis Abel

This course is a step-by-step program designed for Ballroom and 10-dancers to give you all the tools needed to have a champion’s hairstyle.

You will find 20 lectures divided into 5 sections: Preparing your hair, Basic principles, Blow drying, Hair spraying, and Common mistakes. This isn’t fluffy theory stuff either. You’ll get real, ready-to-use tools that you can begin to implement immediately. 

Length: 2 hours

Here is the link to the course

10. The Details Make The Difference In Latin by Frederic Mosa

Frederic Mosa is one of the most sought after teachers and adjudicators in the WDSF Latin world, coaching top Latin couples.

In his lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp 2020, Frederic is showing you with the help of Andrea Silvestri & Marina Varadi the importance of details in our art.

Three of those details are: creating a signature move, musicality, and the connection between partners.

Length: 39 minutes

Here is the link to the course

11. How To Make The Interpretation Interesting, Using The Musical Structure by Pietro Braga

When you say musicality in Standard dances you automatically think of Pietro Braga – one of the best teachers to go to if you want to excel in this area.

In his lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp, Pietro teaches you how to interpret movement by understanding the musical structure.

Length: 28 minutes

Here is the link to the course

The post 11 Online Courses For Soft Skills In Ballroom & Latin appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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11 Best Online Courses On Ballroom & Latin Technique

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We’ve put together some of Dancesportlife Academy’s best courses and premium camp lectures for Ballroom & Latin technique. 

We also have massive Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions at the moment, so if you decide to buy some of the courses, now is the time! 

1. Fundamentals Of Ballroom by Mirko & Edita Gozzoli

One of our best-selling courses is, by far, the greatest choice if you want to learn the core principles of Ballroom technique such as posture, hold, centres, footwork & body action. Furthermore, you get the chance to discover four novel choreographies and how to apply the theory to them.

Mirko & Edita Gozzoli barely need any introduction. They are one of the most renowned names in ballroom dancing. They have been both World Champions and European Champions.

Length: 4 hours 20 minutes

Link to the course

2. Fundamentals Of Quickstep by Hazel Newberry

Hazel Newberry MBE is one of the United Kingdom’s leading ballroom ladies and dance teachers. She was three times undefeated World Professional Ballroom champion. 

In her lecture at the Gladiators Dance Congress, she focused her attention on lead & follow by looking at body positioning and core principles such as contra body movement.

Length: 29 minutes

Link to the lecture

3. Paso Doble – Structure And Its 5 Elements by Alan Fletcher

When you say “Alan Fletcher” you automatically say “true legend of the Latin American dancing world”. One of the most sought after teachers, preparing couples to win the highest titles, reveals the five key aspects of Paso Doble.  

Learn from Alan some secrets on music, posture, shaping, framing, and resistance. Also, you will get a cameo from one of the most loved lady dancers. I’ll let you guess who that is!

Length: 26 minutes

Link to the lecture

4. Partnering Skills In Tango By Steve Powell

A true gentleman of the ballroom dancing world, Steve Powell is a multiple-time European Professional Ballroom finalist and a World Professional Ballroom Semi-finalist.

In his lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress, we can learn about partnering applied strictly in Tango, as it is quite different than the other Ballroom dances. Steve is looking mainly at how the body and foot positioning helps in mastering the partnering skills. 

Length: 31 minutes

Link to the lecture

5. Paso Shaping by Graham Oswick

Charming and charismatic, with a great competitive career behind him, Graham Oswick uses his knowledge to teach Ballroom and Latin American competitors valuable principles.

He showcases this charm and love for core principles of Latin-American dancing in his lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress. Graham explains how to create that distinct Paso shaping through mastering feet pressure and leg action.

Length: 29 minutes

Link to the lecture

6. Fundamentals Of Movement In Latin by Andrea Silvestri & Martina Varadi

Andrea Silvestri & Martina Varadi are one of the top WDSF Amateur Latin couples. They are finalists in all the major events such as Grand Slams and WDSF World & European Championships. 

For their Dancesportlife Academy course, they’ve put together five chapters of theory and choreography designed to help you learn the basic principles of bodyweight, movement, and connection. In the choreography part of the course, Andrea & Martina will show you four basic routines and four more advanced routines by applying all the principles discussed in the theoretical section.

Length: 2 hours 40 minutes

Link to the course

7. Use Of Different Timing In Cha-Cha-Cha By Goran Nordin

Goran is a former UK Closed Amateur Latin Champion, British National Professional Latin Champion, and a finalist in major competitions from the WDC world. 

He is known for his inclination towards choreography, timing, and musicality. And that is exactly what he discusses in his lecture from the Gladiators Dance Congress. Goran, with amazing enthusiasm, showcases how we can play with different timing in Cha-Cha-Cha.

Length: 28 minutes

Link to the lecture

8. Specific Positions That Give Character To Your Dance by Mirko Gozzoli

Mirko Gozzoli has a special place on this list as he appears not one time but three times! 

In this lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress, Mirko shows you how to dance a Tango that respects its character by creating different positions. 

Length: 32 minutes

Link to the lecture

9. Viennese Waltz And Its Technical Actions By Mirko Gozzoli

The third lecture held by Mirko is the one from Master Evolution Training Camp. 

As should expect from each of Mirko’s lecture, you will receive great details and discover hidden aspects of a dance. In this lecture, he teaches you the correct foot alignment & placement in Viennese Waltz and the amount of turn in the body position.

Length: 50 minutes

Link to the lecture

10. Bodyweight By Simona Fancello

Simona Fancello is a great ballroom instructor. Her career was filled with great results together with Fabio Selmi. She has been a finalist in all the major competitions, such as World & European Championships.

In this lecture, she focuses on the importance of bodyweight and how to use it in the fundamental basic steps of quickstep.

Length: 27 minutes

Link to the lecture

11. Slow Waltz And The 3 Important Actions: Swing, Sway, Shape By Irina Solomatina

Irina Solomatina is one of the most sought after teachers. Together with Alexander Melnikov, she was 12 times Russian Champions.

In her lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp, Irina explains thoroughly how the swing, sway, and shape in Slow Waltz are crucial for good leading in Slow Waltz

Length: 39 minutes

Link to the lecture

 

Next, we’ll make a list of courses and camp lectures that focus on softer skills such as musicality, artistry, or communication.

The post 11 Best Online Courses On Ballroom & Latin Technique appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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