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The fantastic Yulia and Riccardo.
The latest styles in ballroom dresses seen at the Blackpool Dance Festival 2008.  Photograph Anatoli Treliski.
Donnie Burns adjudicating at Blackpool Dance Festival 2008 in the stunning Wintergarden ballroom.

THE WONDERFUL WINTERGARDENS AT BLACKPOOL 2007
2009
 
 

 

Interesting  comments on Blackpool 2007 from DANCE BEAT - For fabulous photographs go to DANCE BEAT - see links
 

Open British Professional Standard

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Hazel Newberry gives her opinions on the 2007 Open British Standard.  FREE to read!

"Mirko Gozzoli Alessia Betti This super talented couple are easy winners. They have a star quality that you can’t teach but rather possess in your gates. They move effortlessly across the floor and all the technical factors flow naturally. They are a real dream team. They only criticism, and that goes for most of the competitors, is that there was a laid back approach running up to the final. I understand the need to save energy for the ultimate battle but by being a finalist means people expect you to be different from the rest every time you step on to the floor. Being a champion means you have to be perfect on all areas all of the time. Mirko and Alessia, especially Mirko, are performers through and through and you want to see that they mean business and have that air of being a champion from the first round. Unfortunately, I kept missing them in the the earlier rounds and listening to the reaction from the audience it was a similar story. "

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Amateur Latin - by Jukka Haapaleinen  click here

Pro Latin - by Phillip Nicholas  click her

 

Open British Professional Standard Championship
By Hazel Newberry MBE
photos by:  www.dancesportphoto.net

It’s the last Friday of the competition and it’s time for the Professional Standard British Championship. Two hundred and ninety one couples from all over the world are taking part for this coveted title. Unfortunately two of the top names, Timothy Howson and Joanne Bolton, and Christopher and Justyna Hawkins, have had to pull out due to injuries. This has caused a battle royal for the two spaces in the final and it turned out to be a very interesting competition.

(1111) Mirko Gozzoli Alessia Betti This super talented couple are easy winners. They have a star quality that you can’t teach but rather possess in your gates. They move effortlessly across the floor and all the technical factors flow naturally. They are a real dream team. They only criticism, and that goes for most of the competitors, is that there was a laid back approach running up to the final. I understand the need to save energy for the ultimate battle but by being a finalist means people expect you to be different from the rest every time you step on to the floor. Being a champion means you have to be perfect on all areas all of the time. Mirko and Alessia, especially Mirko, are performers through and through and you want to see that they mean business and have that air of being a champion from the first round. Unfortunately, I kept missing them in the the earlier rounds and listening to the reaction from the audience it was a similar story. Previous champions have filled the auditorium by their sheer presence, even when past champions walked on to the floor you could feel a change in atmosphere and the audience were drawn along like an electric wave. This couple are made for each other and Alessia is an absolute master when it comes to following and allowing Mirko, and them as a couple, the freedom and ability to shine. I have great respect for this fine lady of dance and for them as a partnership. Congratulations and long may you reign and continue to bring the joy of dance to as many people as possible.

(2222) Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova Jonathan and Katusha have guts, determination and are highly competitive, they combine this with a personified
elegance and are classical and beautiful in their dancing. Part of their charm, and their style of dancing, is you can clearly see the male and female roles at their best. They also seem to work very hard on being sensitive and sympathetic to each other. This sounds almost obvious given what dancing as a couple is all about. However, as a competitor you are always fine tuning various facets like technique and musicality to name a few, these numerous facets hat makeup a competitor make it easy to lose focus on other fundamental aspects of dancing and being sensitive to each other can easily become one of these aspects. Tonight I find them wonderful and endearing to watch. Tango is much improved, it is fast and snappy and the best I have seen them perform this dance. Grooming is another area that they have perfected. I believe that if the overall appearance is taken care of it enhances the dancing and allows you to watch without worry. Katusha has found what works for her and she chose to go for a completely different look, this can be very risky but I felt it worked extremely well. The slinky, sexy, womanly look is more up to date and considering her figure it is only right that she shows it off. The fourth round was not their best and the dress highlighted these discrepancies, as the evening went on they went from strength to strength.

(3333) Jonathan Crossley and Lyn Marriner. Jonathan and Lyn are real purists except when it comes to their choreography where they like to be innovative and play with the music. The issue I have with their dancing is that it can come across as too internalized rather than projecting out to the audience. They also don’t look too comfortable with their position whether this be in the swing dances, or the tango where it can look too tight and small in the top. I like their dancing and can see them challenging for the higher positions as their technical qualities are top class. I would like to see more freedom of body expression and I believe they have the talent and determination to produce this. Lyn looks absolutely beautiful and elegant in the ballroom and is an example of how to present yourself on the floor.
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4444) Roberto Villa and Morena Cloagreco. Roberto and Morena are very well rehearsed and hard working couple. Their sheer determination and wealth of
experience is evident and they certainly deserved to be included in this distinguished final. Roberto and Morena are always consistent in their performance and never put a foot out of place. Morena is a powerhouse and is very secure over her feet, no matter what who she danced with she has always made sure she is stable and balanced. They now need to have more freedom in their bodies and more usage of their head weights in to the spaces past each other would enhance this. I would also like to see more dominance in Roberto’s posture and through his movement. They are similar in height so it can be difficult to show this dominance without it looking like the weight is coming out of the ground, by working the torso in to the spaces either side of the partnership this will give you more space, a more three dimensional look and also a feeling of power.

(5555) Domenico Soale and Gioia Cerasoli This was their first Open British as Professionals so they had to dance from the first round. These two are a real joy to watch, have a very youthful energy and look extremely professional on the floor. They gave it everything from the first round and the crowd loved them for it. They looked at ease and natural in their movement and have very strong feet and ankles that carried up in to their bodies, they also made good use of light and shade. You can see a love of dance within them and it is easy to warm to them. Domenico connects to the audience through eye contact and body language but it never distracts from their connection together. Their best dances were tango and quickstep and I was surprised that they didn’t come considerably higher in these two dances. I can see them going from strength to strength and feel that they will be a serious threat in the near future.

(7606) Victor Fung and Anna Mikhed. What a reception these two got when they were announced on to the floor for the final, they have always been close to the final and deserved to be included tonight. They were ecstatic at being included and danced their stocks off during the final. In the earlier rounds I wasn’t sure about the overall image that was being created and at times, especially in foxtrot, they were not finishing off the end of the swing, this made it look too flat and fast. I also noticed that there was a slight distortion from the collar on the upper part of the tail suit, I don’t think it was Victor’s back but maybe too much material that caused the ruck. Victor is a very powerful and stable dancer and Anna is light and willowy. I found the two images not quite
gelling together but they found a much better connection for the final, it was positive, powerful, smooth and fluid and they were loving every moment in eating up the Blackpool floor. The quickstep in the final flew around the floor, congratulations on a fine performance.

(6060) Michaele Bonsignori and Monica Baldasseroni This was another couple that made it to the British final for the first time. When their number was announced the crowd erupted, people were wondering who had made it to the final and who all the shouting was for. They looked triumphant and relieved and also thoroughly deserved to be included in this final. Their performance tonight was the best I have ever seen them dance. They had a great depth of swing that filled the music and covered the floor, this allowed them to create great shape for their first final here. Monica has really been working on her three dimensional shape and her back in the competition was flexible and fluid. They pulled out all the stops and congratulations for your strong performance in this final.

Couples that caught my eye: Michele Boschi and Barbara Grifoni (number 4) They were very controlled in their dancing and had an immaculate shoulder line, they clearly love to dance. Seiji Tanido and Emi Hayano (number 7) I normally like this couples dancing as they have a very serious and committed approach, however tonight they looked heavy in the base which gave the appearance of a short lady1⁄2s neck line and lack of depth of swing. Urs Geisenhainer and Agnieszka Kazmierczak (number 20) they produced a free-swinging action on the floor that made them look strong, their tango looked natural and you could not see the joins from step to step. Alexey Galchun and Tatiana Demina (number 40) They were very clean and dynamic and had strong and controlled centres. Giuseppe Magnelli and Francesca Pietramale (number 51) They had great usage of their spines and back muscles that allowed them to be musical and sympathetic to each others needs.
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Craig Draper and Snezhana Draper (number 66) They had good drive and relaxed shoulders in the swing dances, in tango their weights were a little high that made the action look heavy and slow. Evgeny Kazmirchuk and Julia Spesivtseva (number 72) In tango they created good sharp shapes and were clean and fast in the feet and legs without losing the soft upper body relationship. Luca Tonelli and Ekaterina Baroulina (number 76) These two were very unlucky not to have gone further. They were very relaxed but not laid back. They have good freedom in the upper body and a good three dimensional shape. Mark Perkovich and Natasha Manderson (number 82) This is a new partnership which has a very classical look. However the man was sometimes a little too over enthusiastic and was pulling his lady off her feet at the expense of speed. Tony and Amanda Dokman (number 98) This couple are very experienced. Amanda is a strong lady of dance but tonight they looked uncomfortable and at times heavy. I like people to be innovative but I am sorry for me the jacket and the trousers being completely different materials did not work. Ermino Stefano and Liene Apale (number 103) The conviction, power and emotion were very evident tonight but the man1⁄2s lower spine was sticking out which gave a short back line. The tango was very compact, fast and clean. Sort out that one issue and I feel you will go further. Thomas Papkala and Frantsiska Yordanova (number 139) They need to get their weight more grounded. They are nice dancers but many technical qualities are being lost because of this. Christian Costa and Barbara Bendetti (number 156) They have a very deep and controlled swing, they are very fluid and have a great connection from shape to shape. The first dress detracted from their free swing and soft movement but as dancers they have tremendous potential. Stafano Soldati and Annalisa Longo (number 173) There is a big height difference between these two people but it certainly does not detract from the dancing. They have great use of music and caught my eye in quickstep as being very colourful and fast. Mika Jauhiainen and Nitta Kortelainen (number 136) They were dynamic but need to inject more emotion and feeling. The left arm is still too wide and really pulls focus. Quickstep was very positive but needs to be more grounded. Sascha Karabey and Natascha Karabey (number 198) They are new to the professional ranks and appeared to be enjoying the moment. They are a tall couple so when the weight is out of the floor it shows. There was too much arm usage and this produced a too angular top line. Their floor craft in the semi-final was despicable and if I had been judging I would have marked them down for this. You need to stand your ground but it came over as inexperienced and arrogant. Linas Koreiva and Ieva Pauksena (number 270) They have a very good three dimensional position, they are very together and produce a natural movement without tension.


Open British Amateur Latin

Report by Jukka Haapaleinen
Photos by www.dancesportphoto.net

1. Maurizio and Melinda

An expected winner in this competition.  I was delighted to see them perform with confidence and ease all through the event. Melinda is a trustworthy partner, her leg action, usage of feet and her speed and control, are all of highest caliber and always portray a picture of a classic Latin lady.  I am aware of a difference between Melinda and Maurizio sometimes regarding distribution of power, perhaps Maurizio applying occasionally too much force into the leading motions resulting in Melinda sometimes having to "hit the breaks" and having to fight against the excess power. The reason for this could be that I find Maurizio carrying his weight over the outside of his standing leg and foot. Instead, sensing of the centerline through the insides of legs would result in a more precise placement of foot and that would create a tighter base and a more accurate direction in delivery of lead. However, I have seen the quality of them both and trust that once they have captured the top spot, they will grow more confident and will be worthy champions and models for younger dancers.
 

2. Matej and Yvona
 
This couple always offer dancing that is based on sound fundamentals and a well focused delivery of choreography. When in hold and showing basic movement they are better than most.

They also offer moments of rather inventive choreographic arrangements and entertain with classy and well rehearsed dancing. But they do not demand attention. This is a factor that will hold them from becoming champions. Their next focus must be on finding a way to sell their product.
 

3. Stefano and Anna
 
This pair have all it takes to become a great champion couple.  Their dancing is relying on classic couple dancing fundamentals, but they also have begun to show signs of bringing something of their own into Latin Dancing. Stefano is a male dancer with two important factors not widely seen at the moment among men in the Latin field, namely, firstly, real, instinctive understanding and usage of rhythm and more specifically in each of the dances separately, and secondly, the ability to stay attentive to his partner at all times. He appears to really want to dance with Anna. And Anna, she looks beautiful, but not only like a picture, she also makes you feel her movement and really demands attention and respect, delivering with complete conviction all the time. They were placed between 3rd and 5th places in different dances. I could not see them as low as 5th, I would have rather seen them challenging those above them.

4. Eugene and Maria
 
Maria looked stunning in the final, it was great to see her giving in to glamour, she looks good like that.  They seemed a little disappointed with their result and it is understandable. They seem a little stuck, both with their result and also with the direction they should take next. It seems they have a clear idea of what they wish to portray, they have their focus and intentions. Unfortunately, any time you look at them, they seem to be in the same mode. To my liking, there is not enough difference between  dances, even on the most fundamental level of movement. Footwork errors, such as ignorance of lowering of heel on Volta action or Cruzados walks in Samba, or  absence of completion of weight in a walking action in Rumba, prevent them from creating the character of each dance.
 

5. Alex and Anna
 
Powerful male, combined with a light beautiful lady dancer. For me they should allow the soft female character of Anna and the strength of Alex to be more

prominently featured in their dancing as separate powers. Their dancing mainly uses the power approach and for me that does not allow the many, more subtle qualities of Anna to be sufficiently taken into consideration.
 
6. Jurij and Jagoda
 
A delightful couple making their entry into the Final, and deservedly so. I like the artistic and personal approach of this couple. They are not "normal" and I mean it in a good way. They have their own way and are proud of it. They also have good training behind them. The same background helps them create a harmonious way of moving together. Jurij creates fantastic shapes and is not afraid of staying still, while Jagoda fills the space with well chosen movement that does not detach, but compliments the shape.

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