Step onto the Dance Floor of the Dazzling World of Competitive Ballroom
Results & Review of the 71st Australian Dancesport Championships
Article by Chimene Steele-Prior
Now in its 71st year, The Australian Dancesport Championships were held in Melbourne on the 9th, 10th and 11th December at the massive Hisense Arena.
The event was both inspiring and exciting. It sat somewhere between a sporting event and theatre, and in some ways contradicted itself. The huge arena lent itself to the feel of a casual sporting event. The audience sat on three sides with no curtains covering the stage. The crowd sometimes rooted for their favourite performer via loud, hoarse and impromptu screams. In opposition sat the obvious glitz and glamour of sequins, feathers and glitter. Beautiful dresses, artworks in their own right, with impressive price tags in every colour draped the tanned performers’ bodies. The male performers looked dapper in suits and tails or a slim fitting shirt and pants depending on which section they were competing in.
The performance quality of many of the performers and the acceptance of their applause was grand and overt. However, the usual mystery supplied by the theatre disappeared as the competitors walked through the audience down to the stage and back again. In some ways this was illuminating and refreshing. No longer were the performers dancing gods, but in fact very real, sweating, albeit beautifully presented people. I felt I had entered the world of Tina Sparkle! At first this was overwhelming, but later charming.
The Standard section was a collection of five dances including the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep. These dances recognisable via their elegance and grace. I found the Viennese Waltz mesmerising. The movements were flowing and the performers travelled a vast amount space all the while appearing incredibly at ease in their upper bodies. The Latin American section including the sultry dances of the Samba, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. The performance quality of the dancers was high. I was especially impressed by some of the teenage dancers who handled the occasional bump into another couple with the composure of an experienced performer.
The night was peppered with performances by three times World Amateur Latin Champions and twice British, International and UK Champions, Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova. The technically skilled couple who began dancing together in 2005 had great chemistry and musicality. Their simmering performances enchanted the audience and resulted in a well-deserved standing ovation.
The charismatic host Damien Nicholas, a voiceover artist for Dancing With the Stars, did a great job of entertaining and engaging the crowd. Often encouraging the audience to make some extra noise for their favourite competitor. He inserted comedy throughout the evening and kept the atmosphere light. He was largely responsible for the success and enjoyment of the evening.
At the interval the audience was invited down to the stage to enjoy a dance of their own. This heart-warming aspect was beautiful and gave a sense of the existing joy for dance shared by the Dancesport community.
Overall it was highly successful event, brimming with grace, elegance and enthusiasm!
by Chimene Steele-Prior
RESULTS from THE 71ST AUSTRALIAN DANCESPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS
Professional Latin: Arkady Bakenov & Rosa Filippello (UK)
Professional Standard: Steven Grinbergs & Rachelle Plaass (NSW)
Professional New Vogue: Jarrod Dawson & Jayne Dawson (QLD)
Adult A Grade Closed Latin: Igor Ifliand & Camille Webb (NSW)
Adult A Grade Closed Standard: Brodie Barden & Lana Skrgic–de Fonseka (WA)
Adult Open New Vogue: Andrew Buswell & Kelsey Pincer (WA)
WDSF INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
WDSF Open Adult Standard: Bjorn Bitsch & Ashli Williamson (Denmark)
WDSF Open Adult Latin: Andrzej Cibis & Victoria Kleinfelder (Germany)
Junior Open Latin: Danil Saveliev & Tanya Saveliev – (NSW)
Junior Open New Vogue: Lucas Cheng & Rebecca Liu (VIC)
Junior Open Standard: Lucien Maart & Sabrina Serra (WA)
Juvenile Open Latin: Yoni Herz & Gisele Messina (NSW)
Juvenile Open New Vogue: Max Oldham & Sarah Baker (NSW)
Juvenile Open Standard: Lachlan Cheng & Abby Timms (VIC)
Youth Open Latin: David Santalucia & Caitlyn Hammond (WA)
Youth Open New Vogue: Christian Gianni & Stefania Olivieri (NSW)
Youth Open Standard: Jordan Saisi & Stephanie Leyden (VIC)
YOUTH UNDER 19
Youth Under 19 Open Latin: Demitri Meyers & Emily Zhang (VIC)
Youth Under 19 Open Standard: Demitri Meyers & Emily Zhang (VIC)
MASTERS 1 (Age: 35 – 50)
Masters 1 Open Standard: Jonathon Fox & Yumiko Nishiyama (VIC)
Masters 1 Open Latin: Shaun Peacham & AJ Whitty (VIC)
Masters 1 Open New Vogue: Dean Anderson & Danielle Devine (VIC)
MASTERS 2 (Age: 50 – 60)
Masters 2 Open Latin: Michael Maguire & Christine Searle (QLD)
Masters 2 Open New Vogue: David Brooks & Irena Brooks (NSW)
Masters 2 Open Standard: Mark Priebatsch & Gail Priebatsch (VIC)
MASTERS 3 (Age: 60+)
Masters 3 Open Latin: Maurice Vallaro & Lorraine Vallaro (VIC)
Masters 3 Open New Vogue: Lance Emery & Ina Emery (NSW)
Masters 3 Open Standard: Richard Lassen & Patricia Van Epen (NSW)