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The Blackpool Dance Festival
The Blackpool Dance Festival has surely to offer something that other dance comps just can’t. The enormous history behind this competition can be felt inside the walls of the beautiful Blackpool Winter Gardens. It is clear that the atmosphere to dance Blackpool for dancers is just great. The orchestra which plays timeless pieces of music like Talk to The animals is providing some kind of an old school atmosphere which in combination with the high quality dancers of today creates the impression of moving into the future without forgetting the past. It has been a pleasure dancing every round of it. For most of dancers I spoke to their performance was improving from round to round without tiredness. That is the magic of this event.
History is not only in the Architecture of the beautiful place and the music. It is in the people that are dancing it and judging it. Every judge of the competition was either a finalist or a champion of Blackpool in the past. The qualification of the adjudicators cannot be doubted, although it would be even better if Latin specialists would judge Latin and the Ballroom would judge Ballroom. This I find is a flaw of many of today’s competitions. In 2004 they added international adjudicators to Blackpool, but suspended it the year after which is also not such a good decision for the world dance community. It’s not too bad anyway because it better all English than all German, Russian or Italian. Can you imagine all of the judges being from one of these countries? It would be politically and quality wise horrendous. No other nation has so many highly qualified ballroom dancing specialists as the British. They are also as in other sports known for their fair play.
China did exceptionally well this time. Interesting that the Chinese have raised their level in the last 4-5 years from nothing to Blackpool champions. They won both of the Amateur Rising Stars divisions with half of the attendants of the event cheering for them because they were Chinese. One of the couples made the semi-final of the big competition in the Latin which was a bit too much for them to my view.
I will talk about the champions now. In the Amateur Ballroom Domenico Soale and Gioia Cerasoli from Italy won the competition for the third time in a row. I think that that is a Blackpool record in the Amateur ballroom. Their consistency and strong physical condition got them through the years as champions. I don’t remember once this couple loosing their togetherness and shoulder line, what I cannot say about all the others on a regular basis. It is very hard to keep yourself going for so many years. In the Amateur Latin Peter Stokkebroe and Kristina Juel-Stokkebroe won all the dances with a technically exceptional clear performance. I would say that they have quite a Nordic style of dancing because it is always quite cool and a bit held back. There is also a certain roughness/precision which they have in common with the other Danish couple Klaus Kongsdal and Viktoria Franova who turned Pro. I assume that this characterization comes from their teachers in Arhuus in Denmark. Peter and Kristina for me had the clearest individual style of an Amateur couple since many years. They found their own style in costumes and dance which to me would be clarity and quality of togetherness. I love watching this couple for these qualities. In the Professional Ballroom Mirko Gozzoli and Alessia Betti won the comp storming their way into the professional final three years ago after turning Pro. It is been a long time since someone shot from Amateur Champion to Professional in less than 2 years. Some never make it after many years. The Pro Latin was won for the 5th or 6th time by Bryan Watson and Carmen. They offered a very specific quality. For me they lacked the usual extreme rhythm and energy radiation, although undoubtedly winning all dances.
Vadim Garbuzov. Before 20 July 2006, Austria