Freedom to Dance Competition:
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FTD Pro Latin writup 2018 Colin James

Once again saw the dream team of Amanda & Tony Dockman and the two John’s Crossley & Wood present their extravagantly decorated and spectacular room befitting of a Grand Ballroom with magnificent floor and stage settings. Music from the Len Philips Big Band conducted by Joe Pettitt and solo singers Ian MacKenzie and Eleanor with their inspiring arrangements encourage the dancers to perform at their very best. The Freedom to Dance experience at the Copthorne’s Effingham is fast becoming a Premier event for all competitors from Amateurs, Pro /Am couples and Professionals dancers. Make sure you have these dates in your calendar May 11th & 12th 2019 so as not to miss next years excitement.

The following competitors were noted in the semi finals but in no particular order;

Minje Kim & Hyebin (South Korea) Good characterisation of the dances but must take care within the rhythm as often I found them in front of the music. This couple show promise for the future but need to become more aware of the requirements necessary between steps, actions and motion communicated by the use of their partnership skills.

Ivan Mulyavka & Karin Rooba (USA) Always deliver a enthusiastic performance with energy, power and excitement. However, today saw them dance too evenly in the music resulting in an overall drifting effect. Insufficient usage of the rhythmical divisions shared between steps & actions both in body and hip. A more detailed approach to this aspect of their dance will ensure a greater use and fulfilment of the musical nuances.

Alexey Karaulov & Vlada Karaulov (Canada) Showed an educational understanding of their dancing particularly in the Samba where in this dance I became aware of typical Samba actions throughout all rhythms particularly in the usage of the 1a2 rhythm which saw compressed soft and reactive motion.

Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maiduk Danced with flair, excitement and always with a commitment to what they are dancing.This couple demand your attention on the floor with the message that they portray. I feel improvement could be made by timing themselves more distinctively between each other. A greater use of body absorbance and inner rhythm, particularly in their feet, legs hips and hand leads would soften the present abrupt manner.

Zilong Wang & Celine Li Yang (China) Have a great look and image to their dress styling with an awareness of presence and education of dance yet fail to deliver a clear message and meaning. So much detail has gone in what they do, how they do it and when they do it but this couple trip at the final hurdle in portraying what their dancing stands for.

Sasha Altukhov & Cheyenne Murillo (USA) Showed pleasant and uncomplicated work with an ease of motion and actions during the rumba. A greater awareness of foot pressure from Cheyenne when it comes to relationship and awareness of the music would be advantageous to avoid drifting through the beats of music.
In to first place were Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova. Winning this event convincingly and with a confident, accurate and seamless performance. Troels commanded the floor, took responsibility of the couple navigating them throughout the dances. He produced an elegant foil and solid base through understanding of the music, flow of the movement and delivery of the correct amount of energy at the right time to allow Ina to release the women inside her. Ina is the epitome of all that dancing is about, she expresses emotion through movement and conveys her passion of the music through the media of dance. Finally absorbing all these assets inside of her body she then allows the freedom to immerse herself into the dance.

Placing 2nd were Nino Langella and Andra both producing a good understanding of body compression which allowed them to show worked actions with quality throughout their performance on this day. They produced sensitive quality in the partnership particularly in music, the character within the dance and showing clarity and expertise in Samba bounce actions. Perhaps a review of danced actions throughout the Jive would assist this dance as I felt they struggled to maintain the rhythmical motion required.

Into the 3rd place were Gunner Gunnarsson and Marika Doshoris (England) Paso and Jive being their signature dances the first of which showing bold, bound, body awareness and the last an arrangement of multiple body rhythms. I observed a stiffness and over physicality with unfinished actions in Cha Cha Cha and Rumba together with a lack of musical accents too. Samba seemed to contain too much line work with the absence of action through compression.

Placing 4th were Andrei Kazlouski and Asta Sigvaldadottir (USA) presenting a stylish, sophisticated and cultivated performance and approach to their dancing with emphasis on timed actions ,leads and body work. Areas of attention should be placed on the feet as there was not enough pressure to allure the evidence of bounce flow. Rumba seemed over dramatised at times without conclusions and unnecessary choreographic moments to make your point in Jive.

Into 5th place were Manuel Frighetto and Daria Sereda (Italy) I became aware of a number of improvements in this couple notably a more toned approach bodily with a greater internal activity from the feet throughout the flow of movement and a preeminent awareness of each other. The Paso neglected volume spread over the body to enhance stillness, attack and commanded.Perhaps a review of the content within the Jive may bring this dance a more cultured fulfilment .

In to 6th place Stefano Moriondo & Daria (Italy) I have been impressed with the dancing of this couple over recent outings however, during this event, I found their dancing become far too overloaded with steps and lacking continuous body actions, particularly on accented beats. Reducing the look of floating through the movement would enhance a better look and command of a dance. A more intense approach to the music in the Paso would create a greater atmosphere.

In closing I would like to applaud all the Professional dancers for some quality dancing on this day but I must point out that I witnessed two unethical acts that has prompted me to include in this report. Spitting on the floor in between dances and walking across the floor whilst fellow competitors are being once again announced in the final are breaches of unspoken etiquette. Other competitors are inspired by your dancing and equally by your actions and you should be reminded that you carry this responsibility on your shoulders as the fine exponents of our industry that you are.