Freedom To Dance 2019 is now in its Ninth Year and the event is going from strength to strength. This competition is every dancers dream. The ballroom and large dance floor were dramatically flooded with superb lighting, that created an intense atmosphere for the dancers and audience. The Len Phillips Orchestra filled the room with an amazing sound and most dancers absorbed the music to inspire a number of outstanding performances.
Nearly all of the Professional dancers brought their best so to call out all individually would take too long, I will therefore give some general observations and thoughts which I hope will benefit everyone that took part:-
0. Listen and Feel the music There was a lot of wonderful music played throughout the day and into the evening. It is not enough to just listen to this music and dance steps , one must internalize this sound and feel the composer’s emotions so that the performance captures the essence and enriches each movement across the floor.
2. Feet should Caress the floor. The only part of the body that is in constant contact with the floor are the feet. They are essential to balance and movement. Be it the foot and leg supporting the body or the other foot that is gently swinging underneath to create a fluid movement of foot to foot thus producing a fluid movement across the floor.
3. The placement of the Man’s Right Hand . The right hand should be placed on the ladies left shoulder blade with the angle of the hand /fingertips diagonally downward towards the floor. I was aware of the right-hand been placed flat above the shoulder blade of the lady towards the shoulder. This is too high. The fingertips then being used with a slight pulling force on the lady, therefore taking her out of her feet and position and affecting her personal balance, which then impacts the couples balance.
4. The Three Step in Foxtrot. This step has lost its look and power of movement. There should be a frontal swing with a small rotation to the left and a very slight sway of the left side into the frontal plane direction. This allows the man to dance clearly onto each foot and show great footwork. The mistake now is too much sway in the opposite direction to where one is dancing.
I would like to congratulate
· Winners: Andrea & Sara Ghigiarelli,Freedom to Dance Professional Ballroom winners. Andrea and Sara have been dancing together for many years, and have a terrific presence on the floor. The boldness of the man and the beauty of the lady. It is obvious to see they have a very good understanding of static position with each other, but during their performance tonight there were signs of stress on the left side of Sara. This was mostly seen in spins and pivots. I’m sure with a little attention to detail this can be addressed and more balance during dynamic movement can be achieved.
· Second : Domen Krapez & Natascha Karabey.
In previous performances, because of their emotional and musical ability, they have been criticised for losing postural position and presence. However, tonight that was very much improved and resulted in a very strong performance in all dances. I would like Natasha to listen more to the amount of action being danced by Domen, and continue to produce the line of beauty when it comes to the usage of the head. An outstanding performance from them.
· Third : Valerio Colantoni and Monica Nigro.Two wonderful and beautiful dancers. I very much enjoyed their energy and the emotional feel they both generate in their dancing. They have a superb ability to shift across the floor with a look of ease in the upper part of the body, but in the lower part of the body there is a slight glitch that is interrupting their flow. This should be looked at in order to produce a smoother action.
· Fourth : Alexander Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova.A firm favourite with the audience as they have a unique style. They incorporate some basic figures, but add subtle details that create attraction both physically and musically. Here we have a very glamorous yet powerful Lady with an equally handsome powerful Man. This power does need more balance and can be done by Irina listening more to the What action Alexander is dancing, Where is he dancing as in space, and When is he dancing as in Timing.
· Fifth : Dusan Dragovic & Valeriia Dragovic .I admire the line of excellence Dusan has in relationship to his back and shoulder line. He has the ability to dance his chosen choreography maintaining this beautiful image. Valeria is a fashionista and wore a very beautiful dance dress which in fact was trousers with a lot of flowing material. Key for their continued success is to find balance while static as well as in movement. If this is not achieved we become aware of a height difference, that being that Valeria is above the shoulder line and head height of Dusan.
· Sixth : Sergiu Rusu and Dorota Rusu.Here we see the classic image of ballroom dancing. The long lean elegant Man showing a constant image of posture and poise in motion. I admire Dorota for her tremendous effort in maintaining a beautiful long body line with a lovely left curve throughout their motion. Their attention to detail from foot to centre through to the upper body is superb. A note of caution to Sergiu is the placement of the right-hand on Dorota’s shoulder blade. I feel this placement is a little high and therefore effects the balance and image in certain steps. This does somewhat detract from important moments in their performance.
This was undoubtedly an exceptionally great competition , with some of the world’s top dancers. I congratulate you all on a wonderful display of ballroom dancing. Your dancing career is a marathon not a sprint, therefore, I encourage you to seek continuous improvement and development that delivers sustainable high quality, yet with dynamism when called for, at the events that can define one’s career.
My final words are CONGRATULATIONS to the four directors of Freedom To Dance, Amanda, Tony, Jonathan , John. I congratulate you and your fantastic team for every detail that you put into this competition. It was visible to see, it was easy to sense and it was an absolute joy to be there..
“ If your dancing doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” ❤