Freedom To Dance Championships.
In 2010, it took almost no time to find the appropriate symbol for Freedom to Dance – the White Dove with an Olive Branch in its mouth as a message of Peace. So it was both humbling and moving for Richard and I to have friends, colleagues and most importantly Competitors supporting Freedom to Dance 2017 from different Federations, Associations and Organisations, and it has long been our goal and the goal of the spectacular organizing team, Amanda, Tony, Jonathan and John. Thank you to all of you for believing in the concept of Freedom, and for uniting our beautiful dance World once again with great hope in our hearts for the future of Ballroom Dancing.
Richard and I would like to thank the loyal and generous Sponsors who have been a magnificent support both morally and financially. To the Pro-Am shows and competitors, you made the evening complete, charming and delightful! Special thanks and a standing ovation must go to the Organising team, for their incredible efforts and we all feel that the Freedom to Dance Competition simply gets better and better! We were confident that in passing the Freedom to Dance Competition to Amanda, Tony, Jonathan and John it would go from strength to strength and herald a Freedom to Dance future!
We would like to thank each and every competitor for supporting the Freedom to Dance Competition. It is a rare occasion when all performances were outstanding – the organisers ensure that you have the finest conditions to perform at your optimum best!
1st. Andrea Ghigiarelli and Sara Andracchio – Continuity and conformity is at the heart of their classic presentation, giving one a sense of comfort and calm in the familiar territory of classic Ballroom Dancing. There is a hint of the English reserve about their style and I always get the feeling there is a great deal under the surface ready to erupt! They have respect for the technical principles and show beautiful attention to their feet. Foxtrot timing is maturing significantly and I hope they will continue to pursue this line of development as it is the hallmark of great Champions. Andrea and Sara are Fantastic ambassadors for their art.
2nd Valerio Colantoni and Monica Nigro – The Adonis and Venus! Being physically gifted and talented makes them extremely dangerous opponents. The Tango today was brilliant and the arm positions from Valerio and Monica excellent. I personally find the subject of weight and muscular flexibility fascinating, as there can be no finer feeling than to experience freedom of motion of two body weights uninhibited by muscular tension and reacting to each other and the moment. There is no joy in controlling a movement before it has even taken place. There is no joy in trying to control your future until it unfolds. Life is about reaction and so is muscular activity. Experience the motion and the muscles will respond. Capture this and no one in front of you is safe!
3rd Alexander and Irina Zhiratkov – this is a rare case indeed – both lady and man as powerful as each other and physically and mentally they are incredibly suited. Their central motors are potentially brilliant! Metaphorically speaking this is a single-minded display of armour and weaponry in Ballroom Dancing. They are only in attack mode at the moment, which in their position is smart thinking to a point. Differentiating between power and force is the key to unlocking their future along with filtering their choreography. Often in the pursuit of perfection in choreography, complexity can hinder and hide the qualities of the dancer, particularly if they have the powerful central motion of Alex and Irina. Being physically specific, the simplest choreographic structures, is in my opinion, the greatest vehicle to present their vigorous style.
4th Marat Gimaev and Alina Basyuk- dancing that is breathtakingly brilliant at times and a unique level of quality which I absolutely love! This is Elegant Class in ballroom dancing. Fascinatingly, one would assume that their physical differences would create enormous restrictions to them in their motion. However, I think it focuses them so much in their challenges that they have some of the greatest freedom of motion in the professional field today. Marat has an enviable maturity and charisma about his dancing that his beautiful lady, Alina allows him to display.
5th Sergei and Dorota Rusu – featherlight, dreamlike dancing, floating on a cloud from Heaven, producing a unique level of quality dancing which is a breath of fresh air! Their timing in Foxtrot was exquisite and the feather ending was the finest, musically executed of the day. The mechanical and weight developmental growth since turning professional is so significant that I see the potential for challenges for the highest honours, very soon!
6th Stanislav Zelianin and Irina Cherepanova – there has been a lot of growth for Stas and Irina over a two-year period, resulting in technical precision of the type that ticks all the right boxes for success! It is never more evident than an event such as tonight, where there are many fabulous couples in the semi-final, all fighting for one position, and Stas and Irina slip into the final because they have eradicated visible faults over a 10 second period, approximately the time and adjudicator would have to assess. Once in the final of course, where everyone else is also ticking the right boxes, subjects such as weight and artistry, both musically and physically will now need to develop. However, I think they are a couple of great fortitude and I look forward to the next stage of their development.
1st He Chong and Shan Jing (Charles and Sara) – a performance of steady, delicate quality with the added bonus today of musical awareness of a level I have not seen from them before. Congratulations on a drastic change in this aspect of your dancing since the United Kingdom Championships! It is interesting to note, that as the competition progressed, they became more vulnerable in drive and swing, timing and energy, so performing today has given them a chance to direct and prepare for The British open Championships in a couple of weeks. Dancing competitions such as this in the build up to a major event is the finest thing any couple can do and I congratulate you in joining the event today and thank you for your support.
2nd Fedor Isaev and Anna Zudlilina – excellent competitors. Some fantastic choreography in Tango and Quickstep rhythmically executed! I have great admiration for their approach to performance and how it has evolved and transformed them over the past two years. There was pure natural joy on their faces as they burst around the Ballroom with a great performance. They are tenacious, persistent, talented and I have no doubt they will succeed!
3rd Igor Reznik and Maria Polishchuk- There is something beautifully unaffected and natural about their dancing, and principles of such great quality, they are an object lesson to all young and aspiring dancers. Posture, the hold, centering and characteristic choreography all displayed with weight balanced over the foot beautifully, from them both – how rare is that! The qualities they display are the reason I love and teach ballroom dancing. My dearest wish from the bottom of my heart, in the process of developing, they do not change their current direction. They are the purist and most authentic Amateur couple in ballroom dancing at this moment in time.
4th Li Si Cheung & Zhou Man Ni (Eric and Anna) – I was so delighted that they made the final today, and this has been brewing for some time. Anna is a gorgeous dancer and developing flexibility and balance on a magnificent scale. Their tango it’s absolutely stunning and I would have considered them for a very high placing in this dance. I think the next stage is to develop The subject of weight and swing.
5th Alex Gunnarson and Anna Trenzeleva – A relatively new partnership and I absolutely love it! This is elegance personified and I cannot imagine two more physically suited dancers. If I conjure an image of the perfect looking ballroom couple, here it is in all its glory! Anna, I thought your dress and image was exquisite! Their foxtrot timing was slow and readable along with their extremely tasteful choreography. They are natural swing dancers, so once they achieve more range and power in the legs and feet they will be extremely dangerous to all competitors!
6th Philip Peng Jia and Joanne Zhong Jia– I was also delighted that Philip and Joanne made the final this evening for they have been highly underrated for some time. They have fabulous timing and movement qualities about them and in the swing dances they have the look of floating on a bed of air! I hope this result will now give you the necessary confidence to launch you into the 2017 British open Championships with a bang!