Professional Ballroom 2018 writeup by Michael Barr

Freedom to Dance 2018
Professional Ballroom by Michael Barr
This was the 8th presentation of the Freedom to Dance Competitions. The organizers are to be congratulated on a wonderfully glamorous event. The ballroom looked fantastic & the orchestra was outstanding. Joe Pettitt & the Len Phillips Big Band played some terrific music which alone was worth the price of a ticket, but then we were also treated to some excellent dancing.

The Professional Ballroom Competition attracted a Worldwide entry of seventy one couples & the general standard was good. Perhaps the outstanding round was the 3rd round [last 24] where the standard was very even & some very good couples proceeded no further. In this round I must make mention of Francesco Paris &Natalia Driker whom I believe are seriously under rated. They are fine dancers & the lady is quite outstanding.

The Semi Final was the first round of the evening & was danced to particularly moving music. My favourite foxtrot of the night being ‘The Summer Wind’ which is forever associated with Frank Sinatra.

Failing to make the final were the following couples.
Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya who surely must soon get the break they richly deserve for their beautiful dancing. Artistic, musical, sometimes even lyrical.

Laroslav & Liliila Bieliei Tall elegant & improving on each outing.

Stas Portanenko & Nataliya Kolyada Light & free moving quality dancing. Nataliya is an outstanding lady dancer with much improved poise.

Gianni Caliendro & Arianna Esposita Very fast with lots of energy, if that’s your thing then this is the couple for you.

Jack & Nataliia Beale. Classic style & so much improvement.

Dusan & Valeria Dragovic. Massive potential with limitless power, watch this space!

These six couples could have made a wonderful final, however they have to wait for another day.

So to the Grand Final which was contested by the following six couples.

The winners were Valerio Colantoni & Monica Nigro. They displayed their usual impeccable style & are a very handsome couple. They were comfortable winners on this occasion. Into second place were Alexander Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova. They produce raw power, which many find appealing, but are guilty of many curious foot faults which need to be sorted out. Third were Stanislav Zelianin & Irina Cherepanova who produce very ‘together dancing’, & now must find more freedom & flexibility. Fourth place was awarded to Sergiu & Dorota Rusu who show great ‘feel’ & artistry, & only time will tell whether these attributes can overcome the more physical approach adopted by some of their fellow competitors. I certainly hope so! Into fifth place were Alessio Potenziani & Veronika Vlasova. They display moments of musical expression that I find very attractive, & Veronika is a beautiful lady dancer. They must now find greater range in their movement in order to progress further. Sixth place in this interesting final was taken by Gaetano Lavarone & Emanuela Napolitano. They danced with good style & are to be commended for their use of ‘step & swing’ actions in Quickstep!

It is interesting to note that one or two couples who did not progress past the 3rd round would certainly not have looked out of place in this final, such is the depth of the quality in the professional ballroom field.

Finally a big thank you to Tony & Amanda, Jonathan & John, for organising such a splendid evening of great dancing, to great music in lovely surroundings.