Two is the number that marked the two World Championships in ShowDance. In both, the couples that came in second last year moved up to the top echelon of the podium, claiming their title with the same routines. For Simone Casula - Laura Marras, ITA, and their "Charlot" in Latin as well as for Anton Skuratov - Alena Uehlin, GER, and their "Michael Jackson," the second time was the charm. Congratulations!
Two hours of coverage on the two finals were carried live on CCTV 5+, China's most important sports channel.
Nearly 40 videos of round one have been uploaded to YouTube and to our Video Gallery above. Another batch of videos from the second round is to follow shortly. Of the ones that are up and accruing views by the thousands already, it is the one of Marius-Andrei Balan - Khrystyna Moshenska, GER, dancing the Cha Cha Cha that broke the five-digit barrier first and in less than 12 hours.
Photographs we have nearly 200 up in the Gallery already and we are expecting more to follow when our photographer Helmut Roland will put together his "best of" selection later in the week. Reinhard Egli, photographer and publisher of the Swiss dance! magazine, is also sharing some of his pictures with us.
Today, all emphasis is put on the two World ShowDance Championships that are in progress. Tonight, the finals in Latin and Standard will be broadcast live by CCTV 5+, the #1 sports channel in China with a total reach of some 1.2 billion viewers. Obviously, the Communications team will be fully absorbed by that. But rest assured, the roughly two hours of coverage will become available free of charge through DanceSport Total Plus, our premium service on Vimeo later in the week. Stay tuned!
During his stay in Chengdu, WDSF President Lukas Hinder recorded the second instalment of "Skype The Prez," the informal exchange on topical issues between him and Athletes' Commission chair Ashli Williamson. This time it was an authentic Skype conference call, with some 7,500 km separating the two parties - and the difficulties inherent in relying on the quality of the Internet access at both locations. Only three topics were discussed: the work of the Competition Manipulation Task Force, the specifics of a recent case of alleged competition manipulation that led to the provisional suspension of an ajudicator, and - last but not least - the situation regarding the Russian DanceSport Union that has been downgraded to provisional WDSF Member and is under threat of expulsion by 31 October 2016.
Because of the urgent nature of the topic, the exchange concerning Russia is published on this blog already today. Post-production on the "Skype The Prez" video will take some more time.
Ashli: It is a delicate matter and a difficult situation. We discussed it among the athletes and the Athletes’ Commission. From the chair of the commission I came with a statement at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in reference to the Russian situation. To the extent that if there were any problems within the Russian Federation that Russian dancers would still be able to participate in all championships and WDSF competitions and to ensure that the political situation would not affect the dancers.
THE PREZ: As you know there has been a very serious internal conflict in Russia and this has created significant problems for DanceSport in Russia and our Member Body, the Russian DanceSport Union. Of course we have always sought to support the Russian Sports Ministry and the NOC in this difficult situation, but circumstances inside Russia have become intolerable for our athletes and officials.
After some two years of these conflicts continuing, WDSF’s members at our AGM in Rome in June this year overwhelmingly agreed with the WDSF Presidium that the opposing groups needed to unify under RDSU in the interests of DanceSport, the athletes and officials by 31 October 2016. If this unification is not achieved under RDSU by that date, then the WDSF Presidium is obliged by the AGM vote to expel RDSU and take over the administration of Russian athletes, adjudicators and officials for a period of time.
We encourage our Russian friends to do all that they need to do so that WDSF is not obliged to intervene. However, if a solution is not found by 31 October, WDSF will act.
Please be assured that the Presidium and I will not let down our Russian athletes, adjudicators and officials. We will take care of them and do whatever is necessary that international DanceSport will continue for Russia for as long as it is necessary under the WDSF administration. Whatever the costs!
Ashli: Some of the dancers have contacted us and asked, “Should we buy our tickets for the Moscow GrandSlam? Will it take place? Should we book and buy the visa?” Of course you cannot give any guarantees, but from the WDSF side, are we sure that the GrandSlam will take place?
THE PREZ: I confirm that we have been assured on more than one occasion that the Grand Slam events at the end of October in Russia will be proceeding as scheduled. I just asked again very recently – and this information is up-to-date. We are sure that the GrandSlam will happen and that the event will be run in the interest of DanceSport. Believe me, at the end of October, Russian DanceSport will still exist. It has a future. Great athletes in a great DanceSport country! All that cannot be destroyed just because a few egos do not have the guts to bring about real change. This is my statement to you, to all athletes and to the officals in the RDSU executives.
Ashli: It’s good to hear that the WDSF is doing everything it possibly can to solve the situation and to do it in the best possible way.
Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus, MDA, make it two in a row and successfully defend their title won last year in Vienna. The first and second runners-up of 2016 repeated in their respective positions too: Armen Tsaturyan - Svetlana Gudyno, RUS, as second and Andrei Balan - Khrystyna Moshenska, GER, as third. The ones to change their places were the couples from fourth to sixth: Timur Imametdinov - Nina Bezzubova came in fourth, Yury Simachev - Anastasia Klokotova, RUS, fifth and Charles-Guillaume Schmitt - Elena Salikhova, FRA, last year's fourth, were sixth. Yes, the whole final had some traits of a déjà-vu. But there were some real surprises too: Gabriele and Anna and Armen and Svetlana are stablemates now.
Petter Engan - Kine Mardal, NOR, concluded the account of their frustrations over the denied visa with a message to the fellow competitors and - in particular - to the second Norwegian couple. They wrote:
We wish all our fellow competitors good luck, and especially to the other Norwegian couple who will be attending.
Lars and Alexandra seem to be doing alright!
It was another Walk of Fame night that the couples participating in the three World Championships got to enjoy last night in Chengdu. Some knew the procedure from last year already, others had experienced a similar stroll down the red carpet at the GrandSlam Finals in Shanghai, but there were a few that had their premiere yesterday. What is worth mentioning: quite a few couples came well prepared, with the outfit befitting the occasion. She in a longe robe, he in a smart tuxedo ... Our photographer Helmut Roland took a picture of each couple. The 85 are in the Photo Gallery above: judge yourself who was dressed best!
Bright lights, cheering crowds, mass adulation, it's a little bit of feeling like Brad and Angelina on Oscars Night ... Poor choice of example!
Here's Ferran Castanyer's "Walk of Fame" clip!
WDSF President Lukas Hinder addressed the organisers of and the participants in the 2016 World Championships held over the upcoming weekend in Chengdu, CHN, with a short speech during fantastic Welcome Party at the Balan International Hotel in Dujiangyan - Chengdu.
His discourse preceded the recording of a second instalment of "Skype The Prez," a series of informal exchanges between Hinder and the WFSF Athletes' Commission chair and four-time World Ten Dance Champion Ashli Williamson. Stay tuned for the first parts of the 45-minute exchange on Skype to get published over this weekend.
Referring to the upcoming events in Chengdu, Hinder pointed to China's role in world sports that contrasted strongly with the fact that not all dancers who planned to take part in the World Championships were able to do so.
Below is Hinder's speech in its full length. His message in short: things may have gone wrong on this occasion, but the WDSF is optimistic that corrective measures will be taken by the parties concerned to ensure that no visa-related problems will affect any of the future DanceSport events scheduled in the People's Republic of China.
Hello Everybody! – “Ni Hao!”
First, I wish to thank the Chengdu organisers – that refers to all the different parties that fall under this generic – for their hospitality today and until we leave after another weekend that will go down in DanceSport history.
To bring a proven formula to work once more: I should probably say “Xie Xie” – but that is how far my proficiency in Mandarin takes me. That’s it for this WDSF official dabbling in Chinese.
Second, I would like to welcome the athletes and officials. I salute them and say: “I am very glad you made it!” As we all know, not all who wanted to be here in Chengdu for the World Championships this year were able to make it. At least two were denied a visa and thus entry into this hospitable country.
Dancers have been coming to this city for several years and have had the opportunity to perform in front of the appreciative local audiences on a number of occasions in the past. Chengdu’s enthusiasm for DanceSport combined with the friendliness of the hosts made for memorable experiences on the part of the athletes every time.
The Chinese DanceSport Federation assures us that it did all it could to expedite the visa matters. The same it always did! That had worked perfectly well in the past – for many years and as recently as the GrandSlam in Wuhan in April. I expect that it will return to working well in the future – short, mid and long term. Remember, China hosts the Winter Olympics in 2022.
I will ask other international federations and organisations in the sports movement whether they have made similar experiences as of recently. But that will be after my return to Switzerland.
For the time being, we try to make the best out of the situation and raise our glasses to the athletes who are here – as well as to those who could not make. To those present I wish
Good luck and good dancing!
The Chengdu organisers have been building up to this, gradually, over recent years. They have been running the two World Championships in ShowDance since 2014, after taking over from the previous perennial host city Beijing. In 2015 they ran the World Ten Dance. This year it is the World Latin, generally the biggest championship that draws the most attention of all.
However, participation in this World Latin is slightly below the levels of the last two editions - Vienna, AUT, and Ostrava, CZE - and maybe there is an explanation for that too. The bureaucracy to obtain a visa at some of the Consulates and Embassies of the People's Republic of China was particularly challenging this year. One couple was denied a visa: Norwegian Champions Petter Engan - Kine Mardal were not able to travel to Chengdu. See post below!
Among the nearly 80 couples entered and - at this point - expected to be present for the first round tomorrow are all the favourites for the title. Defending World Champions are Gabriele Goffredo - Anna Matus, MDA. Armen Tsaturyan - Svetlana Gudyno, RUS, the first runners-up in 2014 and 2015, have high ambitions to finally make it to the upper echelon of the podium. And Germany is represented by two couples that have the proven ability to come very close to or even beat the two mentioned earlier: Marius-Andrei Balan - Khrystyna Moshenska and Timur Imametdinov - Nina Bezzubova. Who else, you are asking? Charles-Guillaume Schmitt - Elena Salikhova, FRA, they have come in third in a European but missed the podium in World Championships so far. Fourth was their best place. And there are quite a few others too: Yury Simachev - Anastasia Klokotova, RUS, were finalists last year in Vienna; Edgar Marcos - Alina Nowak, ESP, Umberto Gaudino - Louise Heise, DEN, Andrea Silvestri - Varadi Martina, HUN, missed out on that narrowly, coming in seventh through eighth.
The competition will be tight and the adjudicators challenged, but this is what makes watching a World Latin so compelling. The WDSF Communications team will show you clips of the first two, possibly even three, rounds right here and on our YouTube channel DanceSport Total.
The decisive stages - semi-final and final - will become available through Vimeo on Demand from 30 September: US$ 3.75 for a three-month streaming period.
A 6-camera production with full graphics plus interviews with the protagonists! The programme is made up of four parts: the full-length semi-final, the full-length semi-final Standard, interviews with some of the finalists, the full-length final, interviews with the medallist couples.
Pre-order right: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/2016worldlatin