The final of the GrandSlam Latin Helsinki was special in two ways. Not only the dancing by the six finalists was at an incredibly high level, the emotions, too, appeared to be heightened. The outcome itself was almost of lesser importance, with all six couples radiant over what they had achieved. You will have to wait for the Vimeo on Demand programme to get released to hear some of the statements that were made by the dancers prior to and after the final.
Gabriele Goffredo - Anna Matus, MDA, won another GrandSlam. Armen Tsaturyan - Svetlana Gudyno, RUS, were first and Andrey Gusev - Vera Bondareva, RUS, second runners-up.
It did suprise us that we didn't see Vaidotas Lacitis - Veronika Golodneva, LTU, in the GrandSlam Standard final last night. The couple had made every final - GrandSlam and Championship - since missing out narrowly in Helsinki exactly one year ago. Finland seems to bring the Lithuanians bad luck, we thought. Well, it was bad luck - but of a different kind. Veronika sent us a message on Facebook to set the record straight:
"Yesterday on 18 March, I and partner Vaidotas Lacitis took part in WDSF GS Standard in Helsinki, but due to injury I had to withdraw. To avoid any misunderstanding, could you please mark our result accordingly, please. Thank you! Best regards, Veronika Golodneva."
We will let the scrutineer know!
We mentioned earlier in this blog that Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska had made a very valiant effort to be here in Helsinki for the inaugural leg of the 2017 GrandSlam Series. They arrived at the Messukeskus Hall 4, the venue of the Finnish Open, just 90 minutes prior to round two of the GrandSlam. They danced the five dances and then they informed the chairman Drago Sulek of their decision to drop out of the competition ...
We best let them explain their reasons.
Round two is about to start. The first round one videos are available in the Gallery, more will go up shortly. The standing for the places 49 and 73 is established and available in the "Live" result box on the right.
The number of entries is much lower than the one in 2016, when 92 couples danced the first leg in Helsinki. It's not that Latin is going out of style, but the fact that the dates for the GrandSlam had to be changed at relatively short notice and that the new ones coincided with the German Championship Latin didn't help to boost entries from there.
In any case, those who are here came from far and wide ...
The first round of the 2017 GrandSlam Latin Helsinki brought familiar faces that we haven't seen for a long time back to the floor: Vincenzo Mariniello - Sara Casini , ITA. Welcome back, guys!
Aside from the one of Vincenzo and Sara on the left, we have just added another 19 pictures that our photographer Reinhard Egli has shot during the round to the "Photo" Gallery above. A few "stunners" shot during last night's Standard final have also been uploaded. Enjoy!
Another Latin "star" couple arrived at Helsinki airport only a few hours ago. Until very late last night they competed in the German Championship Latin in Siegburg. Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska went into the final as the reigning Champions, danced their heart out and lost the title to their opponents Timur Imametdinov - Nina Bezzubova by what must have been the narrowest of margins. Here is an article in German!
It is in a true sporting spirit that Marius and Khrystyna got up at an ungodly hour this morning, took the first flight to Helsinki and are now ready to go for round two of this GrandSlam Latin. Champions always get back up!
The first round will be in progress soon. One of the "star" couples that doesn't have to dance it gave us an interview instead of getting ready.
Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus talked to us about their long winning streak, System 3.0 and the fact that they feel particularly inspired to start dancing at around 5 p.m. today.
Yesterday's GrandSlam Standard Helsinki was marked by a number of premières. Above all, it was the first GrandSlam ever to be adjudicated with the new Judging System 3.0 and - this is important - with the system offering the adjudicators the option to assess the performances on a more differentiated scale. As opposed to the first outing of 3.0 in Tokyo on 12 March, when only 0.5 point increments were used to score the components on the usual scale from 1 to 10, the increments were reduced to 0.25 yesterday. That allowed the adjudicators to differentiate decidedly more between the performances.
Given the uniformly high level that these top couples perform at, having the option to make an finer distinction is very much welcome. The feedback from the adjudicators and the couples was very positive.
A new set of TV graphics - locators, lower thirds and standings - generated by a new software premièred as well. Without a glitch.