The last Latin title to be awarded for the year is also the most elusive. The GrandSlam Finals are the culmination of a competition that started back in March and that was fought out between approximately 1,000 couples in five stages at different locations around the globe.
To get here, the twelve finalist couples had to enter minimum three of the competitions making up the 2013 Series, accrue a maximum of points at every one, and – in the final tally – end up with enough points to break into the top 12 of the year.
Other important titles were awarded in 2013. The World Championship Latin was held only two weeks ago in Berlin, GER. Continental championships in Europe and Asia took place earlier in the year in Krasnodar, RUS, and Nanjing, CHN, respectively. But this Final here is different as it rewards the couples for persistence and consistent excellence demonstrated over several months.
Aniello Langella - Khrystyna Moshenska, ITA, won the World Championship in Berlin, making it two in a row in a career that seems bound to turn into legend. They are in Shanghai together with six other couples that ended up in the top ten on 30 November. It goes without saying that they are more than just the odds-on favourites to revalidate the GrandSlam Champion title too.
Runners-up in the World Championship were the Moldovans Gabriele Goffredo - Anna Matus. While they had dropped out of the top three in the last two GrandSlam legs they participated in, it all fell into place at Berlin’s Max-Schmeling- Hall. They finished second behind Nino and Khrystyna in every dance. But then: the judging was different.
For the moment, the World DanceSport Federation uses its Judging System 2.0 only in GrandSlam competition. World and other championships are still adjudicated on the basis of general comparison - not, as here in Shanghai, on an absolute scale in different Programme Components. But this is about to change for 2014!
Two Russian couples travelled to China with the most GrandSlam ranking points behind Nino and Khrystyna: Armen Tsaturyan - Svetlana Gudyno and Andrey Kiselev - Anastasia Balaeva are the # 2 and # 3 respectively. They did not dance in Berlin. Two other couples were to represent Russia: Timur Imametdinov - Ekaterina Nikolaeva and Valentin Voronov - Alina Imrekova made the final but failed to convince entirely.
As these two couples have declined their invitation to dance here, it is rumoured that they are about to make “important career changes.” That often implies either separation and/or turning professional. In any case, Tsaturyan - Gudyno and Kiselev - Balaeva seem to have taken the baton and started on their run already. Another Russian couple is in hot pursuit of them: Yury Simachev - Anastasia Klokotova .
Of the other favourites to make the final here one should single out the French couple Charles-Guillaume Schmitt Elena Salikhova. Not only have they entered all five regular legs in 2013, they ended up on the podium on the last two, finishing 2nd in Beijing and 3rd in Moscow.
Marius-Andrei Balan - Nina Bezzubova, GER, have been 4th and 5th in Stuttgart and in Beijing, but they have danced onto the podium in the World Championship in Berlin, ending up in 3rd. Without any doubt their career highlight until today.
And then there are the youngsters with plenty of aspirations:
The four couples distinguish themselves by having participated in all five GrandSlams – and by drawing closer and closer to making the final every time.