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10th Antwerp Stars CUP 09/02/2010

2010 IDSF Grand Slam Latin

One of the first major competitions at the beginning of the year is the traditional IDSF competition in Antwerp organized by Hubert and Monique DeMaesschalk and their team. They provided very good conditions for the couples and great atmosphere and did all their efforts. The organizer also provided a detailed schedule. But also the best organizer gets into troubles if he cannot rely on the couples. It is incredible that in some categories 25 – 30% of the entered couples do not appear on the floor without giving any notice or excuse.

This three days event includes competitions for all categories for Adults and Seniors.  This time the spectrum also showed Professionals in Standard and Latin, Argentine Tango and Wheelchair DanceSport. It was interesting to see the increasing number of participants in the Wheelchair DanceSport and the variety of the countries they represented.

It is also tradition that the Antwerp Stars Cup hosts an IDSF Championship or Cup, this time it was the 1st Grand Slam Latin 2010. 82 couples including 12 * took part and the names on the entry list promised a very interesting event and a very hard job for the adjudicators. There was to be seen dancing on highest level. The compare introduced the different nations in the quarterfinal, 1 couple from ..., 1 couple from ..., and 14 couples from Russia. It seemed to be a Russian Championship. The audience and and all the adjudicators taking part in the other events of the day enjoyed this competition.

I would like to thank Mr. Tommy Shaughnessy for giving his comments about
the finalists and his opinion on Latin dancing nowadays.

"The quality of Latin dancing was of the highest level, and one of the most
exciting Grand Slams I have witnessed.  Latin Dancing today, seems to have
"come of age".  In the past, the Standard branch seemed to be more
developed, with a clearer agreed technique, and a greater understanding of
what was required.  However, in witnessing to-days competition, it was
easily seen that our Latin dancers understand more about what they are
trying to produce.  The absence of over-dancing and excessive power was
welcomed tonight.  The couples produced the correct levels of energy, and
did not over-dance.  They seem to understand more about where the energy is
generated from, and how speed, balance and co-ordination is accomplished.

The beautiful leg and foot action of the ladies, combined with the speed and
time changes, was a credit to the male dancers. Without their impulses,
leads and correct usage of body-weight, they could not have produced such
high level dancing.

One slightly negative note, noticed in the quarter-final -  some of the men
were presenting themselves, without any attention to their ladies, so losing
one of the main aspects of this dance-form, were it is their role to present
the lady, and not only themselves. Remember gentleman, "the lady is the
 star"

 Alexey Silde and Anna Firstova :  Current IDSF World Latin Champions.
Tonight it was easy to see why they are the champions. They showed a fine
maturity in their dancing, with Anna dressed beautifully in a softer style
of dress, which gave her a more elegant womanly look. She is now among the
great lady Latin dancers in the world today. This couple displayed great
musicality and emotion, and showed us how much they have improved over the
past year.

2nd Zoran Plohl and Tatiana Lahvinovic danced a very rhythmical and
energetic Samba, different in style to Anna and Alex, they created a more
explosive and bolder style.  In the Paso, they showed their great
understanding and dedication to the dance, for me, their best dance.  This
month they celebrate ten years of dancing together, during these past years
they have made radical changes in their dancing, their appearance and their
attitude to competition life. This couple were award to be runners-ups prize
tonight, but it is easy to see, they will be awarded the crown in the coming
years.

3rd place, also from Russia Andrey Zaitsev and Anna Kuzminskaya. Dancing an
explosive Cha Cha, with a great interpretation of this latin dance. In
Rumba, they demonstrated perfectly the man and lady relationship. A first
class Paso , showing beautiful cape actions throughout their performance. An
extremely talented couple, with an interesting future ahead, if they
continue to improve as they are.

4th place from Denmark Martino Zanibellatto and Michelle Abildtrup . They
danced an excellent Jive, full of energy with some American Swing type
moves. This Italian - Danish combination are exciting to watch and dress
with a difference. Some may like it and some may not, but Michelle's dress
did created a lot of controversy tonight.

5th place went to Russia, Vladimir Karpov and Maria Tzaptashvilli, tall and
elegant, with their usual balletic approach to their performance. A very
different style to the other finalists.  Very entertaining, and a big hit
with the audience.

6th place for one of the four Russian finalists Timur Imametdinov and
Ekatarina Nikolaeva : Timur produces very good technical dancing. Always on
his feet, he shows us a calm balanced performance consistently.  Ekatarina,
as usual was beautifully groomed, and produced a powerful performance.

During the Grand Slam competition it was interesting to see the latest development in Latin Dancing.
In the Standard section, I personally felt that we had a greater understanding of the technique and how we produced speed, balance, control and musicality. However,  it now seems our latin dancers can match our standard dancers in these elements. 

Report Heidi Götz