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Last weekend, the dance world witnessed a momentous occasion as the WDSF Asian DanceSport Festival took center stage in the vibrant city of Wuxi, China. This event marked a significant milestone for athletes and officials, eagerly awaiting the return of international Standard and Latin events to China, after the last GrandSlam Finals in Shanghai in December 2019.
The successful execution of the WDSF Asian DanceSport Festival owed much to the vision of Mr. Shawn Tay, WDSF President, and Mr. Yin Guochen, President of CDSF (Chinese DanceSport Federation) and DSA (DanceSport Asia), who wanted to kickstart international DanceSport competitions in China following a long hiatus. The collaboration, together with Wuxi Jijin Sports Company, resulted in a grand-scale festival that brought together athletes from 39 countries and regions, with 323 couples competing in both WDSF World Championship Standard and GrandSlam events, and an impressive 1716 athletes across all events.
Mr. Yu Zai Qing (IOC member), Qing Yong Xin (Deputy Mayor of Wuxi), Mrs Gladys Tay, Mr Shawn Tay (WDSF President), Mr. Yin Guo Chen (DSA and CDSF President) meeting at the Welcome Dinner for officials, adjudicators, and international athletes.
Mr. Shawn Tay (WDSF President) and Mr. Nenad Jeftic (WDSF Vice-President for Sports) welcoming officials.
In anticipation of the event, the hotel and stadium underwent thorough inspections, and specific infrastructure was built to ensure a tailor-made experience for all participants. These were efforts to continuously improve competition experiences for the athletes, in addition to the current popular championships in the competition calendar.
Competition hall. Photo by Wuxi Jijin Sports.
Athletes from around the globe were impressed with the level of hospitality and organization they encountered during their stay in Wuxi. The organizing team greeted athletes at the airport and generously provided free hotel accommodation, transportation, and meals. Competitors applauded the seamless transfer arrangements, efficient services, and overall warmth of the Chinese audience.
“[This is] one of the best comps I’ve danced in Asia”, commented Winson Tam of Hong Kong, China.
“[The event was] super organized”, added Tomas Fainsil of Germany, including the “food, transfer from the airport, changing rooms, and timetable”.
Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zuakuskaite from Lithuania, Gold Medalists of World Championship Standard. Photo by Wuxi Jijin Sports.
“I think that this is really the highest level of organization here in Wuxi… We danced many [championships] in China, which were very good, but we will remember [this] for sure. In terms of taking care of the couples, the organization, the hotel, the venue, everything was excellent”, praised Alexey Glukhov, an athlete representing Moldova.
Alexey Glukhov and Anastasia Glazunova of Moldova, winners of the WDSF GrandSlam Standard. Photo courtesy of Wuxi Jijin Sports.
Marius Andrei-Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska from Germany, Gold Medalists of the WDSF GrandSlam Latin. Photo courtesy of John Hua.
“Wuxi GrandSlam had the best lighting, the public welcomed us with open arms and the organization was top notch. Hotel, transfers, hall and translators made us feel like top athletes. We would like to thank local organizers, CDSF and WDSF for this great experience!”, praised Marius Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska, athletes representing Germany.
The festival commenced with a welcome dinner the evening before, a spectacular grand opening ceremony, complete with the recitation of the WDSF anthem and pledges from athletes and adjudicators. The vibrant and colorful spotlights illuminated the stadium as the pulsating beats of music set the stage for exhilarating performances. LED screens adorned the sides and ceiling, creating an immersive atmosphere that resonated with the loud cheers of the enthusiastic Chinese audience.
Opening Ceremony. Photo by Wuxi Jijin Sports.
The competition showcased the finest talents in Standard and Latin dance categories, with memorable performances that enthralled the spectators. In the World Championship Standard category, Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zuakuskaite from Lithuania clinched the Gold medal, followed by Tomas Fainsil and Violetta Fainsil from Germany with the Silver, and Cojoc Rares and Matei Andreea from Romania with the Bronze.
Finalists of the 2023 WDSF World Championship Standard. Photo courtesy of Wuxi Jijin Sports.
In the GrandSlam events, Alexey Glukhov and Anastasia Glazunova from Moldova secured the Gold in Standard, while Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska from Germany triumphed in Latin.
WDSF GrandSlam Latin Finalists. Photo courtesy of Wuxi Jijin Sports.
WDSF GrandSlam Standard Finalists. Photo courtesy of Wuxi Jijin Sports.
The festival concluded with a two-day WDSF Standard and Latin Adjudicators' Congress organized by WDSF DanceSport Academy, where Nenad Jeftic, Vice-President of Sports, started the Congress with a lecture on adjudicator conduct, responsibilities, and the evolution of the WDSF Judging System.
Martino Zanibellato guided the adjudicators through the intricacies of Latin footwork and other technical nuances that distinguish the highest level of dancing. Experts Fabio Selmi and Pietro Braga led the Standard Congress, covering an important range of topics including partnering skills, musicality, and choreography of Standard dance.
2023 WDSF Standard and Latin Adjudicators Congress.
As the event drew to a close, it was announced that Wuxi would be the proud host city for the GrandSlam series for the next three years, with the GrandSlam series sponsored by BD Dance International. The announcement further solidified Wuxi's position as a premier destination for DanceSport enthusiasts and athletes from around the world. As we celebrate the successful return of international dance events, we eagerly await the future of DanceSport, filled with exciting new partnerships and unforgettable performances.