Passion: Contestants feel the moment at this weekend’s World Dance Pro Am Championships. *Photos by Kageaki Smith

Passion
: Contestants feel the moment at this weekend’s World Dance Pro Am Championships. *Photos by Kageaki Smith
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The World Dance Council’s World Pro-Am Championships were held in Bermuda this weekend with dancers from all over the world showcasing their best moves. The events brought the glitz and glamour to the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday and Sunday night with amateur dancers and their professional teachers shimmying across the dance floor to the waltz, rumba, bolero, foxtrot, quick step and more. What’s more the championships are expected to return to Bermuda next year. Here are reviews from the two nights of entertainment.

 

Review / Showdance Championship Finals and Stars of Tomorrow
From rigorous and precise moves to sexy and sinuous

By B. Candace Ray

The World Pro-Am Championships provided a delightful evening of ballroom on Saturday night.

Instructors and students proved eager. Leading the performance with a standard classic, the quickstep, were professional ballroom champions, Tomasz and Frantsiska. The couple performed rigorous and precise moves for which the style is known. Frantsiska wore a ruffled teal taffeta gown, fitting for the salons of Europe from which the quickstep originated. The audience received this amazing duo with a standing ovation.

Next up were representatives of the Sabor Dance School, six-to-eight-year-old girls entertained the crowd in black leotards and colourful scarves tied about their waists. The applause was warm for this group under the direction of Bermuda’s Travis Gilbert.

The Semi-Final Round World Challenge American Rhythm competition included cha-cha, rumba, swing, bolero and mambo.

Christine and Louis Bar who placed first moved as required, her short, blue-fringed dress twitching in time to the steps. After this dance Ms Bar’s concentration was so intense she forgot to smile. She didn’t appear to be having fun.

By comparison, purple-frocked Nancy Urich and her professional partner, Ken Rodriguez who placed second exhibited grace and exactitude, even as they smiled.

In third place Kia Malone and Eddie Rivera were sexy, sinuous and smiling in their blue and silver fringe.

Solo couples performed to ballet, burlesque and rock numbers, respectively.

A haunting intro returned the professionals, Tomasz and Frantsiska to the dance floor, he in tights complemented by a jacket with double vents and she in soft, sparkly black. Her backless gown closed at the neck in an elegant circle of fabric. The music intensified until its victorious finale, characterized by beautiful lifts and smooth glides.

More solo couples interspersed the other performances — Milonga, mambo, a tango with no real attack and an unremarkable cheerleader style duo.

Professionals, Michael Dressler and Carly Goellner danced a theatrical interpretation against piano music. The smooth, elegant ballet routine had Ms. Goellner wrapped around her partner’s neck like a shawl.

The judges were Peter Bartles from Hamburg, Germany, Brian Fortuna, featured artist on Dancing With The Stars, Olga Richardson from St. Petersburg, Russia, Lukasz Rogowski from Poland and judges chair, Valerie Houseman of Florida.

Marina Svyatets in black and gold and Paul Richardson, of Basic Ballroom, New York, placed first in the World Challenge International Latin heat. The couple was at once electric, energetic and exacting in its cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive.

Audria Mitchell and Greg Kranz (FADS — Boca Raton) tended to be easy-going and safe — the two placed second. Bobbie Fitzpatrick and Theo Derleth (Fred Astaire — Ft. Myers) came in third.

Tomasz & Frantsiska returned for a final dance, a classic English waltz to, If You Go Away. She wore a white, ankle-length backless gown with multi-layered chiffon skirt, sequined bodice and ‘wings’. The statuesque pair danced gracefully to the music.

According to MC and promoter, Mr. Smart, the WDC began with 300 dancers five years ago in Buenos Aires and has since grown to multiples of competitors worldwide.

This was the group’s first major dance event in Bermuda.

Although 180 WDC members came to the competition, the number could easily have doubled. Some of the best dancers from Russia, the Ukraine and China — who would have attended from domiciles in the U.S., U.K. or Canada — were denied visas. Those countries had already applied strict scrutiny to the dancers’ documents, according to Mr. Smart.

I enjoyed the performances and the location in which the WDC World Pro-Am Championships took place.

It would have been nice if the ballroom music continue afterwards, the kind that encourages the audience to stay and dance.

 

Review / World Challenge Ballroom and Smooth Scholarships and Awards
International dancers make the show special

By Mikaela Ian Pearman

The Poinciana Ballroom was transformed into an international dance setting with flags from the various countries the dancers represented.

Dancers came from the U.S., South Africa, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Mexico and more.

Judges included former dancers from around the world included celebrity dancer Brian Fortuna.

Bermudian Kristina Amaro placed second in her heat at the competition on Sunday.

She was the sole Bermudian to compete.

Ms Amaro danced the mambo, rumba, cha cha, bolero and swing with her professional partner, Michael Dressler in the competition Sunday night.

The 20-year-old had many supporters in the crowd as she shimmied across the floor in a sparkly, light blue costume.

But before Ms Amaro took to the floor, amateur dancers in various categories including 65 and older took to the floor and showcased their best moves.

The women were dressed in colourful, sparkly, flowing gowns as the men wore mainly black suits. The dances were quick, about a minute each.

The first round saw the waltz, fox trott, tango and Viennese waltz known as the “smooth” dances.

Dances including the mambo, rumba, cha cha, bolero and paso doble made up the Latin and Rhythm section of the evening.

While the amateurs were fun to watch, it was the international superstars that made the show.

Delyian and Borianna are originally from Bulgaria but dance for the U.S. while Maurizio and Andra represented Mexico.

The two couples took to the floor numerous times and commanded the audience’s attention every single time.

They moved beautifully together and showed the amateurs how to really dance.

Borianna had an animalistic style of dance to her while Andra had sassiness to her.

Both men were excellent dancers who oddly enough were able to move their hips like women do.

Polish champions Tomasz and Frantsiska also performed for the audience.

They are ranked top fourth in Europe.

This is the first time Bermuda has hosted a major ballroom event.