Today's lecture of the WDSF Academy is devoted to the most characteristic Standard dance, Tango.
The video lecture is presented by WDSF World Champion in Standard, Emanuel Valeri.
Emanuel talks about specific principals of Tango, including Tango shape, hold and footwork.
Earlier this month, dancers from all around the world participated in an online “Just Dance” contest, organized by WDSF Academy in conjunction with researchers from Stanford University. The aim was to promote active dancing during this challenging time.
The “Just Dance” competition entries were judged by a panel of three WDSF international adjudicators - Evgeny Imrekov (Russia), Jack Qian (China), and Silvia Pitton (Italy). The judges judged the entries based on how creative, captivating or authentic the videos are.
We divided the videos into ages 16 and above (“Adult”) and ages 15 and below (“Junior”). The judges were only given the competition entry numbers and videos for judging, and were asked to judge the videos based on the first minute of the videos if the videos exceeded one minute.
Originally, we announced that there would be two Champion and two runners-up winners. The Champions will receive a competition costume from Kostumer, 200 Euros or 2 online dance lessons with a WDSF Champion of their choice. The two runners-up winners will receive Kostumer practice wear, 100 Euros or 1 online lesson with a WDSF Champion of their choice. Due to a large number of impressive entries, we will also be awarding two third-place winners with a cash prize of 50 Euros. Additionally, the top 10 winners will receive fashionable masks, courtesy of Kostumer group.
1st Place. Zheleznyakov Arkipp and Volkova Polina (Russia)
2nd Place. Lukas Jasinevicius amd Kamile Sulcaite (Lithuania)
3rd Place. Maksim Kutsuluma and Sofiia Panchenko (Ukraine)
Top 4-10 Placing, in no particular order:
- Serikova Arina (Ukraine)
- Matvei Osetrov (Russia)
- Lila Nisa Sonay (Turkey)
- Kablova Alexandra and Neledinsky Dmitry (Russia)
- Avelina Strelcova and Mark (Russia)
- Vulf Irina and Motovilov Saveliy (Russia)
- Zoya Lavrenyuk (Ukraine)
Special mention (Top 11-20), in no particular order:
- Jessica Hill
- Ilina Victoria
- Kizin Ustym
- Yaroslav and Valeria
- Matvei and Daniela
- Migol Andrey and Bogusheva Julia
- Zheida Artem
- Sashka Koleska
- Julian Holzmann
- Sudarev Matvei and Sudareva Vasilisa
- Zorina Elena
- Imershayeva Rufina
1st Place. Raffaello Brancato (Italy)
2nd Place. Sofia Konchitskaya (Ukraine)
3rd Place. Arthur Zschäbitz and Antonia Lange (Germany)
Top 4-10 Placing, in no particular order:
- Fedotov Maksim and Fedotova Yana (Ukraine)
- Domenico Aliberti and Roberta Cardone (Italy)
- Andrej Dimoski and Angela Spirovska (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
- Li Mingxuan and Zhou Wanting (China)
- Anton Farronay and Olga Ryadchenko (Russia)
- Diago Gibilterra (Italy)
- Santino Mirenna (Norway)
Special mention (Top 11-20), in no particular order:
- Maksym Darii and Anna Darii
- Andrea Borrelli and Chantal Green
- Giuseppe Renna and Martina Bortolotti
- Alex Salvador and Alice Chiocchi
- Xu Ji and Huang Jiawei
- Davide Corrodi and Maja Kucharczyk
- Gregorio Corello and Darya Suslova
- Tudor-Andrei Ionescu and Daniela-Alexandra Ilco
- Mihai Popa and Anisia Balcan
- Guiping and Xie Zhaoji
The winners will be contacted for their prizes. Congratulations to all!
Today's lecture for the WDSF Academy was prepared by the legendary Julie Fryer.
Julie Fryer is the World Latin and ShowDance Champion.
Her dancing was always special and original. She was the one who introduced a new approach to Latin dances using dance techniques from contemporary and modern, which was later picked up by many other famous dancers.
The topic of Julie's lecture today is devoted to spins and turns in Latin.
The World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) is committed to developing all DanceSport disciplines to their fullest potential. In recent years we have seen the likes of Standard, Latin, Rock’n'Roll and Breaking increasingly capture the hearts and imaginations of dance fans across the globe. The question now is, could there be room for one more to follow in their footsteps?
With the most-watched video in WDSF history already to its credit, Formation stands intriguingly poised to do just that, or so says Horst Beer, who has been at the heart of the discipline almost as soon as he started dancing in the early 1970s. The German has been a dancer, a coach and now an adjudicator, so he understands fully how much potential Formation holds.
“For people not involved with dancing, Formation is maybe more interesting,” Beer says of the discipline that came into existence over 100 years ago when couples got together to dance their routines in teams. Today it is a spectacular and fast-growing DanceSport that features eight couples that move around the dance floor in unison, delighting crowds with their technique and passion.
“You have the music, you have eight couples and [for someone who] may not know the sport, or what is right or wrong, they can see the lines, they can see there is good presentation and a good balance between the music and the theme of the formation, and what they do on the floor.
“Sometimes Formation dancing is even more interesting for the normal audience, so I hope the WDSF will always support it. I think it is a big chance to make dancing even more popular.”
The discipline began in the late 19th century when teams of four couples began to popularise the sport with their synchronism and geometric patterns, all set to live music.
It quickly won approval with DanceSport fans and quickly spread across Europe, with venues in France and Germany becoming hotbeds of the sport.
Formation took a new direction as the Roaring Twenties began to hit top speed, and it helped shaped the discipline throughout the 20th century.
“A new dance direction was formed by the German Reinhold Sommer, having prepared a tango-quadrille performance in 1922 based on a combination of dance styles and techniques, with the participation of several sports couples,” explains Dzmitry Bialiauski, a Belarusian coach, instructor and adjudicator.
“In 1932, Reinhold Sommer, with his colleague Fritz Conradi, created a new dance using slow-fox vocabulary and around the same time, Carl Ernst Riebeling made himself felt, having developed the direction of Formation, using his experience in the field of stage dance and ballet.”
By the late 1930s Formation had gathered popularity in Germany and it grew through demonstrations and concerts.
The sport had also taken root in England after Olive Ripman introduced her four-couple dance team at a show in London in 1932.
“The performance of the Olive Ripman team was presented as ‘dancing in the pattern’ or ‘shadow dancing,’ which emphasized the main task of the dancers - to perform the dance synchronously, accurately repeating the movements of other couples,” according to dancer, trainer and adjudicator Piet Rullens of the Netherlands.
“By the second half of the 1930s, Formation tournaments began to be organized in England, and from 1937, competitions among Formation teams were included in the Blackpool Dance Festival programme, which until 1973 was considered the unofficial Formation World Championship.”
In the aftermath of World War II, Germany again took the lead in the discipline’s development, and in 1962 the country hosted the inaugural international Formation tournament. Two years later the first German National Formation Championship took place.
Soon after the European Championships began and while they were initially a tussle between German and English teams, since the 1970s Germany has enjoyed hegemony for most of the following years.
The organisation of a first World Championship in 1973 was a huge step for the sport, as was the choice of venue – New York – chosen to help spread its popularity beyond the European heartlands.
As the sport progressed, other nations rose to challenge the traditional powers, and Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Moldova, Lithuania, and the Netherlands have developed strong traditions in Formation.
In Asia, Mongolia has traditionally been the leading nation, although China finished fifth at the 2018 World Championship in Shenzhen to show their growing prowess.
Russia are the current powerhouse. Their teams won the Standard Formation World Championship in 2017, 2018 and 2019, while their Latin Formation teams won gold and bronze in 2017, and silver and bronze in 2018 and 2019.
Germany remain competitive and won Latin Formation World Championship gold in 2018 and 2019, something that Beer knows all about having helped Germany win gold on home turf in Munich in 1977.
“The great thing is you are in a team,” Beer says. “You can be disappointed, you can be happy, you can be a winner, but you are always in a group with friends.
“When we were individual world champions, going home after the championships it was just us, but in a team you have maybe 20 of you and it is such a great feeling.
“It is something that is completely different to dancing as a couple. I won awards with my wife (Andrea Lankenau) as a couple, but those awards we won as a team were very special.”
2020 World Championships
Beer is looking forward to attending the 2020 World Championship, which, pandemic willing, is set to take place in Braunschweig in central Germany on 5 December.
While the team element of Formation means adjudicators require an even more keen eye than normal, the basics of DanceSport remain.
“You see eight couples coming onto the floor and the first thing I do is understand how good the dancers are individually. If they look unnatural in their movements that is terrible for me,” Beer said.
“I want well-educated dancers. Every woman and every man needs to have a good understanding of how to use the body and how to create a posture.
“Dancing is about emotion, about personality. We always learned technique can help you and support you on the floor, but you should never just perform technique on the floor.”
Aleksandra Galkina and Madis Abel’s lives are slowly returning to normal following two months apart when Estonia and Russia went into quarantine following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
When Estonia went into lockdown in March, Galkina returned to her family home 400-kilometres away in St. Petersburg, while Abel remained in Estonian capital Tallinn along with their coach Aleksandar Makarov.
For both dancers the time apart left a longing to return to the dancefloor and build on their success of recent years, success that means they currently sit in fifth place in the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) rankings in Standard.
For two months they were forced to train by themselves to ensure that they were in the best possible shape for when restrictions lifted, and they would once again be able to train together.
“I was practising by myself and did my own exercise,” Galkina said. “I ran, I did yoga, and we had online Zoom lectures, so we could all stay connected.
“As soon as I arrived back in Estonia, I had these two weeks of quarantine, so I wasn’t allowed to go out and go to the studio, but after that finished, we practiced in the studio.”
Galkina was able to return to Tallinn on 18 May when the travel restrictions at the border were lifted to allow Estonian nationals and resident cardholders to enter.
FINDING THEIR RHYTHM
Once back in Tallinn, the 24-year-old Galkina had to undergo a 14-day quarantine period before she and Abel, also 24, could reunite. Once they did the couple quickly found their rhythm.
“It was a little bit difficult to find the balance for the first two or three days, but after that everything was fine,” she said. “It just took a little bit of time to get back in shape.
“I was sitting at home not knowing when I could go back because there was no information. Then they opened the border for foreign passport or ID cardholders so I could go back. As soon as I got back here it was a relief.”
Galkina and Abel have been competing together since 2013 and they leapt into the public’s consciousness by winning gold at the Vancouver 2015 U21 World Championships.
Since then they have been finalists in Standard at the World and European Championships. They finished sixth in the 2019 editions, which took place in Lithuanian capital Vilnius, and Salaspils in Latvia.
They had a good year in 2019 when they won eight World Open gold medals, while their best result in a Grand Slam was a fifth-place finish in Moscow.
The couple identify Stuttgart as their favourite tournament due to the atmosphere that is created in the Kultur and Kongresszentrum Liederhalle, and they enjoyed a seventh-place finish when the German city hosted the 2019 Grand Slam.
ONE LAST GOLD
This year they managed to squeeze in one tournament before the suspension of competition, an International Open in Montichiari near Brescia in Italy where they added another gold to their collection.
While they are desperate to return to competition, the time off has allowed the couple to incorporate new training techniques in a bid to take their dancing to the next level.
“After quarantine our aims changed a bit,” Abel said. “At first it was a regular process of trying to improve everything we see, but during quarantine I took the time to process my mindset to how I approach competition and training.
“Our coach said I should train my mindset to how I view dancing because we had so much free time we could work on smaller details and maybe go deeper into our dancing.”
During quarantine at her family home, Galkina branched out and began to try her hand at a number of new recipes, with her homemade granola a particular favourite with her partner.
Abel, meanwhile, was reunited with his PlayStation and thanks to a request on Insta Stories, he now has a huge list of games that his fans recommend he try.
It helped fill the time before they were reunited, but now they are back where they are happiest, in the practice hall where their focus is on being in the best shape possible for when the season returns.
“Right now, we can’t predict anything,” Galkina said. “We hope that we can get back on track as soon as possible. We really miss the competition and our normal life.”
“We miss the travel,” Abel added. “We miss the competition, we miss the people, we miss the atmosphere.”
Chinese DanceSport fans and enthusiasts will have an unprecedented opportunity to watch Standard, Latin and Breaking through Best of DanceSport and Grand Slam series of 2019 on CCTV-5.
The marvelous possibility saw its daylight when SPORTFIVE (newly branded Lagardère Sports, and the WDSF Asian Media Rights Partner) shook hands with the Chinese broadcaster CCTV for a contract for exposure of all the Best of DanceSport and Grand Slam series in CCTV´s sports channel. CCTV-5 covers the mainland China and Macau area, with a viewership of more than 1 billion people.
With this deal DanceSport rises to same category, as regards audience exposure of this size, with other international major sports federations, which have had the possibility to reach the spectators through gigantic CCTV-5. Due to the recent renewed collaboration established with SPORTFIVE, this unique opportunity reached also DanceSport, of which the WDSF is extremely proud. The CCTV-5 exposure will take the visibility of Standard, Latin and Breaking to a new level, alongside with other significant sports: the 2019 WDSF production of quality events provide an excellent content to fill the void of real-time events.
China Central Television (CCTV) is the predominant state-owned television network in Mainland China. CCTV has a network of 50 channels broadcasting different programmes and is accessible to more than one billion viewers in six different languages. Most of its programmes are a mixture of news, documentary, social education, comedy, entertainment, and drama. CCTV-5 and CCTV-5+ are dedicated to sports. CCTV-5 is the broadcaster of the Olympic Games for the Chinese tv-audience, including Macau territory since 2019.
SPORTFIVE - Lagardère Sports and Entertainment, rebranded to SPORTFIVE at the end of May across its global and regional operations. The World DanceSport Federation announced on May 21st 2020, that it has appointed Lagardère Sports as its regional media rights partner for the Asia-Pacific region.
This lecture is presented by the legendary Benedetto Ferruggia and Claudia Koehler, who retired from their outstanding DanceSport career in 2018.
The 5-time Standard World Champions, World Games winners and multiple European Champions, are among the most titled couples in the history of the WDSF.
The WDSF Academy thanks Benedetto and Claudia, who prepared an extensive lecture on nine couple positions and body actions in Standard based on the WDSF Technique Book.
These days you can’t go on social media without seeing somebody dancing.
Beginners are doing it, competitive athletes are doing it, young people, old people and everybody in between – even health care workers have been getting in on the act during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And let’s not forget celebrities. Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have always been known to bust a move or two, but one look at the video for their latest No. 1 hit Stuck with You, and it’s easy to see what a massive “thing” dancing in front of your cellphone has become around the world.
And that, of course, can only be good news for DanceSport, which includes a number of competitive dance disciplines.
“It’s definitely way more popular than ever,” says Moy Rivas, aka b-boy Moy. “I think all social media platforms have been a great form of connectivity and engagement for the world. People are coming across content, especially Breaking cultural content, they’re familiarizing themselves with dance. And people want to do it. It’s intriguing. All social media platforms combined -- not just TikTok and Instagram, you know, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube -- have definitely been a motivating boost, especially with the younger demographic of people who are interested in art.”
Rivas should know. The World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) Athletes’ Commission Member and Athlete Role Model at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 says he has seen a major uptick in interest in his dance studios in Houston and Kansas City, so much so that there are plans under way to open another half dozen locations in 2020 and another 15 to 20 locations in 2021.
During the pandemic, Rivas says, his main focus has been to sustain the momentum Breaking had before social-distancing restrictions meant that people couldn’t physically visit his studios anymore.
Enter the internet.
“As of March, we have been offering online classes to our current student body of over 300 students and are now expanding registration to people nationally and globally,” he says, adding that he also organized a six-day online event that featured 192 international b-boys and b-girls and was watched live in 315 different cities across 75 different countries. It proved so successful that a second online event is scheduled for 9 to 13 July.
Other DanceSport disciplines have also been finding appreciative audiences online recently. World Rock’n’Roll Confederation (WRRC) President and WDSF Presidium Member Miriam Kerpan Izak, for example, claims that while COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the global competition calendar, social media has been a shining beacon for Rock’n’Roll dancers during what has otherwise been a fairly dismal couple of months.
“Social media has proved to be really positive, because people have been restricted to their homes, while online they have been able to feel part of a bigger group,” says Kerpan Izak, who recently held a live Q&A of her own on Facebook. “Our top athletes have been sharing their knowledge online, and we noticed that it started with some local training in different countries, then [videoconferencing platform] Zoom took off and suddenly all our member countries and clubs – everyone – had their own online training going on.”
“I have never seen so many videos, so much activity online, as I have during this period,” she adds.
The WDSF has enjoyed a certain amount of success online during the pandemic as well, with literally hundreds of dancers of all skill levels eagerly taking part in our #dontstopdancing campaign. On Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok and in countries from Australia to the United States, people took to the campaign in the most creative ways imaginable, which helped lift spirits and inspire us all to continue dancing for the pure joy of it.
For one of the most tech-savvy Latin couples on the scene today, Kristina Moshenskaya and Marius-Andrei Balan, their increased presence on social media has allowed them to forge a deeper connection with their fans and students while also giving them a platform to encourage people of all ages to lead healthier lifestyles -- another major benefit of so much physical activity on social media platforms.
“I see that many people are dancing on social media, even older people. And I appreciate that,” says Moshenskaya. “Some people say ‘TikTok is too childish’ and so on but as long as people remain positive and keep moving, I think it’s important. As long as people are moving and doing something healthy and receiving some pleasure from it, I think it’s totally great.”
In addition to physical health benefits, dancing can also have a positive impact on mental health, in particular during uncertain times like that brought about by COVID-19. The mental boost is a collateral bonus for many people taking their first forays into dance, according to Roger Cunningham, a former soloist with the Boston Ballet and Béjart Ballet who now runs two dance schools in Switzerland.
“Over the past three or four years I do think dance is coming back, not only into the lives of kids and teens but also a lot of adults who are getting back into different styles of dance classes,” Cunningham says. “I think for a lot of people who like moving, fitness, stretching, etc., they are finding that in most dance classes you have not only a great physical workout but also a great mental challenge.”
Cunningham credits social media for playing a key role in the growing interest in all forms of dance, and in getting more and more people of all ages, sizes and abilities shuffling their feet.
“Social media has given a lot of people the confidence to return to dance classes and not think that dance is only for a certain body type or look. This for me has to be one of the greatest results of social media,” he says. “Adults today are back in dance classes. It’s not just about becoming a professional dancer but also about finding your dance, changes to the body, development of children, elegance, posture, and being disciplined in everything we do in life.”
Should you wish to have a go at some of the trendiest dance steps of 2020, here are the 19 most viral dances on TikTok, from the ‘Renegade’ to ‘TOES.’ Upload your results and don’t forget to tag us #WDSF #DontStopDancing. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.
Today’s lecture by the WDSF Academy will be dedicated to the vertical body position in Latin dances.
This topic will be presented by an outstanding and well-known dance couple, Marius-Andrei Balan - Khrystyna Moshenska.
Marius and Khrystyna will give practical tips on how to create a perfect vertical line and how to maintain it while dancing.
“It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It),” Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones once sang a few decades ago.
These days, the lyrics might well be: “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But We Miss It).”
That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out the entire spring competition calendar at the World Rock’n’Roll Confederation (WRRC), according to its President Miriam Kerpan Izak, and it remains unclear when events will resume again.
“At the moment we are at zero. We haven’t been able to have any competition,” Kerpan Izak says, adding that the focus now is on preparations to get events started again in the fall.
“The No. 1 problem is uncertainty,” she says. “We don’t really know what will happen. We have many competitions planned for the autumn, of course all the big ones, including World Championships, in all categories. But there are all kinds of issues.”
Those issues largely centre around the contrasting restrictions that are in place in different countries depending on what stage of the pandemic they are currently in. They range from travel restrictions, border closings and quarantine measures to the number of people allowed to congregate together in one place. All of which makes planning for and organising big events such as a World Championship extremely challenging.
“There will come a point in time where we have to decide what the minimum number of athletes that can participate in a competition or a World Championship is,” Kerpan Izak says. “It will be a really difficult decision, especially if all the countries are not yet open and all the competitors are not able to travel, but sooner or later we will be forced to make that decision.”
The WRRC, which has been a valued Associate Member of the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) since 1996, is of course not alone in its uncertainty. All DanceSport disciplines are currently on hiatus, with the same question marks hanging over their competition schedules for this autumn.
But according to Kerpan Izak, who represents the WRRC on the WDSF Presidium, DanceSport administrators are not merely sitting idly by. Quite the contrary.
She says that in the last two months the Presidium has held two meetings online, while workshops with top WRRC dancers and coaches have also been organized, some of which had over 500 participants. Other WRRC members have begun organising international competitions online, which for the time being are only for fun but have nevertheless been well received. Kerpan Izak also hosted her own “Ask the President” Livestream Q&A on Facebook, while judging and technical observer seminars were delivered virtually as well.
“Social media and all these tools prove that we can use our time better,” she says. “Of course, there are some things you cannot do online but on the other hand you now only spend, I don’t know, Saturdays from 9 to 5, whereas before you had to travel one day early and spend an entire weekend at an event, pay for travel expenses, the hotel, and so on. So it’s been a good experience and I think part of it we will keep when all this is over and we return to normal.”
One thing is certain: Everyone at the WRRC is eager to get back on the dance floor as soon as possible, nobody more so than the dancers themselves.
When classical training began two weeks ago in Kerpan Izak’s native Slovenia, for example, she was positively surprised at how fit the dancers still were. Despite social distancing and isolation, dancers had remained committed to their training, as clear an indication as any that they love what they do.
“I think this special situation proved that the dancers do their sport not just because of competition but because they really love dancing,” Kerpan Izak says. “Even when they had to stay at home when they couldn’t train together with their partners, they had all kinds of online lessons which proved that they really missed dancing and they wanted to keep on doing it.
“Even if the situation is not so good for them, they don’t give up and they pursue their dreams. And I can say from the experience of my dancers when we had the first online training, it was really a reunion of everybody who wants to do this sport together and I think that this is very important. This situation showed that even when we are apart, we are still connected.”