Across the entire globe, the dancing community has been celebrating the victory of the new WDSF Standard GrandSlam Champions, Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zukauskaite of Lithuania.
In It To Win It
Sodeika and Zukauskaite have been dancing together since 2004, starting out as a Junior II couple competing in both the Latin and Standard divisions. As they transitioned into the Youth age category, followed by the Adult Amateur division, they eventually began showing their preference towards taking part in more Standard events than Latin. For couples who dance 10 Dance in general, such a clear decision of pursuing one program may never come. However, as time goes by, competitive dancers must think strategically in terms of their careers if they are serious about making it to the top.
This Lithuanian couple danced their last Latin event in February 2009, an International Open that took place in Antwerp, Belgium, and their last 10-Dance event also in that very same month, the Lithuanian Ten Dance Championships where they became the Amateur 10-Dance runners-up. Then, the couple’s focus solely transferred into the perfection of their Standard program, a feat that is now paying off after many years of dedication.
The Final Outcome
Evaldas Sodeika - Ieva Zukauskaite
Francesco Galuppo - Debora Pacini
Evgeny Moshenin - Dana Spitsyna
Alexey Glukhov - Anastasia Glazunova
Vaidotas Lacitis - Veronika Golodneva
Evgeny Nikitin - Anastasia Miliutina
The top six WDSF Standard couples of the night made their way into the final for our first GrandSlam leg of the 2019 season. Taking a closer look at the individual scoring of the dancers, the champions of the night scored higher throughout their five dances than they have in their previous GrandSlam finals. Aside from the waltz, Lithuania scored in the 39.00 percentile range for each dance out of a possible 40.00, making their final score a total of 195.086, whereas in previous GrandSlam events their final score was 194.00.
Top-Notch Competitive Atmosphere
Taking the silver medal yesterday was Italian couple Francesco Galuppo and Debora Pacini. Interestingly, they have not participated in a WDSF GrandSlam since July 2018, with their last performance at such an event being in the Rimini leg, where they also placed in second.
Galuppo and Pacini were the Standard European Cup Champions in 2018, so they are easily considered one of the strongest Standard couples in the WDSF. Based off the performances from this weekend, it is evident that the level of skill of the dancers is only growing with each event as the athletes continue on their journey of honing their movements and their mental preparation, physical training and competitive awareness. With this group of competitors, at any moment in time, the standings can change.
As an example, Russians Evgeny Nikitin and Anastasia Miliutina took the last open spot here in the Bucharest final. However, Madis Abel and Aleksandra Galkina of Estonia and Anton Skuratov and Alena Uehlin of Germany finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively, right behind the top six final. The battle between these three couples in placements is evident from competition to competition.
Vadim Shurin and Anastasia Meshkova of Latvia came in 13th at the last leg of the GrandSlam series of 2018, which took place in Moscow, Russia, prior to the GrandSlam Final in Shanghai. At the time, they were one slot from dancing in the semifinal. Now, as the new dancing season gets started, Vadim and Anastasia competed hard in this weekend's semifinal and eventually placed ninth here in Bucharest.
As you can see, month to month, competition to competition, results can never be 100 percent predicted. This uncertainty and exhilaration that competitors must feel are what motivates them to work harder in practice and what urges them to let go on the dance floor. Luckily, for dance fans streaming live on FloDance, the excitement is like nothing else.
We greatly anticipate the outcomes of the competitive Latin performances to come our way soon here in Bucharest, at the very first WDSF GrandSlam leg of the year. This weekend has been especially thrilling because this is the first GrandSlam event to take place in Romania. Aside from such a historical event being put on by the Romanian DanceSport Federation, we also want to congratulate Evaldas and Ieva, recent newlyweds, on their historical success in taking the very first GrandSlam title of 2019!