The Professional Standard competitors will leave their marks this Sunday, March 24, at yet another Super Grand Prix to be held in Pieve di Cento, Italy. Pieve di Cento is renowned for hosting some of the largest World Open events of the World DanceSport Federation, with more than 320 couples registered for both the Standard and Latin programs this year.
Time for Standard
Many had hoped that the Super Grand Prix in Pieve di Cento would be the first professional competition for four-time WDSF Standard world champions Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova since making their transition out of the amateur ranks just last year. However, they have not been included in the starting list just yet.
Nonetheless, 43 couples are registered thus far, 13 of whom represent the host country of Italy. Three countries are locked in a tie for the second-largest number of competitors with five representatives each: Ukraine, Korea and Russia.
While last year’s Star Championship hosted the WDSF PD Super Grand Prix for the Latin competitors, there was only a WDSF PD World Open for the Standard dancers, and a total of 31 couples took on the event. This year, the event was upgraded to a Super Grand Prix, and 12 more couples have joined the competition since last year.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled For…
According to the WDSF World Ranking List, Russian couple Andrey Motyl and Ekaterina Kim lead the Professional Standard Division. However, at the WDSF PD World Championship that took place in Moscow, Russia, on Dec. 2, 2018, the couple came in fourth place in the final, with Bjorn Bitsch and Ashli Williamson taking the gold. Bitsch and Williamson of Denmark currently rank fifth on the World Ranking List. However, their absence from this event will give other couples to take a chance to place.
Comparatively, on March 10, just a little over a week ago, Motyl and Kim took the silver at the WDSF PD Super Grand Prix in Tokyo, Japan. The champions were a couple from Moldova, Nikolay Darin and Natalia Seredina. They will be in Italy this weekend, having prepared to give another stellar performance in hopes of winning another Super Grand Prix title.
Neither world champions Bjorn Bitsch and Ashli Williamson of Denmark, nor the vice-world champions Donatas Vezelis and Lina Chatkeviciute of Lithuania are set to compete in Italy, which puts Darin and Seredina, the world bronze medalists, as the top-ranked competitors heading into this event, with Motyl and Kim trailing just behind.
Stay tuned for an exciting weekend in Pieve di Cento, starting with the Latin Grand Prix on Saturday and concluding with the Standard program on Sunday. FloDance will be streaming live all of the action. Can you predict who will take the gold this time?