And now we are off once again, but this time to yet another new stop on this grand journey of DanceSport athletes worldwide: Taipei. Here, we will be awaiting the coming of the second WDSF GrandSlam leg of the annual year in both the Latin and Standard divisions.
This Saturday, June 1, will kick off the weekend with the Latin segment, in which we have 63 couples registered thus far. From these 63, a particular number will be selected to go straight through to the second round. This will leave the remaining couples to give their all in the re-dance, a second chance at making the next round. Those making it through the re-dance will be joined by the couples who went straight through the first round to competing further in the second round.
Last year’s Taipei GrandSlam had 49 couples participating. Now, we see the extent to which this event has grown in only a year, with a total of 63 duos! The reigning champions, Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno of Russia, are back once again to fight for this title a second year in a row. Just last weekend, they became four-time reigning Latin European champions and are on their journey in preparation for the World Championship to be held in September. This GrandSlam is just another stop in their preparation for success.
A couple to battle the Russians are also making their way from the recent European Championships held in Paris: Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska of Germany. They were the silver medalists of this GrandSlam last year, as well as silver medalists of last weekend in Paris and silver medalists of the 2018 World Championships. The battle for the top Latin couple of the WDSF rests in between Tsaturyan and Gudyno and Balan and Moshenska, and the tension is always in the air when they meet on the dance floor.
Many would like to see favorites Timur Imametdinov and Nina Bezzubova of Germany performing this weekend. However, the couple will actually be on home territory this upcoming weekend in Bremen, Germany, participating in one of the most renowned DanceSport training camps of the year, Dancing SuperStars, which accompanies with it WDSF International Opens in the Standard and Latin divisions this Friday and Saturday, the same weekend as this GrandSlam in Taipei. Therefore, fighting for the bronze this year will be Andrey Gusev and Vera Bondareva of Russia.
High Quality All Around—How Can We Choose?!
In the final, we also expect to see Andrea Silvestri and Martina Varadi of Hungary. Moreover, at this current moment in time, we do not see France’s Charles-Guillaume Schmitt and Elena Salikhova, last year’s fifth-place finalists in Taipei, which means that Edgar Marcos Borjas and Alina Nowak of Poland will most likely be concluding our top five, a couple that made the final at the European Championship in Paris just a few days ago. Last year, Borjas and Nowak were seventh here in Taipei, and now they may get the chance to charm the crowd with their solo performances in the final round. However, one spot for making the final remains...
What makes watching a WDSF event after event so enticing, is the fact that the top dancers, and I mean the top 50 or so in the World Ranking, are all more or less equally sensational!
Usually—as many of you can tell whether you are directly involved in this industry as a competitor, adjudicator, or instructor, or you are just a fan of this sport and art in general—the WDSF Adult Amateur division finals are quite steady in terms of placing couples. However, when it comes down to the semifinal and quarterfinal rounds, couples shift around A LOT.
The battle in the Latin division rests with many couples who are extremely difficult to compare, and when the judging system is enacted where couples are judged by 0.25 point differences, placements are sure to vary. Therefore, it is also very possible that Jakub Lipowski and Diandra-Aniela Illes, also representing Poland, will make it into the top six. Ten Dance World Champions and crowd favorites Konstantin Gorodilov and Dominika Bergmannova of Estonia are also candidates.
Predictions can be made but it all comes down to the product that a couple will produce out on that dance floor, because the competition is truly tight! And here at this GrandSlam, we will see plenty more talent than the couples highlighted above. We have:
Winson Tam & Anastasia Novikova (Canada)
Artur Balandin & Anna Salita (Germany)
Eric Testa & Federica Brezzo (Italy)
Timur Yusupov & Valeria Remina (Russia)
Anton Aldaev & Natalia Polukhina (Russia)
Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar (Romania)
Vito Coppola & Oona Oinas (Italy)
All of these couples are impeccable, not only in their technical skills, but also as true artists. Each and every one of them has a chance to rise and not “wait in line” to achieve their victory. The moment comes down to who wants it just that bit more and who was willing to prepare to achieve the feat.
Stay tuned with us as we live stream this very anticipated weekend in Taipei! The heat is on and the competition will be top notch, not only in tension, but in the quality that we shall all witness.