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The Dance Review

Victor Fung reports on the Amateur Ballroom Championship at the Blackpool Dance Festival 2023

The 2023 British Open Amateur Ballroom Championships was filled with much excitement and anticipation as this year’s title was vacant. Who would be crowned the new British Open Amateur Ballroom Champion as this field offers so much talent, energy, skill, and creativity from all the couples? Certainly, this competition was fierce and challenging for anyone to participate in let alone adjudicate and the judges had the arduous task of deciding the final six. However, the final of this competition was met with rapturous applause from the audience coupled with the famous “Blackpool roar” after nearly each dance which is a testament to how incredible these competitors are.

-First place goes to Glenn-Richard Boyce & Caroly Janes

Hearty congratulations go out to these two for capturing the coveted British Open Amateur Ballroom title. They’ve had a meteoric rise to the top in the last year and rightfully deserved every success they’ve achieved. They tower quite clearly both literally and figuratively and their dancing skills are there to support every single first place mark awarded to them. Glenn has an aura of calmness and radiates joy and happiness from his perpetual smile, never getting ruffled or disturbed by those around him. AndCaroly looks light, lovely, and elegant at all times in Glenn’s arms. These two certainly are on an upward path and trajectory and only good things are in store for their future.

-Second place goes to Alex Gunnarsson and Ekaterina Bond

These two are to be congratulated on a much-improvedperformance in the past few months. They have such a gorgeous and beautiful look about them and they are simply stunning from every aspect with Ekaterina looking particularly regal on today’s occasion. They have a calmness and lightness about their dancing and their movement across the floor seems effortless without the need for any unnecessary effort. They never force anything and all actions that they execute are done with an effortless air about them. In general, their actions can be fuller to include all aspects of the body which will help enhance their movements and actions. I’m sure with a bit of commitment and attention to this area they can further elevate their performance.

-Third place goes to Yujie Tang and Aini Zhao

Special congratulations must go out to these two for an absolutely superb performance. These two are incredible in their approach to their dancing and to the competition. Fierce, sharp, accurate, precise, and incredibly dynamic they are definitely on the rise. From the very first step to the very last one they maintained a consistency in their body lines, structure, space, stamina, and overall dynamic energy. Aini has got to be one of the best lady dancers out there at the moment and Yujie takes full advantage of this portraying a very dynamic and active approach to his dancing. For sure, these two have the skills, talent, and determination to become future champions and it's only a matter of time when they will hold the top spot.

-Fourth place goes to Oleksandr Bezkrovnyi and Maria Savchuk

I really enjoyed watching this couple dance as they have many strong and eye-catching aspects about their performance. I recall watching them in a previous major event last year where they had a fierce and dynamic approach coupled with a commanding shift of weight across the floor that makes most heads turn and look. It is refreshing to see their use of basic figures which highlights the true characteristic of each dance, a commendable approach to their performance. Occasionally, Oleksandr can be more precisely angled toward’s Maria allowing her to enjoy the full expanse of space in his right arm. Maria has a lovely flexibility in her back and compliments Oleksandr’s dominant and dynamic approach. A great performance and I’m sure a wonderful future ahead of them.

-Fifth place goes to Marco Sirocchi and Dora Kilin

There are many lovely attributes to this talented couple,and they received a well-deserved place in this prestigious final. For me, they bring to the table an approach, skill level, deep understanding, and presentation of dance that is very refreshing and quite exciting to witness. They are clean, accurate, precise, beautiful and all the while creative, expressive, musical, and graced with very eye-catching choreography. It’s difficult to not continue watching them as they present their dancing in the most unique way all stemming from basic figures and a basic understanding of how Ballroom dancing should be. Hearty congratulations to them on your well-deservedsuccess and I look forward to witnessing their continued development and contribution to the dance scene.

-Sixth place goes to Andrei Toader and Mia Linnik-Holden

This young couple must be over the moon to have made this incredible final! They have jumped ahead quite recently and quite deservedly so. They are young and refreshing and have a purity about their dancing which is lovely to watch. Andrei and Mia have a terrific leg action which allows them to create a beautiful flow across the floor and Andrei has a clear understanding of space in particular with his right arm for Mia which is beautiful to see. Andrei chose to wear in the earlier rounds a midnight blue tail suit which complimented Mia’s lovely light blue dress perfectly, an appealing detail that for sure did not go unnoticed. Continuing along their development will for sure lead to much more successful finals. Congratulations to you both for making this illustrious final!

All finalist and couples should be congratulated and commended on some superb dancing and what I’m sure is a very challenging and difficult competition for the judges. With so much talent and skills in this field, the future for Ballroom dancing is very bright and exciting!

Thank you to the Blackpool Dance Festival Organiser, Ms. Natalie Hayes, and the Managing Director of Blackpool Entertainment Limited Co, Mr. Michael Williams, for allowing me to share my thoughts and incite as well as organising yet again another spectacular Blackpool Dance Festival.

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