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The Dance Review

Goran Nordin reports on the Professional Latin American Championship at the Blackpool Dance Festival 2023

It was a great pleasure to once again be back in Blackpool and to enter the world-famous Winter Gardens with it’s fantastic historical Empress Ballroom. Blackpool has many attractions but one of the main ones is to watch the dancing, as many people say, it's the home of Ballroom Dancing.

After a few years of difficult times with travel restrictions and other distractions it was good to see the festival was nearly back to normal as we remember it. Many overseas couples participated and it was a full house every night. The week was filled with great events where the dancers and audience could truly enjoy the dancing and the great music from the Empress Orchestra, under the direction of Ashley Frohlick. With many new songs this time, it added even more atmosphere to each night.

The winners of this year’s Professional Latin event was Dorin Frecautanu and Marina Sergeeva who dominated the event from the beginning. Always a very clear performance with many aspects including beautiful timing, quality actions and clear characterisation in each dance. Their Paso Doble was exceptional with a great use of shaping and Marina’s leg action in the Rumba was exquisite. They looked like Champions from the start and were worthy winners of this year’s title, well done.

Into second place were Kirill Belorukov and Valeria Aidaeva, a couple who have now found the right formula and showed great quality dancing together. Much more together and calmer than in previous performances. Both very experienced dancers with different strengths. Kirill is a powerful dancer with great presentation which showed off Valeria’s style beautifully allowing her to also shine on her own.

Into third position is another duo who have not long turned Professional, Klemen Prasnikar and Alexandra Averkieva who are going from strength to strength. They showed interesting rhythm changes combined with clever choices of choreography which suit them perfectly. I would like to see more focus on facial expression in some areas but overall a powerful, energetic performance.

Into fourth place was the newest couple on the block, Andre Kazlouski and Nino Dzneladze who certainly drew attention on the night. Both very experienced and talented dancers who are extremely well suited for each other. They gave a sense of excitement using unpredictable choreography which allowed them to showcase their individual attributes.

Darren Hammond and Marina Steshenko finished in fifth place, also a relatively new partnership who have now gelled together beautifully. One of the things I enjoyed most about their performance was their sense of spontaneity making them always exciting to watch.

Completing this year’s final was Anton Sboev and Patrizia Ranis, a couple who have improved and developed over the last year and taken themselves to another level. Great timing and use of leg action from Patrizia while Anton always totally aware of his partner and presented her with skill and precision, well done.

A fabulous competition with a terrific atmosphere. Well done to all the couples who competed, can’t wait for next year.

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