Do you know that Koalas have fingerprints very similar to human ones? And do you know that Australia has a 2-day American style Ballroom and Rhythm competition with pro/am, am/am and professional events?
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e had no idea until recently have traveled to Canberra to meet koalas, teach American Style at Danzon Dance Studio and judge and perform at The Outback Crown Competition.
Let us tell you all about it!
We were invited to Australia by Sharon and Marko Pekkarinen – owners of Danzon dance studio in Canberra and organizers of the American style competition The Outback Crown. Marko and Sharon are USISTD members with Licentiate and Fellowship degrees in American Style.
We must say that our Australian experience was beyond amazing! We were told, people were very nice there and that was certainly true. Workshops at the studio were well attended with Bronze and Silver level students who knew and loved American Smooth and Rhythm. The whole studio was excited getting ready for the weekend event – The Outback Crown competition.
It started on Friday night with welcome reception, champagne and horderves and our Viennese Waltz workshop which was attended by almost 100 people! Oh, we had fun!
Saturday competition started with Smooth dances at 9am. Ballroom was gorgeous! Sharon is a great designer. Stage, on-deck area, tables were very tastefully decorated to give the room a very sophisticated look.
We judged the event together with other 8 Australian adjudicators. We used tablets instead of paper which made the process easy and fast. Organizers designed their own software for judges and after a short briefing we were good to go. We must say the software did not fail once during the weekend.
Dancing impressed us very much. Most dancers were social dancing oriented and yet they showed good knowledge of technique and styling. There were many gentlemen student competitors. Pretty much all heats were contested. When ladies and gentlemen were competing among themselves on the floor at the same time, all judges were asked to participate. Male judges were judging men only and female judges were judging ladies.
Lunch was served in the ballroom for package holders. American Rhythm started in the afternoon. Dancers were nicely groomed and dressed. Shoe and dress vendors were in the ballroom.
There was a 2 hour break during which the ballroom was prepared for the evening ball.
Ball was awesome! Tables very beautifully decorated. Professional lightning was on. Wine and 3 course dinner were served. And there was social dancing. A lot of social dancing. It was such pleasure to see people all stand up and dance almost every song. Dance floor was filled with couples. Everyone was changing partners, meeting dancers from other studios, laughing and dancing. Social dancing at it’s finest!
Evening session consisted of 2 open championship events: smooth and rhythm as well as a pro event. Professionals (there were 3 couples) had to compete in 6 dances: American Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and then after a break – American Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing.
And then it was Showtime. Daria and I performed 4 smooth dances and did a group number with pro couples including Marko and Sharon as part of our Viennese Waltz show. It was the first time audience saw an American couple dance. They also really enjoyed seeing their teachers dance. It was one the most memorable moments – seeing us all on the floor. Everyone loved the show.
Evening finished with awards and, yes, some more social dancing!
Sunday morning/afternoon was dedicated to am/am events and pro/am multi-dances. There was also smooth and rhythm Jack-n-Jill which was lots of fun and had many participants.
Competition ended around 3 pm with multi-dance awards and top student and top teacher awards.
It was an extraordinary experience that we will never forget. Australia is amazing with its friendly people, exotic animals, beautiful landscapes, great food and fantastic dancing. So if you are planning to make your 2015 competition season an unforgettable one and at the same time happen to wonder if it’s true that in Australia water in the sink flushes the opposite way, consider adding ASDAC – The Outback Crown competition in August to your list (2015 date has just been released – July 31- Aug 2. www.asdac.com.au). Yes, the flight to Canberra from US is long but think of all the movies that have not even yet been released on DVD that you can watch on the plane! And think of the amazing lifetime experience you are going to get during your trip. American style exists in Australia! It is developing and gaining popularity thanks to incredible teachers, dancers and organizers like Marko and Sharon Pekkarinen.
Author: Kirill & Daria Gorjatsev [DK Ballroom]
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review