Grand Slam Latin at the German Open Grand Slam Latin at the German

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Grand Slam Latin at the German Open Grand Slam Latin at the German Open Grand Slam Latin at the German Open
by Brigitt Mayer Photos by Andrew Miller
Final: 1. Alexei Silde/Anna Firstova, Russia 2. Andrey Zaytsev/Anna Kuzminskaya, Russia 3.Martino Zanibellato/Michelle Abildstrup, Denmark 4.Vladimir Karpov/Mariya Tzaptashvilli, Russia 5. Nikita Brovko/Alina Zharullina, Russia 6.Timo Kulczak/Motshegetsi Mabuse, Germany Massive! A massive undertaking; that’s the German Open with its 36 events in four ballrooms, 82 adjudicators, 4000 couples, 100+ volunteers and officials, and 47 vendors. Judges Union, minimum wages and Depend® (incontinence product) come to mind when you hear about five (5) hours straight standing for the judges in the first round of the Grand Slam Latin where 480 couples had entered and 350 actually danced. lowering into the heel in samba and chacha-cha? Did I miss something here; was something changed and I was out of the country? For proper weight distribution and an earthiness (being connected to your friend the floor) one has to use the heel. Guys in particular, rethink - please! One gets a bit ‘colorblind’ after so many rounds but also more clear about assets or missing thereof in different couples and still; the toughest cut according to Rufus Dustin and Brian Torner, the North American judges in this event was from the 24 to the 12. One thing struck me in the 24! There was some very well executed subtle bullying going on between the Russian male dancers and I think it needs to be watched out for and addressed somehow by the authorities, before somebody gets hurt here! The eagerness to make the twelve made the guys forget their sportive conduct. There seemed to have been many more possibilities for other couples to make the 12, but watching is not judging, and so the results announced for semi-final and final are not necessarily the same for the judge as for the perceiver. Some of the couples were not clear finalists for me; like Vladimir Karpov and Mariya Tzaptashvilli from Russia, Timo Kulczak/Motshegetsi Mabuse, Germany and even the Danish couple that came 3rd was not clear for me and I found them overrated here, although results read just like the World ranking list… . Possible finalists for me were Nikolai Voronovich and Maria Nikolishina (they came 7th). Maria was one of my favourite female dancers in this event with a unique style and facial expressions that actually match the movements…very refreshing! Here a stronger, more athletic approach is probably needed to make the next cut. The biggest question for me in the

s one or ght one It was a super comp overall and the energy from the dancers, but also the audience was contagious. Unfortunately USA’s Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Dariya Chesnokova had to pull out after a couple of rounds do to an injury; they were promising contenders! I would like to address one ongoing technical ‘flawtrend’ I keep seeing up into the semifinals today that has bothered me for a long time! – Whatever happened to

final w a s ; w h o would actually win … Silde/Firstova or Zaytsev/ Kuzminskaya. The team of Silde/Firstova did it again, like in the World Championship and the recent World Games. The two couples are very different in style and the sportive, fast and precise one was favoured.

Brovko & Zharullina

Zanibellato & Abildstrup

I do not necessarily agree, although there is no doubt they were absolutely worthy winners! – I prefer the style of Andrey Zaytsev/Anna Kuzminskaya, just like I did in the last Worlds. I guess it’s preference, or just a female point of view?! I find Alexei Silde as a male dancer totally ambivalent towards his partner; whether she is there or not does not really matter so it seems and I believe in a style of Latin dancing where you act and react to a partner. So if I had to choose between Alexei and Andrey as a male partner, I would always choose Andrey, although he is maybe at times too much into shaping and twisting and you want to say to him “give me a straight line pa-lease.” If you are looking for clarity Alexei and Anna are superior, when it comes to musicality and a more lyrical approach it’s Andrey and Anna. Looking at the couples’ different approach to the musical interpretation it seems like Alexei (Silde) and Anna (Firstova) have a, lets call it ‘one-bar-approach’ which results in the clarity described above, as opposed to a ‘multi/eight-bar-approach’ where the movements merge and a finishing element is only applied at the end of such a phrase. Whereas the first; ‘onebar-approach’ with a beginning, middle and end

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for each bar results in a very clear, but also a bit exhausting and aggressive look, the latter results in a softer, lyrical and more artistic attitude towards choreography. M a r t i n o Zanibellato/ M i c h e l l e Abildstrup, Denmark (3rd) were sixth in last year’s Worlds and with the couples that split/did not dance/turned pro, they finished just according to their ranking. They showed good musicality with the live music (that was not always great) and were able to pick up the band’s ‘high-and low-lights.’ Vladimir Karpov/Mariya Tzaptashvilli, Russia (4th) were not a clear finalist for me, but danced a good musical and relaxed samba solo and final overall; they kind of ‘grew on me’ as the final progressed. Nikita Brovko/Alina Zharullina, Russia (5th) had good energy, but in particular in the solo samba got too fast and danced ahead of the music. Too much adrenalin, which then interferes with the hearing?!

Kulczak & Mabuse
Timo Kulczak/Motshegetsi (Motsi) Mabuse, Germany (6th) were my 5th in the final, although I did not see them as clear finalist before. They always sport a happy energy and as the local heroes they were fully supported by the public. They have had a good year and show a consistency that was not always apparent.

Silde & Firstova


				
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