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Danish Ballroom Championship

Report from the international championship Danish Ballroom Championship in Denmark.

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I’m starting to pack suitcase and again I’m on my way to important International Championship. Denmark. Country I always dreamed about and always wanted to visit. We can see best couples from Denmark and it’s system that raises great dancers. Denmark is where they really teach how to dance.

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Unfortunately competition took place not in the capital Copenhagen, but in the small town named Kolding. But what is more important this town has a beautiful ballroom with large tribunes, big floor and great infrastructure specially developed for athletes.

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Before the championship start I was watching how everything is organized here. It is always interesting to compare and analyze how different organizers work. What I noticed right away was huge dance floor with parquet, special lighting, comfortable tribunes and many tables around the floor. Tables were quite long, so they can fit 10-12 people at once.

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At the parade all dancers was moving right through the floor, not around it. Organizer of tournament Marie Pilgaard and her assistants were waiting for dancers in the end of the ballroom to give them comfortable bags for dance accessories.

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In the beginning of official part all the audience stood up from their seats in the tribunes and tables and watched the whole opening ceremony of Ballroom Dance Championship standing and clapping. They clapped throughout all the ceremony: while dancers entered the floor, when they were given presents and when judges were introduced. Very good beginning for dance event!

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It was nice to notice that competition started to the minute. A lot of couples entered the ballroom floor. I did not expect to see so many dancers in the parade! And it’s only Standard today. To judge only Standard whole day long is quite unusual, so it was terribly interesting for me how will it be.

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Once judges were introduced chairman asked all the participants to enter the floor and to dance slow waltz. It was amazing to observe how about two hundreds of couples are flying in beautiful waltz!

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All judges were divided into two panels, five judges each, ballroom floor was divided with flags into two parts and the competition has begun. From 11 am to 2 pm we were judging almost without breaks all the categories, starting lower levels till categories visually similar to class “D”.

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By the way categories in Denmark called differently (from lowest to highest): Recruit-level, Talent-level, Competition-level and Star-level. But what even more interesting and unusual is judging system in Denmark. First, there is a rule that all couples should dance at least twice, though it was hard to understand right away how it was done. And second, I liked a lot unusual system of marks in qualifying rounds. Not simple choosing of best half of participants to make next round, but system of scores (in Ukraine this way newcomer level is judged). We were asked to put all participants scores from 1 to 5, where 1 - the best score and 5 - the worst.

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It turned out that judging by the Danish system is quite difficult, because you have to observe dance of each couple very carefully. But as I understand in the end result was more objective. Simple “yes” or “no” not always fully reflect the situation on the floor and it is quite difficult for dancer to understand real evaluation of his dance. Many times judges don’t put mark to couple simply because other one was better and it doesn’t show if particular couple was good or bad. So no marks - it’s always the same “no” and five marks – it’s always the same “yes”. In case of Danish system each couple could get five "yes" in the form of scores: 1 2 1 3 3. This way, dancers can understand more clearly how judges were evaluating them.

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In the semifinals scores were from 1 to 3. And in the final most likely were recalled only those couples, who had certain amount of scores. Sometimes it was six couples, sometimes only three. Very unusual and very interesting approach! In the second session were dancing Competition and Star categories (“C” and Open level). Dance floor wasn’t divided any more and all eleven judges were judging at the same time.

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It was very interesting competition in all categories, but of course the most eye-catching was Star competition. Juniors, Youth, Adults – very good level! Each couple has it’s own face. As often happens after the competition you try to analyze everything and cannot remember even one couple who would impress you. And here I was watching with interest how huge amount of wonderful boys and girls quite honestly and openly express their feelings. Openly were upset if didn’t get desirable result. Openly were happy when climb to the podium. Absolutely all the finalists were hugging each other. And also there was an incredible amount of fans and spectators who came out to the floor and took pictures and videos.

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It was noticeable that several clubs were thoroughly prepared and brought special flags and rooted for each other. Whole day was very positive and competitive atmosphere.

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I realized that it was much harder to judge second session. We started at 3 pm and finished at 9 pm. During this period judging panel has never changed, and there were only two 3-minute break to sit down and eat right there in the ballroom. By the end of the day my back and legs badly expressed what they think about it. Tough job, I must tell you!

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Yet I had only the most positive impression from the competition. All the judges were taking care about me and helping to understand everything. Compatriots who missed Russian speech came to me. And also I met my student Anya Shagalina who successfully dances in Denmark now.

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The only thing I was disappointed about is that I didn’t have enough time for sight-seeing. Since I had a flight from Copenhagen and only two free hours I still made very quick tour of the capital of Denmark. I had read travel guides beforehand, opened a map and made a route. I ran over the morning Copenhagen and made my little impression about this city and this country.

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I believe that this report will be interesting to read for all organizes of dance sport competitions. Maybe you will find new inspiration to apply in your competitions. To create the most extraordinary and advanced event from what you have read, make your competition even better, much more interesting and much more qualitative.

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And finally I want to note that Danish spectators who seemed to be very self-sufficient behaved surprisingly simple and sincerely rooted for almost all the dancers. I saw so many glowing eyes! From the first minute till the very end the ballroom was filled with great competitive dance atmosphere.

Denmark is really great country. Even though, I didn’t really discover it. But I will try to come here one more time.

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I want to thank a lot the organizer Marie Pilgaard for excellently organized championship and invitation to judge these great Danish couples as international judge.

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And Special thanks to President De Danske Danseskoler, Henning Christensen for well-organized system for preparation such great dancers of highest world-class level.

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And also I want to thank famous Ukrainian dancer and foreign languages expert Daria Kotenko for her help in preparing English version of this report.


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