Report on National Dance Events Competition - Watch For Free on TDC!

NRE Report
Saturday 14th March 2009

The brand new venue of The New Bingley Hall, Birmingham provided an excellent centre for what must be one of the best National Selection competitions to be held this year.

Martin & Carol Cutler presented the EADA National Selection Competitions for Amateur Ballroom AND Amateur Latin American events in what is probably one of the best Ballrooms in this country, over 600 people watched the evening competitions that had everything.

In the morning and afternoon….

Apart from the two EADA NSC events, which had an incredible entry in both number and quality, there were also very large numbers of competitors for all events with the very best Senior 1 competitors and both Youth Ballroom and Latin American events were of an incredibly high standard.

The EADA Senior 2 Ballroom event was won by Gordon and Deborah Maguire, 2nd John Hyam and Jennifer Selmes, 3rd Colin and Sandra Adams, 4th Derek and Louise Farquhar, 5th David and Sandra Ball, 6th David and Maggie Durrant.

The winners of the EADA Senior 1 Latin American was Mark Powell and Kim Parsons, 2nd Steve and Sue Witherington, 3rd Barry and Angela Smith, 4th Robin and Marianne Sudell, 5th Mark and Tracey Woodward, 6th Ralph Casson and Claire Duckworth.

In the evening…..

27 of the very best English ballroom dancers took the floor exactly on time to start the evening with a real bang. In the first round seven of the very best adjudicators, Warren Bullock, Craig Draper, Hannes Emrich, David Sycamore, Paul Taylor, David Trueman and Dawn Vickers were engaged to select 18 couples in what was an incredibly strong competition.

The dancing thrilled the large audience, who created a great atmosphere for all of the couples to dance in, many of whom would have been disappointed not to reach the second round.

Great music from Richard Miller greatly added to the evening, introducing some new tracks from albums that had not even been released. The floor was one of the largest used for these type of events but so large was the ballroom that the floor looked as though it should be twice the size….. maybe next year.

After a further two exciting rounds we reached the final and what a final, the very best of the English scene danced well above themselves.

In the semi final and final an additional four World Class adjudicators were added to the board, Bryan Allen, newly elected President of the BDC, John Knight, Stan Page and Rita Short who all had a tough time in selecting a final six.

Coming out winners with a very polished and experienced performance was Mark and Olga Elsbury, they do not always have the best of body related positions, Mark on occasions moving excessively to the right of Olga, and concentration and understanding of using the standing foot would give an extra dimension to a couple who always look so elegant on the floor.

2nd was Richard Still and Morgan Hemphill with an energy plus performance. For me, I would love to see them trying to fill the music and add more musical interpretation and passion to their sometimes too speedy approach.

3rd came Andrey Sirbu and Alexander Hixson a couple who undoubtedly have the ability to go right to the top, a soft, fluid and incredibly interpretive style is marred only by the inability to be consistent.

4th Jack Beale and Viktorija Triscuka and in truth not their best night. I have seen this couple produce such powerful high standard dancing, but tonight it was not quite hitting things together and at this level even the slightest increase in body tension is extremely visible.

5th were Alexander Shindila and Katie Gleeson who are a little confusing to watch. What promises to be a great performance always seems to be a little short of knee pressure and body rotation making me want more. A greater squeezing and completion of action would without doubt change their results.

6th in a fabulous final was Danny Stowell and Kate Moore. Danny always working and has a great natural feeling for this style of dancing. I think Kate could work on her posture and poise, which sometimes looks a little too static.

The Latin American event provided a showcase that left the audience spellbound. Its very rare today that every one of the top English dancers take part in these events but tonight, with the exception of James Cutler and Lauren Oakley, they were all here and each one of the 24 couples dancing at their very best.

The judges were the same as for the ballroom event, with all eleven judges taking to the floor for the final.

A very well deserved first place went to Neil Jones and Ekaterina Sokolova and what a change in this couple from just a few months ago, they have gained speed and composure which has elevated them into the absolute worlds best amateur dancers. Each performance you see more, more quality, more expression and tonight the crowd were enthralled.

2nd was Alejandro Hernandez and Kerri-Anne Donaldson, and no-one could say they weren’t great, but now to push forward they need to establish a much faster and alert body action, they settle very well, but sometimes are a little slow getting back off the standing leg making a performance look somewhat heavy in places.

3rd Ben Hardwick and Lucy Jones dancing exceptionally well tonight. They sometimes lack clarity in movements, its great having fats movements but you need to define them with cleaner line and timing. At times it is all there but to win and move up the world rankings you need consistency throughout a whole performance.

4th were Daniel Juvet and Zuzana Sykorova, having flown in from Switzerland specially for this event, they showed from round one a desire to be amongst the top finalist and thoroughly deserved their placing. It is not necessarily the physical body shape that gives a strong look, but to me that is what is lacking from Daniel, an increase in body tone in shapes which extends right down to fingertips is vital. Zuzana on the other hand has this attribute, but did seem a little ‘uninterested’ in her performance.

5th Richard Still and Morgan Hemphill, the only couple who danced in both finals and had a very good night. There is no doubting both of their abilities and they are without doubt the hardest workers of all the finalists but as in the ballroom final, I felt they were a little light in qualitative interpretation of the dances. All five dances seem to have the same approach and feeling and I want to take hold of them and squeeze the action out of them…

6th in what was probably the best EADA Latin final so far this year came, Andrew Escolme and Amy Baker, who had a good night but not a great night. They did not seem to be firing on all cylinders and looked a little bit under rehearsed. They have a technique that when going right is as good as anyone in this final, they have the aggression and passion to be champions but seem to lack the belief at the moment.

What a night, great venue, great music, a world class panel of adjudicators and an incredibly appreciative audience, and not only all of that but the absolute cream of English dancers dancing at their very best. All the ingredients of a superb competition.

The date has not been set for 2010 as yet but providing EADA are kind enough to give National Dance Events the chance to repeat this next year, it will most certainly be in the calendar.

And that’s not all… having spoken to a large sponsor, it will be even better next year, so look out for the date.

NDE would like to thank the sponsors for the day, International Dance Shoes, Bodice, Dance Today, DSI and Acapulco Paradiso. and to SAM Property Services for their invaluable support.

Martin Cutler

Photo by Norman Large