ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 01

...and the dance is on

Mobitel Dancesport Championship on June 10

Our aim as dancers will be to bring joy and emotion to our audiences.
The best reward is to be able to share our passion and love for
” - Jukka & Sirpa

Former World Latin American Champions Jukka Haapalainen and Sirpa Suutari are billed to perform at next Sunday’s Mobitel International Dancesport Championships 2007, produced by Footwork.

Hailing from Finland, both Jukka and Sirpa started dancing at a young age - Sirpa in ballet school and Jukka with Folkloric dancing. By the time they were around ten years of age however their interests turned towards Latin American dancing.

Being the same age, Jukka and Sirpa often met on the dance floors competing against each other. Having finished their respective amateur careers in 1989, they teamed up and turned professional.

Theirs was a winning partnership right from the start. Their first competition together was The British Open Professional Rising Star Latin in Blackpool 1990. They reached the top 24. Two years later they reached fourth place in the British Open Professional Latin Grand Final 1992. From then on there was no looking back and they became World Latin American Champions in 1998 and 1999.

In 2002 Jukka and Sirpa retired from competitive dancing and enjoyed success as touring Latin cabaret artists. Most recently they have teamed up with the stars of the world famous Tango Argentina show Tango Passion, Monica and Omar Ocampo, Los Ocampo.

"We have always loved music, but above all else, Latin music and rhythms. During our competition years we travelled to Cuba to study the origins of Afro-Cuban culture and were touched by the spirit of Latin America. Since we stopped competing we have continued our studies and found new influence from musicians in Santiago and Havana. Now that the relative restriction of the competition scene is not so prominent in our professional lives, we are able to broaden the concept and introduce new ideas to the show,” they say.

Competitors from Sri Lanka and the Asian Region are also gearing up for the Championship which is to be held next Sunday, June 10 at The Hilton Colombo. Entries are coming in fast and at the dance schools in Sri Lanka training is going on at a challenging pace.

The Dancesport Championship is being held in Colombo after two years and in the interim most Lankan dancers have not had an opportunity to participate in competition dancing. So excitement is running high and there will be a record number of Sri Lankan participants at this year’s championship.

The Championship will be made up of ten events. Both the Standard (Ballroom) section and the Latin American section will comprise of five events each - Beginners, Seniors, Novices, Pre- Amateur and Amateur. In each event, the competitors are required to dance a prerequisite number of dances. For example, the Latin American Beginners event will consist of two dances, Cha Cha and Jive and the Latin American Amateur event will feature five dances –Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. This year, the Beginners events in both sections will be a closed event; meaning that they will be open only to Sri Lankan competitors.

The Championship will be conducted in two segments. The afternoon session from 2 p.m. till 4 p.m will comprise of the heats for each event. If there are more than twelve couples for an event, the competitors will be organized into heats. Through elimination rounds, the number of couples in an event is reduced to a final round, usually comprising six couples. In prior rounds, and up to the semi final, the judges compare the performance of the couples in each dance and select those couples that they consider should pass into the next round because of their superior performance. Using the methodology known as the “Skating System” (based upon majority opinions) a ranking order is established in each separate dance – the lower the number, the better with number “1” being the best. During this afternoon session all the events will be worked out in this way and the finalists for each event selected.

The main show, which starts at 7 p.m., will therefore feature only the finalists of each event. The Championship will start off with the contestants’ parade where each team from the participating countries will be introduced to the audience. The first half of the show will be the Standard section followed by the presentation of awards to the winners. After a short interval for refreshments, the Latin American events will take place followed by the awards presentation for that section. The performance Jukka & Sirpa will be the grand finale.

Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel has stepped up as the title sponsor of the Championship. A Mobitel Double M Connection will be given free to every ticket holder. Sri Lankan Airlines is the official carrier and Hilton Colombo the official host hotel. The official printer is Softwave, while the Daily Mirror and The Sunday Times are the official print media sponsors and ETV and GOLD FM the electronic media sponsors.

Tickets for the Championship are priced from Rs. 2500 upwards. Tickets and box-plan are available at Lanka Hands, 135, Bullers Road, Colombo 04. For further information call 07718 777111 or visit

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.