Pros and newcomers to take the floor

Dancesport Championship 2010, Pic by M.D. Nissanka

Samba music fills the hall and eight couples sweep across the dance floor in fluid and synchronized movement. The dancers perform splits, dips, kicks and spins, with such speed, control and vigour you can almost feel the energy in the room.

The dancers are at the Kalalaya hall where well-known Latin dance trainer, Kevin Nugara, conducts his lessons. For the past few weeks, the couples have been rehearsing from 6 to 9 p.m every weekday in preparation for the 4th Footwork International Dancesport Championship 2010. Kevin’s school is one of several dance schools from which students have applied to take part in the event which is considered to be the biggest dancesport competition in Sri Lanka.

The Footwork International Dancesport Championship is the brainchild of Dharshan Wijesooriya, one of Sri Lanka’s leading ballroom dance trainers. Dharshan believes that while we have talented dancers here we lack what is essential to help these dancers improve and excel in what they do.

“Dancing is an Olympic sport but yet it isn’t recognized as a sport in Sri Lanka,” says Dharshan. “At competitions dancers are expected to perform 7 to 8 different dances back to back. This is strenuous and demands the physical training that athletes require. Dancers have to work out in a gym to maintain their stamina,” he says adding that international competitions such as the Footwork International Championships allow dancers to improve by constantly rehearsing and competing.

Competing in this year’s Footwork International Dancesport Championships will be professional dancer, Tony Fernandez. This is will the first competition he will be taking part in since he reached the level of a professional dancer in 1987.

“There aren’t any competitions for professionals in Sri Lanka,” says Tony who is excited to be competing again after more than 20 years. This will be the first time he is to perform with his wife, who has reached the silver level as a dancer. Another of Sri Lanka’s best, the highly acclaimed Kevin Nugara will be competing in the Latin dance category.

Apart from the two legends, there will be about 60 of Sri Lanka’s upcoming talent who will challenge each other as well as international dancers at the Footwork Championship.

The highlight of the event will be a demonstration of five dances by Australian Latin Champions Karina Schembri and Igor Boev. The duo were semi finalists in the 2010 UK Open Professional Rising Stars Latin, as well as semi finalists of the Asian Tour. Karina Schembri was the Australian champion nine times and British Youth semi finalist, while Igor is a semi finalist in the World Youth Standard.

The Dancesport Championship 2010 will take place on October 10 at the Grand Ballroom, Hilton Colombo. Tickets priced from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 1000 which are available at Hilton Colombo. For more information call 0717777111 or 2544644.

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