Stepping it up with ‘Dancesport’

The Annual Footwork International Dancesport Championship will take place on September 11 at the Hilton Colombo. The President of Lanka Dancesport Council and the president of National Dance Council of Sri Lanka under the World Dance Council, Dharshan Wijesooriya is the main organizer of the event.

As a qualified dance teacher with 23 years of experience, he has been solely promoting Sri Lankan Dancesport for many years. This year’s show has 20 Events and already more than 100 couples have entered the competition. Famed founder of Antonio’s Dance Circle, Antonio Fernandez has been with the industry since its first steps. Tony discussed the significance of developing talent while maintaining the standards of quality and technique and the impact international competitions have on this development. “The talent has always been there,” adds Tony.

“And the competition is improving. When the industry emerged in 1986 there was steady development till around 1991 and then it dropped. There were no proper completions till a few years back. Now once again there are at least 2-3 competitions a year and this increases the level of standard. The quality keeps going up. Competitions like these show the importance of technique. That is what we need. It also brings in more people and creates a lot of enthusiasm. It’s good. It encourages them to focus on quality and technique.”

Sought after international trainer Kevin Nugara of the El Latino Dance Club believes that the local industry needs a boost. “The level of organizing and planning is there what we lack is the participation from international couples. When you see competitions outside of Sri Lanka that is the difference you see. We must attract the international competitors to have better competitions and better standards. When you say Dancesport it means competitive dancing.

And it’s only since recently that we have competitions. Now we have quite a bit. That helps the local dancers because they have something to work towards all the time. A lot of competitions in the same year mean you are continually progressing.”

For the first time in Footwork Championships there will be Professional events for Cash Prizes. US$ 5000 will be on offer for the first 6 couples. Already 7 Professional couples have entered from Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines. In addition there will be couples from India and Hong Kong too.

12 International adjudicators will be invited to adjudicate at the competition. Mr. Isao Nakagawa, the Vice President of World Dance Council will be the Chief Adjudicator. 7 Leading Dance schools have entered their students. El Latino, Antonio’s Dance Circle, Dance Lanka, X Arena, Sanaro, Vision Dance, Artistic Dance World.

One of the highlights will be the Juniors Event where 18 kid couples will compete in Latin and Ballroom. They will be between 5 to 12 years of age. Michelle Morbier is the dance instructor and teacher for the participants of the under 16 and the under 12 categories of this year’s Dancesport Competition.

The dancer and a teacher of 18 years explained the importance of introducing a children’s category to the competition. “The Junior and the Juvenile categories were re-introduced by Dharshan at last year’s Footworks after a lapse of about 12 or 13 years.

Now we have little ones dancing in the local and international competitions and this time even a 6 year old is taking part, the youngest in the group. It is a proven fact that dancing and even learning music from a tender age helps self development in children.

It’s fun and a lot of exercise, but the confidence they get is what is amazing to see. Their self conscious barrier is broken completely and the development is massive”.

The Championship will be conducted in two segments. The afternoon session from 2PM till 4PM.The main show, which starts at 6.00PM, will feature the finalists of each event. This would be followed by the awards presentation.

The event is endorsed by the World Dance Council, the Asia Dance Council and the Sri Lanka Dancesport Council. Tickets are available at Hilton Colombo special events desk.

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