2019 4th Outside Change Cup & Freedom To Dance Ball
4th Outside Change Cup & Freedom To Dance Ball 2019
AMATEUR LATIN CHAMPIONSHIP
Dr Adele Hyland AM (NSW) Reports
The 2019 Outside Change Cup was, for me, an outstanding event unmatched in Australia for its elegance and ambience. I have been a guest at this event from its inception four years ago and just when I think it can’t get any better – it does. Organisers, Jason Beaman and Erin Aspinall, along with their very experienced team led by Brent Olifent, leave no stone unturned in their efforts to ensure that everyone who attends – spectators, adjudicators and competitors – feel welcomed and comfortable. The luxurious surrounds of the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne’s Collins Street are the epitome of elegance and so perfectly suited to the staging of a ballroom dancing extravaganza. Not only is the venue unique but the excellent food and beverage service cannot be faulted. Pure indulgence for all who were fortunate enough to be able to attend as ticket sold out months beforehand.
This year I feel compelled to provide feedback on the Open Amateur Latin American event simply because I thoroughly enjoyed being able to enjoy the final as an audience member and not as an adjudicator. I have not been entertained by such an event for quite a long period of time and I suspect that the atmosphere of this exquisite venue added to my enjoyment. I suspect also that it added to the sensory awareness of the competitors as well with all performers appearing to be relishing the ambience of the ballroom and the enthusiasm of their supporters. All finalists are very experienced Latin dancers however on this occasion they ALL lifted their performance level and really made this an exceptional finale to the evening program.
Accepting that from an audience member perspective I have the choice of which couples to watch, I enjoyed the performances of couples who engaged me and noticed, only fleetingly, the performances of other final participants. Had I set out to write a report, or had I been engaged to judge this event, I would have divided my time equally between all couples but I was not obliged to do so and I apologise in advance to the couples who placed fifth and sixth in the final in that I cannot provide helpful feedback other than to congratulate them on reaching the final in such a hard fought competition. I did agree however with their placings in the final results – Jak Wilson and Zoe White 5th with Enrique Johns and Amy Horner 6th.
Placings one to four were strongly contested and all couples danced with conviction and with their focus on that euphoria of a first placing that makes all the hard work in preparation worthwhile. Comparing the top four couples is difficult as all are very competent dancers but different in their styling and in the balance within their partnerships. In such a strong field the winner must bring something extra and the distinguished adjudicating panel agreed that Steven Greenwood and Jessica Bull deserved the honour of first place. I believe that there are a number of reasons that Steven and Jessica stood out in this instance. Firstly, the intimacy of the ballroom allowed the adjudicators to be ‘up close and personal’ with the contestants. Being small of stature, Steven and Jessica sometimes slip out of focus (as I believe happened at the Blackpool event just one week before). Secondly, they are very strong technically and thirdly, they are perfectly matched in ability and body shape. I believe however, that the fourth factor – their sensory awareness – sets them apart from their peers. Steven even told me after the win that he could smell the candles in the ballroom while he was dancing – an indication of his sensory arousal on this occasion. This sensory approach allows the performer to be ‘in the moment’ and audiences will respond to that authenticity in a positive way.
Couples placed 2nd to 4th as follows – Thabang Baloyi and Chang Wan 2nd, Mathew Nicholson and Wendy He 3rd with Declan Taylor and Victoria Akhurst 4th. The adjudicators were divided in their placing and in my mind second place for any of these couples could have been justified. As a coach my eye goes to the negative rather than the positive aspects of performance and I was unnerved by the ‘postural tension’ I noticed, particularly in the male dancers. This is an inhibitor of fluid action and needs to be addressed. I also noticed a reluctance to place the weight into the heels at the end of an action which also leads to a rather stilted performance. All these couples need to work on the relationships between male and female as I felt, in all cases, the males dominated the partnerships. A good male partner enables the lady to shine.
Outside Change Cup 2019
Laurie Peterson (QLD) Reports
The OUTSIDE CHANGE CUP has been RUN and WON for the 4th time. 4 amazing years with each one going from strength to strength.
Jason , Erin and the incredible team behind the scenes have supplied the dance industry with an event that really raises the bar. The venue takes your breath away every time you enter. It is a BALLROOM. To see some of the best exponents of Dancesport in full flight in this setting is quite inspiring.
The day begins with the rounds and semi finals of all age divisions and grades. The Rising Star events are always well supported and produce some great performances . I have taken some notes from a selection of events and have mentioned the top place getters .There was many more amazing performances in all finals.
Rising Star Adult New Vogue.
This was a very hotly contested event. The top three couples all winning 1 dance. The eventual winners Jared Mizon & Lija Brutans from Victoria. Pushed all the way in all dances they came home strong and were convincing winners in La Bomba. As Mentioned 3 first place getters. It was fantastic to see 2 couples support the event from NSW and they danced very well. Toby Lowing & Annalise Flood. Some very artistic and stylish New Vogue from this pair. They won Carousel and just were not strong enough on the run home in La Bomba to take the win. 3rd place was secured by Daniel Arnold & Paula Thompson NSW. Well they came out swinging and took first place in Lucille Waltz. Let’s hope these couples all go on and fight it out in the future. All very talented.
Adult Rising Star Latin.
A ding dong battle at the top . Nicholas Mountain & Stefania Olivieri and Jack Korlaki & Melanie Xuereb put on a great show. Abounding energy and skills from 2 young couples. Nicholas and Stefania dancing for NSW really are machines. One of only a handful of couples who dance all 3 styles and are extremely talented in all 3. They always present themselves well and seem to be able to grasp the difficult job of changing styles with ease. As a team they great awareness of each other and this alone will keep them competitive against any opposition. They won Cha Cha Cha and Samba quite easily but were pushed in Jive and let Jack and Melanie take that dance. Jack and Melanie have an exciting and playful approach to their Latin. For such a young couple they do control their energy and enthusiasm well, as Jack could very easily over dance. Great competition.
Adult Rising Star Ballroom.
The winner Corey Stemp & Eden Hall Vic. Corey and Eden winning all 3 dances. But not as convincingly as they would have liked. In all dances, bar the Slow Foxtrot, each couple received a first placing or 2. Shows how close the competition is between all these young exciting couples. But in the final wash up Corey and Eden prevailed. Corey is a very experienced competitor and he guided Eden around the floor with his excellent floor craft. They as a couple produce good movement and maintain strong shape particularly in swing dances. The runners up from NSW Daniel Arnold and Paula Thompson had a great night also placing 3rd in the New Vogue. All three of these Rising star events prove it is challenging for the top B grade couples to hold their positions and have to defend against quality opposition from some of the C grade couples. Should be more of this I feel as it brings out the best in all the couples.
Adult Open Ballroom.
Alan Tentser & Emily Zhang. Finishing first all 5 dances. Totally dominating Quickstep with a picket fence. wonderful control and quality of movement, and strong Tango actions. If you take the time to look at the break down of the markings from this distinguished panel, in Viennese Waltz you will see 2 highly decorated adjudicators giving a result based on their years of knowledge, and judging the competitors dance by dance. This is so refreshing to see. Johnathon Kontrobarsky & Talysa Trevalliion NSW finishing second in all dances but really put on a good show. Much improved, even since the Easter weekend in Queensland. Stronger commitment to promenade position in Waltz was really a big change for me. One of the Highlight events for the night.
Adult Open Latin.
Woo Hoo. What an exciting event. By this time of the evening the entree has been served, the drinks for the crowd have been flowing and everyone is ready for some serious Latin competition, the place was jumping. Steven Greenwood & Jessica Bull WA took the title and only lost the Samba. This young lady showed off her flexibilty and also some very mature leg actions in Rumba and Cha for one so young. I am glad they chose rumba as the honour dance as this was a display of the trickery they are capable of because of her body work. Thabang Baloyi & Chang Wan NSW took out the Samba with great body rhythm and foot speed. They are very exciting dancers and command attention from the moment they walk on the floor. Mixed results in others dances but managed to finish in the runners up spot. 3rd place taking out by Matthew Nicholson & Wendy He NSW. This couple never disappoint with quality in all areas. They were the runners up in 3 of the 5 dances but dropping to 4th in Rumba hurt their final result. This really shows how solid the competition is, and how you must be on your game all the times. Great event to watch couples. Congratulations.
Adult Open New Vogue.
The winners taking all 5 dances were a couple mentioned earlier for being able to strut their stuff in all 3 styles. Nicholas Mountain & Stefania Olivieri NSW. Some very clean New Vogue. Not over styled but still pushing the envelope with some cleaver work. Stefania uses her flexibility in her back well and is very balanced when dancing without hold. Second went to Justin Bourke & Lori McTaggert VIC. This couple rarely put a foot wrong, and are now with this result, maybe able to take some risks and challenge themselves to not be too safe. Great to see them on the podium .
The winners, at their first Outside Change Cup and also their first year into the Professional field Justin Sharrock & Amy Sharrock. QLD. A very closely contested event even though they took out 4 of the 5 dances. Samba and Cha Cha Cha were really tight but they got there. At the moment they are running on the sheer adrenaline of the entry into the Pro field and also finishing their Amateur career as Australian Champions. Not to mention some quality Latin dancing. Their Speed is great with some very nice timing, and variations in Samba. The runners up Craig Monley & Sriani Argaet VIC. They won the Rumba with ease and were only one mark off taking the first 2 dances. Amazing Samba Roles. And the dance they won, Rumba, was very emotional with male/female performance danced with confidence. Again, the OC Cup produces hot competition.
Professional New Vogue
Crawford Hill & Monique Savill VIC. This is first time I have seen Crawford and Monique on the Professional floor. They fit right in. After a stellar amateur career, they have set out to conquer all comers in this field. Very nice musicality. Well matched feet and legs in Barclay Blues. They cleaned up in Swing waltz. Like all good champions finishing strongly. Monique as always using her theatrical training to sell all her shapes. 2nd place Matthew Coulson & Taylah Jackson VIC. A new partnership. Matthew never afraid to develop shapes and style dances differently to others. This is risk for reward, It will either be liked or not but he always has a go. Taylah doing a good job so early in her Professional career, looked a little nervous, given time will settle into her role. They were pushed by the third placegetters Luke & Laura from WA, also new to the Pro field. Watch this space with all these couples aiming to impress for top honours.
Blair Petterd & Jane Hume QLD finished top of the pile in this event. They finished 1st in all dances. Blair has a very elegant approach to his ballroom. the swing in waltz is very natural and creates good volume. Would like to see Jane soften her neck and head position, a little stiff looking at times. But well done taking out the OC Cup title. Joseph Mallaby & Helen Mallaby VIC finished in 2nd. This couple only in their first year as Professionals seem to be enjoying the challenges. Always display smooth Waltz and Foxtrot, and on any day can challenge for the top spot. Not to be on this occassion. 3rd Matthew Coulson & Taylah Jackson. as mentioned they finished 2nd in New Vogue. They also put in a good performance in the ballroom style. They finished the event strongly and in time will challenge in this style.
Well there we have it. The OC CUP is certain to be with us for a long time to come … If you have not yet experienced this dance spectacle you must. The 2020 OC CUP will be bigger and better than ever. Don’t miss out get those tickets early. Until next issue HAPPY DANCING!!!!