RUSSIAN WORLD dance champions Elena Khvorova and Sergey Ryutin provided the dazzling finale for the ninth Portuguese Ballroom Dancing Association championships at Quinta dos Lombos, near Oeiras, last Saturday, reports The Resident’s Chris Graeme.
In total, 170 couples from all over the country, in categories including tango, slow fox trot, quick step and Viennese waltz, competed before a panel of national and international judges. Participants were divided into four main age groups including juveniles (12-15), adults and seniors, and various competencies including A, B, and C.
Toni Pinto, president of the Associação Portuguesa de Professores de Dança de Salão Internacional (APPDSI), the Portuguese Association of Teachers of InternationalBallroom Dancing, told The Resident: “There has been an explosion of interest in ballroom dancing in recent years and the Portuguese do have the rhythm and talent. Our association is internationally recognised by the World Dance and Dance Sport Council and, each year, the winners go on to participate in international competitions.”
Himself a former dancer, most of the teachers have been trained by Pinto and he has seen many dancers go on to compete in Blackpool (UK), France and Spain.
João Paulo Marques and Teresa Coelho have been Portuguese champions on four successive occasions, while José Torres and Cristina Carvalho have won on two successive occasions since the competition began.
Participants in the one-day event were placed in groups and had to dance three rounds in each chosen category, with judges choosing at quarter and semi final (12 couples) stages based on presentation, technique, rhythm and interpretation. Of these, six finalists were chosen.
Elena and Sergey, who are fourth in the European ranking and in ninth worldwide, admitted that the Portuguese contestants had a lot of fire and enthusiasm, but needed to perfect their technique and show more discipline. Originally from Siberia but living in Moscow, the pair, who have been dancing together professionally for four years and have been involved in dance for 10, say that it is hard work and involves many hours of sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice that is worthwhile.
1. Couple 20: Samuel Ferreira and Tanya Pereira
2. Couple 8: Bruno Tomas and Joana Santos
3. Couple 352: Fabio Nogueira and Joana Torres