Out of interest and to check out what dance competition is all about, I went along to the 2015 ADS Premiere Championship, on 9th September held at the Pullman in Albert Park.
I chose to attend this competition but was very surprised to learn there are probably 10 to 20 competitions held every year in Victoria alone!
A flyer for the event was available via the ADS (Australian Dancing Society) website. A quick check with the organiser confirmed that tickets were on sale at the door starting from 8am! $60 for unrestricted access from 8am to 11pm seemed like great value entertainment to me…
The ballroom was upstairs at the Pullman Hotel, and quite large, there were competitors in ‘competition wear’ and all along the sides of the room and when I entered everybody was warming up in the side lines. It was clearly more of an event for competitors rather than spectators as most of the spectators appeared to be from the supporting dance schools (either coaches or parents watching) or competitors waiting for their next event.
Next to the ballroom there was a practice room to warm up, fix the hair and makeup and check out the latest from the dance suppliers. There was also a bar and refreshments were available.
Staying just for the afternoon session, I watched New Vogue, Latin and Standard in juvenile, youth, adult and masters classes. It was especially interesting to watch the ‘Recreational’ events, as the couples wore ‘normal’ clothes and the level was close to the level of the group classes which I have been attending. I did recognise most of the steps that we are always working ever so hard to execute properly… but in the graded and open classes, the choreography became much more complicated and the execution, more fluid. But not faultless! I noticed a few spills here and there, delays from mental blanks, multiple collisions, and not that many heel leads. However, the standard is fairly consistent across the board and of course beautiful to observe.
Checking out the ‘competition dress’ was the most enjoyable part for me, it seems the current trend for ladies are in a 1950′s style with slightly shorter skirts, some polka dot fabrics, full skirts starting close to the waist, and belts/ sequins and ribbons to mark the waist. Alexandra Vladimirov wore the perfect example of this fashion (see front page of Australian Dance Review August 2015). Hair was mostly in a bun the size of a squashed tennis ball sitting very high up, while some latin dancers were sporting stunning bleached bobs cuts!
All in all, this event was a great way to spend an afternoon, be able to observe the competition dance scene both backstage and as part of the audience. Worth going.
- Marianne Stoettrup