Friday, May 13, 2011

IDSF World Senior II Standard Champioships - Mallorca, Spain

Aloha, Geoffrey,

       Here is my report to share with everyone, our wonderful experience at the World Senior II Standard Championship on the island of Mallorca in Spain. Traveling with us from Honolulu was Tracy Okazaki and Neal Okamoto.

     The competition was a 3 days event which included the IDSF Senior III Standard (77 couples) on Friday, the Senior II World Standard Championship (222 couples) which we danced on Saturday, regular IDSF Senior II Standard (129 couples), IDSF Senior I Standard (25 couples) on Sunday, plus the IDSF Senior I & Senior II Latin & Rising Star Latin and a little bit of the junior event.  Because of the long travel time to get there, we arranged a stop over in LA for a couple of days for coaching, before continuing on our long journey.  Finally after 24 hours of traveling from LA, we arrived in our hotel in Mallorca on Thursday afternoon, where many of the competitors also stayed.  We were able to venture out to check out our surroundings and had an early dinner at the hotel before passing out early that night.  After breakfast on Friday morning, we went to the competition venue for a short practice.    The event is held in a sports arena that is about a 30 minute walk from our hotel.  The dance floor used is also a basketball court.  There are 5 changing rooms with 2 of them reserved for judges.  On the day of the competition there were couples everywhere in the arena, reserving a territory for their changing and resting spot. The Europeans were not shy about it, often times down to their bvd's and panties while changing.  The Americans were more modest while changing. 

     Due to the time difference, we all woke up around 2 am the morning of the competition.  I started my hair and make-up at about 4am.  We all had a quick breakfast around 6:30am, and off we were to the competition.  We arrived at the venue by 8 am, and already there were people everywhere.  The first round of competition started at 9 am with17 heats (222 couples) to start off the competition.  After our first round, we had to wait till the last heat was completed before the list for the next round was posted.  It took quite a while for the 17 heats to complete, and we soon found out we had made it to the next round, which started around 11am.  69 couples were eliminated from the first round.  The second round had 12 heats (153 couples).

 After the second round was completed in the afternoon, came the parade of flags of each country represented.  All couples (dancesport athletes) marched behind their country’s flag and parade around the arena.  We were really amazed that there were over 80 German couples and many, many Italians in the competition.There were only 4 couples from the USA including ourselves. 

We again made it through the elimination to dance the third round which started at 4:30 in the afternoon. (55 couples were eliminated from the 2nd round).  By the end of our third round, we were sweaty, sticky and hungry.  We were happy to find out that we had made it to the 4th round which starts at 7:10pm (another 48 couples were eliminated from the 3rd round). While waiting for the start of the fourth round, everyone who is still in the competition were eating, resting and stretching.  It was about 8:30pm when we finished dancing the 4th round.  We did not make it to the fifth round (quarter finals).  The competition was getting more intense by the rounds. There were 26 couples that danced the quarter final round, 13 couples made it to the semi-final, and a six couple final that ended around midnight.  

     This is a very high standard competition which is even more competitive than the one we participated in 2007 in Belgium.  We can definitely see the difference in the quality of dancing between the two.  Although we have finished in the quarter final at the 17th position the last time in 2007, we felt this competition was more challenging and the standard of dancing was truly impressive.  We ended up placing 47th out of 222 couples in this competition, and we are very proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished.  

     A few thoughts I also want to share with everyone is that even though we have done many competitions, and the majority of them were in the US.  We are so spoiled as competitors in the US, where almost all competitions are held in a beautiful hotel ballroom.  Competitors can just stay in the hotel and go down to the ballroom to compete.  We do not have that luxury when competing outside of the US.  The main focus is on the dancing, the competitors take this very seriously.  The European couples who came to this competition all have a little booklet (record of competing/qualifying) with their qualifying credentials.  The organizer will not accept entries if they are not qualified to dance in this competition.  Therefore, the standard of the competition is much higher, because the non-qualifiers are weeded out.  It is a little different from Blackpool where the best and the worst can enter to dance at the same time.  Going to competitions like this is a great learning experience for any serious competitor.  We have learned and benefited from this wonderful experience.  There is no doubt, we are looking forward to doing more IDSF comps in the future.  

     We came home on Sunday night after two weeks on the road.  Of course other than the competition, we did a week of holoholo in Spain, with lots of good food and wine in our tummy, it is definitely time for us to go back to serious practice again to get rid of the excess weight that we have put on!!

Anne Ho 

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