This is the first of the 'freedom to dance' events to be held in Singapore. The message from the Chairman of the organizing committee, Mr Tommy Chua, sums it up.
"The inaugural Singapore Open Dance Championship is Singapore's response to the new Freedom to Dance concept, born to provide fairness, integrity and human rights.
This competition is open to anyone who wish to compete in ballroom standard and, or Latin American dancing, irrespective of the dance affiliation.
While respecting all dance fraternities who nurture and promote ballroom dancing, we pledge to stay true to the principles of being neutral while promoting the love for ballroom dancing. Unleash our competitors' desire with the freedom to dance, in any competition, anywhere in the world.
So dancers, do not be afraid ! You have the freedom and rights to dance. With strength and power, together we can change it !
We thank you, my brave and distinguished competitiors from all over the world - you have made this event in Singapore posible !"
A very well written speech which obviously reflected the passion behind the desire & courage to organize this championship. The dancers in turn did not disappoint the organizers and came in impressive numbers from around the world to attend, compete & support the event. For a first time event, having over 200 entries is quite a feat. Tommy, who was advised by Mrs Josephine Tan, pulled together a fantastic event which ran smoothly and was enjoyed by all who were there.
At the helm of the championship on the day was Chief Adjudicator - Mr David Roberts from UK. I have worked with David for more then a decade now and he has always managed to keep everything, from the judges to the organizers to the scrutineers and the DJ's, marshalls and myself, under tight control, managing to split himself into many parts to be able to be 'on the ball' with everything. Nothing ever gets past him and it's such a relief to know he's there. This year David's panel of adjudicators comprised of - Anthony Hurley (England), Alan Shingler (England), Akihiro Hojo (Japan). Masami Suda (Japan), Polina Teplenko (Russia), Sergey Frantsen (Ukrain), Richard Morrissey (Australia), Ednah Asano (Philippines), Edgar Borromeo (Philippines), Shu Chuan Hsieh (Taiwan), Larry Chen (Taiwan), Erwan Phanjaya (Indonesia), Hadi Tjahjono (Indonesia), Kenji Po (Hong Kong), Brenda So (Hong Kong), Lee Man Ho (Korea), Lee Kwang Sik (Korea), Yanling (China), John Lim (Malaysia), Dharshan Wijesooriya (Sri Lanka), Sheng Zhi Chong (Singapore), Tan Why Pong (Singapore), Steven Han (Singapore), Peggy Gan (Singapore) and Andre De Silva (Singapore). The Chief Scrutineer for the event was Ms Agnes Ang.
The souvenir programme this year was a work of art in its own right. With a beautifully elegant cover, they filled it with some much needed information to help inform and educate those attending the event. There were beautiful action pictures and write ups on the two top world professional performers - Katusha Demidova & Arunas Bizokas and Melinda Torokgyorgy & Andrej Skufca. The articles gave great insight into the performers personal lives and their journeys to where they are now in the world competitive scene.
Another difference in the souvenir programme was the interesting way the competitors action photo's were laid out, another piece of art. To further make this a 'book' to take home and actually read, were the two very informative articles about dance. The first was 'Dance - today, yesterday' by Mary Clarke, editor of Dancing Times and 'A brief History of Dance' by David Roberts, president of the UKA. I hope every new/young dancer present at the championship managed to get a copy and take it home with them. These articles are a MUST READ for those who are truly passionate about dance as their art form.
There were many Malaysian couples that decided to attend this inaugural event. They were - Alfred Choo & Cecilia Yong, Vernon Choo & Elie Cheah, Veroy Ng & Loh Weng Che, Tye Jian Jin & Cindy Law, Kelvin Choo & Villy Chai, Siew Wai Lok & Joey Wong, Siow Kai Yaw & Bong Poh Leng, Caitanya Thailan & Natalie Poon, Radhanath Thailan & Saibya Thailan, Mok Wing Kit & Louise Chew, Eric Foong & Ice Kwan, Natasha Poon and Amanda Chan.
The Malaysian couples were entered in almost all the various events. We had our top Amateur couples, Rising Star couples, Pre Amateur, Novice, Junior, Juvenile and even several of our girls in the solo events. The only thing missing was our ballroom standard couples. The couples that attended were all in the Latin American genre of competition. However, our couples did an amazing job of making their presence felt among the highly ranked international couples. Every couple/dancer proved themselves worthy of sharing the floor with the other great talents but a few really stood out. They were - Alfred Choo & Cecilia Yong (Amateur), Siew Wei Lok & Joey Wong (Junior/Pre Amateur), Mok Wing Kit & Louise Chew (Junior/Novice), Eric Foong & Ice Kwan (Juvenile), Siow Kai Yaw & Bong Poh Leng (Senior). All these couples managed to place high in the finals and definitely deserve a mention for their enthusiasm, determination & dedication. I was overjoyed for them.
Here is the list of CHAMPIONS :
Latin Professional Open : Przemek Lowicki & Martina Markova (Poland)
Standard Professional Open : Andrea & Sara Ghigiarelli (England)
Latin Amateur Open : Sarunas Greblikas & Viktorija Horeva (Latvia)
Standard Amateur Open : Steven Grinbergs & Rachelle Plaass (Australia)
Latin Professional Closed AP : Andrey Gorbunov & Dearlie Baculi Gerodias (Singapore)
Standard Professional Closed AP : Jim & Anita Chen (Taiwan)
Latin Amateur Closed AP : Arkady Bakenov & Rosa Filippello (Australia)
Standard Amateur Closed AP : Steven Grinbergs & Rachelle Plaass (Australia)
Latin Events :
Amateur Rising Star : Mykyta Yakymchuk & Taisiya Sporysheva (Russia)
Pre Amateur : Siew Wei Lok & Joey Wong (Malaysia)
Novice A : Mok Wing Kit & Louise Chew (Malaysia)
Novice B : Jowe Kwek & Rebecca Sit (Singapore)
Junior Open : Ai Li Zha Ti & Wang Na Na (China)
Juvenile Open : Ai Li Zha Ti & Wang Na Na (China)
Junior Under 16 Solo : Germaine Gan Zi Min (Singapore)
Juvenile Under 12 Solo : Valerie Chen (Taiwan)
Senor Over 35 : Vincent Law & Sheryl Tan (Singapore)
Senior Over 45 : Vincent Law & Sheryl Tan (Singapore)
Pro Am 5 Dance : Evseev Evgeny & Vicki Wong (Hong Kong)
Pro Am 3 Dance : Evseev Evgeny & Vicki Wong (Hong Kong)
Pro Am 2 Dance : Arthur Eroles & Myrna Tan (Philippines)
Pro Am 1 Dance : Sam Fong & Susan De Silva (Singapore)
Teacher Student 2 Dance : Armando Ocampo & Millie Khoo (Singapore)
Teacher Student 1 Dance : Armando Ocompo & Millie Khoo (Singapore)
Standard Events :
Amateur Rising Star : Joel & Sara Smith (Australia)
Pre Amateur : Mark Perez & Maureen Tan (Singapore)
Novice A : Nicholas Yue & Valerie Seah-Yue (Singapore)
Novice B : Kelvin Poh & Tan Ailing (Singapore)
Senor Over 35 : Michael & Rebecca Barlow (Australia)
Senior Over 45 : Lai Kim Sang & Wu Sin Hung (Hong Kong)
Grand Senior Over 60 : Vincent Thoo & Chris Chia (Singapore)
Pro Am 3 Dance : Jason Beaman & Tilly Wong (Australia)
Pro Am 1 Dance : Jason Beaman & Tilly Wong (Australia)
Teacher Student 4 Dance : Lu Tai Lin & Dora Ip (Hong Kong)
Teacher Student 2 Dance : Robert Pavlik & Theresa Ang (Singapore)
Teacher Student 1 Dance : Ramu Ramos & Margaretha Schrijver (Philippines)
Congratulations to all the champions and well done to all the competitors.
I'm sure I speak for all dancers when I say, I hope and pray that the 'Freedom to Dance' series of championships will grow around the world so that dancers everywhere can compete without fear of reprimands and expulsions and just be allowed to do what they love among their peers.
The beautiful pictures you see here were taken by one of Dancesports most renown photographers - Mr Rob Ronda. Please do visit his website robronda.com to view the many other pictures that he captured. Feel free to enquire directly with him if you wish to purchase any copies.