I love the Team Match at Blackpool. It really kicks things off, it gets the crowd going and features some amazing dancing.
This year there the four teams and their "introductions" were:
Their captain was Oliver Wessel-Therhorn, and so they did a pun on his name with their theme of "Ollywood." Each couple was meant to represent a different famous dance team. Standard dancers Stanislaw Massold & Christine Deck were Gene Kelly & Debbie Reynolds in "Singing in the Rain," and danced out with umbrellas. Sascha Karabey & Natascha Karabey were Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers. I missed who Evgenij Vosnyk & Oksana Nikiforva were representing, but they were in western cowboy style outfits. Perhaps they were Roy Rodgers & Dale Evans? Last, but by no means least, Franco Formica & Oxana Lebedew were Rudolf Nureyev & Margot Fonteyn. Franco was shirtless, in white ballet tights, and had a white feather in his hair that made me think of Nureyev in Le Corsaire.
This year the couples did a "Style Swap" -- the Latin couples came out dressed for Standard, and vice-versa. Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova danced cha cha, Victor Fung & Anna Mikhed did jive, and Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko an over-the-top tango. And finally, Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova danced quickstep.
The Italian women were all dressed up very chic in black, and were fine ladies out walking their dogs. Each of their partners was in a full-on furry dog costume, walking on a leash on all fours! Mirko Gozzoli was a St. Bernard, and he spent a good deal of time marking his territory. There was also a bulldog, a poodle, and a chihuahua who walked on his hind legs. At one point all the dogs got loose and hilarity ensued, including the St. Bernard running upstairs to the balcony and barking like crazy.
The British team's theme was "circus," and the team's parade included captain Robert Grover dressed as a Ringmaster, break dancers, clowns, a rhythmic gymnast, and a guy doing stunts on a small bicycle. Each lady on the team did a short dance with an animal -- jiving chimpanzee, tangoing lion, and a gorilla (not sure what dance, think it was paso). At the end of each dance, the animal's costume head was removed to reveal an important British coach. For example, the foxtrotting elephant was revealed by Hazel Newberry to be no other than Sammy Stopford.
After all the merriment, the teams changed into their proper dance clothing and the match itself commenced. The final scores were:
USA - 297.4
Italy - 293.5
Germany - 292.9
Great Britain - 290.0
This is the second year in a row that the USA has won the team match.