Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2009 Open British Professional Latin Championship


Tonight is the hottest night in the ballroom. And I don't just mean "hot" because it's the Latin, I mean hot because the entire place is packed to the gills. The Pro Latin event at Blackpool draws the biggest crowd of the week.

I went down and watched the first round and took a bunch of pictures, trying to get shots of every couple from the USA I could find plus anyone else who caught my eye. There was a Japanese couple, Shota Sesoko & Shizuka Hara, who I really liked. They caught my eye in the first round and I was delighted to see them in for a few more rounds. They weren't the highest finishing Japanese couple, but they got as far as the 48. They were the first Japanese couple that I've ever really liked in Latin. It was their Jive that pulled me in -- energetic but not over the top, presented with a lot of happiness that seemed to come from a sense of genuine enjoyment rather than theatrical hamming it up.

It was fun trying to take pictures, I have a whole bunch to process but will stick a couple of the best here when they're ready.

Anyway, to me most everyone is good, and I'm not Latin-trained, so I can't distinguish "stand outs" except for when it comes to things like costumes and personality. And besides, by the time you get to the final (or even the semi) they are all so amazingly good! You will hear things like "Leunis is by far the best girl in Latin today" or "Melia is the best on the floor," or "I really didn't like his new partner" but really I can't truly see or say why one is "better" or "worse" than the other. I can see that they are different, but not what makes one better or even what would make one stand out more than the other. I just watched the final with delight, taking in the costumes, the energy, the performances, and enjoying the whole thing.

As expected, Michal Maltowski & Joanna Leunis from Poland won, but Ricardo Cocci & Yulia Zorguychenko from the US beat them in the Jive. That was certainly a thrilling moment.

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