Joel and Clara Marasigan
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Gala Ball 2009 Adult Championship Latin Review

 

Adult Championship Latin Lineup.  Photo taken by David Marasigan

Adult Championship Latin Lineup. Photo taken by David Marasigan

1.       Michael Duong & Peony Yao (1.1.1.1.1.): Can you say, “It’s about time!”?  Actually, their time already started back at the Grand Ball in November, but heck, now’s when this blog has started, so now I can say it.  The strength of their foot and leg action alone set them apart from the competition.  Now that they have started to understand where their energy originates, I’d like to see Michael take an even more dominating role in the partnership.  He looks to be leading Peony through each routine, but there looks to be little true connection.  Once they can establish a deeper connection, they will be able to produce performances that will knock your socks off.

2.       Brandon Pedro & Anca Oala-Florescu (2.2.2.2.3.): I spotted this couple at the previous SnowBall Classic, and they certainly didn’t disappoint here at the Gala Ball.  Brandon is a true A-type Latin male, exuding confidence and charisma throughout his performance.  Anca is his perfect foil.  A true lady dancer, she is sophisticated and spicy all at the same time.  What really impressed me with her dancing is her foot and ankle articulation which results in a natural expressiveness through her arms and hands.   I would like to see Brandon have a greater connection to the floor, as I notice his feet slide around too much, therefore sapping a lot of the potential energy from his body.

3.       Jackie Tang & Kseniya Vazyanska (3.4.4.3.2.): This couple forced the judges to mark them.  Or maybe I should say that Jackie forced them to mark him, because he was so energetic and ‘in your face’ the whole time.  If improvement since Snowball was being judged, Kseniya would definitely have won the competition.   Being such a young dancer, her potential hasn’t been fully developed, but if they’re patient enough, there could be good things in the future for this couple.  If Kseniya can develop a stronger personal connection to the floor, I believe she’ll start finding the confidence she’s looking for.  As for Jackie, if he starts treating his dancing more like an art instead of merely a sport, I’m sure the judges will consider him for higher placings.  We know you’re strong and fast, now show us something more!

4.       Wojciech Drobina & Grace Lau (4.3.3.4.4.): A well-trained couple that needs more time at the Open Level.  Grace’s personality on the floor ensures that both the audience and the judges’ eyes are always drawn to this couple.  Once they can match their foot timings and body actions to the energy level of Graces personality, watch out competition!  Their next step should be to create more speed through different parts of their bodies.  I’m curious to see how this couple will continue to develop, as there is a lot of untapped potential still there.

5.       Jonathan Cohen & Audrey Cruz Chan (5.5.5.5.5.): There are times when this couple really sparkles on the floor.  I think if the competition was merely based on how dancers feel the dance, instead of just doing a memorized sequence of steps taught by their teachers, these two would be close to the top.  I’d like to see Audrey dance more from her base action instead of through her facial and arm styling.  Her energy is very high in the body, which at times makes her look stiff through her back and neck.  For Jonathan, I’d like to him develop his ability to move across the floor more.  When he can start commanding the space around him through more aggressive movement, he’ll be seen with different eyes.  Possibly the biggest obstacle that’s holding this couple back is their different musicalities.  Often I see Audrey race ahead of Jonathan, possibly in her pursuit to show speed and energy.  Once they are on the same musical wavelength, I know this couple will create a much more polished competitive performance.


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