Joel and Clara Marasigan

Island Fantasy Ball 2009


ferry-boat1Every year, I look forward to riding the ferry to the Island Fantasy Ball in Nanaimo.  Last weekend was definitely no exception.  It was a little cold to be out on the deck, but I did enjoy the view from the inside.  To me, the ride to Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful sights in the world.  Although many people will complain that the ferry ride is expensive to take, it’s definitely worth it.  [Mexico and its swine flu has nothing on beautiful BC!!!]

Not only does IFB give us Vancouverites a great opportunity to make the trip over to the Island, but it also hosts the very important BC Closed Championships.  For those of you who don’t know what that means, it is the one competition during the year that declares who our Open level BC Champions are, in the Adult and Senior age categories. For those who are contenders for the title, it is definitely one of the most important competitions of the year!

This year, not only did IFB host the BC Closed Championships, but they also added a full day in order to accommodate several new events, including the International Open Championships, as well as both Senior I and II events.  Traditionally, IFB has been a one-day event, featuring a Professional show couple as the highlight of the evening.  This year, the organizers took a different approach.  Instead of hiring a Professional couple, they invited International amateur competitors to compete and showcase their talent at the end of the evening.

To be honest, when I first heard that there would be International competitors at IFB, I was a bit apprehensive that it may take the focus away from our local BC couples.  After all, we already have several competitions here in the Lower Mainland that focus on International competitors.  Did we really need one more?  And besides, being the BC Championships, I always felt that the focus of the event should be on our local talent.

However, I have to say, that I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out.  The couples that were invited were not from the top 6 or top 24 in the world.  For the most part, they were actually competitors that our couples could ‘compete’ against.  It’s all fine and dandy to have International couples sweep the events here and put on a great show for the audience, but for our local competitors, it is way more beneficial to have people at their level that they can actually compete against.  It was great that the Open level competitors were able to dance more than once this weekend, as they always need the added practice on the competition floor.

Congratulations to all of the new BC Champions!

In the BC Closed Adult Latin Championships, Valeriy Chirkov & Maryana Dudchenko were clear winners.  Over the last half year, I have seen this couple really mature in their dancing.  They have been working hard, training abroad, and it has finally paid off.  Clear, confident and solid, they placed first in every dance.


Photo taken by David Marasigan of BYDM.CA

Second place went to Michael Duong & Peony Yao, who didn’t seem to be quite ‘on’ today.  They definitely weren’t dancing to the full potential that I have seen before, so I hope they sort it out and come back to the next competition with full force.  Placing third in every dance were Demitri Perera & Serena Dao.  Being a relatively new partnership, they still have a lot of work to do.  I’d like to see them develop more speed and elasticity in their movements, as well as a stronger base action.  I’m sure that time itself will do a lot to help them get to the next level.

In the BC Closed Adult Standard Championships, Zillion Wong & Sarah Liang successfully defended their title for the 5th year.  There was simply no contest, as they received straight ones from every judge in every dance.  This is one of the reasons why it was great for them to have another event to actually ‘compete’ in the next day.  As a past BC Champion, who has been in that situation before, I would have loved to have the opportunity to do another competition with more than just a final round.  Thanks to the organizers, instead of just doing 1 round the whole weekend, Zillion & Sarah were able to compete in another 3 rounds the next day, which is valuable experience for any competitor to have!

Photo taken by Paul Huang

Photo taken by Paul Huang

The rest of the final was not as obvious, as the marks were not as clear.  However, George Lindholm & Deborah Wong placed second overall.  I would like to see them develop a bit more speed and foot pressure in order to show more dynamics and to improve their overall presentation.  Taking 2 dances from George & Debbie (VW, QS) were Kevin Fahy & Phoebe Gau.  Still recovering from a foot injury and a car accident, this couple is slowly coming back to life.  They made major improvements since their last competition at the UBC Gala Ball, and I’m sure with more Physiotherapy and careful practice, they will continue to make gains in the coming months.

The fact that the BC Senior I Champions (George & Debbie) placed higher than the majority of the Adult competitors shows that age doesn’t always matter.  Hopefully, this result, as well as the Senior I Runners-up (Anthony & Gloria) placing 4th in the Adult category, should encourage all the Seniors out there that they can produce a very high quality of dancing without the sheer energy, speed and muscular power often characteristic of the younger Adult dancers.

In the BC Closed Senior I Standard Championships, George Lindholm & Deborah Wong successfully defended their title.  They were again clear winners, winning each and every dance.  Placing second in all dances except the VW were Anthony Chong & Gloria Chien. This couple has really jumped onto the scene in the Senior category this year.  Although they are quite small in stature, they have great energy and presentation, which catches the eye right away.  But upon further observation, I’d like to see them develop a stronger leg action in order to improve their quality of movement together.  Third place went to Qingru Guan & Ivy Chan, who haven’t danced together for quite awhile.  In past years, they had built a strong foundation for themselves, so coming back together didn’t seem too difficult for them.

Photo taken by Paul Huang

Photo taken by Paul Huang

In the BC Closed Senior I Latin Championships, there were only two couples, with George & Wendy Pytlik placing first, and Qingru Guan & Dior Huang second.

In the BC Closed Senior II Standard Championships, there were only 3 couples.  First and second place were broken by rule 11, Don & Marian Adair placing first, George & Wendy Pytlik second and Eric Chandler & Monica Reimer third.

Congratulations to everyone who participated and even to those who didn’t compete, but just went to watch and support friends.  There are so few events in BC per year that we really need to support and encourage them to keep DanceSport in BC alive!  Make IFB an annual trip for yourselves and your friends, as it’s a breathtaking journey on the ferry boat (as I’m sure my favourite neurosurgeon on Grey’s Anatomy would agree) and an all around fun event!

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