Credit should be given not only to dancers, but also to the international jury and the Minsk public, which “endured” six competitions in just two days. An unprepared spectator cannot sit through a five-hour show without any breaks, but nearly all seats were occupied throughout the two busy days.
Unfortunately, they did not become the days of Belarusian dances, and “Belarus Open-2006” was a triumph for Latvians (standard dances) and Russians (Latin dances). Silvers and bronzes also went to Russians. Belarus’ Nikolai Pilipenchuk and Natalya Skorikova won the People’s Choice Awards. As for the under-16 category, nearly all prizes went to the young dancers representing Minsk, Vitebsk, Gomel and Grodno.
Dreaming of Something More
As of today Belarus has over 80 dancesport clubs, but most of the Belarusian dancers are trained in gyms or lobbies that have no special dancing floors. Belarus has managed to make it into the International Dance Sport Federation, the IDSF, without dancing parquet. This country also managed to host the World Formation Championships, a most difficult dancing discipline (formation features eight couples dancing a fixed choreography — in either Standard or Latin American disciplines — to their own music). Minsk-based “Mara” took the seventh prize, beating 14 countries. “Mara” was invited to take part in the next Formation dance championships in Germany’s Bremen.
The new Minsk-Arena sports center that will have facilities for 30 sports is expected to have decent dancing floors with excellent parquet. According to Natalya Petkevich, a deputy head of the Presidential Administration and the chair of the “Belarus Open-2006” organizing committee, “our athletic country aims at new sporting heights.” Minsk has a worthy international image, and the sporting status of the capital city has been proved by the recent visit of eight times world champions, champions of Europe and Germany Bryan Watson and Carmen Vincelj.
Bryan and Carmen
Nobody could say for sure whether the prominent couple would get to Minsk from London. There were some other championships held simultaneously with the Belarusian championships, so some spectators were bound to miss the Bryan-Carmen duet, who are absolutely impossible to outdance. But the couple arrived in Belarus right on time to show several passionate mini-spectacles and present a master-class for Belarusian dancers. The organizers had been afraid they would not be able to cope with star whims (as the ice floor of the Palace of Sports was hardly an alternative to the ideal floors on which Bryan and Carmen beat so many excellent dancers). The Belarusian side needn’t have worried: Watson was charmed by Belarusian ladies whom he taught some cha-cha-cha moves in exchange for some Belarusian words for his vocabulary. The chic Carmen confessed that it was a real honor for her and her partner to perform for Belarusians, and they both hoped that they would visit Belarus again.
Instead of the Epilogue
Before the “Belarus Open–2006” championships Belarus’ juniors Valeria Urimagova and Andrei Kishkurno won the bronze in the 10-dance world championships. In 2012, ballroom dances will become an Olympic sport. Belarus has 1,500 professional dancers and three times
as many amateurs.