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Magazine » January February 2012 Issue » WDSF World Championships

WDSF World Championships

Jean Stoddard
Date Published:
January 1, 2012


Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach represented the United States at the 2011 WDSF World Ten Dance Championships in China Nov. 12 and 13, placing 27th in the competition.

Thirty-four couples from over 40 countries took to the hardwood at the Luwan Stadium in Shanghai. The world’s all-around best dancers faced off in the competition, demonstrating highly-trained skills in both the Latin and Standard dances.

This was Pashkov and Karagach’s third time competing together at the World Ten Dance Championships. They received 10 place in 2009 and last year finished at 13th place according to The couple is currently the USA Dance 2011 National 10-Dance Champions, Karagach being the youngest competitor to hold that title.

Reigning champions Bjorn Bitsch and Ashli Williamson of Denmark became World Ten Dance Champions again this year.


Colorful gowns and tail suits flooded the venue as hundreds of couples representing countries around the world paraded onto the floor. These were the competitors at this year’s WDSF World Senior III Standard Championships in Mons, Belgium on

Oct. 22.

The couples representing the United States were four of 206 Senior III couples who competed in the World Championships Senior III competition. Adjudicators eliminated couples as dancers performed the waltz, fox trot, tango and quickstep through six rounds and a final.

The United States competitors represnted their country well. Terry Yeh and Glendy Yeh placed 33, Thomas Keller and Evelyn Lafferty placed 45, Hiroshi Kawanawi and Juliana Kawanawi placed 66 and Winston Chow and Lilly Chow placed 105.

Terry and Glendy Yeh also entered the Open Senior III competition the following day and placed 10 out of 83 couples.

Jouko Leppälä and Heljä Leppälä from Finland became the overall champions for the 2011 World Senior III Standard Championships.

In addition to the Adult Latin competition, videos of the Youth Latin competition can be seen on the DanceSport Total YouTube channel.

Junior II Standard

Two couples from the United States traveled to Chisinau, Moldova to compete in the WDSF World Junior II Standard Championship on
Oct. 15.

William Stansbury and Jenny Sokolsky placed 32th among their international competitors, while Patryk Ploszaj and Anna Kaczmarski placed 44th. Ploszaj and Kaczmarski also competed in the open competition the following day, placing 5th out of 33 couples.

This was the third World Championship for Ploszaj and Kacmarski. They have competed in “America’s Got Talent” and several open international competitions receiving high ranks, including 2 and 3.

Ploszaj said the competition was tough because the European style of dance is so much different from the American style. However, he said the couple had fun and did their best.

“I’ve learned to enjoy myself and not to be embarrassed of who I am as a dancer,” said Ploszaj. “It’s not always about winning. We just practice to do our best in competition, but at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun.”

Ploszaj’s mother wanted to dance when she was younger, but never had the opportunity. She told herself when she had children she would sign them up for dance. And she did. “The first day I wasn’t sure,” said Ploszaj. “But after weeks and months I started to enjoy it.

Ploszaj and Kacmarski practice about 12 hours a week. Practice is one thing Stansbury and Sokolsky understand. The couple has been dancing together for seven years.

Stansbury says one of the reasons the couple has been successful is that they have been together so long. That and hard work. Sokolsky agreed. “It really helps to get along with your partner, and teamwork is one of the things that brought us this far.”

The rest Stansbury and Sokolsky both attribute to dedication high expectations from their coach. “We have a really good teacher who has a clear idea of where he wants us to be,” said Stansbury.

Stansbury, who has not been to many international competitions, said it was interesting to see the level of competitors at the World’s competition. Sokolsky agreed. “I got to experience a whole new world of dancing . . . Every couple has their own little something.”

Sokolsky said competing is exciting for her. “Seeing the judges lined up on the edge of the floor, and watching competitors practice on the carpet, just makes me more anxious to dance!”

“They were really proud to be representing the United States in the national competition,” said Stansbury’s mother, Cynthia Stansbury. “It was pretty exciting.”

Ploszaj, Stansbury and Sokolski said they had a great experience at World Championships and are preparing for future competitions, including Nationals. Stansbury and Sokolsky are preparing for Blackpool in the coming months, and Ploszaj and Kacmarski are getting ready for the next World Championships in Moscow.

Issue: Jan/Feb. 2012