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Magazine » July August 2012 Issue » WDSF World Senior II Latin Championships

WDSF World Senior II Latin Championships

Martha Estevez
Date Published:
July 1, 2012

At the 2012 USA Dancesport Nationals when Bob and I were finalists in Senior 2 and 3 Latin (we placed 2nd in Senior 3 Latin, and 3rd in Senior 3 10-Dance), we realized that we had made the World Team and would be representing the USA at the World Championships in Mallorca Spain. We were beyond thrilled. We quickly made preparations for the Worlds event that was barely three weeks away.

After what seemed to be an endless trip from JFK, we finally arrived in Mallorca on Thursday, 4/26 in the late afternoon. Tired, hungry and exhausted, we managed to grab quick showers and headed off to find a good meal. We did not have to walk too far to find a restaurant with outside seating overlooking the beach that served fabulous seafood. The Hotel Delfin Mar was well located, within walking distance to a bus stop, taxis, cafes, and restaurants to fit everyone's budget. As jet lag settled in, it was time for us to settle in, relax, and take a short nap.

Friday morning, we decided to be tourists and visit the city of Palma. We found a bus route that took us directly there for a few Euros and spent a few hours enjoying the sights and shopping. This included listening to a pleasant public outdoor orchestra band performance and Gelato! Hmmm... Spanish favors included.

Saturday morning we headed to the competition venue to get the feel of the floor. Surprisingly enough, it appeared to be thick plywood but felt awesome. It was inspiring to be among top international dancers. Competitors were preparing for standard so we could not stay on the floor for long. We registered for one more Latin event on Monday. Might as well, we thought, after traveling this far!

We returned later that evening to pick up our number, and they were kind enough to let us get on the floor to join the Latin warm up for the Rising Star Latin event. The registration was set up in time slots by events only. This was to avoid an overwhelming amount of competitors registering all at the same time. It was efficient and expedient. The vibe in the ballroom was very up and serious, we enjoyed the short run-through in preparation for Sunday's event and left energized and "pumped up".

Sunday morning found us getting ready for our Latin event as we usually do, double checking costumes, making sure everything was in order before heading out the door to find a taxi to the venue. When we arrived, the dressing areas were already full, but we managed to find a spot. FYI, dressing rooms were all unisex, despite the signs that two of the rooms were designated masculine and feminine. Ahhhh... When in Rome...

We would feel the ballroom filling with energy and intensity; multi tongues were spoken as we passed the competitors and spectators. You could feel the intensity, anxiousness and excitement of the competitors. Despite the language difference, we all made an effort to acknowledge each other with a nod or simple smile. The competitors were friendly, and happy to take a photo for you or exchange e-mails to keep in contact. It was interesting to hear how other dancers handle their lessons and practice schedule.

Our Latin event was split into 8 heats; there were 84 couples! There was no deck captain, each competitor was responsible being on the floor at the appointed times on their own. The heats were all clearly posted well in advance with group details. In between the heats, there was enough time to for us to refocus for the next dance and watch our fellow competitors. We were very impressed by the quality of the Senior 2 dancers. They were well-prepared and good performers. We respected and admired their dancing technique.

One of the highlights for us was the parade of flags. We were overwhelmed with emotion and felt proud to walk behind our USA flag among the dancers of other Nations. It was a wonderful way to pay respect to each participating country. We thought, 'This is what the Olympics must feel like!'

Monday we returned to the ballroom for our Senior 2 Latin Open event. It was a little less hectic, but the energy level was still high. We were very impressed on how well the Mallorca Challenge ran: smoothly and on time. We sought out the organizer and complimented him, knowing he never had a moment's rest. He still managed a warm smile and a handshake; thankful he had a hard working staff. All the staffers were knowledgeable, consistently polite, and eager to please, always with a willingness to help even after working four grueling days of competition.

We left the city of Santa Ponça happy, with a memorable experience, a new perspective, and very much inspired, looking forward to our coaching lessons upon our return. What better way to spend a competition than in beautiful Mallorca? No downsides for this one, in my humble opinion.

Editor's Note of Clarification:
Two couples officially represented USA Dance at the WDSF Open World Senior-2 Latin Championships. They were Richard & Iris Chiang, the first place couple at the 2012 USA Dance Nationals. They placed 61st out of 84 in the Worlds. The second couple was Robert Blank & Martha Estevez. They were nominated to the World Team after the 2nd and 3rd place couples notified USA Dance of their inability to represent. Robert and Martha placed 72nd out of 84 in the Worlds. The WDSF does not run a World Championship in Senior-3 Ten Dance or Latin at this time, as was noted in the program of the USA Dance Nationals.