Month: September 2017

Team GB prepare for the Para Dance Sport World Championship 2017

It’s just 3 weeks to the Para Dance Sport World Championship 2017 which takes place in Malle, Belgium on 21st-22nd October.

We took time out to speak to Team GB competitors, Paula Moulton and Gary Lyness about their preparation for a major competition.

You’re about to compete in a Para Dance Sport World Championship for the first time; how do you feel about it?

Paula: I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to compete at the World Championships. It will be fantastic to meet all the other competitors from round the world and get to compete with them. Yes, I’m nervous, but I equally excited.

Gary: It’s a fantastic feeling and very proud moment to represent your country at this level in a World Championship.  We compete mostly against European couples throughout the year, so it will be great to see the rest of the world in action too.


Who do you say are your main competitors in the upcoming competition?

Paula: I would say our main competition is Germany and some of the competitors from Asia. We will meet competitors who we have never even seen dance before so there is a big unknown element to the event.

Gary: I would agree, we have been placing consistently behind Germany for the last year, also Finland we’ve placed ahead and behind in 2017.


In the Para Dance Sport World Championship 2017, where would you like to be placed, what would make you happy?

4th place in Freestyle for Gary and PaulaPaula: Of course, we would love to win, however, we are also realistic.  There is the unknown as to who you will be competing against. For me, in Latin it

would be great to finish in the top ten and in Freestyle the top 6.

Gary: We’re dancing in Combi Latin and Freestyle.  This will be our first major competition doing Freestyle, so we’ve worked with our trainer to revamp our current routine which placed 4th in the Mainhatten Cup in June, so it would be great to equal or better that.  It would be amazing to make the final in Latin, but realistically, I’d be happy with semi-final places as we’re just starting to up our game in this with our new trainer.


What kind of preparation goes into a competition?

Paula: We have been preparing for the last few months working on choreography, now we are stamina training and ensuring that our lines are correct and that moves are tight, sharp and defined.  Oh, and don’t forget all that tanning and hair and nails that must be done the week of the competition!  You have to look the part as well as dance it.

Gary: It’s been a transitional year for us, with a new classification and then changing classification again part way through the year.  We’ve also not had a trainer for 3 years, so we’ve missed a lot of development while we’ve been competing at top level.  We’ve now begun working with Accursio Romeo, travelling to Milton Keynes for sessions at least once a month.  Having spent the first part of the year working on choreography, we’ve only just begun to work on improving technique.  For now, the focus is on stamina over the next 2 weeks to ensure we can perform our routines multiple times in a short space of time.


How different if any is it competing at the Para Dance Sport World Championship 2017 than any other international competition?

Paula:  A World Championship is a much more formal and prestigious event.  Things like the opening ceremony that happen at other competitions is much more formal with the raising of official IPC flag and athlete and trainer declarations, just like at the Paralympics.

At an event like the Worlds it’s also the knowing you truly are competing against the best of the best

Gary: It gives you an enormous pride to be representing your country at World Level.  As the official World Championships, there is the prestige in the placings and rankings.  We’d like to thank the UK Governing Body, WDSA (UK) for supporting us to enable us to compete and make sure GB is on the world stage for Para Dance Sport.


The event will be streamed live on the World Para Dance Sport website.


Strictly Launch Show 2017

The Strictly Launch Show 2017 was a resounding success if the ratings were anything to go by.

Not just for the heartfelt and sincere tribute to the late Sir Bruce Forsythe, but for the excitement and build-up of which professionals the celebs will be partnered with.

We were watching eagle eyed though at the first group dance to get a glimpse of the celebs in action and make some early predictions on who to watch out for.

There are some great pairings, good matches we think with Charlotte Hawkins and Brendan Cole – he’s always had a good thing with the slightly more mature ladies! along with Ruth Langsford and Anton du Beke – she’ll hopefully do well in the ballroom in his safe arms.

It will be interesting to see how the more characterful celebs get on with the likes of Rev Richard Coles, Brian Conley, Chizzy Akudulo and Susan Calman.

We’ll be looking forward to the paring of Paralympian Jonnie Peacock with the fabulous Oti Mabuse – some of Oti’s routines last year with Danny Mac were the highlight of the season, notably that raunchy animalistic samba!  Jonnie did seem a bit stiff in his upper body in the opener, but we’ve seen sports people before who suddenly lose that stiffness which has been drilled into them once they give in and let their inhibitions go.  Fingers crossed his fast legs will be a positive for him.  We’ll be keen to see what prosthetic Jonnie chooses to use depending on whether he’s doing ballroom or latin – we’ve seen how People’s Strictly winner Cassidy Little used a blade to dance Paso to give him more flexibility of movement.

So who are the ones to watch?

It usually falls to the more younger celebs, but we think there might be some dark horses in there.

Watching the opening group dance, certainly the likes of Aston Merrygold, Gemma Atkinson and Mollie King will likely be up there.

Dark horses for us could be the likes of Alexandra Burke, Joe McFadden – he was certainly giving it his all, and Simon Rimmer could turn out to be a good player on the ballroom front along with Davood Ghadami who was enthusiastic but very flat footed in the group dance.  Debbie McGee with her dance background could surface as well – she’s certainly got the performance and sparkle about her.

We’ll just have to wait a few weeks to get the full picture as they tackle their first dances!