Month: November 2019

Team GB prepare for the Para Dance Sport World Championships 2019

It’s just 2 days to the Para Dance Sport World Championships which take place in Bonn, Germany on 29th November – 1st December 2019.  Over 240 athletes from 26 counties will take part.

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 your 2nd Para Dance Sport World Championship; how do you feel about it?

Paula: I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to compete at the World Championships again. It will be great to meet all the other competitors from round the world, meet old and new friends and get to share the dance floor with them.

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, including some new countries we’ve not seen before. 

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

Paula: Well, Russia are back on the floor this year, so they are a big threat to all the couples, with them not competing for almost 3 years.  That along with 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, it will be nice to see the Russian couples back on the floor and to see the battle with the current World Champions from Philippines.

In the World Championships where would you like to be placed, what would make you happy?

Paula: 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 20 and in Freestyle the top 10.

Gary: We’re dancing in Combi Latin and Freestyle.  This will be our first time our LaLaLand features at a Worlds, so we’ve worked with our trainer to make some small changes to enhance the story telling and difficultly level.  We took a bronze medal in Poland in October but it would be great to finish in top 10.  It would be amazing to make the semi-final in Latin, but realistically, I’d be happy with quarter-final places at such a level at the Worlds.

What kind of preparation goes into a competition?

Paula: We have been preparing for the last few months working on technique, 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: We’ve continued to work with our coach, Accursio Romeo, travelling to Milton Keynes for sessions at least once a month.  For now, the focus is on stamina to ensure we can perform our routines multiple times in a short space of time. 

How different if any is it competing at a Para Dance Sport World Championship 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, Para Dance 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 and Facebook.