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East Coast Classics: National Dancesport Championship held in Sydney Townhall

I have great news to tell. We won both the Open New Vogue and Standard in Masters 2: first time in a National championship: A double win!

You might remember that we won both styles in the New South Wales Open in August this year, but this time is different because of the prestige of the competition. There were 30 couples from all over Australia and New Zealand so it was tough competition. When I looked around my opposition, I found 4 past champions scattered in each style and in particular a three-time Australian champion in the Standard style who had beaten us consistently over our 10 year competition career.

The competition started 11:30AM and finished 9:30PM. There were 4 rounds in each style. Whereas we were confident of our form in the New Vogue style, having been undefeated 8 times this year, the Standard style was very strong because it included 3 past champions. We went through the rounds, made mistakes in choreographies but kept our composture.

From the footage that we asked people to take for us, we were clear winners in the New Vogue style but even in the sequence dancing with fixed choreography I made dreadful mistakes in the opening of the last dance, meaning that I danced the wrong dance for about 4 bars. And it had to happen in the Final! For the Gypsy Tap which is a March rhythm I danced the Tango rhythm! My coach watched in horror as I could see on his face! I recovered with help from Magdalen, but it was too late because everyone saw the mistakes including the judges. I knew that I was marked last out of 6 couples in that dance. I was so worried afterwards that I went to my coach and asked him how it would affect my results. He calmly reassured me that the quality of our first 4 dances were so much better than our opponents that we would win regardless. This reassurance was very important as I proceed with the rounds of the Standard style.

For the Standard style we had to dance on a small floor with many level 3 and 4 dancers who couldn't really move around the floor in the heats. I had to abort sections of my choreography and as a result the quality suffered. As the competition progressed I had more space to dance and we were able to show more movenment and shapes much more. I also looked more relaxed and complimentary to Magdalen who always smiled regardless of what happened. 

When the Final came in the evening I knew I had nothing to lose so the confidence was permeating from my face as I learned to entertain my audience. By the end of the day I knew where our fans were seated and I performed for them and they loved it. The Waltz was danced smoothly without a hitch and they shapes were good. I had spent a lot of time steadying myself in the Tango but it was not apparent. It was danced okay but lacked fire. We danced the Viennese Waltz well as it was very musical and I thought I benefited from the last lesson on this dance before the competition. I was very happy with the Foxtrot: it was done with drive and control. We are quite strong in the Foxtrot rhythm so it would have gone down well with the judges. By the 5th dance, everyone on the floor looked tired except us even though we were the oldest couple on the floor. I danced my best dance, the Quicksteps, like an adult amateur hopping around in rhythm with the fast music while my opponents looked tired and worn-out. I felt confident that by the end of the event I had done a good job.

Was it good enough to win? To tell you the truth I had never entertained the thought of winning in the face of such strong opposition, so when the result was announced that we had won, I jumped up for joy! I was so happy and so was Magdalen. By that stage, we had already moved off the floor unawared that the rest of the group had congregated around the rostrum for the announcement of the results. We ran back onto the floor while acknowledging the audience for their support as I could see that they were very happy that we had won.

We have won Masters 2 Open Standard in the East Coast Classics in 2008 and 2009 before but in those days the championship had not gained National status and our oppositions were not that strong. Since it gained national stature we haven't won even though we were finalists on 2010. Last year we were away in Hong Kong so we didn't dance, so the results this year of a double win was something that we had not psyched ourselves. We thought we should win the New Vogue style because we had been undefeated throughout the year either in New South Wales or inter-states in Queensland or Victoria.

Yes, we were hoping for the 9th Open New Vogue win in our homeground but not Open Standard as well. 

There are only three more weeks before the big event: the Australian Championship in Melbourne (the Aussies). Our target is to get the Australian title in Masters 2 Open New Vogue. As for the Standard title, there are 2 more Victorian opponents to contend with, the couple who had beaten us in the National Capital Dancsport Championship in Canberra in June as well as the Lunar Park WDC Championship in Sydney in September will be competing. This couple has youth on side as they just turned 50 and the other couple is about the same age as us but with 5 times Australian titles and having been around for at least 25 years at the top of the competition. Realistically I am not hoping to beat them yet but are aiming for 3rd place, one place up from last year at 'the Aussies' if we exclude the couple whom we had beaten last night and they came 3rd in the last Aussies. However, there is no guarantee that we can repeat the performance.

Judging dancing is a matter of opinion. We had the judges on side last night but the judging panel will be different on November 28. Only our performance on the day is the best guarantee of success.                                               -- By Philip Lee

潘漢雄作了首詩如下, 以作紀念

曼舞輕歌翩彩蝶

行雲流水矯驚鴻

爭光奪錦華人夢

畛域無分盼大同

To watch the competition video click here



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