Friday we spent doing last minute shopping. Debra was back at the shoe vendors. We also walked around in the many shops in town. Before going to the ballroom to watch the last of the competition, we had dinner at the Kwizeen Restaurant just a few blocks from our hotel. What a pleasant surprise! This was truly a first class restaurant. Not a particularly fancy or ornate restaurant, but the service was excellent and the Chef brought out and served us the entrees. The lamb preparation was one of the best I've had - ever. Debra's sea bass was cooked to perfection with a crispy skin and moist flaky meat. Dinner was excellent.
We were enjoying dinner so much that we missed the first three rounds of the Professional Ballroom Championships. We got to the ballroom just in time for the Latin Formation Championships. There were 8 formation teams and the most impressive, to us, were the two Chinese teams with great choreography and costuming, and the Brigham Young University team with excellent precision dancing. Although the Chinese teams had interesting and entertaining choreography, they didn't have as much "dancing" in their routines. The Brigham Young University team also had some fancy choreography, but they had much more recognizable movements, or dancing that you could identify with each of the 5 Latin dances. They executed their choreography well and, for these reasons, they took First Place.
Following the Latin Formation Championships, they picked up the Ballroom Championships at the fourth round. We were able to watch the quarter, semi, and Final rounds. Again, there's really no way to fully explain the thrill we had to watch the top Ballroom dancers in the world competing on one floor at the same time. It was difficult to keep up with all the dancers. Out of the corner of one eye, we could see Mirko flying across the floor and, out of the corner of the other eye, we see Arunas and Katusha hitting a beautiful line. Somewhere in the middle, Victor and Anastasia would be doing pivots and Anna and G.G. would be doing something else. It was a great competition. I'll let Geoffrey report on the statistical details. I'll share with you the following photographs. It was great!
Giampiero Giannico & Anna Mikhed
Also of note, in case you hadn't noticed from earlier photos. The audience is also made up of the who's who in ballroom dance - former champions, adjudicators, organizers, celebrities, etc., all decked out in evening wear - with ladies in evening gowns and gents in tuxedos. The evening ended with a standing ovation for the dancers!
We were picked up by our driver at 6:00 a.m. for our Saturday morning flight to Chicago. We got about 3 hours of sleep after the Competition and final packing. We're in Chicago now. We're under tornado warning. We had a great Chicago steak dinner. I've had a couple of nice martinis and a glass of Pinot Noir with my steak. We're in a nice room with a bathroom the size of our Blackpool hotel room - well, maybe not quite as big - but almost.
We had a great experience in Blackpool. I hope my blogs helped some of you get a feel of what it's like in Blackpool. If you're a ballroom fanatic, we highly recommend the Blackpool experience. We're already thinking about going back next year. If it interests you, please come talk to us about it. Maybe we can go together.
There's a big comfortable looking bed that's waiting for me to crawl in so I bid you good night, and Aloha.
We'll be seeing you soon.
Calvin & Debra Ota