With so few opportunities to watch live dancing in Canada, and especially in BC, we spent a lot of time watching what was available in video form.

There were, of course, a lot fewer competitions than normal, but there were still great chances to see quality dancing, and the skill on display didn’t disappoint. I had the blessing of being able to witness the Canadian Championships held in late August in Gatineau, Quebec. The event showed a very high level of quality. I also observed overall this past year a greater focus on quality basic technique, something that was losing ground in earlier years. It seems that with the competition schedule scaled back so much, dancers spent more time working on technique.

Here are our favorite dance videos from 2021.

Glenn Richard Boyce and Cäroly Janes at the 2021 Dutch Open

Still in their teens, this inspiring couple are world champions in the Youth age category for International Ballroom. They began dancing together as juniors in 2016. Currently they can hold their own in competition with the best adults.

Troels Bager & Ina Ivanova Jeliazkova Paso Doble

Partnered for 15 years, these two have been favorites of ours for many years and finally have managed to come into their rightful place first as US Professional Latin Champions, and now as World Professional Latin Champions. The Paso Doble generally reflects the gentleman in the role of a matador and the lady as the cape. Troels and Ina do a masterful job of illustrating these characteristics with the start of their Paso, evident here in the Open Professional International Latin at the 2021 Millennium Dancesport Championships.

Loraine Barry with Mirko Gozzoli and Christopher Hawkins

It’s always a delight to watch champions dancing basic figures, but we rarely get to see world champions who were never partnered together dancing as partners in an impromptu performance. Here, in a scene from a 2021 Polish dance camp, Loraine Barry dances Slow Foxtrot with both Mirko Gozzoli and Christopher Hawkins. Christopher was in his prime in the early years of this millennium, but both performances are wonderful displays of excellence in lead/follow.

Zharkov & Sodeika Viennese Waltz battle

Anyone who follows my posts knows that I’m not a huge fan of the WDSF destruction of the Viennese Waltz. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good show. I especially appreciate that amateur world champions Dmitry Zharkov & Olga Kulikova of Russia have resisted the excessive athleticism of WDSF in general and are able to show great musicality and technical skill throughout their dancing. In this terrific video from the 2021 WDSF Sport Series Qualifier event, Dmitry & Olga, who train at the same studio as Evaldas Sodeika & Ieva Zukauskaite, decided to put on a real show for the Viennese Waltz by coordinating their performances. It’s a lot of fun!

Basic Rumba by Andrey Gusev & Vera Bondareva

Currently ranked third in the world in Amateur Latin, Andrey Gusev & Vera Bondareva are dancing for Finland. Although they won the 2021 Kremlin Cup (November), the Russian Open (October), and the Sochi Open (June), they only placed 2nd in the Russian Championship where this video was filmed. We love their attention on each other, their relaxed quality and the way Vera uses her body throughout the dance. It’s delightful to see basic elements being required for some top-level competition events.

Szymon Kalinowski & Grazyna Grabicka Slow Foxtrot

Although they are only ranked 22 in the world in the Professional Ballroom category, we fell in love with this Polish couple after watching this Slow Foxtrot in the final of the 2021 Dutch Open Professional Ballroom event. Creative choreography, great musicality and an obvious enjoyment of dancing together are the qualities that set them apart from the crowd.

Ohio Star Ball Professional American Smooth

There are few places that offer a better chance to see the very best of American Smooth in action than the Ohio Star Ball. This video of the Open Professional Smooth Semifinal from the 2021 Star Ball shows some beautiful examples of this exciting and expressive genre.

Top 15 Russian Couples Dancing Basic Slow Foxtrot

One of the developments we really appreciate seeing in light of the WDSF emphasis on pure athleticism is the use of some competition events where only basic steps are allowed. This example from the 2021 Russian Championship Amateur Standard held in Moscow in March shows the top couples dancing basic Slow Foxtrot to music that is slower than regulation tempo (26bpm as compared to normal 29bpm).

Top 15 Russian Couples Dancing Basic Rumba

Another example from the 2021 Russian Championship Amateur Latin held in Moscow in March shows the top couples dancing basic Rumba figures. It’s a distinct pleasure to see high level couples performing basics, as it forces them to demonstrate their knowledge of basic technique and their mastery of it.

George Pytlik

Author George Pytlik

Before turning pro, George achieved impressive results as an amateur competitor, holding the Senior (30+) Latin championship in BC, Canada for 7 consecutive years with his wife Wendy. The couple twice achieved a top-3 Canadian ranking in Senior Latin as well as a 3rd place Canadian ranking in 30+ Ten Dance. Today, George and Wendy are professional teachers with a vision of growing a strong dance community in Delta near Vancouver, BC.

More posts by George Pytlik

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