2016 WORLD DANCESPORT GRANDSLAM SERIES
Airs Sundays, Oct. 16 - Nov. 20, 2016 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
The six-part WORLD DANCESPORT GRANDSLAM SERIES attracts the world’s best dancers to compete for the most prestigious titles and the most prize money in the world of dance.
This series will cover both the Latin and Standard competitions of the last two regular legs of the series – held in Stuttgart, Germany, and Moscow, Russia respectively – plus the GrandSlam Finals in Shanghai in December.
The first four episodes will focus on the decisive semi-finals and finals in both Latin and Standard with an up-close-and-personal look at the contestants.
The GrandSlam competition uses a revolutionary judging system where the judges no longer compare one couple with the others on the dance floor. Rather, they focus on each couple individually and award points on an absolute scale for the quality of dancing.
Combining athleticism and artistry, the 12 best dance couples perform Latin and Standard styles of dance, from the samba, cha cha cha, rumba and paso doble to the waltz, tango, slow foxtrot and quickstep — all in the hopes of being crowned GrandSlam Champion.
Episode 1: “GrandSlam Standard Series: The First Four Legs” airs Sunday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. - This first episode covers highlights of four Standard competitions from the inaugural leg in in Helsinki, Finland, to the events in Wuhan, China, Hong Kong and Moscow.
Former world champion Latin dancer and Honorary Life President of DanceSport England, Peter Maxwell invites viewers to leave the confines of a ballroom and to take a look at how true athletes make a challenging sport of dance as they compete in the World DanceSport GrandSlam Standard Series.
In a whirlwind tour that brings them from Europe to Asia and back to Europe, top dancers in gowns and tails perform at sporting venues and in front of appreciative audiences. Provided the dancers make the six-couple final, they collect prize money and maximum ranking points at each leg of the Series.
The biggest names in the Standard dances meet at regular intervals throughout the year for match-ups between couples. Will the perennial runners-up, Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova of Russia, ever be able to beat the reigning World and GrandSlam Champions Simone Segatori and Annette Sudol of Germany?
Episode 2: “GrandSlam Latin Series – The First Four Legs” airs Sunday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. - This second episode covers four legs of the GrandSlam Latin Series, from the first leg in Helsinki, Finland, to Wuhan, China, in Hong Kong and Moscow.
Italians Nino Langella and Khrystyna Moshenska have dominated Latin dancing for the past three years. After winning three World Championships and a total of 13 GrandSlams, the couple split ahead of this year’s GrandSlam Series. Both dancers found new partners.
Will either Nino or Khrystyna, in their new partnerships, be able to replicate their prior success? Two couples in particular stand poised to keep that from happening: Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus from Moldova, and Russians Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno, who have long tried to break the hegemony of the Italians.
Dance legend Peter Maxwell is the host to this hour featuring DanceSport competition full of glitz and glamour. Once the world’s best face off against each other on the floor, the focus turns to the sporting action that combines perfect technique with artistry and outstanding athleticism in highly aesthetic performances.
Episode 3: “GrandSlam Standard - Stuttgart, Germany” airs Sunday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. - Over the past ten years, the victories at the GrandSlam Standard Stuttgart were divided up between one Danish, two Italian and two German couples. Six wins went to the host country, three to Italy and one to Denmark.
Simone Segatori and Annette Sudo of Germany were first last year, claiming the second GrandSlam of their career and starting on a home-winning streak that has not stopped yet.
Fellow Germans Benedetto Ferruggia and Claudia Koehler had won Stuttgart non-stop between 2008 and 2012. But let’s not prejudge what will end up being a tight competition between the Germans and the other favorites, including Hong Kong champions Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova of Russia, who staged the first major upset against Segatori-Sudol for the year. Zharkov–Kulikova had breezed to victory in Moscow without the Germans competing there.
Episode 4: “GrandSlam Latin" - Stuttgart, Germany” airs Sunday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. - Stuttgart is traditionally the biggest GrandSlam of the Latin Series. Making it to the final and onto the podium is harder in Stuttgart than at any other location. Even if the finalists generally don't dance until round three, they must complete six rounds of five dances each before the winners are declared.
An amazing 371 couples appeared on the starting lists, among them the biggest names in the Latin dances. Moldovans Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus, the #1 in the World Ranking, are looking for their third successive win in the Series.
But reigning European Champions Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno of Russia are competing as are couples who danced the final round in the two previous legs: Charles-Guillaume Schmitt and Elena Salikhova of France, and Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska of Germany.
Episode 5: “GrandSlam Standard Series" - The Showdown in Shanghai” airs Sunday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. - The hierarchy seems firmly established in the standings of the regular legs of the GrandSlam Standard Series. Germans Simone Segatori and Annette Sudol won every time they entered a competition, from the first leg in Helsinki, Finland, to conquering the biggest field of the season in Stuttgart, Germany.
Russians Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova are destined to be the perennial runners-up, even if they claimed their second places by narrowing the point margins separating them from the winners. The one time the Germans didn’t dance, in the Moscow leg, Dmitry and Olga won the final with their highest total ever for the five Standard dances.
Lithuanians Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zukauskaite are similarly cast to be the other runners-up of the Series, coming in third more often than not.Fortunately for the GrandSlam Series Final, more than a few experts predict that the established order could get reversed. If the runners-up should plan an overthrow, there is no better time to do that than in the “Showdown in Shanghai.”
Reserved for the top 12 couples in the GrandSlam rankings, and with points accrued in four of the regular legs, the Final is the most important competition of all.
Episode 6: “GrandSlam Latin Series" - The Showdown in Shanghai” airs Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. & 11 p.m. - It has been a tumultuous year in Latin dancing as the five GrandSlam Series competitions reflected perfectly. When the series began with the first leg in Helsinki, everybody was eager to see the three "new" couples formed after two high-profile partnerships were dissolved at the end of the previous year.
Even the skeptics seemed to like what they saw. By winning Helsinki with his new partner Vera Bondareva, Nino Langella seemed all set to continue where he had left off five months earlier. It came all the more as a surprise when the two Italian dancers didn’t make it to Wuhan, China, and later when Nino announced that he would leave the GrandSlam Series. But by then, three couples had started to position themselves as the heirs apparent to his dominance.
Moldovans Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus had two back-to-back victories in Asia, but Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno of Russia came back fighting and took the next two legs in Moscow and Stuttgart. Nino's former partner Khrystyna Moshenska and Marius-Andrei Balan were runners-up twice but then surprisingly failed to qualify for the season-ending GrandSlam Final.
The stage was set for the “Showdown in Shanghai” to determine which couple would succeed the long-time champions from Italy.