2017 WORLD DANCESPORT GRANDSLAM SERIES
Airs Fridays, June 8-29, 2018 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 & Sunday, July 15 from Noon - 2 p.m. on KPBS TV
The WORLD DANCESPORT GRANDSLAM SERIES is back, featuring the best competitive dancers in the world vying for the most prestigious titles and the prize money in the world of dance.
As the top dancers in the various dance styles meet up at different locations around the globe, cameras are trained on every step they take.
With all their moves and stances, be it the poses they hold during the highlights of the paso doble or in the staccato action they emphasize in their tango, the couples are on a never-ending quest for excellence and ultimately a championship.
Their performances are assessed by 12 experts using a revolutionary judging system which makes the entire process of adjudication more transparent for the viewer at home.
Four components are considered, with two focusing on the technical aspects and two on the artistry.
The 2017 WORLD DANCESPORT GRANDSLAM SERIES takes the world’s best couples on a year-long journey from the first leg in Helsinki, Finland to the final showdown in Shanghai, China, with six hour-long episodes capturing their exploits.
EPISODE GUIDE: (KPBS 2 and KPBS TV)
Episode 1: World Dancesport Grandslam Standard In Helsinki airs Friday, June 8 at 8 p.m. on KPBS2 & repeats on Sunday, July 1 at Noon on KPBS TV - Three months have passed since the top couples had entered into the GrandSlam Standard Final in Shanghai. And that was last year.
Since then, most of them have competed selectively at the international level - always in avoidance of having to go up against whom they consider their main opponents in the World and GrandSlam rankings.
In the case of the top two couples in last year's rankings - Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova of Russia, and Simone Segatori and Annette Sudol of Germany - they both come off convincing wins at World Opens in Antwerp, Belgium and Tokyo, Japan respectively.
The real drama here is presented in this friendly rivalry, these couples have been head to head for the past three years, and the Russian team is hungry for a win, especially after their defeat by Segatori and Sudol at last year's GrandSlam.
And this competition isn't over yet, especially now that a new challenge has arisen. The new judging system version 3.0 that will provide more transparency to the adjudication process, using 0.25 instead of the former 0.5 increments to score competitors.
Who will start off on top at this year's GrandSlam?
Episode 2: World Dancesport Grandslam Latin In Hong Kong airs Friday, June 15 at 8 p.m. on KPBS2 & repeats on Sunday, July 1 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV - The GrandSlam Latin legs in Helsinki, Finland, and in Wuhan, China, went to Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus of Moldova with the Russians Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno as the runners-up on both occasions.
It looked as if the dominators in Latin would continue their winning streak, and remain undefeated for another year. That's when the upset came - suddenly and unexpectedly: Armen and Svetlana claimed the title at the European Championship in Cambrils, Spain.
Just six weeks later in Faenza, Italy, the Moldovans were living up to Gabriele's life motto of "Born to win!" once more as they were able to take their revenge and defeat the Russians in an international open.
With virtually all top Latin couples present here in Hong Kong, we can look forward to lots of exceptional dancing, and the continued rivalry between the Moldovan and Russian teams.
Episode 3: World DanceSport GrandSlam Standard in Stuttgart, Germany airs Friday, June 22 at 8 p.m. on KPBS2 & repeats on Sunday, July 8 at Noon on KPBS TV - That the Standard seems to be the GrandSlam of choice for the majority of the Stuttgart public can easily be explained. On eight out of nine occasions since 2008, the winners were German couples.
Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova of Russia have won everything there is to win and kept on top of their game ever since their last defeat in Shanghai, China in the GrandSlam Final last year.
Over the past two years they have claimed two World and two European titles. They most recently celebrated their first victory in the GrandSlam Hong Kong, but they have never won in Stuttgart.
The fight between the two couples will probably be as tight as ever, threatening to eclipse the great dancing put in by the third: Evaldas Sodeika and Leva Zukauskaite of Lithuania. But let's not worry about them: their confidence is growing with every time they take the floor.
Episode 4: World Dancesport Grandslam Latin In Moscow, Russia airs Friday, June 29 at 8 p.m. on KPBS2 & repeats on Sunday, July 8 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV - We're back in Moscow for the last regular leg of the World DanceSport GrandSlam Series. Last year, the Latin and Standard competitions deciding over which couples would make it to the "Final Showdown in Shanghai" had to be moved south - to Barcelona, Spain - on the shortest of notice.
One year later it is the 'All Russian Federation of DanceSport and Acrobatic Rock 'n' Roll', the new WDSF Member, which acts as the host and organizer for the first time. In a big way! Everything seems a little bigger and brighter when it comes to the setting and the atmosphere, and the dancers seem inspired too.
Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus of Moldova, who have four wins to their credit so far this year, will dance in Moscow for the very first time. They know they have to go up against Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno of Russia, who have won here three consecutive times, if we include last year's substitute GrandSlam in Spain.
Who will take this leg of the competition?
ON KPBS TV
Episode 5: World DanceSport GrandSlam Series Latin Final in Shanghai, China airs Sunday, July 15 at Noon on KPBS TV - What sets the GrandSlam Latin Final in Shanghai, China, apart from the rest of the top-tier competitions on the DanceSport calendar are three factors.
It is the most strictly invitational competition there is, with entry reserved to the 12 top couples in the GrandSlam ranking, and is also the shortest and most compact competition for the dancers. Finally, for virtually all the participating couples it is the last competition of the year, and the fight is for the highest prize money awarded in the series.
The defending GrandSlam Champions did not make it to Shanghai. Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus of Moldova, notified WDSF and the organizers of their decision to withdraw from this year's final.
With the defenders out of the competition, who will step up to take the lead in the Latin final?
Episode 6: World DanceSport GrandSlam Series Standard Final in Shanghai, China airs Sunday, July 15 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV - Last year's GrandSlam Standard Final will forever be remembered as the last duel between the eternal opponents Simone Segatori and Annette Sudol of Germany and Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kukikova of Russia, where the former ended up on top. The German team has announced its decision to go professional, however, and will not be participating in the final this year.
Now, the door is open for new couples to spring to the top of the dancing world, and it could be a variety of talented teams. To consider the pre-event favorites and dominators Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kukikova as shoo-in winners today would be justifiable, if it were not for the mishaps that saw a great dancer tumble last year.
Will a dark horse take home the championship, or will the runner-ups step into the limelight?
Distributed by American Public Television.