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South Pacific Dancesport Championship turns 65

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By NERIA SOLIMAN

The 65th anniversary of the longest running National Dancesport Championship in Australia was held last 2-3 October at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Darling Harbour.

Once again, the event was sponsored by the Federal Association of Teachers of Dancing LTD (FATD).

FATD CEO Craig Wilson said that over 800 dancers entered the competition this year.

Prize money, scholrlaship and trophies were awarded to the two-day dance marathon participants which consisted of couples from Australia, New Zealand, China, England and the Philippines.

Winfred Glenn Sto Domingo and Gilda Lim represented the Philippines.

Among the Filipino Australian competitors were Shaun Gaspi and his partner Leah Morgan. The pair got the highest rating by wining First in the Adult Level 2 Latin. Shaun and Leah have been trained by the prestigious Alex Schembri Studio. Shaun comes from a family of dancers with his father Zosimo Gaspi, himself a dance enthusiast. Zosimo and his children Jasmin and Glen have previously performed in Filipino functions.

Among the Pinoys who joined the dancesport were Gerry Garcia and partner Shirley Law. They came first in the Masters 1 Open Latin. Gerry and Shirley have garnered first for several years in this category.

Other Filipino competitors in the Junior Level 2 & 1 Latin were Angelique Aguas and Glenn Gaspi, younger brother of Shaun.The NSW-based couple qualified in the finals and placed 2nd.

Samantha Cruz and partner Josh competed in various Latin categories and garnered several awards.

Brian Babon and partner Michelle Geale who were winners in previous years did not make it to the finals this year.

Michelle Vallejo and partner Allan Bell placed 4th in the Masters 1 Level3 Latin.

Friends of the Filipino community who got awards were Aric Yegudkin and partner Masha Belash (3rd in the Adult Open Latin), Freddie Yeo and Kitty Yeo (1st in Master 11 Level 2 Latin), Neale Byrnes and Valentina (1st in the most applauded PRO- Star Masters Latin), and Ivor Collins and Lisa Stephen (semi finalist in three entries).

Officers of FATD are Penelope De Kauwe, President, Craig Wilson as Chief Executive Officer, Neale Byrnes one of the Executive Councillors and the 2 Advisory Consultants, Neville Boyd OAM and Robert Steele.

Coming events for dance enthusiasts include the Medal Award Sport at the Sport Games to be held in China this November 2010 and The Crown International Professional-Amateur Championship and Ball to be held on April 18, 2011.

The 66TH South Pacific Dancesport Championship is slated for 1-2 October 2011 and will be in the same venue as this year’s.

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