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Thailand’s Jettapon Inthakun (right) and Apichaya Kuptawanith with their Rumba bronze medals on Tuesday.
DanceSport dazzles as the hottest ticket in town

26 Sep 2017
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 26, 2017: DanceSport at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) came to a close on Tuesday with packed spectator stands showing just why this was the hottest ticket in town. The two-day competition was held in front of a sold-out, 1,000-capacity arena in the Ashgabat Olympic Complex. Tickets for the DanceSport were the first to sell out, according to organisers.

The crowds marvelled at the sparkling spectacle, clapping along to the music and cheering couples from all countries and regions as cries of “Bravo” rang out from the stands. In a sports programme that included the Tango and Taekwondo, the Foxtrot and Futsal and the Jive and Ju-Jitsu, the DanceSport enthusiasts made their feelings clear when they had to choose between the Samba and Sambo.

“It’s a beautiful sport,” said Thailand’s Jettapon Inthakun, after winning bronze in the Rumba on Tuesday. His dance partner, Apichaya Kuptawanith, added: “I think our sport entertains people. The audience is not stressed when they watch DanceSport. Everyone is happy.”

The Korean dancers excelled on Tuesday, winning three gold medals and one silver in the five events. Nam Gi Yong, who won Samba silver and gold in Jive with Shin Na Ra, said DanceSport could be classed alongside figure skating in terms of broad spectator appeal. “DanceSport is about dancing together – one man, one woman – not alone…cheering crowds and good presentation,” said Nam.

“Other sports are about being fast or strong, but DanceSport includes art. It is art, not just sport.” Nam added that, in Korea, some people liked football and others preferred baseball, but Dancesport appealed to all. “This is special,” he said. “It is not only dance and not only sport. Figure skating is the same.”

Chan Hing Wai, who won silver medals for Hong Kong, China in Rumba and the Paso Doble with Tin Lai Ki, said DanceSport was special. “It is quite different to other sports and is very entertaining, no matter if you know dancing or not. Everyone is doing different things,” said Chan.

His partner, Tin, added: “The make-up, the costumes, the music, the dancing….it is different to a normal sport. I always feel very calm when I am dancing because once we feel stress or over-excited it will ruin the performance.”

The two-day DanceSport competition offered 11 gold medals – the five Standard events of Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep, as well as Salsa, on the opening day, and the five Latin dances of Samba, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive on Tuesday.

On the opening day, Vietnam provided the Salsa champions in Trung Kien Nguyen and Hong Anh Pham, the latter captivating the audience with her shock of bleached-blond hair, shimmering gold dress and high-speed steps. Perhaps her words best summed up the passion of the DanceSport community.

“I am nervous before I dance but when the music starts I am different,” she said. “I feel happy and full of energy and emotion in my body. I don’t know where this feeling comes from. It’s amazing.”
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