The first competition of the Para dance sport season is set to get underway in Cujik, the Netherlands, from Saturday (15 April) as athletes build towards the 2017 World Championships.
A number of the world’s best dancers in couples and singles will get to dust off their dancing shoes for the first time this year.
Ukraine’s Illona Slugovyna and Olena Chynka won a pair of singles medals each at the 2016 European Championships in Kosice, Slovakia, before partnering up to claim more titles in the duo standard.
Slugovyna also showed why she is the reigning world champion in the women’s single class 1, winning the European title. She coupled with Valeriy Bevzyuk to claim the duo standard class 1 crown.
Chynka was the judges’ clear favourite across all five dances to win gold in the women’s single class 2 last year. Chynka then partnered with Oleksandr Onischenko to capture gold in the duo standard class 2..
Poland’s Katarzyna Bloch and partner Marek Zaborowski, the European champions from the combi freestyle class 2, are also in Cujik.
Their teammates Joanna Reda and Pawel Karpinski are the reigning regional title holders in the duo Latin class 1 and 2 combined.
The Philippines’ Rhea Marquez and Jun Julius Obero will try to defend their combi freestyle class 2 world title in October when the 2017 World Para Dance Sport Championships roll into Malle, Belgium.
The pair get their season underway on Saturday and will also dance Latin.
The competition in Cujik can be followed at World Para Dance Sport’s Facebook and Twitter.
The 2017 World Championships, the world’s biggest gathering of Para dancers, will be held between 21-22 October.
Around 150 athletes from 25 countries are expected for the competition which is being hosted at the Provincial Education Centre. It follows on from other successful competitions held in the country in previous years.