Para dancers ready to entertain Amstelveen audience at 2023 season-opener

Ukraine to hog the limelight in a field of 62 athletes from 18 nations as the traditional Para Dance Sport International Competition returns in the Netherlands 06 Apr 2023
A female and a male wheelchair dancers in a Para dance sport competition
The Para Dance Sport International Competition took place in Cuijk for three decades and in 2023 moves to Amstelveen
ⒸRoland E. Lipovits
By World Dance Para Sport

Amstelveen, in Amsterdam's Metropolitan Area, will host some of the world’s top Para dancers from Friday to Sunday (7 to 9 April) when the Para Dance Sport International Competition kicks off the 2023 international Para dance sport season.

The International Competition is one of the most traditional events in the history of Para dance sport and for the last 32 years it took place in Cuijk, located 115 km southeast from Amstelveen.

Following the passing of co-organiser Hans Verhoeven in 2022, the event has moved to Amstelveen to continue the legacy initiated by Verhoven and Corrie van Hugten, chairperson of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), the Stichting Wheelchairdansen Nederland (SRN).

A total 62 athletes (38 women and 24 men) from 18 nations from across four continents will be in action hoping to open the new season with some great results at the De Meerkamp sports hall.

“The event could no longer be organised in Cuijk and many dancers approached SRN with the question whether there would be a competition during the Easter weekend. A working group was set up to organise the Para Dance Sport International Competition elsewhere. I then contacted the director of AmstelveenSport, Heleen van Ketwich-Verschuur, and asked her if we could organise it in Amstelveen. The answer was a resounding 'yes' and this means that this wonderful competition can be held in sports hall De Meerkamp this year,” Van Hugten explained in an interview to newspaper Amstelveens Nieuwsblad.


Stars in action

The De Meerkamp dance floor will witness some of the biggest stars in Para dance sport including some of the Bonn 2019 world champions.

Ukraine’s Ivan Sivak (men’s freestyle 2) and Olena Chynka (women’s freestyle 2) highlight the star-studded line-up, and they will be joined by compatriots Illona Slugovyna, also a world champion, ready to open the season with a bang. 

Chynka will also pair up with Oleksandr Onishchenko for a strong pair in duo freestyle 2, duo Latin 2 and duo standard 2 event, where they are expected to be challenged from Italy’s Laura Del Sere and Andrea Barberis. 

In duo standard 1, it might be a repeat of Bonn 2019 face-off as the Ukrainian pairs of Snizhana Kernychna and Vladimir Kernichny, the Bonn 2019 silver medallist, and llona Slugovyn (world champion) and Andrii Myronchuk are among the favourites. 

Besides there will be many aiming to make a mark at Amstelveen 2023 including Luisa Huidobro Labajo and Angel Miralles Escobar, the Spanish pair competing in the duo Latin and duo freestyle events. The Spaniards are making their international debut after joining the sport through the Online Challenge launched by World Para Dance Sport during the COVID pandemic.

Hosts Netherlands will be represented by five dancers. 

The competition starts on Friday (7 April) afternoon with the freestyle events (single, duo and combi). Saturday (8) and Sunday (9) are the events in duo, combi, single women and single men categories. A powerchair demonstration event is also part of this year’s programme.

Tickets and more information about the 2023 Para Dance Sport International Competition can be found here on the SRN official website.