Tasmanian Open DanceSport Championship set to sizzle

LET'S DANCE: Lily Cornish and Michael Wilson prepare to take on their competitors at the Tasmanian Open DanceSport Championship in Launceston this weekend. Picture: Paul Scambler

LET'S DANCE: Lily Cornish and Michael Wilson prepare to take on their competitors at the Tasmanian Open DanceSport Championship in Launceston this weekend. Picture: Paul Scambler

Get ready to rumba!

The Tasmanian Open DanceSport Championship will have Launceston in a lambada this weekend as competitors arrive from across the state and across the world.

About 240 couples are cha-charging up for the only major ballroom dancing event in Tasmania.

Nine times Professional World Latin Dance Champion Bryan Watson has returned as a guest adjudicator for the competition.

“It’s great to see the talent down south,” Mr Watson said.

His advice for aspiring competitors, “Don’t try and impress me. Go out and perform what you’ve been practicing and leave your heart on the dance-floor”.

He also has been holding a series of workshops and private couples lessons in the lead up to the competition.

“Lots of talented kids don’t have the opportunity to go to international competitions,” Mr Watson said.

It was important for aspiring dancers to enter state competitions and to look further abroad, he said.

If a dancer competed only in local competitions, they became a big fish in a small pond,” Mr Watson said.

“The confidence helps, but it does give a false sense of security.”

Under 21 Latin American dance couple Lily Cornish and Michael Wilson have been dancing together for seven months and will be performing five dances during the competition.

Mr Wilson is a third-generation dancer for his family, and initially chose Latin American dancing as the majority of them were ballroom dancers.

“I wanted my own style,” he said.

While originally from Melbourne, competing in Tasmania was like having a hometown crowd compared to the international competitions he has entered.

Ms Cornish started dancing when she was eight and has been competing ever since.

“The Tasmanian competition is the only one my friends and family can watch,” she said.

The couple trained six to seven days each week, with a focus on fitness in the lead up to competitions, she said.

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