In general Germans are believed to be strong, tall, blond, always on time, neat and love to drink German beer…
With the following 10 headings I will try to explain what and why the German Professional Dancing World believes by taking you through a journey of time.
1st Belief:Friendship through dance!
Our German Ballroom Dancing pioneers, all of them served during world war 2, started right after the war their business by opening very successful dance schools and organizing professional Ballroom Competitions, Team-Matches and Championships with couples from France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland and England participating.
The English Style was what every dance-couple wanted to portray and to be successful in. Dancing shoes with non-skids did not exist and ballroom-dresses were made out of curtains but tailsuits were worn by the gentlemen in every competition. To be able to wear a tailsuit they had to alter uniforms and dyeing them black.
Famous German couples at that time were Paul and Margit Krebs, Heinz-Georg and Gudrun Fink, Gerd and Traute Hädrich (my parents).
Alex Moore was the first English dance teacher visiting Germany after world war 2. Latin-American dances like the Square Rumba, Samba and Paso Doble and Jitterbug were demonstrated in the 50th only as exhibition-dances not as competition-dances.
Influences came from France and I saw a demonstration from the then World Champions in Latin-American Dancing of M. and Mme. Ronnaux from Paris.
There were no Latin-American Competitions until the end of the 50th. Latin Competitions, Championships and 8-Dance Competitions had no Cha Cha Cha and no Jive.
In 1962 I danced in my first German Latin-American Championship with Wolfgang Opitz and we had to dance 4 Dances: Samba, Square Rumba, Paso Doble and T a n g o!
After that Championship the “Rumba War” started. Square Rumba versus the Cuban Style – which eventually won.
The Cha Cha Cha was introduced in the middle of the 60th as a new Competition-Dance and quickly after the Cha Cha Cha the Jive was added.
From then on we had 5 dances in the ballroom section and 5 dances in the Latin-American section and for the first time 10 Dance Championships.
2nd Belief: Rules for Competitions and Championships!
It takes international well known professionals who take care of laying down fair rules for successful worldwide Ballroom and Latin-American Championships.
Not only for organizers but also for the best judges our couples can get. For our German belief judges should be persons who danced themselves on the highest professional levels.
Being very much aware of influences from other dance-forms and how they could change the complete picture of our dances hopefully for the better.
Laying down what characteristic dances in what tempo makes a great difference of the quality of amateur and professional dancing developments.
In 1986 my father was part of the “Joint Committee” between the former ICBD (founded 1950) and ICAD now WDC and IDSF.
Today Karl Breuer and Rudi Trautz take care for Germany in the WDC.
3rd Belief: Elegant atmosphere in the dance halls/ballrooms and inspiring music!
Important Competitions must take place in famous Ballrooms. In Germany they are in Bad Kissingen Regentenbau, Baden Baden Spielcasino, Munich Deutsches Theater, Mannheim Rosengarten, Wuppertal Stadthalle, Stuttgart Liederhalle and in the 80th our famous Deutschlandhalle in Berlin.
Inspiring music was played by Max Greger, Günter Noris and Hugo Strasser who is now 92! years of age and is still playing his famous clarinet for special occasions and Championships!
After the 2. world war until now there is a great belief that the German public is very interested to see famous and elegant Ballroom Dancing and not a sportive event.
4th Belief: Technique must be written down!
And it must stand the test of time to be acknowledged by our Professionals through principles
concerning the laws of leading and to be led, aesthetics, beauty, characteristic and logical,
economical movements for both man and lady!
To be able to compere couples in a competition we must speak the same dancing-language which is laid down in acknowledged technique books.
Paul Krebs wrote in 1951 the first technique of the Viennese Waltz and was the specialist for the “Fleckerl”.
In the same year Margit and Paul were the first German Professional couple to demonstrate the Viennese Waltz during the “Star Ball” in London.
My father Gerd Hädrich got the permission from Alex Moore to translate his Ballroom Technique-Book in 1956.
In 1957 my parents followed an invitation from the “Dance-Masters of America”. They demonstrated in New York, Detroit and Miami the Viennese Waltz and brought back in return the Cha Cha Cha to Germany. After their visit they became honorary members of that american dancing society. My father prognosticated the Cha Cha Cha to become a new competition dance but also a successful new dance for the dance schools.
In 1962 he defined the “World Dance Program” which was invented for dance schools and their beginner classes. All these books still exist and are in use!
5th Belief: You must have a good Program/Choreography and a perfect Outfit/Dress!
Our first Rumba (Square) we learned from M. Meyer from Paris in 1961.Quoting Alex Moore:
German couples are dancing too “flamboyant” (Too much arm-and hand movements!)
Later on we visited London and took lessons with Lorraine and Walter Laird. Our Program in each dance existed of 3 parts: Beginning – Middle – End.
It had a certain amount of bars and each part had one highlight. In each heat of a competition we started with another part, never always from the beginning like nowadays which for me is very boring.
At the end of the 60s we started to train with Nina Hunt. We learned the difference between a program and a choreography. Our choreo became one piece about 2 Minutes long still with 3 highlights.
Wolfgang Opitz invented the “Cat-Suit” made out of stretch material. He got influenced by a tailor who worked for ice-skating couples.
It was a shock for the officials at the Blackpool dance festival in 1970 and we learned that they wanted to disqualify us from the championship and ask Wolfgang if he had another outfit to change.
One year later every Latin-American competitor wore a cat-suit….
6th Belief: To be successful you must trust your trainer/coach!
In the 60s and beginning of the 70s all German couples had no more than 2 trainers at a time.
Booking political lessons were not part of the game.
We learned Isolation movements from June Laberta in New York and put parts of American Cha Cha Cha movements in our program and worked with Nikita Gsovsky a ballet dancer on our Paso Doble for a Showdance Championship.
Both dance forms had nothing to do with the English technique.
We decided to dance them first in the German Show-Dance Championship in 1970 but not in a normal competition.
Nina Hunt warned us not to dance the new movements in Blackpool but in 1970 we danced the funny arm movements and we got from 11 judges 6x 6th and 5x 1st place.
The following year every couple danced funny arm movements….
7th Belief: You must find your own unique style!
My first idol in Latin-American dancing was the famous Lorraine.
I tried to copy every movement. That was my fist experience with competition dancing.
To find your own style I believe that a couple must learn to “See” the music as the famous ballet choreographer George Balanchine said.
Then the education and the discussions with your partner and trainer can start!
As long as you dance what other couples are dancing you always will be only a copy of them.
For my belief there are too many copies on the floor today. What everybody is dancing can only be average. Find your style by refining the Basics and perfect your technique in Partnering and Timing.
Be aware of lots of little but very important details to make you special.
This last but so very important polish only an experienced (old) trainer can teach you.
All our German – European- and World Champions proved at their time that they had their own style. Every couple will be remembered for their unique dancing.
We are proud of our former couples:
- Paul and Margit Krebs
- Siegfried und Anneliese Krehn
- Rudolf and Mechthild Trautz
- Wolfgang and Evelyn Opitz
- Gerd and Helga Weissenberg
- Peter and Inge Fischer
- Peter and Hanni Neubeck
- Werner and Ingrid Führer
- Eugen Fritz und Ute Streicher
- Max Busch and Renate Hilgert
- Hans Halke and Bianca Schreiber
- Oliver und Martina Wessel-Therhorn
- Horst and Andrea Beer
- Ralf Lepehne and Lydia Weißer
- Michel and Patsy Hull
- Brain Watson and Carmen Vincelj
Please forgive me if I forgot one couple….
Information about these couples you find under www.dancesportinfo.net or WDC former WDC Champions
8th Belief: A Professional couple must be the master of floorcraft!
This is world wide a very important subject of our cultural behavior on the floor and it must be a part of the judging education as well as the education for all couples.
It shows the highest level of our professional dancing and must never be forgotten.
9th Belief: We believe in the future and culture of German Ballroom Dancing!
Our ambitious education is the answer.
The ADTV (since 1922) works constantly on education-rules so that through our very intense study over 3 years and 3 examinations to become a dance-teacher our students learn to
teach high class dancing. First for the very beginner for social dance then for the medalist and at the end up to the competitive level. But also in special-dances like Salsa, Argentine Tango and Hip Hop.
We believe that we can give interested people the possibility to learn a successful dance profession.
Some of them specialize in social dancing and but some want to learn more and start a competitive career.
We believe that our future looks bright with couples like:
Steffen Zoglauer Sandra Koperski who are World Champions in 2013 in Showdance Standard and in 10 Dances and of course Sascha and Natascha Karabey.
10th Belief: We believe in the “ International Style”!
Never stop the march of time.
With so many new countries from all over the world participating in international championships the english style developed slowly into an international style.
The different cultures and their historic backgrounds are so interesting.
If couples, trainers, judges and officials are sensible enough to form this into an attractive dancing style the spectators will be curious and will fill the dance-halls world wide.
German professional couples are proud to be part of the “International Style” but we will never forget that the history will always be the famous “English Style”.
…. Oh and yes and we love to drink beer after a comp!