The World DanceSport Federation held the Junior Standard Dance World Championship in Sibiu, Romania on November 4-5. Performing for the first time at this level of competition, Lithuanian National Champions Matas Puplevičius and Gabija Vilčiauskaitė from the Kaunas club “Dance Innovation Team“ won bronze medals. The pair came into the lead early in the five rounds, having won the judges’ unanimous votes. They entered the finals sharing first and second place.
In the finals they came third in slow waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, and foxtrot, and second in quickstep. Latvian, Italian, Chinese and Lithuanian judges gave them firsts in several of the dances. Other judges were from Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Israel and Rumania.
At the world championship, the junior couple were accompanied by winning dancers Ieva Sodeikienė and Evaldas Sodeika, who were very pleased with the progress of the young dancers. “Matas and Gabija showed Lithuania to be a nation of dance. And of very high quality dancing, because right away they advanced to the top three,” said Evaldas Sodeika. “It was a most impressive performance in the final.”
He also said that during the competition, they received compliments from many famous dancers and experienced coaches. Sodeika added that although the dancers certainly deserve the praise, their parents, their team of coaches and the Lithuanian Dance Sport Federation were also instrumental in their success. The couple was proud to represent Lithuania and thanked all their fans.
First place was achieved by host country’s Marius Tiberiu Padureanas and Adelina Stanciu. Germany’s Yigit Bayraktar and Lithuanian Lukrecija Kūraitė came in second. Fifty-four couples from thirty-three countries participated in this championship.