The Pink Jukebox Trophy
By Jacky Logan, March 2017
The Rivoli Ballroom in Lewisham, London, provides the ideal setting for the annual UK International Same-sex Ballroom and Latin Dance Competition. It has traditionally taken place every year since 1998 to celebrate the anniversary of setting up the Pink Jukebox social dance club in 1996 for LGBTQ people and their friends. The competition & ball has taken place in the opulent setting of the Rivoli Ballroom since 1999.
It is one of the main events in the global calendar for UK competitive Same-sex Ballroom and Latin dancers, however at least 50% of those that take part are from abroad, from America; Spain; Germany; Holland; Finland; France and many other countries.
Ralf & Jacky who run the Pink Jukebox, create a very welcoming atmosphere, providing a free buffet, hosted housing, fantastic trophies, and a wonderful team of stewards who make sure the event runs totally smoothly and exactly to time.
There are some jaw dropping moments for those who haven’t being to this competition before, because they are not expecting such a professional approach from the highest level (A). The regular spectators have the widest grin as they become aware that there is going to be a hugely popular and well fought battle for the top place, in both the Men’s Latin and the Women’s Ballroom.
Unlike other competitions there is no pre-arranged pecking order. Anyone can enter from total beginner to top professional. The A level is made up mainly of professionals and teachers, whereas the lowest level can be people who have only been learning a few months, can do a basic quickstep and waltz or cha-cha and jive. Everybody dances two selection rounds, where judges place people in the correct category, and then the competition begins. The crowd stamp their feet and cheer loudly for every couple especially the starters, who are doing their first steps in a competition of any sort. It is one of the biggest & most popular competitions in the world.
As far as competitors go, Caroline Privou & Petra Zimmerman, stormed away with the ‘A’ Level ballroom title for the 15th year running. They are World and European Champions. For the first time this year they did not take the first place in all the dances. Two judges placed Mirium & Angela, who came second, first in the Foxtrot and Tango, also Tania & Innes gained first place from two judges in the Viennese Waltz.
The men’s Latin was won for the second time by Swiss pair Marcus Mnerinsky and Renato Minnig, hotly persued by Sergio Brilhante & Michael Litke. Late entry Joshua Moore and Shane Seal came 3rd.
UK couple Fiona Millican Walker & her partner reached the final in the Women’s Latin, Piia Korpi & Santra Rinne were thrilled to take the title for the first time in London. The German’s Gordon Knittel and Stephan Huch took the ‘A’ Ballroom title, but UK pair Tim Cheng and Peter Meager were also placed in the ‘A’ class category for the first time since they started dancing last year.
The competition has strong potential to be really exciting in February 2018, if the couples keep improving every year at the same rate. Anybody is welcome to compete, with a partner of the same-sex. The Pink Jukebox Trophy will be held on 17 February in 2018, at the Rivoli Ballroom. Please put it in your diaries!