1st Place 2016 World Salsa Championships (HK)

Hong Kong, PRC

After a disappointing 4th place at the World Salsa Summit earlier this year in February. Giancarlo & Masha were determined even more so to dance to their full potential in a competition environment. The annual World Salsa Championships in Hong Kong was in their sight.

It had been long in the plans to go to New Zealand after the World Salsa Summit, and since the Hong Kong Salsa Festival and World Salsa Championships are held at the same time in March, it just made sense to make a stop over in Hong Kong on their way to New Zealand.

This was the 15th edition of the Hong Kong Salsa Festival and the 5th edition of the World Salsa Championships being hosted in the vibrant city. 2012 was the first edition and Latinissimo dancers represented New Zealand in 3 categories, Amateur (Enrique Johns & Tania Mason), Teams (Latinissimo A-Team) and Professional (Giancarlo & Masha). Back then Enrique & Tania took out the top prize in the Amateur category and became World Amateur Salsa Champions. Latinissimo A-Team took out 2nd place and Giancarlo & Masha also took 2nd place in professional category.

Competition Day 1 took place on Friday 11th March with salsa solo professional and amateur, bachata pro and amateur couples and salsa amateur couples. Competitors from Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Peru, Malaysia, Colombia, Singapore and more.

Competition Day 2 was on Sunday 13 March and it was time for the teams and professional couples to take the stage. Representing Italy, Poland, Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan and of course New Zealand and Slovenia.




1st Giancarlo & Masha take 1st place
World Salsa Championships (Hong Kong) | Professional category

World Salsa Championships Hong Kong edition

Competing at different competition is a learning curve for all dancers. Currently, there are 4 world competitions being organized by different organizations. However, the Hong Kong edition is the only one being held outside of the US. The World Salsa Summit is held in Miami, World Latin Dance Cup also held in Miami and World Salsa Open held in Puerto Rico. The Hong Kong and Puerto Rico competitions are what is called "open" OR "anything goes" competitions. There are no restrictions on partner supported moves such as lifts or tricks and all couples dance in a single category.

GM slide 2016WSCHK
GM floortrick 2016WSCHK
GM shimmy 2016WSCHK

While the World Salsa Summit and World Latin Dance Cup have many categories where you are restricted with these kind of moves. The World Salsa Summit being the most restricted competition of them all. This is not a bad thing at all, no, no. In fact it just forces you to be much more creative with your choreographing skills and also forces you to demonstrate more recognizable Salsa rather than resorting to "tricks". But what is recognizable salsa? How do you get the perfect balance of salsa, innovative choreography and and a few tricks to give it a "wow" factor? Well that only comes with competition experience, each competition is different. You might get a great result at one competition and a disapointing one at another. You have to prepare accordingly.

Giancarlo & Masha take the stage

Back in 2012, Giancarlo & Masha took out 2nd place at the very same competition. Since then they have placed in the top 4, getting 3rd and 4th at the World Salsa Summit and 4th at the World Dance Sport Games. in 2015 Masha got sick and was unable to participate at the World Salsa Summit. The World Salsa Championships in Hong Kong also, marked 10 years of Giancarlo & Masha competing on the international salsa circuit.

Actually, in March 2006 they competed at the Hong Kong Salsa Open, also hosted by the Hong Kong Salsa Festival. This is the same competition that eventually became the Asia-Pacific Salsa Championships and eventually a World competition as it kept growing over the years. Therefor the competition in Hong Kong meant something special to them. It was a 10 year anniversary/celebration of competing together, and everything worked out as planned when it mattered the most. Very few professional salsa dance couples have been competing together for this long.

GM walk 2016WSCHK

GM prizegiving 2016WSCHK

Scoring and judging panel

As this competition has a different format to other world salsa competitions, the scoring is also different. You get your scores immediately after you finish performing your routine for the judges righ on stage. Each judge shows to the entire auditorium their marks for each team. All the scores are so close that it is impossible to anticipate what the outcome will be. There could also be deductions that nobody is aware of at the time. The judging panel for the finals consisted of 5 judges from around the world, Karen Lacey (UK), Alex Bryan (AU), Alien Ramirez (CUBA/USA), Gupson Pierre (CAN/SIN), Renata Damasceno (BRA).


Giancarlo & Masha have consistenly been placing in the top 4 at various World Salsa Competitions since 2012, including this recent win. This morning the head judge of the upcoming new edition of FANIA World Salsa Championships (formerly known as ESPN World Salsa Championships) reached out to extend an exclusive invitation to Giancarlo & Masha to participate at this "best of the best" world competition.

From the organizer (World Dance Group, LLC); "This competition is a brand new format where only the best of best salsa dancers will be performing. Due to the fact that this is not an open competition, only the best of best can only participate through a strict selection criteria by the WSC organization committee. The committee will extend exclusive worldwide invitations for those elite couples and teams that won or were finalists in world salsa competitions as well as other recognized International dance sport and/or ballroom competitions."

fwsc atlanta

As a Professional Salsa couple, Giancarlo & Masha have now represented New Zealand at 6 World championships; 2011 World Salsa Open in Puerto Rico (rank 14th), 2012 World Salsa Championships in Hong Kong (rank 2nd), 2013 World DanceSport Games in Taiwan (rank 4th), 2014 World Salsa Summit in Miami (rank 3rd), 2016 World Salsa Summit in Miami (rank 4th), 2016 World Salsa Championships in Hong Kong (rank 1st).

About Latinissimo

Latinissimo was first founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 specializing in street Latin dance. 2005 Latinissimo relocated to Auckland, New Zealand.

Directed by World Salsa Champion Giancarlo, Latinissimo as a school has performed, taught and competed across 4 continents, are multiple international and national champions and have produced two World Amateur Salsa Champions.

  • Latinissimo Dance New Zealand
  • 0210 29 88 164
  • Email us HERE
  • Empire Dance Studios, 2 Bond St, Auckland

Auckland Grey Lynn

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