Good Luck Team Latinissimo!

Sunday 9 December 2007

The wait is almost over for James from Eventfinder!

He and his partner Beth are about to dance their way to Orlando for the ESPN World Salsa Championships in the United States on 12 - 16 December.

You may have seen the team on TV One's Close Up show - but to get the true inside picture of what's ahead for James and the rest of Team Latinissimo, we caught up with him as he put the final touches to the trip.

We chose not to ask him about why he dyed his hair so black as it seemed like an Emo thing to do - but apparently it's for the stage lighting . . . 

Team members from left to right: Jennifer, Henry, Michael, Lena, Beth, Chad, James, Sarah, Avril, Samit, Elfrik, Dorin.

Eventfinder - So are you ready?

James McGlinn - Definitely. We've been training hard for nine months now so we're as ready as a team of non-professional dancers could be.

EF - What do you reckon your team's chances are?

JM - The standard goes up every year at the world champs so it's difficult to know how high the bar will be this time round, but I think we stand a very good chance of making it through to the final top 10 teams. After that it will be down to how we perform in the moment compared to the other teams.

EF - Without giving away too many secrets, What can other competitors - and the Judges, expect from your performance?

JM - Our team is different to most others in that we're not professional dancers - we all come from very different backgrounds and are about as far from the expected look of a competitive team as you can get. We're all different heights and have different body types but we share a passion for salsa dancing which is evident in our unique style and choreography.

EF - What does it mean to compete on a level like this?

JM - There are no excuses at this level of competition - you either get on the stage and bring everything you've got to the performance, or you're an also-ran. We decided back in Easter after winning the NZ selections that we'd give it everything we've got, so it's meant sacrificing seeing friends, trips away, and generally everything besides work, sleep, and salsa training. It's also been an expensive endeavor - between the 6 of us on the team we've spent over $65,000 to get there including flights, accommodation, training, studio hire, costumes, shoes, etc... the list goes on!

EF - Is this a dream come true - and when you first started out dancing, did you ever envisage getting this far with it?

JM -Most of us started dancing around eighteen months ago. We had no idea it would get this far, in fact as a student team at the NZ selections we weren't even supposed to be part of the competition to win the right to represent New Zealand! So it was a bit of a surprise to everyone (not least ourselves) when we were selected to go to Orlando.

EF - What's been the hardest and best part about training for the last 9 months?

JM - The hours and stress of training this hard have been evident with more than a few flare-ups between couples, partners, and even with our instructors Giancarlo and Masha from Latinissimo. At least two of the team have threatened to walk out at one stage or another to give you an idea of how hard it's been! Obviously we haven't seen much of our friends outside of the team this year, but it's definitely brought us closer together as a group and we've learnt a lot about ourselves - it'd be fair to say our self discipline is a lot stronger now than when we began.

EF - Who do you reckon poses a threat at the Championships?

JM - We've been reviewing the other teams' performances at the previous two competitions, and we'll be keeping an eye out for the Spaniards and Italians if they're competing. Really though our focus will be on ourselves until we've shown them what the New Zealand team's got and we're walking off the stage. That's the part I'm looking forward to!

If you want to see James bust a move or two, check out their piece on Close Up. If you would to leave a message of support, you can do so here.

Good luck guys!