The World Para Dance Sport season continues with the Mainhatten Cup from Saturday (19 May) in Frankfurt, Germany, and the competition has drawn many of the top Para dancers regionally ahead of the forthcoming 2018 European Championships.
Sixty athletes from 15 countries are expected to participate in the second competition of the year.
Host nation’s Erik Machens will be a familiar face on the dance floor and will make his first appearance since winning silver at the 2017 World Championships last October in Malle, Belgium. The 34-year-old will perform in his signature event, the men’s single class 2.
Finishing behind Machens at the 2017 Worlds in Belgium was Pawel Karpinski, who will also make his first appearance of the year in Frankfurt. The Polish dancer will be hoping to impress the judges ahead of his home European Championships, which will be held from 9-11 November in Lomianki.
For the women’s singles class 2 competitions, Karpinski’s compatriots Joanna Reda and Katarzyna Bloch are among the strongest contenders, with Bloch the current Worlds bronze medallist in the event.
But watch for Reda when she teams up with Karpinski in the duo Latin and duo standard class 2 events. The power couple won gold in the Latin and silver in the standard at the 2016 European Championships in Kosice, Slovakia.
The combi dances will also feature returning World Championship medallists.
Ukraine’s Ivan Zamiga took world silver in the combi Latin class 2 from Malle, Belgium, and gold from the 2016 Europeans. He will test his routine with his new standing partner in Svitlana Onopa in Frankfurt.
In the combi standard class 2, Slovakia’s Maria Dutkova and Martin Solc will look to show why they won the bronze medal at Malle 2017.
Finland’s Tuuli Harju and standing partner Timo Pyykkonen will take on all three combi styles – freestyle, Latin and standard – in the class 1 category. The couple already have a competition under their belts from the Cuijk International competition in March, when they finished runner-up in the freestyle. The tandem just missed the podium in the combi standard at the 2016 Euros, but the Mainhatten Cup would be another step toward bettering that result.
The Mainhatten Cup runs until 20 May, and will also welcome dancers from Kazakhstan, China and Japan among other countries. The next competition will take place from 15-17 June with the Polish Open in Lomianki, which will also host the 2018 European Championships.