At the end of November 2015, ‘1. Tanzclub Ludwigsburg’ danced their way to an eleventh ‘standard formation’ world title at a sold-out MHP Arena. The eight pairs, one of which was MANN+HUMMEL’s Thomas Schmid and his partner, impressed the panel of judges with their new ‘Kontraste’ (contrasts) choreography. An audience of around 4000 spectators were on hand to witness the Ludwigsburg team’s home Triumph.

The gold medal is hanging up in my living room alongside all my other trophies and medals. I have very fond memories of our world championship victory at the end of November 2014: The atmosphere at the tournament was crazy. The Ludwigsburg crowd are a very special audience and great spectators, and the MHP Arena was sold out, creating a cauldron-like atmosphere. It was so much fun dancing in front of a home audience. Our victory didn’t come completely out of the blue, however: We were lying second in the German league, had won the German Championship in the middle of November, beating our long-time rivals from Braunschweig, and, last but not least, had been training very hard. That said, there was immense pressure on us during the tournament.

A total of 15 formations made the starting line-up, with teams dancing not only from Germany (Ludwigsburg and Braunschweig), but also Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Romania and Russia. The Eastern European countries are usually very well represented in the standard dances.

Five dances, one programme

The standard A formation consists of eight pairs dancing in a traditional hold, who dance a six-minute programme consisting of a slow waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot and quickstep. The choreography consists of different shapes, such as two rows of four, two squares or a circle, which are formed in pairs.

Our new choreography for 2015 was called ‘Kontraste’ (contrasts), a dynamic and athletic programme which bridges the gap between dance as a sport and dance as an art. It is danced to music by various modern-age composers, such as Andrea Bocelli and Piero Mazzochetti, and was arranged by Benjamin Köthe from Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg. Some of the sections were composed especially for our Programme.

 

Formation dancing judges at the world championships award contestants between 0 and 10 points across four different categories: quality of dancing, movement to music, teamwork and choreography & presentation. We achieved a score of 9.74 points, which meant we were ultimately named the world champions.

Eight pairs, 16 individuals, one team

To be successful in formation dance, it is important for all the dancers to develop the same understanding of each dance, the choreography and the shapes. We need to work as one unit on the dance floor. For each individual, this also means taking a subordinate role, toeing the line and doing as agreed. If you don’t like one part of the choreography, that’s too bad. At the same time, it is just as important for every couple to work on their own dancing together and make technical improvements in pairs.

In other words, discipline is essential for formation dance. You are part of the team and an essential cog in the wheel – every pair has a set position and must take certain steps. We are dancing to the same music of course, but each couple is doing something slightly different. This is a good attitude to bring to the world of work as well, as you learn to work in a team, be punctual and respect team decisions. Whether you are dancing or at work, this is the only way you make the bigger picture work.