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Latinissimo dancers crowned World Champions!

Hong Kong, PRC, March 04, 2012

WSC HK12 trophiesThe 2012 World Salsa Championships was held 1-4 March, 2012 in the vibrant city of Hong Kong. 7 dancers from Latinissimo set their goal to represent New Zealand in the Amateur, Professional and Team categories at this prestigious event. After months of preparations, blood, sweat, tears and injuries... the time had come to head over to compete against some of the best in the World.

enrique tania semi hk12Thursday 01 March - The World Amateur Salsa category was first up to compete. 15 couples were to battle it out in the semi-finals and only 7 would go through to the final round. Latinissimo dancers Enrique Johns and Tania Mason drew number 13 in the running order. Both Enrique and Tania thought the presentation for the judges could have been better, but it was good enough to put them through to the final round. They placed 3rd in the semi-final round with Italy and Peru in 1st place.

gian masha qual hk12Later in the evening it was time for the World Professional category, 10 couples were to compete in the qualifier round to move onto the semi-final round. Only 5 couples would go through to the semi-final and join the already qualified semi-finalists. Professional Latinissimo dancers Giancarlo Johansson and Masha Johansson executed their routine for the judges and were ranked in 1st place in the semi-final round.

It was a very sucessful start for all Latinissimo dancer and New Zealand salsa in general. Enrique and Tania were now the first ever NZ salsa representative at a World Salsa Championship to reach the final round.

latinissimo A team HK12Friday 02 March - It was time for the World Team Salsa category. 15 teams were on the list to compete in the semi-final round with only 6 going through to the final round. Latinissimo A-Team was ready to get on stage and make a statement. The team members, Giancarlo, Masha, Ricky, Tania, Paul and Brenda all knew the choreography is very strong, fast and impressive. But the question was if they would be able to execute it correctly on a 5.5mtr deep stage with all the formation changes. Although tech rehearsal went well, performing infront of the judges, with stage lights and an audience.. is a whole different ball game. Having to think on stage is never a good thing, specially when it comes to spacing.

gian masha semi hk12The team drew number 5 in the running order and the competition was about to start. It proved to be a little bit tight on stage and they all felt they have executed their routine better. Nevertheless, the team looked great with brand new costumes from CostumeUp designed by Sandra Orgonas and the choreography was strong enough to put Latinissimo A-Team in 2nd place by the end of the semi-finals.

Straight after the Team event, it was time for the semi-final round of the Professional event. Giancarlo and Masha drew number 5 in the running order. The same choreography piece that was performed in the qualifier round was performed once again infront of the judges, but with new fresh costumes designed by William Flowers couture to give it a new look.

The 5 top couples who had gone through from the qualifier round now joined the 5 "new" semi-finalists that had already pre-qualifed prior to the competition. There were 10 couples once again but only 6 will go through to the final round. The competition was now tougher, but Giancarlo & Masha were still strong in their execution and placed 2nd in this semi-final round.

Saturday 03 March - No competition, exhibition dances only.

enrique tania finals2 hk12Sunday 04 March - Finals night. The World Amateur category was up first again. Enrique and Tania drew number 3 in the running order. According to the competition rules, presenting a different choreography in the final round gives the competitors 3 bonus points. Enrique and Tania were presenting a different choreography and different costumes. Tania's dress designed by William Flowers couture.

Enriqe and Tania executed their routine brilliant! They looked absolutely stunning and stood out from the rest! Now it was all in the hands of the judges.

latinissimo A team2 HK12Next up was World Team category and the team drew number 1 in the running order. This time the team felt more confident on that particular stage and the execution was much better! It was up to the judges now.

Last but now least was World Professional category. Giancarlo & Masha drew number 6 in the running order, they were the absolute last couple to compete at the event. They performed their brand new competition choreography with yet another set of new costumes, once again designed by William Flowers. The waiting game starts now as all the competitors are backstage waiting for the results.

After approximately 1hr, the results were in and the presentation of prizes could finally begin.

enrique tania final hk12

The Results

  • 1st Place - World Amateur Salsa Championships - Enrique Johns & Tania Mason
  • 2nd Place - World Professional Salsa Championships - Giancarlo & Masha Johansson
  • 2nd Place - World Team Salsa Championships - Latinissimo A-Team
  • 2nd Place - World Salsa Championship Country Award - New Zealand


gian masha presentation hk12New Zealand now has their own World Salsa Champions in the Amateur category - Enrique Johns and Tania Mason. Giancarlo & Masha were ranked #2 in the World, Latinissimo A-Team ranked #2 in the World and New Zealand ranked #2in the World Salsa Championship Country Award. Overall, we achieved something no other dance school achieved at the World Championships, a total of 4x placing from one and the same school - Latinissimo!

Although we did feel a bit disappointed at the time that we didn't really make it to the top... we were so close... looking back at it now, it is quite a remarkable achievement by Latinissimo dancers. We did after all take home 3x trophies + 14x all inclusive cruise vouchers to Tokyo!


latinissimo presentation hk12On behalf of the Latinissimo dancers we want to thank all of you who supported us through this journey. We also want to congratulate and thank our students and A-Team members for their achievements, time, efforts, dedication and commitment to represent New Zealand and Latinissimo at the World Salsa Championships. We are very, very proud of you all! This was truly an experience that gave us memories we will cherish and share with family and friends for the rest of our lives.

- Giancarlo & Masha


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