Graz dazzled and danced when the Special Olympics World Dance Contest final came to the Orpheum Theatre. The event was sold out and packed with family, friends and fans all there to support their dancers. There were three categories of dance competition; solos, couples and crews.
The Special Olympics event demonstrates dance by people with intellectual disabilities, and Unified dances with pairs and crews made up of both people with and without intellectual disabilities. The audience were treated to a wide array of dance; everything from traditional Austrian folk and the charleston to hip-hop and the Argentine tango. Music choices were wide ranging too from classical and folk music to Michael Jackson and the Lion King. One dance couple even brought their own live band with them.
The night was hosted by Pierre Gider and Birgit Morelli with judges including Louis van Amstel, Marco Angelini, Apolo Ohno, Teala Dunn and Jamie Sale.
Judge Apolo Ohno was particularly impressed with the lindy hop dance performed by Florian Bittman and Petra Ricarda Magele-Riemer from Austria, "I had to perform that on Dancing With The Stars in the U.S. so I know how hard it is. You guys smashed it!"
At the end of the night all dancers returned to the stage to yet another standing ovation.