More than a decennium Susanne Schalewa und Gert Wollschläger organized the Berlin Open together with I.D.E.A. e. V. As from 2016 Matthias Gottschick will support the duo.
Susi Schalewa was born in Berlin in 1969. She started dancing at the age of 5 and attended jazz dance and ballet classes for 9 years. She later became involved with ballroom and Latin-American dancing. She completed a teacher training course in 1990 and has been teaching in a primary school in Berlin ever since.
Gert was born in 1956 in Berlin. He grew up with country music and rock 'n roll, started square dancing in school and also became involved with ballroom and Latin American dancing. Later on, however, his free time was devoted exclusively to other sportive interests and he worked for many successful years as trainer and judge. He has been teaching in a primary school since 1987, one of his subjects being Physical Education. Since 1992, Gert has been active as certified judge within the German sports association in the field of athletics, swimming and gymnastics.
After having visited some obligatory dance courses at the age of 17 and a follwing dance break Matthias was looking for new dancing opportunities in 1998. By chance he found the biggest country club outside the USA: the Longhorn in Stuttgart/Gemany. About 1.500 perople were dancing there, most of them Americans. As he liked the mucic and the atmosphere he joined the courses regularly. In 1993 he was asked from dancers of Switzerland whether he would like to take part in the swiss competitions. This was the start of his career in competitions. He was one of the first participants who joined the worlds in the USA in 1997 and 1998. He made his NTA Teacher already in 1998 at Kelly Gilette.
As from 1998 he started teaching at TC Schwarz Gold Aschaffenburg. Today he is trainer for social dancers as well as for competition dancers (also couple). He is also for years involved in education of dance trainers in Germany and other countries.
He is known as a judge on competitions since 1999.
Matthias is competiting continuously since 1993. With his partner Kerstin Klawitter he is dancing in the highest level of WCDF since 2014. On his way he worked together with lots of well known dancers and choreographers mainly from the US, e.g. Barry Durand, Robert Royston, Kevin Johnson and Vicky Vance-Johnson, Gary McIntyre and others.
Susanne Schalewa & Gert Wollschläger
Susi and Gert went for their first line dancing lessons in 1994. 1995 they started their first own dance class. Their educational and didactic training combined with dancing background and Gert's basic musical knowledge made getting started easier. The dance class has been so successful that it now takes place five evenings a week at different places in Berlin.
Gert and Susi were the first instructors in Berlin who brought american dance instructors to Berlin. They organized their first workshop with the help of the German Country Western Dance Association with Dorsey Napier. Other workshops followed with Barry Durand, Robert Royston & Laureen Baldovi, A.T. Kinson, Brian Barakauskas, Sam & Denise Miller, Judy McDonald and more. They are still the only instructors who organize workshops in Berlin with american instructors.
Susi and Gert are coaching the team "InCahoots" and choreograph the team routines in Line and Solo. They won several times the German and European Championships. 2002 they won the World Championships in 4 categories. Both are also competing in couple dance and trained successfully other couples and linedancers like Enrico Adler.
In 1998 Susi was awarded the "Country Spirit Europe" for promoting CW Dance according with Country Music.
Since a few years they organize dancefestivals/competitions in Berlin: a.e. "Hop In Boots" and "Junior Cup". They are also responsible for the event-coordinating of the Saxon-Trophy for the last years.
Since 1999 they are participating in the UCWDC Judge Certification program.
At Worlds 2003 they won the Star Award as "Favorite Team Choreographer".
Both are founder members of WCDF are actively involved in this federation.