Dance Beat Team

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Tulip Ends on High Note!

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Click here for video by SuperShag

The Spring Tulip Classic ended on a very high, note this past Saturday the 6th of June. The well sorted professional show featuring the three Canadian Champions, Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch doing the Ballroom, Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva doing the Cabaret and Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelepenko, was a success featuring all the styles on a high level note!

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ST15-smoothThere were also two professional events, the Smooth and Rhythm.  The Smooth had four couples entered and was the most interesting of the two.  Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko won every dance quite easily from where we stood and they took the prize home.  Their only challenge from the majority of the judges came from Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina who placed second overall in two dances and third in the Tango. For us it was not as clear, we found Viktor & Yuliya’s Smooth a little over baring with lots of power, speed and they were hard to miss but with little substance in the end.  Somehow it gave us the feeling we were watching a combination of bad Latin and Ballroom all chopped up and thrown in. We really enjoyed Christopher & Jenny Sochnaki’s interpretation, perhaps a little to subtle at times but with great possibilities 3,2,4,3. Fourth was awarded to Dmitriy Kusmeko & Andrea Lynn 4,4,3,4, and fifth went to Vadim Safonov & Alina Safonova and they took fifth in every dance.

TST15-rhythmhere was only three couples entered in the Rhythm and the trophy went to Viktor Tkachenko &Yulia Lukina and they won every dance.  Second were Dmitriy Kusmeko & Andrea Lynn 3,2,2,2,2 and third were David Valenzuela & Carolinna Pirvuica 2,3,3,3,3. It is wonderful to see Rhythm and Smooth really take root in Canada, the couples were all very proficient so we are sure to see some brilliant professional and amateur events take place between US and Canada soon.

The Pro/Am Showdance was also a main feature in this year’s Tulip finale.  Here there were four couples entered, all very capable and very well sorted. The Tulip Pro/am ShowDance went to Carolyn Reed with teacher Carlos Zapata, who did not disappoint us and in Carlo’s style managed some very difficult and well-executed lift work. Second overall went to another gem when it comes to showdance and that was Marguerite Daniels w/ Tibor Kerekes.  Marguerite did an interesting old western style west coast swing with horse and all and just like the number she performed earlier in the night (Jake the Pake) this too was brilliant, making it a difficult decision for the judges. Third was Jackie Marchegiano w/ Dmitry Ilyushenkov and fourth was Wendy Ziemiak w/Mohtar Sabir, all four excellent events.

The ST15-Boys with toysevening concluded with a fabulous after party where we ate and danced to our hearts’ content. Mr. Ruddick’s desire is to have what we know to be a fun event and this was accomplished here at the Tulip Classic two times over.  I (Didio Barrera) absolutely loved my goose and I noticed the jealousy from a number of gentleman when I had my hands on “Smokey,” so much so that Carole had to give them all one each! I was happy for that, because on the last night I would not dare bring “Smokey” down for fear of abduction! Yes you heard it right! So there, everyone was happy, Eddie got his elk, Scot got his elk, Clement a loose goose, not “smoky” because he has class! And David got Beaver. I hope the boys go after David now and leave my “Smoky” alone.

Thank you Carole for my goose and Scott for putting on such a fun competition we all had a wonderful time and I think the students all had a blast.  

Dance among the Tulips!

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ST15Tulip WinetaistingThe Spring Tulip Classic here in Canada, so far has been a total “experience!” The first day we headed to a couple of wineries where we sampled and saw how wine is made. Canada, being known for there dessert wines, did not disappoint.  Some were sweet and smooth like a tulip itself. The dinner following the excellent tour was also terrific.

Yesterday was a full day packed with Pro/Am Rhythm and Ballroom dancing. The ballroom was beautifully decorated and from beginning to end it was all about having fun while doing what we like best - Dancing.

TST15-Tulip Gusehe Canadian stuffed animals like the geese, bears and others were displayed and given to the children for their participation in the competition - an excellent idea.  Many of them walked away with happy faces even when they placed second.  Perhaps we should do this also for grownups, LOL. We now have a Dance Beat goose that will be migrating to South Florida, not sure how we came to own one, and no! We did not take it from one of the kids!  Let’s just say we had too much fun.

Tonight is the finale and we expect to see some professionals take to the floor as well as some Smooth and Latin scholarships - so looking forward to more of the Tulip Classic.  

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Three In The Pocket!

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Last night at the Embassy Ball in Irvine California, with a distinguished panel of 11 judges from around the world, the US manged to get three of our top Ballroom dance couples into the final of one of the most prestigious events in the world, the WDC World Professional Ballroom Championship - Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, and Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk. This was not so unusual because for the longest time we have had two couples in the final but it certainly was unprecedented.

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Fame and Fortune come to Capital!

This year with over 8,000 entries, it was the most successful year for the Capital Dancesport, but it was not all about the entries, some of the most prominent couples in America’s dancing were in attendance and so combined with great attendance and a fabulous audience it was a very special year for the Capital Dancesport.

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WorlCap15-Arunasd and US champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, competed in the Professional Ballroom.  As expected they won almost every dance with perfect scores and thrilled the audience with an outstanding performance separating them from the pack. However, their perfect record was spoiled by Glenis Dee-Creger who awarded them two seconds, one in the tango and one in the quickstep. Second in every dance was awarded to Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva, but here it was a different story.  The judges’ marks varied from second to fifth position and as I mentioned only two firsts from Ms. Dee-Creger. Their worst marks came from Rickey Geiger and Didio Barrera.  Rickey awarded them 5,5,5,5,4 and Didio 4,5,4,5,3, but we must point out that even though they got a variety of marks from all the judges they did obtain the majority of seconds in all dances but the foxtrot.

Third in this excellent heat was awarded to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova who placed third in every dance. Alexander & Veronika were the recipients of the majority of seconds taken away from Artem & Inna. From here down the marks were even more varied giving every dance almost a different result as you will see, Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova took fourth overall 5,4,6,4,4. Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took fifth 4,5,4,6,5, and sixth in every dance went to Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa. There will be a full write up here by Alan Dixon, so keep checking.

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The Professional SCap15-Cheremukhinmooth was also great and exciting. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija won every dance and were clearly the favorite for the majority of the judges and the audience. When looking at the marks closely they only got a handful of second or less on their scorecard.  To be precise only five or four judges dissented from marking them first nearly every time the same judges. The majority of low marks were mostly seconds and a few thirds, but there were three low marks that made a strong impression of disapproval by two judges.  Rickey Geiger who awarded them a 6th in the waltz and a seventh in the foxtrot, and a sixth in the tango from Pat Traymore. Second place in every dance was awarded to Travis & Jaimee Tuft.  They also were able to take the majority of second places and as mentioned before some firsts from Nick & Victoria. Travis & Jaimee also had some anomalies to their scorecard from a couple of judges, a sixth in the VW from Bruno Collins and two sixths from Dan Messenger in their tango and foxtrot.  

Third in every dance went to a couple that just recently got together for the second time in a row, Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko. I think everyone was happy to see such a promising couple back on the floor. Fourth was also a surprise with a new couple moving up to a leading position in this field, Michael Choi & Erin Marie who just months back did their first event together. Fifth went to Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft also a couple that has been out of the East Coast scene for a little while and they placed 5,5,6,5.  Sixth was awarded to a brand new partnership for this style that is quickly climbing up the charts, Jean Paul & Lana Rossi with 7,6,5,7, and finally this was a seven-couple final and this position went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 6,7,7,6. We must point out that there were some excellent couples that in the past have made some excellent finals of their own but were left out this time, we are sure this was a disappointing result for Vlad & Vera Kozarev.  Watch out for Diana McDonald's review!

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The ProfessionCap15-LatWinneral Latin went to a couple from the Ukraine, Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk and they won with a clear majority of firsts in every dance in particular the rumba where they only lost two first place marks, a second from Bill Sparks and a fourth from Pat Traymore. The majority of firsts taken away from Manuel & Natalia went to the second place couple, who placed second in every dance, Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir. We have to agree with the judges in the rumba, Emanuel & Natalia did an incredible job on this dance and you could have heard a pin drop by the end of their performance. However, in the other four dances we had to disagree with the majority we felt on this occasion their dancing was a little too casual as if they knew they would have it in the bag and decided to walk through it. We are major fans of this very talented couple, but on this occasion we must say that it looked almost to close to call. Clearly in third place in every dance and even taking a few firsts in a couple of dances from Manuel & Natalia, were Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin.

CapitalVidSmallWatch our brand new "Dance Beat Review" video on the record breaking Capital Dancesport!

Fourth and giving and outstanding performance were Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab placing fourth in all dances. Riccardo Pacini & Sonia Spadoni were fifth 6,5,5,5,5. Looking not very thrilled with the result and placing sixth were Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser 5,6,7,6,7.  We said not very thrilled because there was a hint of confusion when taking a bow, we in America have become very complacent and as an audience expect for couples to be gracious acknowledging their result with a slight bow and continuing no matter the result, but we also notice that in other customs they perhaps do not do this, so in the couple’s defense we most tell the audience that we here in America continue to be culturally diverse and anything could happen no matter what.  In seventh position were Pavel Balykin & Meagen Mendoza 7,7,6,7,6.  Melanie Lapatin will review this style for Dance Beat.

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The RhCap15-Emmanuelythm had a huge entry, possibly the biggest of all four styles, but in the end with the exception of Andrei & Natalie Paramonov rated third in the country overall not being present it was a competition with great dancing but not many changes. Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liane Churilova won all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances. Most of the lower marks were seconds with the exception of Pat Traymore who awarded them a 4th in rumba, and a third in mambo.  Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were second in all dances.  Their worst marks also came from Pat Traymore who awarded them 4,3,5,2,5. Third went to Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova, but here their marks were varied in all dances 3,4,3,4,3, fourth went to Shane & Shannon Jensen 5,3,4,3,4.  Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi were fifth overall 4,5,5,5,5, and sixth were Ilya Velednitski & Mariya Ilchenko 6,6,6,6,6.  See Bill Sparks' review of this division soon.

There Cap15-Tarnovvskywas also a fun Amateur Latin event.  This was a seven-couple final but the majority of the couples were terrific. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danikova placed first in every dance, Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasov were second and Alexey & Vlada Karaulov were third.

The evening concluded with a “champion of champions” show choreographed by Wendy Johnson, and added to this show were a few extra numbers performed by some pro/am competitors of the week.  One interesting number to mention was the Isadora Duncan number performed by Carolyn Woodruff with Pro/Am teacher Alosha Antatoliy.  We want to extend huge congratulations on an excellent job to Marianne Nicole & John DePalma for their success at this year’s competition, it was possibly the best so far and one of the best this year in the country.

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Capital the Biggest Ever!

With over 8,000 entries this has been the biggest Capital Dancesport Championships we have ever attended. So far there have been two and three quarter days packed with competitions, and all events so far have been well attended with many quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

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TCap15-DeSottohe Professional Rising Star Rhythm has been the most attended so far with over 24 couples to begin in the first quarter-final of the competition. In the end there were some very interesting results.  Six couples were called for the final and as you will see the marks from the judges were all over the place. Aaron & Iryra DeSoto won the competition overall but not all dances, they placed third in the cha cha, second in the rumba, bolero and first in the swing and mambo. From our perspective we think Aaron & Iryna have improved tremendously in the last few months and are becoming a major challenge in the style. Second overall was awarded to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov, possibly one of our favorite couples of the night. Unfortunately, we think it was a very difficult decision for the judges since Aaron & Iryna have made such great improvement. Shandor & Alekandra won the rumba, placed second in the cha cha, third in the bolero and mambo and fifth in the swing.

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Third were Igor Ustymovich & Briana Santiago and they also stole a dance from the winners they won the cha cha.  In the other dancers they placed 3,6,4,2. Maksyn Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were awarded fourth overall 5,4,2,1,4, possibly a very disappointing result for this couple who were possibly expecting to climb higher. Fifth were Jean Paul & Lana Rossi.  This couple goes up and down, they win some they lose some, and we must say that they are very hard to place - great control and actions but perhaps lacking a little in the soul department.   They placed 4,5,4,5,6. Last but not least were Erwin Rybczynska & Iwona Rybczynskaya 6,6,3,6,5. The Open Rhythm tonight should be huge and possibly the best competition of the weekend with many of the top couples in attendance.

The Cap15-CabaretProfessional Showdance took place early in the evening and here four couples took to the floor to showcase their routines. Shane & Shannon Jensen won, leaving second place to Travis & Jaimee Tuft. Third was awarded to Dmitriy Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn, fourth were Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite. We must also mention that Shane & Shannon Jensen won the Compulsory Theater Arts and like in the showdance Travis & Jaimee Tuft were second.

Thursday night we had two good Rising Star events, but this time it was the Professional Ballroom and the Latin. The Professional Ballroom was won by Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Katzukhina, second went to Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya and third was awarded to Dmitry Sviridov & Mariya Vysotskaya. The Professional Rising Star Latin was won by Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina, second went to Riccardo Pacini & Sonia Spadoni, and third was awarded to Leon Turetsky & Kim Le.

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The Amateur Ballroom was also a fun competition to see.  Here Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova took first in all dances. Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe were second and third was awarded to Zhiwei Zhang & Ersi Nie.

So as you can see this was an excellent competition in one of my favorite ballrooms in America.  The acoustics are so great that the music makes you want to dance. Tonight all the professional open events and a special show, stay tuned for more.

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A Killick Night!

It was a Killick Night and day (Fabulous) at the Killick Klassik, it was a full day of Ballroom dancing during the day fro the Pro/Am’s and in the nighttime three spectacular competitions followed by a fabulous after-party.

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The night included renditions of YMCA and Raining Men by Shirley, Paul and a select group of hte judges - plus of course an enthusiastic audience.  Later in the evening, Derek Hough and Corky Ballas led the ensemble in an impromptu cha cha line dance.

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The most impressive of the three featured evening events of the night was the Professional Latin competition, a healthy quarterfinal with over 20 couples on the floor for the start, but this was not about quantity it was more about quality. Down to the quarter final the majority of the couples were of excellent quality, we have not seen a Professional Latin event this great in a little while.

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When it came to the final with the exception of Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko and the heir apparent Roman Kutsky & Anna Kovalova, it was a who’s who of the Latin American style world. US World Latin representativesKK15-Stefano Stefano DiFilippo & Daria Chesnokova from New Jersey were present and the audience were thrilled to see their charismatic performance rewarding them with applause at every turn. They as expected won all the dances and took the trophy home. When looking at the marks closely Stefano & Daria nearly got perfect scores from the judges but two judges deferred, Dan Rutherford who awarded them 3rd in every dance and DWTS featured star guest, Derek Hough who awarded them three 2nd places in the C,S,P.

Second in this fantastic final were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who placed second in every dance and got all the three firsts from Derek and three from Dan on the S,P,J. Nikolay & Maria were also favorites on the floor and they also got the audience moving and screaming even when they announced the final tally.

From third down to sixth place the marks were more varied, even the third place couple shared on a couple of sixth places from a few judges. Third position was awarded to Mirko Risi & Svetlana Borisova from Italy, who placed third in four dances and fourth in the rumba.  Fourth position went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova and here the marks could not have been more varied 4,5,3,4,4. Fifth place was awarded to Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir who placed 5,4,5,5,5, we must point out that Dan Rutherford’s other two 1st place marks were awarded to them.  In sixth position were Dmitri Nikishkin & Olena Shvets and they placed sixth in every dance.  Their best marks came from Derek Hough who awarded them 2 thirds, 2 fourths and a fifth.

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The KK15-PerzhuProfessional Smooth was also an impressive heat and here the winner in every dance was Peter & Alexandra Perzhu who got perfect scores in both the waltzes and nearly perfect scores on the other two dances. In the tango two judges awarded Peter & Alexandra seconds - Louise Garvie and Forrest Vance, and in the foxtrot they got a second from Dan Rutherford. Second in all dances went to Yegor Novikov & Sasha Smirnova, and they won the two first place marks in the tango from Louise and Forrest, and the first in the foxtrot from Dan.

Jean Paul & Lana Rossi placed third overall 4,3,3,3, Vladimir & Vera Kosarev took fourth 3,4,4,4, Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski were fifth 6,5,5,5, and Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were sixth 5,6,6,6. As you can see the judges were very unsettled with the waltz, we wonder why?

The OpeKK15-AmBalln Amateur Ballroom was a straight final, easily won by James Cutler & Virginie Primeau.  Every judge marked them to win except Corky Ballas who placed them 2,4,2,2,1.  With 3,2,2,2,2, Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe were 2nd.  3rd were Brandon Buchthal & Natasha Barrera 2,3,3,3,3.  This pair were Corky’s winners.  4th in all dances were Andrew Sim & Emily Cobb-Hines.

Energy and Glamor at the Killick Klassic!

YeKK15-dereksterday here at the Killick Klassic was all about the glimmer and glamour of the competition, so perfectly fitted to the ambiance of this this iconic hotel.

First in the early afternoon, it was the “Meet and Greet” with Derek Hough.  For those of you that don’t watch TV he is one of the celebrity ballroom dancers on the now iconic show, “Dancing with the Stars.” We were a little late for the affair as most Floridians or should I say South Beach Floridians are, but it was a good thing.  We got to ride in the elevator with Derek’s own personal entourage and looked totally part of the “Elite.” When he first entered the room you could hear the cameras clicking away and I just hope we, the Dance Beat team, are not in half your pictures, LOL.

DeKK15-Derek1rek was a delightful guest and entertainer answering every question for his adoring fans, (mostly women).  He managed to answer the questions and elaborate into some very interesting things we did not know about him. He talked about some of his personal challenges and how he prepares before going out on the floor and how he copes with different challenges every week (in our words, he takes it all in stride one step at a time).  He said a wonderful thing to the fans many of them dancers, “you create your pain you create your fears, no one does it for you.  If you can talk yourself out of it, you will just be fine.” I wish many of our dances will take this very sound advice from this young man, because it is the truth, we create many of the obstacles we see and they don’t need to be there.

He talked about what the show has done for him personally and in his life, some of his explanations were very detailed making him seem real and almost like your best friend. The attendees were treated to some champagne and food before Derek got there and some beautiful views from the 25th floor suit where it was being held. As we looked out we thanked heaven for Florida, we sure love our home state, not one cloud in the sky, just blue all over from the sea to the sky, you could see for miles across the Intracoastal Waterway.

LKK15-Derek2ater in the ballroom, Derek led a high-energy conga line with most of the audience and many of the judges joining in!

In the ballroom sparks flew with some of the best professional ballroom dancers form across the world in attendance.  Also in Rhythm we had some excellent couples and the Amateur Latin had some wonderful couples but we were a little surprised that it was only a semifinal round considering both the organizers are Latin Stars and Icons in their own right.

IKK15-Fungn the Ballroom it was an easy job for Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva who placed first in all dances with perfect scores from the judges in every dance. Perhaps this mix of international and national judges tended to lean more towards the Latin genre, but as we have always said, judging is overrated, the most important thing when you are being judge is honesty and in our opinion these Ballroom couples got and excellent panel of judges. KK15-MaratSecond in this who’s who of a final were Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk, and they took second in every dance but unlike Victor & Anastasia, not from every judge, they got three 4th and a 5th in the waltz, two 3rds and a 5th in the tango, three 5th and three 3rds in the VW, two 5ths and a 3rd in the foxtrot, and in the quickstep a 6th,  a 5th  and a 3rd. Their worst marks came from Leisa Howard who awarded them that last 6th place and some of the other very low scores.

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With 4,3333, Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 3rd. They did receive the majority of 3rd or better scores in the T,VW,F,Q.  They also received a handful for 2nd places over the 5 dances a few 5ths but no 6ths.  Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova were 4th with 3,4,4,4,4.  They also received the majority of 3rd or better scores in the waltz.  With all the 5’s Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were 5th and Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito were 6th.

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Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova won all dances in the Rhythm and dropped very few 1st place marks.  They received perfect scores in the mambo.  Their lowest score was a 4th in  swing from Louise Garvie.  Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were 2nd in all dances and were the only couple to take a few 1st places away from the winners.  Their worst scores came from Karen Hardy who awarded them 4,3,5,5,4.  For us the top two couples were well clear.

3rd tonight with 4,4,3,3,3 were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov and splitting the 3rd and 4th places with them were Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti 3,3,4,4,4.  Obviously a tough call for the judges between these two couples.Rising Star winners Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were 5th in all dances, Erwin & Iwona Rybczynska were 6th in all and Pavel Volynskiy & Anastasia Levadnia were 7th in all.

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The AKK15-ferdinandomateur Latin was easily won also by the current ABC US National Champions, Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina who lost very few first place marks and had perfect scores in cha cha and jive.  With the majority of 2nd or better scores in all dances, Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach were also easily 2nd.  In fact, although the judges sprinkled their scores around quite freely most of the couples earned their placements with the majority scores.  3rd in all tonight were Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler.  4th in all were Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova.  5th were Kiki Nyemchek & Magdalena Fialek 5,6,5,5,5 and closing the final, from Italy, were Cristian Priori & Eleonora Riccardi 6,5,6,6,6.

5 couples entered the Showdance/Cabaret division and the winners were Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko.

The pro-am Latin took up all of the daytime session and the open scholarships were danced at night and were the best so far here at the Killick Klassic.

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Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev won all dances in the B.  2nd in all was Maria Seragou w/ Dimitrios Damalas and 3rd, Tomoko Fujiwara w/ Rangel Spirov.

Results from A and C divisions coming soon.........

KK15-hotelKilling It With Klass At KK!

The 2015 Killick Klassic is underway in the world famous Boca Raton Hotel, in Boca Raton, Florida.  This iconic hotel is so suitable for a dance competition and especially one run by Latin icons, Paul Killick & Shirley Ballas.

The event began with a very successful Dance Camp, Monday and Tuesday that concluded with a cruise on the Intra Coastal Waterway for camp members and competitors who arrived early.

The first 2 days have been about American Style pro-am with all the heats for Smooth and Rhythm taking place.  Last night concluded with the rising star professional divisions in all 4 professional styles.  Not surprisingly, the Latin was the strongest but the Rhythm also began with a quarter-final.

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For KK15-RSLat -2us 2 couples really stood out in the RS Latin and the judges seemed to agree as these 2 couples were awarded 1st and 2nd places.  The winners with 1,1,1,2,2 were Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo and the runners-up, with 2,2,2,1,1, Sergey Chislov & Dasha Chislova.  For us this result could have gone either way and we would have been happy.  3rd in all dances fell to Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina and they too showed great improvement.  Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie took all the 4’s.  Jonas Kazlouskas & Kathleen Ilo were 5th, 5,5,6,6,5 and Stefan Glubovic & Uliana Maslovskaya were 6th 6,6,5,5,6.

MKK15-Maksymaksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth won the Rhythm placing 1,1,2,2,1.  In their second outing the Rhythm field, Jean Paul & Lana Rossi were the runners-up, 3,2,1,1,2.  They also won the Smooth, so this must place them in a strong position for the US National 9-Dance next month.  3rd place in the Rhythm went to Erwin & Iwona Rybczyski 2,3,3,4,4.  Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova were 4th 4,4,4,3,5;  TaKK15-JeanPaulmas Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurupova were 5th 5,5,5,5,3 and Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash were 6th in all dances.

As we mentioned above Jean & Lanna won the Smooth and they won all dances.  The rest of the final were all from Florida.  2nd were Andrei & Elena Rudenco 2T,2,2,2.  3rd was the new partnership of Roman Malchasyan & Viktoriya Kleyman 2T,3,3,3.  Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski were 4th in all dances, Maksym & Sarah were 5th 5,6,5,6 and Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were 6th 6,5,6,5.

ThKK15-RSBalle Ballroom was the only straight final and it was won easily in our view by Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova who did indeed win all dances.  2nd went to 10-dancers Jonas & Kathleen 2,3,3,3,2.  We liked 3rd placed Anatoli Repliuk & Ruslana Mamaysur who scored 3,2,2,4,4.  In this close event, Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsov were 4th 4T,4,4,2,3 and Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriela Sevillano were 5th 4T,5,5,5,5.

The largest of the open pro-am scholarships so far was the Senior Rhythm.  In this Quin Bomalje w/ Misha Vlasov won all dances with a great performance.  2nd went to Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian again in all dances and 3rd in all was Beverly Marsh w/ Nazar Norov.

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The action was hot in the ballroom but just as hot in the bar later when several of the judges attracted non-dance hotel guests with their energetic salsas and merengues!  That was certainly something to see.

TKK15-judgeshe Florida weather has been great and many of the dancers are enjoying the 5-star luxury this hotel offers - a grea pool, spa and everything else you would expect.  A great dance-vacation with an all-star panel of judges and fabulous pro and amateur competitions.

Stay tuned for much more from the KK, with the open pro and amateur events beginning today.

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Doing it Dance By Dance at Empire

Once again last night, Empire State, ran the open professional events on a dance by dance basis meaning that there was the potential for different finalists to be called for each dance.  This is what occurred in one style but not in the other.  In the Rhythm the same 7 finalists were recalled for all 5 dances, but not so in the Ballroom.

ThEMP15-Emmanuele rhythm brought together the number 1 and number 2 couples in the USA currently, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova.  Emmanuel & Liana, current US Champions, won all 5 dances.  They received perfect scores (17 1st places) in mambo.  The closest scored dance was swing where they won by 11 to 6.  Interestingly no other couple received a 2nd place except Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov.  Pat Traymore marked them 2nd in mambo and Nazar & Irina 4th.

The rest of the final was much more even.  3rd were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov 5,5,3,3,3.  4th overall went to Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti with 3,3,5,5,4.  Donovan & Rose ended up 5th  4,4,4,4,5;  Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash were 6th 6,7,6,7,6 and Andrei Svirydzenka & Yulia Zubova were 7th 7,6,7,6,7.

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MarEMP15-Maratat Giamev & Alina Basyuk easily won all 5 dances in the Ballroom.  Only 1 judge seriously dissented on their win and that was Michael Mead who placed them 4,3,4,2,3.  Actually 5 couples made all 5 of the finals and they finished in the following order:  2nd in all dances were Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshch;  3rd in all Iaroslav Bieliel & Lilia Gladiuk.  4th overall went to Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya 5,4,4,4,4 and the last couple to make all finals, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were 5th 4,5,5,5,5.  Making the top 6 in 3 dances, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina were 6th 6,6,7T,7T,6.  Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen placed 6th in VW and 7th overall and Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were 6th in FT and 8th overall.

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TEMP15-Cabhe Pro Cabaret had 9 entries of varying quality.  The winners were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who were in exemplary form last night and we agreed with the judges’ decision.  Craig Smith & Micheline were 2nd but had some rough moments in their routine we thought.  3rd were Daniel Enskat & Ahtoy Wonpat Borja and one of our favorites, James Brann & Sayra Vazquez were 4th.

ThEMP15-Tale Open Amateur Latin was a royal match up of some of the leading couples in North America.  Not surprisingly no couple received a majority of 1st place marks in any dance.  However, winning 4 dances and placing 2nd in cha cha were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Kesselman – a much better result for this couple than at Manhattan Dancesport a month ago.  2nd by placing 1,2,3,3,2, were Sasha Chernositov & Arina Grishanina.  This couple has taken the world by storm lately and this was still a good result for them.  Andrei Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova were 3rd, 3,3,2,2,5.  4th place tonight went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriela Sabler, 4,6,4,4,3.  Interestingly Pasha & Gabriela received the most 1st places of any couple in a dance – that was 6 in the jive.  5th and 6th fell to two u/21 couples.  Austin Josen & Nino Dzneladze 5,4,5,5,4 were 5th and Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayword were 6th 6,5,6,6,6.

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The Empire is Back!

TEMP15-Favillahe Empire State Championship is back but this time in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square in the Marriott Grand Marquis. You step out and you’re in the middle of the square surrounded by hundreds coming to see where it all happens!

And it's all here! The Empire last night had three major feature events the Professional Latin & Smooth and the Amateur Ballroom, all had great participation and terrific entries.

The professional events were judged a dance at a time meaning you could make it into the final of the cha cha but not the samba and every dance in both the Latin and the Smooth was judged the same, separately.

The obvious winners to us in the Latin were Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk. They won by a dance by winning the S,R,J and placing second in the other 2 dances.

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For these two professional events it was open marking and there was a few oops and ahs from the attending audience. One judge dissented and placed the winners 6th. Wait for the full article for details on this and other events.

EMP15-VoronovichSecond in this excellent heat and winning the Cha and the PD were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. They too had plenty of fans in the audience making it an exciting final to watch. Third overall in this parade of stars was awarded to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko 3,4,3,3,4.

Eugeny Likahachev & Marya Levina were fourth overall 4,3,6,4,7. Fifth went to Mykhail Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina 6,5,5,5,3. Jean-Philipe Milot & Laurence Bulduc were sixth overall 5,6,4,6,6. Seventh was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 7,8,7,7,5. Daniel Juvet & Zuzana Sykorova were 8th 8,7,8,8,8

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TEMP15-Hamzahe Professional Smooth was also run one dance at a time but here there were few or no any variables. Mazen Hamza & Izabella won all four dances, Travis & Jamie Tuft took all seconds, and Kyle & Allie Spinder took all thirds. All fourths went to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi. Fifth in all was awarded to Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko and all sixths went to Morten Jensen & Anastasia, leaving 7th place for Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov.

TheEMP15-End Amateur ballroom all dances went to the Ends.  Second overall was Klepadlo/Bakhtiarova they placed second in every dance but the quickstep where they took 4th. Third place overall went to Cutler /Primeau, they took third in w,t,VW, fourth in the fox and second in the quickstep. Fourth was awarded to Plozaj/Kaczmarski 4,4,4,3,3 and fifth was Hacke/Hermanova and sixth was Pavlov/Spernacka.

The evening concluded with high-energy local team match! Everyone had a great time the only problem is that it took us into the morning hours, making the after party less desirable to attend. Or at least for the Dance Beat group. However, the competition was worth the time, in our opinion it was an excellent night for the Empire at Times Square, New York City.

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Florida State 2015

Busy and successful weekend for a lot of dancers at the Florida State Championships at the Sarasota Ritz Carlton.  With over 7,000 entries the ballroom kept full and the dancers busy.   Look at the weekend in pictures and stay tuned for further report.

Watch video here .....

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Can-Am Closes on a Golden Note!

Award bestFaceThe 2015 Can-Am Dancesport Gala came to a close Saturday on a golden note.  Well known dancer, competitor and main character documentary feature films “Mad Hot Ballroom,” and “Dancing in Jaffa” Pierre Dulaine was presented with the Can-Am’s Lifetime Achievement Award. It was very emotional for the organizers and everyone came to their feet as he was introduced.  Pierre was very gracious and soon after the competition was finished and the show was over he stayed and took pictures with many of the fans.

The feature events Saturday night were the Professional Smooth that started with a semifinal and the Professional Latin. Both competitions were excellent and entertaining to us and the audience who stayed in their seats until the very end. The Professional Smooth went to Kyle & Allie Spindler from the USA who won all dances and far out danced everyone else.  Kyle & Allie also won the Cabaret competition the same evening. Second in every dance went to Canada’s Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko, this couple was totally worthy of this position and a surprise to a number of judges who wondered why they do not compete more often in the USA. Adrian & Hanna Dydynski were third in all dances, we are sure a few attendees and even possibly Adrian & Hanna were a little surprised to have a Canadian couple get ahead of them.

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Fourth in every dance went to Viktor & Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina, fifth in every dance was awarded to Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite and sixth went to Christopher & Jenny Sochnacki.

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The Latin was a five couple final and here the top three couples were top of the line. The winners in every dance were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. Second overall were Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko who tied for second in the cha cha with Jean Philippe Milot & Lorance Bolduc, placed third in the jive and second AmBallroomFace2in the other three dances. Jean Philippe & Lorance were third overall and placed third in three dances, second in the jive and tied for second in the cha cha. In fourth place were Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier and fifth went to Steve Forrest & Bianca Izzo.

The Amateur Ballroom event was also excellent with two very high quality couples fighting for the top spot, James Cutler & Virginia Primeau and Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor. In the end every dance went to James & Virginia leaving all seconds to Florin & Natalia.  To us both couples were excellent but it was also clear to the trained eye that James & Virginia looked a little more experienced and their skill easier to read and understand. Third overall were JuniorsFaceBrenton Michell & Alexandra Sevastianova.

The Junior Latin event was only a three couple run but the couples were all of a good level with huge potential. Danny Zhelasko & Emma Gladubakh placed first in four dances and second in the cha cha. First in this dance and second on the other four dances went to Samuel Hakobian & Sabrina Le. Third in all dances were Ryan Tzanko & Nicole Lerman.

The evening ended with a show “Dancing Beyond the Stars” featuring both amateur and professional dancers.  Our favorite number tonight was by James Cutler & Virginia Primeau who danced a clever routine to “Me and my Shadow.”  The show was produced by Wendy Johnson and as always featured those of the judges with the “gumption” to also perform at the end.  

Rhythm Semifinal for First Time!

Last night we saw the first professional semifinal ever in the Pro Rhythm at Can Am Gala.  Perhaps this is a sign that the USA is finally taking note of this elegant competition north of the border in Toronto!

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As expecteCA15-Aarond USA dominated this event.  Winners tonight were Aaron & Iryna DeSoto and they won all dances with their action-packed dancing.  2nd in all dances were Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt.  We thought this was a closer race than the scores indicated.  3rd went to Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova, 3,3,4,3,4.  We felt they were also very much in the mix with the top 2.  The only Canadian couple to make the final placed 4th, Boris Vdovine & Patricia Esty 5,4,3,4,3.  5th were Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina 6,5,5,5,6 and 6th Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padlekaite 4,6,6,6,5.

CCA15-Antonanada got their revenge in the Open Ballroom with 4 of the 5 finalists.  Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshch won all dances ahead of fellow Ontarinans, Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen who were 2nd in all.  All the way from Germany, Volker Schmidt & Ellen Jonas took 3rd in all dances.  2 couples from Quebec closed the final, Steve Forrest & Bianca Izzo 4,4,4,4,4 and Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin 5,5,5,5,5.

6 coCA15-Nikolaiuples entered the Professional Showdance (Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva had to withdraw).  The winners were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who performed a showy samba.  2nd went to the Rhythm Champs, Aaron & Iryna with their disco/hip hop cha cha.  Kyle & Allie Spinder were 3rd.

There was also an upbeat Open Amateur Latin but sadly it attracted no entries from the USA.  Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward were in great form and took all dances.  Christopher Navas & Alina Totska, a new partnership we believe) were 2nd in all.  All couples finished in the same position in all dances.  3rd Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru, 4th Sandu Babira & Alisa Dombrovsky, 5th Simeon & Dimitrina Vassilev, 6th Joey De Angelis & Elise Magliocchetti.

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TheCA15-Tower weather this year in Toronto is perfect!  The downtoen location, Westin Harbour Castle, is delightful as it sits right on the bank of the Lake with nice walks past the boats and plenty of activity.

Stay tuned for more from Can Am tomorrow!

Volunteer State launches TV World Network!

The Volunteer State Championship, organized by David Medeiros, was the location for the launch of the Dance Network. The Dance Network is going to be a television cable channel dedicated to dance and what we all love the most, ballroom dancing, this network will feature ballroom competitions as well as dance movies from Fred Astaire to Dirty Dancing, etc. and even their own programing will be featured there.

With a television studio the size of a football field, the Dance Network will be able to create their own programing, featuring all the different styles of dancing, tap, jazz, flamenco you name it. This multi-million dollar investment is the creation of David Medeiros, the organizer, and Julie Stadler who is a Pro/Am Ballroom fan and competitor. From their presentation we can see that this venture will be competing with networks such as the History Channel, Animal Planet and the Food Network. Finally we will have a Network that will cater to all dancing, and especially to ballroom Dancing.  This is an incredible undertaking and one that we as a group should be proud.  We should all stand behind it. As in everything viewership is everything and it is important that when it airs we watch and we stay tuned in.

Talking of viewership, the Professional “Star Rhythm Tour” was also a major success here at the Volunteer State. This was the third stop for the rhythm couples to accumulate points and win dollars to the tune of over $50,000.00.  Each leg has been a little different and as the tour moves on the tension on all front mounts with anticipation as to who will take the $25,000.00 purse for first place. When it came to internet viewership this tour had the most so far with hundreds of devices being used and tracked. Viewership as I mentioned is the name of the game and on this leg of this tour we had a huge increase of people viewing the competition at home on their computers.

Vol15-NazarThe winner of the tour will be determined by a combination of 3 different scores - or points given for the 3 different challenges.  Firstly the group competition, secondly the solo exhibition and lastly the audience participation vote. On this leg the overall competition went to Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryshova who earned a total of 138.64 points. In the group competition they were second best overall.  The judges’ scores on each dance were 2,3,2,2,2.  This earned them a total of 24 points for their group effort. In their solo presentation they received the third best score of the evening from the judges, a 94.14 total. What put this couple above the rest in this third leg of the tour was the audience.  They were the audience’s favorite when it came to the solo with 41% of their vote they managed to accumulate a total of 20.5 points towards their final tally, giving them an overall score of 138.64 points and so they won the Volunteer State leg.

SecVol15-Emmanuelond on this leg was awarded to Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova.  They of course were the favorite to win the group competition and this they certainly did, first in every dance from the group judging panel. This was a great push towards the finish line and the most you can earn on the group dances, 30 points or a perfect score. In the solo section of the competition they also shone with the best score of the night 95.43.  However, their weakest this time was motivating their fans to vote. In the scheme of things they were third best with the audience but a sad finish that was only 5% of the popular vote, this was not good enough to push them to the top at this leg with only 2.5 points added for this effort. Overall they received 127.93 points total towards the tour, a difference of 8.71 between them and the leading couple on this leg. Most effort needs to be applied in awakening the interest of their fans to vote. We must also point out that the Star Tours are not a walk in the park.  The different variables make it very interesting for us the viewers, something that we need in this industry (more fans and people watching) but this makes it a challenge for the couples that are new to this and do not always end in the position they are accustomed to.  Emanuel & Liana are the perfect example, they placed last on the first leg in Colorado due to a time rule penalty, first in Twins Cities and now second on this third leg.   

Third in this leg of the tour went to Andre & Natalie Paramonov.  They placed third in four of the five dances of the group competition and second in the rumba, this effort gave them 21 points towards their tally. Andre & Natalie were the second best after Emanuel & Liana in their solo performance with 94.57 points awarded to them by the judges. In the popular vote they were fourth in this effort with only 3% of the vote, giving them 1.5 extra points. In the end their overall score for this leg of the tour came to 117.07.

We acknowledge a glitch that occurred immediately following the solo presentation.  About 8 minutes following the solo Star Tour Challenge it was brought to our attention that on the TV screen in the ballroom the couple that was number 108, Andre & Natalie, appear as number 103. This was confirmed and changed right away. Although the error was on the screen, there were cards on the tables with their correct names and numbers. Also, the announcer read the correct name and number for each couple. For viewers voting on a computer device everything was correct.

To insure the integrity of the vote, every vote had to be looked at closely as to who voted, how it was voted and at what time.  As we looked into this matter, we realized that at this competition the majority of the votes for all couples came from people at a computer looking at the show and not from texting on cellular phones. We were then able to look at a spreadsheet as to who got the text votes. In comparison with the other events the numbers were all very consistent. After looking over every vote for the past two days, we find that this glitch did not have any impact or consequence for the couples involved and is not significant to the final tally.

Fourth was awarded to Aaron & Irina Desoto.  They placed fourth in all their group dances obtaining 15 points towards their final score. They were the fourth best solo with a score 90.29, their audience score was higher than Emanuel & Liana’s and Andre & Natalie with an 8% of the vote picking up 4 extra points for this, giving them the final tally of 109.29.

The second favorite couple of the audience was Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Kinney, they came into the solo as the audience wildcard, getting only 3 points for this before the solos began. Daniel & Taylor have always been the favorite of the audience at every stop where they have competed and this time they almost did it again.  They lost the audience favorite position to Nazar & Irina by 1 point with 40% of the audience vote. They might have lost the popularity contest by one vote but they still were awarded 20 points for this towards their final score. The judges were also not thrilled with Daniel & Taylor’s “Lion King” performance.  Their routine was scored only 65.00 points awarded by the judges. Their overall score was of 88.00 putting them in fifth position on this the 3rd leg of the Star Rhythm Tour.

Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova placed sixth overall on this leg of the tour. They made the final and placed 6th in every dance.  They got a point per dance and so 5 points were awarded for their effort in the group final. Their solo was not marked in the nineties, but their score was not the lowest they got 81.14 towards the run. When it came to the audience their popularity was not as strong.  They picked up 3% of the vote and got 1.5 extra points as did the Paramonovs. In the end adding these points up, their overall score was of 87.64. This score was good enough to keep them in play but not to go further than 6th position at this third leg of the tour.

Seventh position overall on the tour was awarded to Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson.  They placed fifth in every dance in the group competition.  This effort gained them 10 points towards the final tally. Their solo performance was the lowest marked, perhaps due to the fact that they did not have a prepared routine.  The judges awarded them 63.86.  Their popularity with the audience totally fell with 0% awarded to them by the audience and so no points were awarded to them by the audience. Their final tally was the lowest of this leg of the Star Ballroom Tour a 73.86 total, putting them in seventh position.

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Overall this leg of the City Lights Star Rhythm Tour was a fantastic success the amount of people watching on their computer monitors at home and away from the competition was amazing. We tabulated that close to 1,000 people or devices, 98% being computers, were in use, with I’m sure the majority or all watching the Star Rhythm Tour. With every stop the tour continues to engage more fans and more people.  This is great for the industry since this will be what will get more sponsorship money for professional dancing in America for future endeavors. The City Lights Star Tours want to once again thank all the couples that are supporting this venture. And finally we want to remind the couples that you most attend and compete at the City Lights Ball in order to collect what is owed to you. Congratulations to all, and you can see the final tallies and where you stand after this leg at www.dancebeat.com.   

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