Dance Beat Team
Smooth Leads It in Denver
Photos by Charles Ryder Photography
The Pro Smooth was the leader at Colorado Star Ball last night with some great dancing in all rounds leading to a superb final. The clear winners with large majorities for 1st places in all dances were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija. They only picked up a couple of 2nd places in each dance and one 3rd from Forrest Vance in foxtrot.
The race for 2nd was much closer. Kyle & Allie Spinder were actually 2nd in all dances but the margin from the judges was a slim majority of “2nd or better” scores in each dance. The 3rd place couple were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova and they were just below Kyle & Allie in all dances. However, both couples also picked up some scores in the lower half of the final. 4th in all dances were Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan and they received a significant number of 3rd places in all dances. Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 5th 5,5,6,5 and Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft were 6th 6,6,5,6.
Kyle & Allie were also the winners of the Showdance.
The other Open Pro event of the night was the Latin, but this attracted only 3 entries. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova lost a total of only 4 first places from 55 and so were easy winners. 2nd in all were Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie Murphy and 3rd were Giorgi Khmiadashvili & Christina DuPuy.
There was a strong entry in the Rising Star Rhythm (ahead of tonight’s Star Rhythm Tour). Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago won all dances, each with a majority of 1st places. 2nd in all dances went to David Moon & Sydney Petersen and 3rd were Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova 4,3,3,4,3.
The final RS event was the Ballroom and this was won by Stephano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 1,1,1,2,1. The winners of the foxtrot were Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko and they placed 2nd overall 3,2,2,1,2. 3rd were Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina 2,3,3,3,3.
Tonight we gear up for the Professional Star Rhythm Tour – the first leg of this series. Many of the top names are here. Be sure to tune into the live feed and vote for your favorites! Click here to watch it live!
Getting (a mile) High in Denver
We’re here in Denver, Colorado, the mile-high city, for the 19th Colorado Star Ball – just one more reason to get high in Colorado.
As usual organizers, Richard & Jennifer Booth, have everything running perfectly and the Westin Hotel in Westminster is attractive and accommodating with a spacious ballroom. We particularly liked the change of set from daytime to evening.
Yesterday was mostly dedicated to pro-am Smooth heats and the more advanced and scholarship heats took place at night. The Colorado Star Ball is a member of the Global Series and last night hosted the Global Closed Bronze and Silver Scholarships in Smooth. These were well attended. Define Dinler w/ Yuriy Kravets won the Bronze 1,1,1,1. MaCall Berger w/ Volodia Ishchenko was 2nd, 2,2,2,2 and Sherri Hansen was 3rd, 3,4,4,3. In the Silver Jessica Mancini w/ Golden Parker won all 4 dances. 2nd in all was Darcy Adamczky w/ Gary Dahl and 3rd was Catherine Gallo w/ David Arnold 6,3,3,3.
The pro-am divisions concluded with the Open Scholarships. The B & C divisions were well attended. Dawn Mersich w/ Youriy Pavlov was the big winner of the night taking both the A & B divisions. In the B she placed 1,1,1,2. 2nd went to Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto 2,2,2,1 and 3rd to Kitty Sang w/ Mathias Kruschel 3,3,3,3.
Sandra Abruzzo w/ Jim Maranto won the C, taking all dances. Elizabeth Cramer w/ Robert Nardozza was 2nd in all and David Tippet w/ Harmony Monroe was 3rd, 4,3,3,3.
The night concluded with 2 Pro Rising Star divisions, both straight finals. John Campbell w/ Jacki Brockman won all dances in the Smooth. 2nd in all were Misha Belfer & Julie Garczynski and 3rd were Scott Koogle & Faith Wailes 4,3,3,3.
Only 2 couples contested the Latin and the win in all dances went to Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie Murphy. 2nd were Giorgi Khmiadashvili & Christina DuPuy.
The People have chosen…. Nazar & Irina!
Check out the Peoples' Choice Videos in our Video Section
The People's Choice competition, hosted by Forrest Vance, held this weekend in Scottsdale continued its tradition of having the audience vote for their favorite couples in a Grand Slam kind of event where the Champion of each Pro category compete against each other with one of their number.
This year, the returning favorites, Artem & Inna, were overturned by first time attendees Nazar & Irina. An unfortunate encounter with the carpet while performing their QS might have caused this result, but in any case, Nazar & Irina were this year's recipients of the People's choice gold medallion sponsored by Hamra Jewelery. Congratulations!
The Open Pro finals were of high caliber, and were all dominated by the winners, all of them placing first in all dances. In their last chance to compete before heading to Blackpool, Artem & Inna placed first in the Ballroom followed by Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.
The Rhythm went to Nazar & Irina, 2nd place went to Danus Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi.
The Latin Sergey Kvashin & Olga Ginsburg and the Smooth to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu. You can watch the clips and see if you agree with the people's choice!
Look for more on this event coming up shortly with reports from Melissa Dexter, Eddie Stutts and Iliya Reyzin.
As in the past few years, USA ended on a high note taking the top 2 places in the British Open Professional Ballroom. Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova won all 4 dance (no VW at Blackpool) and Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were 2nd in all 4.
One interesting sidenote, while Arunas & Katusha received mostly 1st places, one judge did not see it quite the same as the others. Joanne Bolton-Hawkins placed them (1W, 4F, 5T, 5T). This was Arunas & Katusha's 6th consecutive win here in Blackpool.
USA also had many other success stories in this division. Marat Gimayev & Alina Basyuk were placed in the semifinal in all 4 dances.
In the quarter-final we saw: Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh (W,F,T,Q); Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva (W,F,T,Q); Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova (W,F,T,Q); Iaroslav Bieliel & Liliia Gladiuk (W,F,T); Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova (W,F,T,Q); Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova (W,T)
A night of "Smoothness"
The big story for the USA last night (Thursday) at Blackpool was the introduction of the American Smooth style to the Blackpool crowd.
5 US professional Smooth couples were invited to show their stuff on the famous floor of the Empress Ballroom - prime time on Thursday (the couples' expenses were sponsored by AMI, FADS, NDCA & ABC). The 5 couples perfomed all together to recorded music. The audience seemed very appreciative. Congratulations to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, Mikhail & Galina Zharinov, Mazen Hamza & Izabella Jundzill, Travis & Jaimee Tuft and Kyle & Allie Spinder. What's next for Smooth dancing in Blackpool?
The main event of Thursday at Blackpool is the Amateur Ballroom. The title was open because last year's champions have turned professional, but the championship stayed with Poland who still dominate this event right now. Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Maar are the new chmpions and 1 of 3 Polish couples in the final.
The best finishes for North America came came from Andres & Veronika End and James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau. Both couples made the quarter-final.
Another feature of Thursday night at Blackpool is the Invitational Exhibition and North America was well represented with 5 of the 8 couples entered. South Africa took the 1st two spots, but Shane & Shannon Jensen captured the 3rd position. And then N. America took the next 4 consecutive places. In order: Brandon Barker & Chelsea Cherrie, JJ Zamora & Sheena Daminar, Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez, Carlos Zapata & Dora Pashova.
Watch for a report on this division by James Peters in Dance Beat soon.
Half the final quits!
Last night during the Open British Professional Latin Championship, 3 couples from the final 6 announced their retirement. Reigning champions, Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis won their 8th consecutive Blackpool and then announced they were calling it quits. Also hanging up their shoes are the 2 couples from Slovenia, Andrej Skufca & Melinda and Jurij & Jagoda Batagelj who were 5th and 6th respectively.
And now the interesting part! The remaining 3 couples, not quitting, are all from North America. Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were 2nd overall, but won the cha cha. Stefano DiFilippo & Dasha Chesnokova were 4th overall. Then from Canada, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite were 3rd.
Other North Americans placing highly were: Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina (Semifinal P; Quarter-final C,S,R, J), Jake Davies & Olena Kalinina (Quarter-final C), Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko.
Watch for Hanna Karttunen's report on this division in Dance Beat soon.
2 finalists for USA, Tuesday, Blackpool
USA had finalists in both events held in Blackpool on Tuesday - The Open British Amateur Latin Championship and the Open British U/21 Latin Championship. Ferdinando Iannconne & Yulia Musikhina were 4th in the Amateur Latin and Patrick Plosaj & Anna Kaczmarkski were 3rd in the U/21 Ballroom
The USA placed strongly in the Amateur Latin overall. Pasha & Daniella Pashkov retained their postiion in the semifinal.
USA had 4 couples in the Quarter-final: Alexander Chernositov & Ariana Grishanina, Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina, Kiril Kulish & Orsolya Horvath, Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman.
Watch out for a full report on this division by Vibeke Toft in Dance Beat soon.
USA has 2 in Pro RS Ballroom
USA had two couples in the final of the Professional Rising Star last night in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Congratulations to Iaroslav Bieliel & Liliia Gladiuk who were 2nd and Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova who were 5th.
We have a good depth in this division. Placing in the semifinal were Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito and Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina.
Quarter-finalists: Emanuele & Francesca Pappacina, Ruslan & Katusha Wilder.
USA Takes Blackpool Team Match Again!
Eugene Katsevman was a first time cpatain of our team and led them to another victory! Team members: Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko & Stefano diFillipo & Dasha.
The other featured event of Saturday night at Blackpool is the Under 21 Latin and this year Austin Josen & Nino Dzneladze of USA placed 2nd. Right behind them were Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward.
Another strong finish for the USA was a semifinal place for Vlad Kvartin & Anna Maria Prokopovicova.
Just wrapping up today (Sunday) are the Amateur Rising Star divisions. In the Ballroom the best finish for the USA came from Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov who made the semifinal round. But Canada scored in the final with a 3rd place from James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau.
In a reversal of the form form the previous day, Austin & Nino were the winners of the Amateur Rising Star Latin in Blackpool, defeating the couple who won the youth the day before. So what a year for this young couple!
Adam & Morgan placed in the semifinal as did Daniils Kutuzovs & Maria Shalarova, also from Canada. One other Canadian couple, Nurlan Galymov & Celeste Bailey made the quarter-final.
Blackpool First Day, corrected article
Yesterday's post contained several inaccuracies which came from another website's reporting. Ruslan Avdayev & Valeriya Kozharinova, won the Open British Professional Rising Star Latin, but they no longer represent USA, but now represent Russia. Also incorrectly listed from Italy, Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi, placed 2nd and now become the highest placed US couple. Congratulations!
The remaining coverage was, we believe, accurate.
Also in the final for the USA were Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova who placed 6th. Canada was also represented in the final as Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc placed 3rd. Adding to the confusion, in their first competition as professionals, Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi, who live and work in the USA, but were apparently representing Italy, placed 2nd - probably the best personal result of the night.
Other North American placements in this event were: Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva (USA), Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer (Canada) - semifinal.
Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo (USA), Hayk Balasanyan & Emilia Pogosyan (USA), Jake Davies & Olena Kalinina (USA), Dmitriy Kikishkin & Olena Shvets (USA) - quarter-final. Also in this quarter-final were Rangel Spirov & Veronika Chrnyavka listed from Bulgaria but living in Texas. (At this point DB is unsure if this couple represents USA or Bulgaria).
The other event of the first full night of comeptition in Blackpool in the Senior Ballroom. The top US finish tonight was from Xingmin & Katerina Lu who placed 5th. Next highest were Turtle Brennen & Regina Pareigis who made the quarter-final.
A Night of Rhythm
Click here for video by SuperShag
Rhythm was the feature last night at American Star Ball. Not only was the Pro Rhythm the biggest event of the night (2 rounds), but it was also the feature of the finale show, entitled the Havana Ballroom and choreographed by Brent Mills.
Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, current US Champions, easily won the Open Rhythm winning all dances and losing a total of only 4 first places over all 5 dances. Equally sure were the runners-up, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova who picked up those 4 first places and received all the remaining 2nd place scores from all judges. Perhaps the match between these two couples was a little closer in real life than it appeared on paper.
From there on the scores were a little more mixed, particularly in the lower half of the final. Shane & Shannon Jensen were relatively secure in their 3rd place. They were 3rd in all dances and had the majority of 3rd places in 4 of the 5 dances. With 4,4,4,4,5, Andrei Abrashin & Mariia Gavrylova were 4th but had scores ranging from 3rd to 7th in all dances. Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were 5th 5,6,5,6,4. For us their best dances are cha and mambo. Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were 6th 6,5,6,5,6 and new to the final, Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson took all the 7’s.
There were 3 live percussionists for this final. Tom Larson (who had played throughout the weekend), Brent Mills and Eddie Melendez.
Only 4 couples participated in the Open Pro Ballroom and it was easily won by Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova. They won all dances. The only significant challenge came in the Viennese Waltz where the runners-up, Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena took 4 of the 13 first places. They were 2nd in all dances. Anatoli Repliuk & Ruslana were 3rd in all and Nenad Pavolic & Anastasia Barhatova were 4th in all.
Both open amateur scholarships also took place tonight and both were straight finals. Sam Hacke & Katarina Hermanova won the Ballroom, winning all dances 4 with the majority of 1st places. They certainly had the most energy of all the finalists. 2nd in all dances went to Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka. They had a more traditional approach than the winners. 3rd in all dances were Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe. 6,4,5,4,4 gave Alec Zhiwei Zhang & Ersi Nie a 4th place finish overall, Brandon Buchthai & Natasha Barrera were 5th, 4,5,4,6,6 and Sam Brandt & Sabrina Yakubovish were 6th 5,6,6,5,5.
The Amateur Latin Scholarship was a close fought affair with the first places being mostly spread between 2 couples, Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova and Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova. The overall event went to Artur & Anastasiya by 3 dances to 2 – 2,2,1,1,1. Nikita & Nadezda won the first 2 dances. All dances wre won with a majority of first places except the cha cha. 3rd in all dances were Allen Rusman & Svetlana Lisnaya, 4th in all Stanislav Engelhardt & Tatiana Vasilyeva and 5th Raphael Matis & Jamie Dorotov.
The two remaining professional rising star divisions were also held. The Smooth had a semifinal and was won by Adrian & Hannah Dydynsky 1,1,1,1. Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser won the RS Latin 1,1,1,1,1.
We also saw the scholarship divisions in the pro-am Smooth and Latin. The winners in the Open Scholarships were Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika (C Smooth), Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston (B Smooth), Bethanie Picerno w/ Thomas Vasicek (B Latin), Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (A Latin) and Lorraine Peoples w/ Andrei Gavriline (C Latin).
Today s filled with Junior and Youth Divisions.
Smooth but Hard!
Last night at the American Star Ball the professional events were quite tough to judge, in particular the Smooth, but all three of the main featured events were fabulous.
Mazen Hamza & Izabella were the easy winners with a huge majority of firsts in all dances, only one, two or three judges awarded them second or less in different dances. Their worst mark a third in the Viennese Waltz came from Marianne Nicole. Second overall went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft and they got the majority of seconds and only a few firsts and thirds. Their worst marks came from Mireille Veilleux who awarded them 5,6,4,4. Third in every dance went to Michael Choi & Erin Marie and they took the majority of thirds with the exception of some high and low marks, their works marks came from Keith Todd who awarded them 6,5,6,5. Fourth were Vladimir & Vera Kosarev, fifth went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and sixth was awarded to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi. The smooth competition was excellent with great talent and quite a number of couples, with some very talented couples being left out of the final.
The Open Professional Latin was also a terrific competition. Here the easy winners for the majority of the judges were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova and they placed first in every dance. Their worst marks came from Joe Howard who awarded them all fourth place marks. Second overall was awarded to Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser 2,2,3,2,2, for us it could have been a toss up between them and the third place couple Hayk Balasanyan & Emilia Poghosyan 3,3,2,3,3. These two couples stood out from the moment the competition got under way and either of them stood a chance for this position. Fourth was awarded to Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko and they took fourth in every dance, leaving all fifths to Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao. Sixth in all dances went to Jungie Zamora & Sheena Daminar.
The Professional Open Showdance started the evening professional competitions and here there were four excellent couples, all showcasing unique numbers with great lift work and choreography. The winners overall were Shane & Shannon Jensen who won with a huge majority of firsts, only two of the 2 of the nine judges awarded them less, Didio Barrera who placed them third and Mirelle Veillleux who gave them a second. Second overall was Travis & Jaimee Tuft who took Mirelle’s first place mark with the rest of the judges awarding them second. 3rd were Canada’s Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva dancing their new “battle” number. Only Didio Barrera awarded them a 1st. 4th were Jungie Zamora & Sheena Danimar.
There were 2 rounds in the Pro RS Rhythm, a strong division. Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov won all dances. Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson were 2nd in all and Kosta Trifunic & Domante Padleckaite were 3rd, 4,3,3,3,3.
The pro-ams danced 2 styles – Rhythm and Ballroom. Winners of the open scholarships were: Chastity w/ Eddie Ares (Rhythm A); Sophia D’Angelo w/ Martin Cawston (Rhythm C); Gretchen Fenston w/ Michael Choi (Ballroom B); Elena Lee w/ Emanuele Pappacena (Ballroom C).
The end of the Thursday night "Nighclub" session turned into a baby shower for organizer, Amanda Reyzin, whose baby is due in just a few weeks.
The Judges Are Wild!
The judges last night at the Atlanta Open were in rare form when it came to laying down the marks, most notably in the Professional Rhythm category.
To us and the majority of the judges, Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were the obvious winners by placing first in all dances, with a majority in each dance. However, as usual there is always a judge that would not budge and this time it was Ms. Pat Traymore who could only offer them as their higher marks third in the swing and bolero, but in the rest of the dances she award fifth and fourth place marks. From then on the judges went wild, there were excellent finalist like Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti who did not even make the final cut!
Second overall in the Rhythm went to Shane & Shannon Jensen who placed second in every dance, however, we must point out that their marks were more varied than those of Mikhail & Vanda. They got some fifth and fourth, our very own representative Mr. Didio Barrera awarded them 4,4,4,4 and 5th. Lucky for all as we pointed out yesterday, the system works and the majority ruled and Shane & Shannon were second overall. Third in this excellent heat of Rhythm dancing went to Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova who placed 3,4,4,3,3, last night they sported very simple outfits but their dancing as usual was very consistent and possibly worthy of a higher placement in a few dances.
Fourth was Andrei Abrashin & Maria Gavrylova 4,3,3,4,4, who we were quite surprised to see in the final, not that their dancing was not up to snuff but because there was so many other couples that could easily tempt the judges to go in another direction. As we mentioned before, there were at least three other couples that we could easily see in this final. Fifth were Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov who placed 5,5,5,6,5. This couple also have been placed higher at least in the mambo. And completing this final in sixth place were Shandor Shtefil & Alessandra who were perhaps one of our favorite couples in this final and who we could have also see higher up the ladder, they took 6,6,6,5,6.
The Professional International Latin was also a good heat and one that shook up things a little. It was a seven couple final and here the obvious winners by far were Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who placed first in every dance. From the moment this couple stepped on to the floor they were the audience’s favorite and the judges’ too. This is really rare at a competition of this stature but Dmitri & Olena won every dance with perfect scores, not one single second or otherwise was awarded by any of the members of this panel. Second overall also without a surprise for us went to Jake Davis & Alona Kalinina placing second in every dance, we have to say that we feel this couple has made some excellent progress in the last couple of months and it is wonderful to see it being rewarded.
Third was Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko 3,3,4,3,3, fourth went to the Rising Star winners form the night before Felipe Gonzales & Darinka Divljak 5,4,5,4,4, fifth was Andre Strinadko & Ching Kao 4,6,3,5,7, as you can see the judges here were more than split! We also were a little, though here we thought Andre to be the best man on the floor but as a couple we are sure it would be hard to see where to put them in the scheme of things. Sixth were Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevieva 6,5,7,7,5, and seventh was awarded to Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko 7,7,6,6,6.
The Professional Ballroom was almost a repeat of the night before in the Rising Stars, except the easy winners were Igor Coloc & Roxanne Milotti placing first in every dance with perfect scores in four dances. However, when it came to the foxtrot two judges were not convinced. Linda Dean and Dennis Rogers awarded them second in this dance. Linda & Dennis’ first place marks went to the runners up Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who placed second in every dance with a majority of second placed marks as well. Third was Khryton & Anastasia Khomenko 4,3,3,3,3. Fourth were Dumitru & Cristina Turcan 3,4,4,5,4, fifth went to Aleksandr & Aida Skripsova 5,5,5,4,5, and sixth was Sergey Izyumov & Ellen Porter plaicn sixth in all dances.
The Professional Smooth was also an excellent heat. Here Michael Choi & Erin Marie took first in every dance also with a huge majority of firsts from the judges, but as always there is a dissenting judge, in this case there were 2, Eulia Baranovsky who awarded them 3rd in every dance, but their worst marks came from Maria Hansen who awarded them 4,5,4,5, quite low compared to the other minds in the room. Second place in every dance went to the Rising Star winners from the night before Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and their worst marks came from Pat Traymore who awarded them 6,4,5,6. Third were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark, here we thought they could have easily placed second in a number of dances, their look is a little mature and did not help their cause but their dancing for us was as good or sometimes better than the second place winners.
Fourth was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 4,5,4,4, fifth went to Christopher Germain & Mila Popovich 5,4,5T,5, and sixth was Maksym Lototskyy & Sara Haworth 6,6,5T,5.
The Professional Showdance was the last heat to go on at the Atlanta Open and it sure was worth waiting for. Shane & Shannon Jensen stole the show and took the prize home. Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti were second. Third was Alfie Perratta & Sloan Cobb, fourth went to Tim Polaschek & Katherine Hutchinson, and fifth were Aaron Stowell & Rebecca Berryhill.
My congratulations to the organizers for putting such a clean cut non-rushed competition. The hotel is brilliant with plenty of room and accommodations for everyone’s needs. The tower I requested is very private and allowed for total relaxation. The bar and restaurants were excellent with great service, giving everyone a choice. The city of Atlanta has been known for their southern hospitality and this was a perfect example.
Rising Stars at Atlanta Open
Last night at the Atlanta Open was a night of Rising Stars, all events had a minimum of four couples and both the American style Rhythm and Smooth had healthy semifinals.
The weakest link in entries and in quality was the Professional Rising Star Ballroom this five couple final should we say was a “one man” and a “walk in the park” for Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second went to Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko who had the most innovative choreography especially in the tango where perhaps some of their moves cost them their second place finish in that dance. Third overall went to Dumitru & Cristina Turcan and they took the second away from Khariton & Anastasia.
The Rising Star Rhythm was also a walk in the park for Shandor Shtefil & Alessandra who won all dances with the majority of firsts. However, for us it was not as clear as the Ballroom. We though that runners up Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash could have taken a few dances specially the C,R,Sw. When you look on paper Shandor & Alessandra were the clear winners in the Mambo with perfect scores not one single second place awarded and the bolero were they only got one third place mark, and that was form Melanie LaPatin. Third overall was Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson.
The smallest heat was the professional Latin and here the clear winners for us but not for the judges were Felipe Gonzalez & Darinka Divijak who won three dances to two 1,2,2,1,1. Overall we found Felipe & Darinka to be not only correct in their field but quite unique and interesting. However, we were also quite surprised when the announced the runners up as Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva who won the samba and rumba and placed second in the other three dances. We say surprised because for us they could have been third, but like Mr. Sodano says, this proves that the skating system works. Judges mark where they see it and in the end the system works it out. Third were Kahryton & Anastasia Khomenko.
For us the Smooth was the best competition of the night and here we had a seven couple final from a very healthy semifinal. This competition went clearly to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and they won all dances. Second was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 2,2,3,2 and third went to Christopher German & Mila Popovich 3,3,2,3.
This was a perfect ending to a terrific day of competition at the Atlanta Open.
Perfect Scores to Victor & Anastasia
Click here for video by SuperShag
The Professional Ballroom began with a tribute to Brian Puttock with all the couples danced a relaxed foxtrot to Brian’s favorite song, “Candy” to begin the night. Brian was chairman of judges for many years at Emerald Ball, including last year, the last event he attended before his untimely and tragic death a few days later. We all miss him so much.
Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva left no doubt about the results receiving perfect scores – 19 first place marks in all dances. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva had the comfortable majority of 2nd places in all dances and received nothing less than 3rd from any judge except Irina Sarukhanyan who scored them 4,3,5,5,4 and Michael Mead with 4,5,2,3,3. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 3rd in all dances, but had to work a little harder at it than we expected. They had the majority of 3rd or better scores in only waltz. Rudiger Homm & Katia Kanevskaya received perhaps their best result of their new partnership placing 4th in all dances and actually receiving more 2nd places than Alexander & Veronica. The happiest couple in the final was probably the new partnership of Iaoslav Bieliel & Liliia Gladiuk who were 5th in all dances in what we believe is their first competition together. A great start for a really promising partnership. With 6,7,6,6,6, Andrew Begunov & Anna Demidova were probably somewhat disappointed as just 2 weeks ago they finished ahead of Rudiger & Katia. Closing this 7-couple final were Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova with 7,6,7,7,7.
We saw reasonable consensus from the judges in the Pro Rhythm. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova won all dances with a huge majority of 1st places. Indeed they received nothing but 1st or 2nd placements from all judges. Similarly, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were clearly second with the majority of the 2nd placements and a couple of 1st places in each dance. The only judge who did not place them at least 2nd overall was Corky Ballas who scored them 3,4,4,4,4. There was some discussion about the relative merits of both of these exciting couples at the after party from some interested observers.
As with the first 2 couples, 3rd placed Andrei & Natalie Paramonov were easily 3rd in all dances, although surprisingly to us, they actually received only 1 first place and that was in rumba from Melissa Dexter. Natalie sported a new slick hairdo – quite different from her look of the last few years.
The scores were a little more varied for the remaining 3 couples. The experience of Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova paid off and they were 4th scoring 4,4,4,5,4. The elegant Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi took 5th with 6,5,6,4,5 – perhaps not a clear as they would have liked. A brand new partnership, Vard Margaryan & Mandy Carlisle was 6th 5,6,5,6,6 and they picked up a few 3rd places here and there. Vard was a US finalist last year with Sofia Fil, and Sofia was also dancing with a new partner, Alberto Cortes and they made the quarter-final, although we could have seen them progress further.
The last of the professional events to be decided was the Showdance and this went easily to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who received 7 of the 9 available 1st places. The other 2 went to runners-up, Jaimie Black & Robin Ray.
The two Open Amateur events also took place tonight. The Ballroom was the stronger event in terms of ranked couples. US Champions (NDCA), Andres & Veronika End were the easy winners tonight with the majority of 1st places in every dance. The battle for 2nd actually produced a reverse of the placements from the US Championships in March, with Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova placing ahead of Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko in all dances. 4th fell to Dimitriy Vorobiev & Sofie Elliot, all dances. 5th in all were Thomas Yim & Sophie Cheng and 6th Scott Nicholson & Evgeniya Gorobets.
Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrschat were the winners in the Amateur Latin taking all dances and all except the samba with the majority of 1st places. We were a little surprised to see some random 6th places and even 7th awarded to this strong young couple. 2nd fell to Sigurdur Thor Sigurdsson & Annalisa Zoanetti with 2,3,3,2,2 over the Youth winners, Bumchin Tegshjargal Michelle Klets with 3,2,2,3,3. Teleryk Ianakiev & Natella Devitskaya were 4th in all; Hai Tran & Stacy Chuang 5th in all; Jacob Murillo & Sydney Tormey 6th in all; Cristian Solares & Whitney Myers, 7th in all.
During the daytime session it was all pro-am Latin and as in all the other divisions the Open Scholarships were definitely a highlight.
The A Latin was the only open scholarship won by a gentleman at this year’s Emerald Ball. Jacob Tsai w/ Yuliya Kuznetsova won the division 2,2,1,1,1. The runner-up was Vera Xu w/ Jacob Zeglin with scores of 1,3,2,2,2. The remaining 1st place in samba went to another gentleman, Michael Roberts w/ Milana Plinar 4,1,3,4,4. 5th overall went to Sabrine Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) 5,5,5,5,3; 6th Grace Kuan w/ Eveniy Likachev 6,6,6,6,6.
Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev was the easy winner of the B division winning all dances with the majority of 1st places. 2nd went to Canada, Hilda Li w/ Roland Michtchenko 3,2,2,3,2 over Carolyn Howard w/ Sasha Althukov 4,3,3,2,3. 4th Katherine Kuan w/ Jakub Zeglin 2,5,5,4,4; 5th Svetlana Van Tassel w/ Kirill Nikitin 5,4,4,5,5; 6th Michelle Peng w/ Nikolai Voronovich 6,6,6,6,6.
Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski won her 3rd Open Scholarship of the week, taking the C Latin. Lisa won all dances, but it was a fight. In a couple of these dances she received only 2 first places and was even picking up some 8th place scores. 2nd went to Lorrain Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline 2,4,2,2,2. Interestingly, Lorraine had the same total amount of 1st places as Lisa. Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann was 3rd, 3,2,3,3,3 and she too had 1st places in all dances. 4th Tasha Romero w/ Evegeniy Likachev 4,3,5,6,4; 5th Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 5,5,4,7,6; 6th Suzanne Saperstein w/ Ricky Bentzen 6,8,7,5,5; 7th Lisa Markovic w/ Igor Danilla 7,7,8,4,7; 8th Alicia Chung w/ Ilie Bardahan 8,6,6,8,8.
Janet Colleran w/ Aleks Nashev won the S2 and ????? Chen w/ Nikolai Shparkov won the S3
3,000 In One Day!
Yesterday at the Emerald Ball it was a day like no other, it was all about the Ballroom categories and how to squeeze 3000 entries into the approximately 17 hours the day allowed. This was not to be, although it ran mostly on time we had to borrow 2 ? hours from the next morning in order to finish this unprecedented phenomenon. The competitors and the remaining audience were completely out of the ballroom by 2:16AM, Saturday morning.
The 3,000 entries in one day (the size of a medium event on its own) were not the only unprecedented occurrence. Nowadays with the use of instagram, twitter, and Facebook a desperate professional Smooth competitor wrote to her fans and friends on Facebook “Dear Emerald Ball 2015 participants and spectator!! As many of you know First Round of pro Smooth is going to be on at 12:00 am tonight :) On behalf of professionals who are dancing this late, we would like to ask you to stay in the ballroom as late as possible so we all can perform for you! You may bring your pillows and blankets :)”
It was interesting to see the different responses that she got. A few advised her to take a nice nap, many said they would be there in spirit cheering and one just said “That sucks. I’ll be screaming for you in my dream!” We too expected plenty of people to walk away but we were pleasantly surprised by how many did stuck it out!
Perhaps the dancing, in particular the Professional Smooth category, really brought it home for most. Down to the semifinal round the competition was excellent and nearly every prominent couple in the country was present. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with the majority of firsts in every dance. We seem to think that these brand new US Champions might be feeling the heat from below and are trying to keep everything moving and improving and that is what we saw yesterday in their performance. Second overall were Mikhail & Galina Zharinov. They placed second in four dances and third in the tango. Their scores were around the ballpark, the only anomaly we saw was that out of 17 judges only one of the highest respected Smooth style coaches awarded them a sixth place mark - Michael Mead in the VW. (The previous report that David Hamilton also awarded them a 6th place was an error on the original scrutineer sheet. His marks in tango was 2nd).
A third place finish was awarded to Mazan Hamza & Izabella. They placed second in the tango and third in the other three dances. For us their performance was strong and clean, no room for mistakes here, and this was reflected by the steadiness of their 3,2,4 place marks from the 17 judges. However, here too we had an anomaly and this was in the foxtrot where Tomas Atkocevicius awarded them 6th. We were very disappointed with Nick Cheremukin & Viktorija who placed fourth overall and who we are almost certain must have been disappointed with this result. On this outing we did not see much of the magic and spontaneity this couple brings to the floor, instead it was a little like an old marriage going through the motions. In their defense, perhaps this couple is quite affected by the surroundings and dancing at 1:30AM is not the most conducive environment for a smoothie.
Fifth and sixth came to a rule (11) Travis & Jaimee Tuft placed fifth in both waltzes and sixth in the tango, foxtrot. Kyle & Allie Spinder placed fifth in the tango, foxtrot and sixth in the waltzes, that meant a complete tie, so now we have to dig into the rule book for a rule 11 decision that gave the edge to Kyle & Allie who placed fifth, leaving The Tufts holding sixth.
We cannot say the Professional Latin was totally worth the wait. Maybe the couples were not motivated but for us they all seemed to look the same. With an educated audience, as most of us were, we had to look for what we liked because really nothing came to us. Our group favorites were basically taken out in the semifinal and so we ended up with what we called the rest, and we did as best as I’m sure the judges did to sort them out in our mind. The winners indisputably from our perspective and that of the judges were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who won all dances with the majority of firsts in all dances. However, we must say that this was not the best effort we have seen from this couple, perhaps they were missing the usual company here at the Emerald Ball of Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zaugoruychenko and Roman Kutsky & Anna Kovalova who, as we just mentioned, are usually fixtures at this competition.
Second overall was awarded to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova they placed second in four dances and third in the rumba. I think everyone is in awe of this young lady’s feet, her arches are a Latin dream and her body and back seduces the music, with a more attuned engagement they could have easily moved up. Third overall was Gunnar Gunnarson & Marika Doshoris from England 3,3,2,4,5. Marika sported a million dollar smile, for me this is very important to draw your audience in sometimes the anguished looks does not do it for us but a pleasant smile goes a long way. Gunnar & Marika’s dancing was very well rehearsed so in just correctness we could see them having this placement. However, here in the USA we expect more than correctness because that will be what you will get a correct result and not a win.
Fourth overall was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 4,4,6,5,3, what a steady couple this is, with powerful movements and a very high understanding of movement and balance, this couple has come a long way and we consider ourselves fans now. We would not have been surprised if they had placed a little higher. Fifth went to Evgeniy Likhachev & Maria Levina 5,5,5,3,4. In all fairness we most point out that here there was also a tie between Dmitry & Olena and Evgeniy & Maria, when the points were all counted they both had 22 each, but this tie was easily decided by a simple rule 10 and that how the results came out. To conclude this was not a welcome result for Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova who placed sixth overall 6,6,4,6,6.
The Youth Latin was also excellent and here the winners were Bunchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets placing first in all dances, second overall was Michell Itkin & Natasha Shevchenko 2,3,2,2,3, and third was Murat Medzhidov & Valerie Dubinsky 3,2,3,3,2 who won the Youth Ballroom.
The Pro/Am Ballroom scholarships were super well attended, most with quarter final rounds. The “A” had an 8 couple final in the end and top placement went to Natalie Rezal w/ Sergei Kiselev 2,1,1,1,1. Second was awarded to Julia Shen w/Alexander Voskalchuk 1,2,3,2,2, and third was Yulia Rudenko w/Andrei Rudenco 3,3,2,3,3. 4th Vinie Miller w/ Denis Kutepov 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Feraci 4,4,5,5,5; 6th Deanna Beglyarova w/ Simeon Stoynov 8,6,6,6,6; 7th Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin 7,8,7,7,7; 8th Irene Lau w/ Mikhail Avdeev 6,7,8,8,8.
The “B” Ballroom was awarded to Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano and she placed first in all dances. Second went to Carol Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet 3,2,2,2,2, and third was Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov 2,3,3,3,3. 4th Ling Ma w/ Edgars Gasjuns 6,5,4,5,4; 5th Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 4,6,5,4,5; 6th Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev 5,4,6,6,6.
The “C” division winner was Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Koreiva, winning all dances, second was Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk 5,2,4,2,3, leaving third for Jenny Fong & Victor Veyrasset 4,3,2,4,4. 4th Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,4,3,3,6; 5th Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini 2,5,7,5,2; 6th Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 6,6,5,7,5; 7th Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 7,7,6,6,7.
As we said earlier it was a very unprecedented day and night literally packed with dancing till dawn. Let’s see what today brings, we should all keep our fingers crossed for an early night!
1,1,1,6 was the scores for one of the pro RS couples last night in the American Smooth, and where do you think they placed overall?
In a result that had the whole ballroom talking, Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski placed 1,1,1,6 to achieve an overall 2nd place finish – one of the oddest results we have seen in some time. The winners were Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who scored 2,2,2,1. So was Radek & Denise’s VW really off? Not that we noticed, but the whole final received some of the most varied scoring we’ve seen. 6 of the 7 couples had 1st places in every dance. Radek & Denise had judges placing them 1st and last in every dance, as did all the others, in the VW a couple of judges lowered their scores a little and that resulted in the dramatic lowering of their placement.
Overall this was probably the best event of the night. As we said, Adrian & Hannah were the winners and looked in great shape. 3rd were Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 3,5,3,4. 4th Mark Short & Alyssa Kark 4,7,4,2. 5th Morten Jensen & Anastasia 5,3,6,5. 6th Jean Paul & Lana Rossi 7,6,5,3. We felt they could have been higher. 7th Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini 6,4,7,7.
All 4 RS events were held last night. The first one to hit the floor was the Rhythm. In this Aaron & Iryna DeSoto were the victors winning all dances but only the mambo with the majority of 1st places. They had tons of energy and were always visible on the floor. 2nd spot went to Erwin & Iwona Rybczynski 2,2,2,3,2. 3rd were a new couple to this style, Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago 3,4,4,2,3. We were impressed with this lady. 4th went to Max Lotoskyy & Sarah Haworth 4,3,3,4,5. 5th Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman 5,5,5,6,6; 6th Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson 6,6,6,5,4.
A clearer win went to Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova in the Ballroom. They placed 1,1,1,1,2 but did have the majority of 1st places in the 4 dances they won. The runners-up were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska and they scored 2,2,2,2,1 and they also had the majority of 1st places in the QS. Looks like the judges got it together on this one! 3rd were Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko 4,3,3,5,4. It was interesting to see Kristina’s retro styled ballgown. 4th Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson 5,5,4,4,3. 5th Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina 3,6,5,3,5. 6th Alexey Pigotskyy & Taisiia Babiuk 6,4,6,7,7. 7th Alex & Grace Wang 7,7,7,6,6.
The clearest win of the night came in the last event, the RS Latin. A new duo to us, Mykhallo Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina, won all dances with a majority of 1st places. We liked them for the win also. However, the word from those around the ballroom was that we were all glad not to be judging this one! 2nd went to Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko 2,2,2,4,2. 3rd were Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova 5,3,4,3,4; 4th Jake Davies & Alyona Kalina 3,4,5,5,3; 5th Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva 6,5,3,2,5; 6th Francesco Arietta & Rosaria Vivone 4,6,6,6,6.
The afternoon session saw the conclusion of the pro-am Smooth divisions with the Open Scholarships. All these were at a very high level.
The A was won by Yulia Rudenko w/ Andrei Rudenko who has recently moved up from the youth division. This young lady will e very difficult to beat in this style and she won all dances here. 2nd went to Natalie Rezai w/ Slawek Sochaki 3,2,4,4. 3rd was Jessica Spink w/ Peter Walker 5,5,2,3; 4th Madison Stribling w/ Mayo Alenan 2,4,5,5; 5th Sara Jess w/ Tomas Mielnicki 7,6,3,2; 6th Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin 4,3,6,6; 7th Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan 6,7,8,7; 8th Samntha Rico w/ Morten Jensen 8,8,7,8.
The B gave as a close finish with the win going to Aiyesha Dey w/ Mayo Alanen 1,2,3,1 over Sincha Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa 4,1,1,2. 3rd Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu 2,3,2,3; 4th Patricia Schneider w/ Nick Cheremukhin 3,4,5,4; 5th Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen 5,5,4,5; 6th Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 7,6,6,6; 7th Lance Smith w/ Tone Jacobsen 6,7,7,7.
Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski notched up her second win so far here at Emerald by taking all dances in the C Smooth. 2nd went to Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu 2,2,3,3; 3rd Michiko Cantor w/ Evgeny Malko 4,5,2,2; 4th Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,4,4,4; 5th Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian 5,3,6,5; 6th Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean 6,6,5,6.
In the Senior divisions, Janice Smiith w/ David Weise won the S1, Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy won the S2 and Lawrence Mitchell w/ Shalene Archer won the S3.
Today is Emerald’s longest day with about 2,700 entries in the pro-am ballroom divisions plus open professional categories at night. Stay tuned!
Emerald Starts with 2 Days of Rhythm
The Emerald Ball kicked off its almost 1 week of dancing and 14,000 entries with 2 days of pro-am Rhythm that began Tuesday afternoon and concluded Wednesday afternoon with the Open Pro-Am Scholarships.
Of the 3 open divisions the C was the largest with 22 entries and we thought the most exciting. There were several new players fighting for the top spots. In the end, however, experience paid off and seasoned competitor, Lisa Lowery w/ Radel Wiatrowski managed to win all dances and we think the judges made the right decision. Lynn Magnesen w/ Vard Margaryan, a newer pairing, took 2nd in all dances and this lady with a little more work on feet and legs could be a great force in this division. Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu was 3rd 4,3,4,3,4 and we thought she showed tremendous improvement in this style that has not always been her strongest. Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin was 4th, 3,4,3,4,5; Dianne Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov took 5th 5,5T,5,5,3 and Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert was 6th 6,5T,6,6,6.
The B division began with a semifinal and here the winner, again in all dances was Gwen Bourque w/ Aaron Talbert. Gwen showed her usual soft use of arms and body. We also liked the runner-up, Jacqueline Bequette w/ Daniel Lee Tran who indeed took 2nd in all dances. The remaining places were less decided. 3rd went to Heidy Kellison w/ Sean Tamashiro 5,4,3,3,4. 4th was Isabel Collins w/ Slash Sharan 4,3,5,4,5. 5th went to Sharon Power w/ Jason Daly 6,5,4,5,3 and 6th went to Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantynov 3,6,6,6,6. We thought Tracy could have finished higher.
Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco was the certain winner of the A division, we thought. Only 4 couples entered and Nadia won all dances. 2nd in all went to Natalie Ptersen w/ FJ Abaya, 3rd in all to Jessica Sweeney w/ Jeremy Pilling and 4th in all to Ann Shaw w/ Daniel Lee Tran.
There was also a very good S2 division with 21 entries. This was won by Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian who had a new look and demeanor on the floor. We really liked the runner-up also, Quin Bommelje w/ Misha Vlasov. 3rd went to Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy.
In the evening we began what will be 2 days of pro-am Smooth that conclude in the late afternoon if Thursday with the Open Scholarships. Check back for more
Amateur Latin Headlines on Saturday!
We felt the Amateur Latin was the headline event on Saturday night here at the Miami Vibe. It was the only event to begin with a semifinal and several countries were represented.
Every couple entered was of a high level and the final six were outstanding. Winning all dances tonight were Denmark’s Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva. As usual we liked their dancing a lot, but although they won all dances they had the majority of 1st places in only samba and paso doble. In fact they picked up marks all over the board including a few 6th places. We were surprised by this disparity. Actually many of the couples shared in the 1st places. 2nd tonight were Slava Visnakovs & Tereza Kizlo from Latvia 3,2,3,2,3. We liked this couple, they were neat but not overly showy. 3rd place fell to the USA in the persons of the new tam of Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina 2,3,2,4,4. This was a great result for this new team – several steps better than their last showing in Provo. Vladimir Litvinov & Olga Nikolajeva from Russia were 4th 4,4,4,3,2. Placing 6,5,6,5,5, Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriela Sabler were 5th. We thought they would place higher and indeed some judges agreed with us. Closing the final with 5,6,5,6,6, were another great new partnership, Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze.
Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova won the Pro Ballroom quite easily, although they did receive a few scores in the lower half of the final. The judge who favored them the least was Marc Nocera who scored them 5,4,5,4,2. 2nd went to Rudiger Homm & Katia Kanevskaya with 2,2,3,2,2. Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova, who we feel were the most musical couple in this final, were 3rd with 3,3,2,3,3. The remaining couples all finished in the same position in every dance. Nazah Batih & Mariko Cantley 4th; Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova 5th; Pavel Cherdantsau & Svetlana Rudkovskya 6th; Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriella Sevillano Solomkha 7th.
With the only perfect score of the night, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova won the Pro Rhythm. 13 first places in every dance. Well done! Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra were 2nd in all dances. Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova were 3rd 3,3,2,3,4; Tamas Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurpova were 4th 4,4,4,4,3; Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy 5,5,5,5,5; Rodrigue Edouard & Evgeniya Spotar 6,6,6,6,6; Mitchel Kibel & Bobbie Briceno 7,7,7,7,7.
Martin Cordosa & Noelia Guerrero won the Cabaret with their fiery Argentine Tango. Although we are not always a fan of this genre, this pair does and outstanding job. Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez were 2nd and perhaps could have won the division, but one missed lift marred their performance. Slava Panakshev & Daria Cebotary were 3rd, Nazar & Mariko were 4th and Richard Ortiz & Hannah Pickard were 5th.
The evening closed with a show themed around Alice Through the Looking Glass and featured the Perico Ballet troop and Miss Connecticut playing Alice. Our favorite number was Vibeke Toft as the Evil Queen with her Latin minions!
The Lights go out on Vibe?
A momentary light failure meant that the professional danced about 20 seconds in total darkness during the Open Latin final, but the lights were certainly not out on this event last night.
Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite, world finalists and Canadian Champions, delighted the crowd with spectacular energized dancing to win the event easily. We were a little surprised that they did pick up 3 second placements, 2 of them from judge, Shirley Johnson. Receiving nothing lower than 2nd place and 3 first places, the runners-up were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets. From here on down the judges were a little undecided but 3rd placed Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Dereleva had the majority of 3rd places in 3 dances and placed 3rd in all dances. Vlad Astafiev & Jenya Didenko were 4th 5,4,5,4,4; 5th Dmitrii Zavialov & Ashley Sanchez 4,5,4,5,5; 6th Dimitriy Solomakha & Gabriella Solomakha 6,7,6,6,6; 7th the Netsvetasev from Russia 7,6,7,7,7.
The USA’s 2 leading couples turned out for the Open Pro Smooth and the result went to the US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu. They had a perfect score in the tango and lost only 5 first place marks over the other 3 dances. We thought they were in good form last night. Mikhail & Galina Zharinov were similarly successful in 2nd position. Galina was wearing a knee-length, simple white dress. Are we seeing a change in style for the American Smooth? 3rd in all dances were Andrei & Elena Rudenko, a strong finish for them. 4th in all went to Vlad & Vera Kosarev who we thought had a good night as well. WE saw a reversal of fortunes from the Smooth RS division for 5th and 6th as today Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski placed 5th in all dances, ahead of Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra.
Also on last night was an interesting and multi national Open Amateur Ballroom. Winning all dances were Artem Katashinskiy & Marina Katashinskaya from Russia, a very talented young couple. 2nd went to Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli from California 2,2,2,2,2. 3rd in all dances, Ben Taylor & Stefanie Bossen from England and 4th, Justin Linn & Sasha Dubinsky from Massachusetts.
The night began with a pro-am solo competition that was judged by the audience through a text voting system. 7 couples competed and the winner was Jake Monreal w/ Ashley Sanchez and very lively and talented young man indeed.
All the finalist ladies in the Open Amateur and Ballroom divisions all weekend were invited to a drawing for a piece of jewelry designed by Marico Hosoi following the announcement of their results. There wre some very happy lady competitors this weekend!
Also providing entertainment between the professional rounds was the Perico ballet company.
“Vibrant in Miami Beach!”
Andrew Phillip’s Miami Vibe (formerly known as the Miami Open and Sunshine State) is ongoing and vibrant on beautiful Miami Beach (OK we’re a little biased because we live here!). The setting is architect, Maurice Lapidus’ MIMO masterpiece the Eden Roc Hotel – beautifully restored to much of its former grandeur.
Yesterday got under way with the Pro-Am Ballroom divisions and all 4 Pro Rising Star divisions at night. The 2 American style RS both had semifinals.
The Rhythm was the first and largest division to take the floor. Winning tonight were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra who placed 1,1,1,1,2. They won all their dances with the majority of 1st places except the rumba. Winners of the mambo were Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth and they placed 2,2,2,2,1. Both of these top couples picked up some random scores in the lower half of the final. After these first two the scores became very random. 3rd with 3,4,3,3,5, were Tamas Kardos & Mariya Khristina Shurpova; 4th Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 6,3,4,6,3; 5th Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy 5,5,5,4,4; 6th Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash 4,6,6,5,6.
Next up was the ballroom and this had easy winners in Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova who won all dances and lost only 3 first place marks total. 2nd in all were Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova, 3rd in all Dimitriy Solomakha & Gabriella Solomakha and 4th in all William Proper & Jennifer Elliott.
The Latin was also a 4-couple final but the results were more mixed. The winners placed 1,3,1,1,2 and they were Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Dereleva. Winners of the jive, Vlad Astafiev & Jenya Didenko took 2nd overall with 2,2,3,2,1 and the winners of the Samba, Dmitrii Zavialov & Ashley Sanchez were 3rd overall with 3,1,2,3,3. 4th in all dances were 10-dancers, the Solmakhas.
Andrei & Elena Rudenko won the Smooth fairly easily with a majority of 1st places in all dances. 2nd in all fell to Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski. 9-dancers, Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra were 3rd with 3,3,3,5. We had an Italian couple in 4th place, Daniele Scalise & Alla Andriushchenko 4,4,5,3. 5th were another 9-dance pairing Maksym Lototsky & Sarah Haworth 5,5,4,4 and closing the final were Ryan Kenner & Laura Kenner.
The pro-am ballroom open scholarships in the B & C divisions were quite strong. The C was the largest and the winners here was Vicki Sato w/ Basil Issaev 4,1,2,1,2. 2nd was April Haims w/ Ruslan Meshkov 1,2,3T,5,1; 3rd Joanne Walford w/ Paolo DiLorenzo 2,3,3T,2,4. The winners of the VW was Frances Yu w/ Alexander Voskalchuk who placed 4th overall.
Irina Grishenko w/ Aleksander Federov was the winner in the B Scholarship placing 2,1,1,1,1, a surprise result over the favorite, Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano 1,2,2,2,2. Aniko Toth w/ Ruslan Meshkov was 3rd, 3,4,3T,3,3.
The evening session ended with a good show featuring 3 strong young amateur couples in solo performances. Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze, Artemiy & Marina Katashinskiy, Ron Garber & Liza and Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina.
Living up to the name!
Last night the San Diego Beach Bash lived up to its name. What started with a bash ended up with a bash! The feature events, Professional Ballroom, Rhythm, Smooth and Latin were terrific and well attended, and the bash reception by the pool after the competition completed this bash and sent most of us home wanting to come back.