Dance Beat Team
The culmination of the Holiday Dance Classic was as usual the spectacular, now iconic, party after the competition in the Havana Club. It was a major success with everyone dancing, feasting and socializing. Nothing quite beats this dynamic ending of the 2014 Holiday Dance Classic Championship.
The well-known show in the ballroom prior to the party was memorable to say the least. The theme was very simple - down to the music where the basic sounds of drums and wood boxes accompanied every tune, making it all sound rich yet simple. Brent Mills led the percussion ensemble that also included judges Sarwat Kaluby and Ron Montez.
It was a delight to see Ray Rivers dancing with his entire family, the music from “Strictly Ballroom” was full and very complimenting to the Australian feel of the dancing number. It was also nice to see US icon, Melissa Dexter, dancing a very musical number to percussion only with Italian Champion and partner in life Giacomo Steccalia. The numbers from the Brooklyn DanceSport were excellent and full of life. It was also terrific to see Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova join in for their last number.
The show as usual, was cleverly put together by Ms. Wendy Johnston who had her hands full this weekend with this task, and all her family present including her new favorite love and addition to her family, grandson “Theo.”
It was a short and sweet evening with only two dance competitions the Professional Latin and the Professional Smooth. In the Professional Latin Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova took first in every dance but only in the cha cha did they manage to get the majority of firsts. In the rest of the dances they relied some on the seconds or better. A number of judges marked them fourth, fifth and even a few sixths. We in Dance Beat felt the competition did not really have such a clear ending, all couples were of excellent caliber but not one really stood out as the best in the field. Second overall went to possibly our favorites of the night, Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova who took second in every dance. Third was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 3,3,5,6,3; fourth went to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova 5,4,3,5,4; fifth was awarded to Gunnar Gunnarson & Marika Doshoris from England 4,5,4,3,5 and in sixth position were Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina 6,6,6,4,6.
In the professional Smooth Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija gave an outstanding performance and one every dance, three with the majorsity of first from the judges and second or better in the VW. Mazen Hamza & Izabella took all seconds. We are sure this to be a very disappointing finish for this couple considering that a few years back they were so close to reaching the top. Third in all dances went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft. Fourth was awarded to Max Sinitsa & Michelle Officer. We are sure that they too were hoping for better results. Unfortunately from the sidelines the work did not look complete and it was quite shaky at times. We are sure that if we could see this so could the judges. They placed 4,4,4,5. Fifth went to Kyle & Allie Spinder 5,5,5,4, and sixth was awarded to Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft and they took sixth in every dance.
The pro-ams concluded their week with the Open Ballroom Scholarships that were perhaps the best pro-am events of the week. The B and C divisions were especially strong.
The winner of the A, the smallest of the divisions, was Anna Lucero w/ Ikaika Dowset. Anna placed 1,2,2,3,1. As you can see the judges were not in total agreement on this heat. 2nd went to Grace Wang w/ Mikhail Avdeev, 2,3,1,1,3 and 3rd was Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci 3,1,4,2,4. 4th, Sabine Blyth w/ Giacomo Agrello 4,4,3,4,2; 5th Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin 5,6,5,5,6 and 6th Aleksandra Kurashko w/ Denis Generalov 6,5,6,6,5.
Almost all the top players were here in the B making for some tough choices for the judges from Semi to final. We saw several ladies who could certainly have been at home in the top six left in the semi. The winner was Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano and Celia won all 5 dances. Beverly Moore added a runner-up finish to her two previous wins here at Holiday placing 3,2,2,2,2. Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov took 3rd, 2,3,3T,3,3. We really liked Julie today and thought she was going to really challenge for the top spot. But the final was perhaps not her strongest round. Brynda Insely w/ Martin Reinbold also had a good day and was rewarded with 4th place, 4,4,3T,4,4. Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avddev was 5th 5,5,5,5,5 and Bo Chang w/ Giampiero was 6th 6,6,6,6,6.
The C was the largest division danced over 3 rounds. The battle for first came down to a 3 dance to 2 win for Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 1,1,2,1,2 over Jill Bradford & Gert Roslender 2,2,1,2,1. Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi was 3rd although placed 4,4,4,3,4 – one of those weird Skating System results! 4th went to Paige Riffle w/ Iaaroslav Bieliel 3,3,5,4,5; 5th Hye Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva 5,5,3,5,3 and 6th Deborah Errico w/ Dariusz Michalski 6,6,6,6,6.
As we mentioned earlier the evening was short and sweet, a perfect finish some great dancing, a fun Holiday show and a fabulous party. Who can ask for more? We are looking forward to 2015 as we have done for the past 25 years!
More Than Just Rhythm at the Tropicana!
Last night at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino the dancing was fabulous, the Professional Rhythm was one of the feature events but there was more, the Amateur Latin was hot and the Professional Ballroom was also excellent and we had a few surprises in the Professional Cabaret division.
The evening began with a healthy quarter-final in the Professional Ballroom, and we must say that down to the semifinal the couples were all of great quality. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva had no problem capturing the Championship. They won all dances with a majority of firsts. However, there were a few judges that would disagree in particular the judge from Australia, Phillip Nichols who awarded them four 3rd and a 4th and Pat Traymore who was not far behind and also awarded them low scores a 4th in the tango, 3rd in the waltz and 2nd in the other three dances.
Second in all dances also went easily to Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blimova who also got some interesting marks from some of the judges. Their worst marks also came from the Australian judge who awarded them 2, 6th in the VW and Quickstep and 4th in the other three dances. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova also had an easy third place finish in all dances. But from fourth down the judges were a little less decisive. Fourth went to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk and they placed 4,5,5,4,4, fifth was awarded to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 5,4,4,6,5, and sixth was awarded to the new partnership of Ruedeger Homm & Katia Kanevskaya who for the moment seemed to be representing Germany, 6,6,6,5,6.
The battle for superiority in the Professional Rhythm continues here at the Holiday Classic but this time the battle was between Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova and Andre & Natalie Paramonov. Both last couples mentioned were in great form but in the end Nazar & Irina took the Championship title home by placing first in all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances. When looking at the marks we noticed that Nazar & Irina got all firsts or seconds with just an occasional third in two dances. Andre & Natalie placed second in all dances with a majority of seconds and some firsts, a third and even a fourth, both from Ms. Pat Traymore.
Third overall was awarded to Shane & Shannon Jensen who placed third in all dances. Fourth went to Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov, but here things got a little more complicated. Donovan & Rose placed fourth in three dances and fifth in the cha cha and mambo. Fifth overall was awarded to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukova 4,5,6,6,4, and you could tell by the judges marks that they could not make up their minds. Personally the Dance Beat Team thought they could have easily placed higher, they had great energy and terrific Rhythmic form. And sixth was awarded to Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova 6,6,5,5,6.
The Professional Cabaret was excellent and this went to Travis and Jaimee Tuft, We thought their routine looked very secure and rehearsed tonight and deserving of the first place. Second was awarded to possibly the favorites going into the competition, Shane & Shannon Jensen. It was a tight finish with 6 first places going to the Tufts and 5 to the Jensens, however, we have to agree with the decision. The runners-up looked a little unusually shaky. Third went to Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova and clearly this was their position with a comedy routine that was excellent and always brings the house down. In fourth position were Ivan Berkovic & Dena Weiner, here there was some life challenging lifts, unfortunately we all kept praying for them - not something that would give you points in our opinion.
The Adult Amateur Latin was also excellent and out of this world. Here the night went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler and they placed first in all five dances. Pasha & Gabrielle’s worst marks came from Graham Oswick from England who awarded them 3 thirds in the cha, samba & paso. Second overall wen to Artur Tamavskyy & Anastasia Danibva and they placed second in 4 dances and third in the jive. Artur & Anastasia’s work was very interesting, not sure all judges would be taken by their interpretation but we in Dance Beat thought it was very unique and clever. Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi were third overall 3,3,3,3,2. Here was a no nonsense Latin performance, just lots of rhythm and musicality. Had they broken the mold a little bit, we think they could have easily place much higher.
Fourth in this excellent Amateur heat was awarded to Eugeny Raev & Patrycja Csolak who took fourth in all dances. Fifth went to Stanishlav Engelgardt & Tania Vasilyeva 6,5,5,6,5, and last but not least in sixth place were Jason Dai & Sasha Nissengolts 5,6,6,5,6.
Although it was a difficult night on the floor for the judges we are sure, it was a terrific night of dance for the audience and for the prestige of the Holiday Dance Classic that continues to be the number one location to finish the competition year. Congratulations to the organizers!
Unexpected Xmas Story!
Last night there was an unexpected Xmas story at the Holiday Dance Classic, in the Professional Rising Star ranks.
It had been a wonderful full day of Pro/Am Latin, where like all the other days past we were able to witness some terrific Pro/Am scholarships. All the divisions down to the senior levels had been extremely good. The afternoon concluded with the prize presentation for the Open Scholarships.
We saw our first gentleman winner in the Open A Latin, Jacub Tsai w/ Yulia Kuznetsova. It was a tight race however, with Jacob placing 1,1,2,3,3. Second went to Sabrine Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin 2,2,3,1,2 and another of the 1st places went to Vera Wei Xu w/ Jakub Zeglin who scored 4,3,4,4,1 to take 3rd overall. 4th spot fell to Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi 3,4,5,2,4. And the last of those elusive 1st places went to Tanya Durbin w/ Marcus Johnson 5,5,1,5,5 for a 5th place finish overall. 6th was Zoe Antinou w/ Andre Strinadko.
Maria Seragou w/ Dimitrios Damalas was the winner of the Open B scoring 2,1,1,3,2. Svetlana Van Tassel w/ Andrey Tarasov took the runner-up spot with 1,1,2,1,1 and Nathalie Belanger w/ Genya Bartashevich was 3rd, 3,3,2,1,3. From here down the judges were more decide in this 8-couple final. 4th Marialisa De Gasperis w/ Kamil Studenny 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Anna Poberetsky w/ Andre Strinadko 5,5,5,5,6; 6th Kim Porter w/ Tomasz Wlodarski 6,6,6,6,7; 7th Khong Pham w/ Jessie Mineau 8,8,7,8,5; 8th M’Balia Tagoe-Guzman w/ Nikolay Voronovich 7,7,8,7,8.
Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet became our 3rd repeat winner as she added the Open C Latin to the Open C Smooth she won the day before. Beverly placed 2,3,2,1,1. 2nd place went to Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann 1,1,3,3,2 and 3rd was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 3,2,1,2,3. Again, the second half of the final was more decided. Linda Zhao w/ Jean Paul was 4th, 4,4,4,4,5; 5th Deborah Leibow w/ Slava Gorbunov 6,5,6,5,4; 6th Iris Chiang w/ Evgeny Nazarov 5,6,5,6,6.
So “twas the night before Christmas” – well not exactly and in fact plenty was stirring!
The first of the Rising Star events was the Professional Rising Star Ballroom. This event started with a quarter final round and Vladimir Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were the clear victors winning all dances. Second went to Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska and they placed 3,2,2,2,2. Yuriy Nartov w/Sarika Hudson were third overall 2,3,3,3,3.
The RS Rhythm also started with a quarter and here Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were declared the overall winners by winning four dances and placing second in the swing. The swing went to Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti who placed second in the remaining dances. Third in this Rising Star event was awarded to Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash, and they took third in all dances.
As an intermission, like in every good Xmas story, we had an excellent Amateur Ballroom event. Here the clear winners for us and for the judges were Andres & Veronika End who won all dances. Second was awarded to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova and they placed second in all dances, leaving third to Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli who took all thirds.
But all did not end with the Amateurs, the second part of this Professional Rising Star evening, as if it was properly orchestrated had for us the most exiting two finals of the night - the Pro Rising Star Latin and Smooth. In the Latin we had a well-known Pro/Am dancer, Cheyenne Murillo, dancing for the first time as a professional. This transition from Pro/Am to professional is not unusual, we’ve had plenty of those in the past. However, it was as always very unexpected especially since Cheyenne’s transitional partner continued to be her Pro/Am teacher who is now her partner, Sasha Altukhov. We must say that this was an excellent transition since they won the Rising Star competition by taking first in four dances and second in the samba. In some ways we could say that their performance was still a little green but full of energy and to most judges, a winning performance. We are sure that this green performance will ripen into a fabulous combination for years to come in the open level.
Second in this Professional Latin Rising Star heat wen to Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova who won the samba and placed second in the other four dances. We must also say that this was perhaps the best performance we have seen from this couple so far. And finally in third position were Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva and they placed third in all five dances.
Our Xmas story concludes with a fantastic end in the Professional Rising Star Smooth category where six very talented couples were called for the final all looking beautiful and in good form. In the end Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow from Washington, placed third in all dances, leaving the second place position to a Canadian couple who not long ago were one of Canada’s finest Latin couples and who just about six months ago decided to take on this Smooth challenge, Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko, they placed second in three dances and first in the foxtrot. Dmitry & Katerina were lovely last night and well deserving of their placement, however, we should never know what would have happened if the new Rising Star Smooth Champions, Mariusz Zakrzewski & Lynnsay Ray had not had to miss their foxtrot due to a costume malfunction – to say the least! Yes you heard it right, this is not a story this is the truth. During their excellent performance he or she got caught in the dress - he fell down and she was so tangled up in the dress she could not “tango on” (to quote Al Pacino) A tug-of-war began between her and the desperate audience that were trying to pull her out of her entanglement. At one point several people were tugging and trying to cut her out of her dress to the point that she began to cry knowing her foxtrot was nearly over. The music man tried going a little longer but it was no use, her dress half torn off, won the night. In the end a bystander showed up with some scissors and Lynnsay was released but it was too late, she only danced about a quarter of the foxtrot apparently good enough for the judges who awarded her second overall. Only one judge felt compelled to award these lovely dancers a first place mark and that was Toni Redpath and so their marks in this dance varied from first to last.
After this unusual struggle was over, the lady returned with more than half her dress gone but graciously they continued and not only won the VW but won the competition overall, giving us all an unforgettable Xmas story to tell about the Holiday Classic last night. You could feel the emotions from the judges and down to the audience when they were called out the winners overall. It was great for all present and a night that I was glad to witness from beginning to end.
At the end the celebrations continued in our little suite where all the conversation one way or another went in that direction. So even the mice were all running around feeling great about the judges, the audience, the competitors and even the organizers who worked very hard to put this excellent Holiday competition together for us all to enjoy.
The Holiday Went Smoothly!
Yesterday it was a full day (and we do mean full – 7 AM – 11:45 PM), of pro-am Smooth dancing here at Holiday Classic. As usual the culminating events were the Open Pro-Am Scholarships.
Interestingly we saw 2 repeat wins from the day before’s Rhythm scholarships – Brittany Winek w/ Eric Hudson was again victorious in the A division as was Susan Sidman w/ Gleb Makarov in the B.
Brittany won all dances in the A with a slim majority of 1st places in all dances. Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin was 2nd in all 4, but surprisingly did not pick up many 1st place marks from the judges. Kelly Morikawa w/ Jonathan Atkinson was 3rd 3T,3,3,3. 2 judges of the 7 awarded Kelly 1st place in the VW – the most received by anyone other than the winner. Jacqueline Bequette w/ David Estrada was 4th, 3T,4,4,4; Matt Chambers w/ Lorena Bravo 5th in all dances; Alexandra Weiss 6th in all and Jennifer Williamson 7th in all.
Susan had no trouble winning the B, she received every available 1st place mark but 1. Congratulations! Joanne Tatum was the runner-up in all dances and she received every 2nd place mark except for a 1st place from Jim Maranto in foxtrot. 3rd in all dances was Zhuojing Liu w/ Gene Bersten, 4th in all Victoria Chiang w/ David Estrada and 5th in all Jeff Kissell w/ Anne-Marie Patterson.
Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet was the winner of the C division, the largest of the Open Scholarships danced over 3 rounds. Beverly placed 2,1,1,1. The 1st in waltz went to Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi, 1,2,2,2. The next three places were the tightest contest. Janice Smith w/ David Weise took the 3rd spot, 3,3,4,3. Michael Roybal w/ Inna Berlizyeva was 4th, 4,6,3,4; Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian was 5th, 5,4,5,5 and Diane Best w/ Alyosha Anatoliy was 6th.
Today is another busy day with the pro-ams moving on to the Latin style plus some professional divisions begin.
Vegas has Rhythm!
Last night the day and a half of Rhythm competitions concluded with the heavily contested Open Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships. Every heat from beginning to end had quarters, semis and even 8-couple finals.
The “A” categories were very contested but only five couples made it to the final of this fully energized contest and in the end Brittany Winek partnered by Eric Hudson took first in all dances. Nicole Huerta w/Edwin Torres took all seconds and Ann Shaw w/Daniel Lee Tran was third in every dance. Fourth and fifth places in this category had more competition. Here Paula Darlas w/Sean Brunell took fourth in four dances and placed fifth in the swing, leaving Alexandra Weis with the swing fourth but fifth in the other four dances.
The most challenging Rhythm Scholarship was the “C” division where Nancy Lam w/Alexander Ivanov won overall. In this heat Nancy won four dances and placed second in the swing. Nancy Rapoport w/Sergiy Shapoval won the swing but was not as consistent as the winning lady in the other dances. Nancy placed second in the C,R,B and third in the mambo. Third was even more contested, here Heather Petros w/Fonzie Zapata took third overall but her marks were all over 4,4,3,3,2. Dana Voigt w/Randy Wilson placed fourth 3,6,4,4,4, leaving Evelyn Lamden w/Daniel Vasco holding fifth 5,5,5,6,5. Sixth in the overall event was awarded to Diana Best w/Alosha Anatoliy and these are her scores - 6,3,6,5,6.
The “B” division decision was not as divided. The two ladies on top got the judges attention. Here Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov won three dances and placed second in two, the rumba, and mambo. M’balia Tagoe-Guzman w/Mariusz Zakrzewski was second overall but managed to steal the two firsts from Susan, placing 2,1,2,2,1. From here down every placement was clear. Jacqueline Bequette w/Daniel Lee Tran was third in all dances, Bernadette Straatsma w/Felipe Telona Jr, got all fourths, Sandy Overly w/Adrian Lomeli took all fifths and Jeff Kissell w/Anna-Marie Patterson placed all sixths. Tonight the scholarships continue but this time in the Smooth categories, we are looking forward to some excellent dancing and interesting results.
The Holiday Dance Classic here in Las Vegas, Nevada continues to be one of our favorite events of the year and on that note the dancing calendar for 2014 finishes for many, leaving us wanting more, a wonderful trampoline and transition to 2015.
A Night of Winners!
Saturday night was a night for winners at OSB. Not only were there the scheduled 2 open pro and 1 open amateur championships, but also the 4 open pro winners competed for the “America’s Challenge” (the show that will conclude the PBS series being filmed here) and it was also time to announce the winners for the 2014 World Dancesport Series. All in all – a night of celebration!
The two open pro events were Latin and Smooth and they were very different events. Whereas almost everyone was there in the smooth, 3 US finalists were missing from the Latin.
US Champs, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, comfortably held on to their lead in the Smooth winning all dances with comfortable majorities of 1st places in all dances. They received predominantly 1st and 2nd places although we did notice a couple of stray marks, a 5th in foxtrot from Wendy Johnson and 2 4ths from Wendy and David Hamilton in VW are the most notable examples. 2nd and 3rd places also remained the same as USDC also with Mikhail & Galina Zharinov taking it 2,3,2,2 over Mazen Hamza & Izabella Jundzill 3,2,3,3. It was a little closer here than at USDC with the only majority of 2nd or better scores going to Hamza/Jundzill in the tango. The foxtrot and VW were particularly close with both couples scoring the same numbers of “2nd or better” scores. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija held on to all the 4th places, Travis & Jaimee Tuft kept all the 5th’s. The new partnership of Max Sinitsa & Michelle Officer took the 6th spot. These 2 experienced dancers did receive some marks in the top half of the final. Wendy Johnson marked them 1st in VW and Paul Holmes also placed them in the top three.
David Hamilton will have the report on this division.
Everything changed in the Showdance section of the Smooth competition. WE thought the best two routines ended up on top here. Mikhail & Galina won the event taking 7 of the 11 available 1st places. This duo always perform such classic showdances that the standing ovation they received was well deserved. Travis & Jaimee took 2nd in a jazzy (and a little racy) version of “You can keep your Hat On!” As the only couple to choose an upbeat theme and do it well, we were again not surprised by their high placement. Peter & Alexandra took 3rd, Mazen & Izabella 4th, Nick & Viktorija 5th and Max & Michelle 6th.
The US number 2 couple in Latin, Roman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova, had a pretty easy time winning the Latin Championship, taking the majority of 1st places in all dances. The only judge to seriously dissent on this verdict was Meryem Pearson who scored them 6,6,6,5,6. US Champs Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were not present as they were performing at the WDC World Ballroom Championship in Blackpool this weekend. Also not here were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who placed 3rd at USDC. So 2nd spot went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova. They were 2nd in all dances and had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ in all dances except paso doble. 3rd place went to Canada, Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko placed 3,3,3,4,3. 4th went to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova 4,4,5,5,4; 5th to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 5,6,6,3,5; 6th, Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina 6,5,4,6,6.
Chantal Leclerc will report on this division.
The couples finished in exactly the same order in the Showdance section.
The two champions were then joined by the Rhythm and Ballroom champions from the night before to compete in America’s Ballroom Challenge. This is a showdance competition with the couples each dancing a short and long program.
Tonight proved to be a “Rhythm” night. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova won both the short and long programs and so won the Challenge. This will be broadcast over several weeks in April of next year on PBS.
2nd was Roman & Anna who took 3rd in the short program and 2nd in the long. 3rd went to Peter & Alexandra 2,4 and 4th to Artem & Inna 4,3.
When it came to the World Dancesport Series it was a night of celebration for Lauren LaPointe and her teacher, Louis Bar. Lauren won several of the Top Student awards, including Top Female student of the year. Louis was Top Teacher of the year. Top Male Student for 2014 was Eric Leninger.
The Open Amateur Championship was a strong event although several of the top players were missing. Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova won all dances. Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov were 2nd in all – a strong result for them. 3rd in all were Ruslan Kalyzhnyy & Ksenia Sovenko. 4th, Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky 4,4,5,4,5; 5th Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvilli 5,5,4,5,4; 6th Brenton Mitchell & Alexandra Sevastilianova 6,6,6,6,6.
The Final Showdown?
Last night in “Battelle” hall at OSB we had what seems to be the final showdown in the Professional Rhythm Championships, and the final coronation or confirmation to our US National Professional Rhythm Champions, Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova, that they are the best in the land.
Emmanuel & Liana won four dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances, and with perfect scores they took the mambo. Not one judge dissented, they all marked them first in the mambo. Melissa Dexter and Linda Dean gave Emmanuel & Liana their worst scores in the four other dances. Melissa placed them third in the Cha Cha and the Bolero, and Linda awarded them one 3rd in the Bolero. An excited Pierre-Antoine nearly kissed the floor when the awards were announced and the excitement continued when they also were awarded first in the showdance portion of the competition.
A repeat of the US Nationals also took place for second and third positions also, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed second in all dances. They too enjoyed a solid confirmation from the judges. A few gave them first in four dances and almost a clean sweep of seconds. Their worst marks came from Sarwat Kaluby who awarded them 2 fourths in the cha cha and rumba and a fifth in the swing. Andre & Natalie Paramonov took third in all dances, and their scores were a little more varied. They only managed to steal one first in two dances and four firsts in the rumba. Their worst marks came from Marianne Nicole who awarded them sixth in every dance except for the mambo where she awarded them a fifth place. It is interesting to see how different Marianne’s marks are today compared to a year ago, and it is reassuring that judges do change their opinion as the couples improve! (a year ago Emanuel & Liana could have been the recipients of those 6th place marks, but not yesterday Marianne placed them first all dances).
Fourth in this very exciting Professional Rhythm Championship was awarded to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, and they were fourth in every dance. Fifth went to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova. Sixth place was quite a surprise for us. Shane and Shannon Jensen took this final final position knocking out a few couples that were a ahead of them in the rnakings and placed sixth in every dance.
With the exception of Emmanuel & Liana taking first the showdance final tally shifted a little. Here Peter & Alexandra Perzhu took second place, and we must say that we have never seen Peter dance with so much energy and pizzazz, we are almost certain that if he were to dance all Rhythm dances like this they could easily challenge for higher ground in this style. Andre & Natalie Paramonov took third in the showdance, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed fourth, Shane & Shannon Jenses as we expected moved up and took fifth position, and Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were sixth.
Albina Harble will report on this division for Dance Beat.
The Ballroom competition was not as powerful as in other years, this year the WDC World Professional Championship was being held at the same time in Europe and so some of the heavy hitters were not present. However the US has the most supply of excellent Ballroom dancers in their arsenal surpassing Russia and other major powers in the world, so even our up and coming are excellent. Last night Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva took first in every dance, and nearly a clean sweep of first places from the judges. Artem & Inna’s worst judge was one of the OSB chairmen of judges, Ms. Rickey Geiger, who awarded them seventh in the quickstep and tango, sixth in the foxtrot, fourth in the VW and third in the waltz.
Anton Lebedev & Anna Brosh from Canada took second overall, but could not hold on to the second in the quickstep, in this dance they were third. It is interesting to note that from Anton & Anna down the scores were as we would quickly say, “all over the place” so with an extra mark here or there any couple could have easily moved up the ladder. (Not sure exactly why Anton & Anna, who are the Canadian number 1 were not at the World Championship). Third in this shaky final was Andre Begunov & Anna Demidova 3,3,3,3,2, fourth went to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk 4,5,4,5,4, Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa were fifth 5,4,5,4,5, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina were sixth in every dance and Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took seventh.
Rauno Ilo will have a report on this division.
Things changed drastically in the Professional Ballroom Showdance. Here Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa who were fifth in the five-dance event took the showdance competition. We figure that it must have been Lesya’s shocking green dress that put them over the top cause their showdance was just a basic dance, no thrills and no frills. Second went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova doing a Marylyn Monroe impersonation. Some ladies (and gentleman) off the floor were expecting Andrey to take his top off so we were happy for them placing second but he left many disappointed fans. Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch from Canada took third doing a “cowboy” routine, we have never seen a cowboy do quickstep but it obviously impressed the judges. Fourth was awarded to the five dance Ballroom Champions Artem Plakotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva, fifth went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova, sixth were Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina and last but not least Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk took seventh.
The Professional Theatrical-Solo Exhibition was also held last night and here Shane & Shannon Jensen took first. Justin Guilmette & Kimalee Piedad were second. We were a little disappointed that Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva from Canada who did their Exorcist number did not place higher, the number is very unique in character and with very difficult lift executed like nothing, but maybe next time. Fourth went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, fifth were Brandon Barker & Chelsea Cherie, and sixth were Clyde Harris & Summer Black Elkin. The semifinal of this event was held in the afternoon.
There was a little shaking up in the Amateur Latin. Favorites to win, Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach, were still the winners but the judges might have been sending a message of “step it up” or go down, when they awarded Pasha & Daniella their marks that were 1,2,1,3,4. Fourth in the jive is quite low for this caliber of dancers and a third in the paso…. Message or not from the judges second overall went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler 2,4,3,1,1. Third was Artur Tarmavskyy & Anastasia Danilova 3,1,2,4,2, leaving fourth to Daniils Kutzovs & Maria Shalvarova 4,3,4,2,3. Fifth were Evgeny Raev & Petrycja Golak 5,5,5,5,6, and sixth was Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova 6,6,6,6,5.
The Open World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Latin ended yesterday afternoon and as just the day before with the smooth it did not disappoint.
The “A” category had some terrific ladies competing but in the end first overall went to Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada, they won all dances but the Rumba where they placed second. Vera Xu w/Jakub Zeglen placed second overall but was not the recipient of that lonely first place mark 2,2,3,2,2. Third place was awarded to Michael Roberts w/Milana Plinter, Michael was the only man to make a final in the pro/am Latin scholarships, and he placed third overall 3,3,5,6,3. Fourth was Emily Tang w/Delyan Terziev 4,4,4,5,4, but she too was not the recipient of that lonely first place mark left. The winner of the rumba was Maria Ceva w/Lyubomir Asenov 5,6,1,3,6, as you can see Maria nearly got one of each when it came to her marks. In sixth place was Grace Kuan w/Denis Podolskiy 6,5,6,4,5.
In the “B” division two Canadians took first and second, Hilda Li w/Roland Michtchenko took first 1,1,1,1,2, and Marialisa DeGasperis w/Kamil Studenny was second overall 2,2,2,3,1. It is also interesting to note that not one of the dances won by Hilda was won by a majority of firsts, the closest she came to winning a majority was in the paso doble where she took 5 firsts out of the 11 judges. And Marialisa also only managed four 1st place marks. From here down the judges also did not have a favorite and so all the couples shared on all the marks. Svetlanta Van Tassel w/Andrey Tarasov placed third 4,5,3,4,3, Missy White w/Genya Bartashevich was fourth 5,3,4,5,6, Suzanne Peterson w/Damir Karaman was fifth 6,6,5,2,5, Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas was sixth 3,4,7,7,4, and in seventh place was Mirra Blinova w/Clement Joly 7,7,6,6,7.
The “C” division was slightly more consistent especially in the upper tier. Lisa Lowery partnered by Radek Wiatrowoski had no problem winning all the dances and this time in two dances the rumba and samba with a clear majority of firsts from the 11 panel of adjudicators. Former World “C” Latin Dancesport Series Champion Beverly Moore w/Alain Doucet from Canada placed second overall but not all the way through, in the paso doble she took third. Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen placed third 4,4,3,2,3, Lorraine Peoples w/Andrei Gavriline was fourth 5,3,4,4,4, Nora Fox w/Plamen Danilov was fifth 3,7,7,6,5, Connie Buckley w/Leonid Proskurov took sixth 6,5,6,5,6 and seventh position went to Tammy Knight w/Oleksii Lytvyn 7,6,5,7,7.
As you can see this Ohio Star Ball has had plenty of surprises in both the professional, the amateur and pro/am fields. We hope this trend is here to stay it keeps everyone on their toes and in their best shape to perform. There is nothing worse than the same thing over and over again and as we always say in Dance Beat, “if you do what you have always done, you are going to get what you have always gotten!”
“Brilliant” that is the only way to describe the Open Pro/Am Smooth Scholarships and competitions last night at “OSB.”
These are the exact words Toni Redpath used last night to describe the Pro/Am Smooth events on FaceBook, “Brilliant day of Smooth at Ohio Star Ball. Thank you to all the competitors for making it, yet again, one of the most exciting and challenging days to judge.” We too were impressed by the quality and not just the quantity of Pro/Am competitors doing Smooth and doing it with style and great technical merit.
Nearly all the World Pro/Am Smooth Dancesport Series started with quarters or first rounds, but from the beginning you knew that the task to finding 6 finalists was going to be tough and the task of finding a champion even harder. The evidence of this was in the marks and the indecisiveness of last night’s judging panel. The “A” division was a perfect example of how difficult this task was. The overall winner, Julia Vaysfeld dancing with Nikolay Karchev, won the overall but placed second in the waltz, and when you look deep into the marks you can see how difficult the task was. Julia did not win any of the dances with a majority of firsts and in the foxtrot she only had three firsts out of 13 judges and in the VW only four firsts.
In our opinion this was perhaps one of the best and most challenging Pro/Am “A” Smooth Championships we have seen in years! Second overall and winning the waltz was Viktoriya Tverskaya w/Ilya Reyzin and here you can see the judges quivering pens at work. Viktoriya placed second in the tango and foxtrot but fourth in the VW. It’s important to note that Viktoriya won the waltz with only two firsts place marks out of 13 relying on third or better to get this dance.
Sara Jess w/Tomasz Mielnicki placed third overall 3,3,3,2 and our favorite lady of this heat, Jessica Spink dancing with Peter Walker, took fourth 4,4,4,3. For us had we been on that judging panel this would have been the number one Pro/Am player in this category. Well renowned pro/am dancer, Pamela Bolling w/Ben Ermis, placed fifth in all dances, leaving Rachel Sayotovich w/Ilya Velednitskiy holding sixth place 6,6,7,6 and Samanta Rico w/Morten Jensen in seventh position 7,7,6,7.
Although the “A” Smooth category was excellent the category packing the most excitement for us was the “B.” Here in our opinion there were plenty of ladies that could have easily take the crown home. The competition was so tough that in the single dances during the afternoon we noticed that the overall winner was perhaps left out of “tango” final (This was our shocking suspicion, but perhaps she did not dance this dance at this point we don’t really know, we did see her competing in the final of the other three dances). Joanne Smith with Sharone Levit from Canada continues to rein in this fantastic and challenging “B” division and she won all dances, but once again not with the majority of firsts. The closest she came to a majority was in the foxtrot and VW where she got 6 firsts out of the 13 panel of judges. Joanne’s worst marks came from Marianne Nicole who awarded her fifth in all five dances. For us looking from the sides it was a different story. The competition was tough but from where we stood Joanne had very solid performances in all rounds and by the final we were certain that she could take it home to Canada easily. Her technical expertise and her musicality alone throiughout her performance could not be surpassed in every dance at all times.
Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov placed second overall but took third in the foxtrot. Susan’s best marks were given in the tango and VW. In each of these dances Susan took three firsts from the judges. Kim Hardin w/Billy King placed third overall 3,3,2,4 and as you can see the 4th place mark really sealed third place for her even though she placed second in the foxtrot. Fourth in this excellent heat went to Christina Donelson w/Pater Perzhu 6,5,4,3, and as you can see this lady’s marks were all over the place. To us her work looked the same - sometimes it shined the next we could see her being sixth. Lisa Berry w/Rauno Ilo took fifth overall but here the marks were a little more consistent 4,4,5,5, and last but not least in this very exciting final went to Melissa Rodriguez w/Mayo Alanen and they took 5,6,6,6.
Before we go further we want to congratulate Colby Massanari w/Mayo Alanen who took first in the “Best of the Best” Gold Championship. This was the highest marked routine out of quite a number of excellent routines being performed by the best of the best from the country’s top Pro/Am dancers. Congratulations Melissa!
The “C” category was a nail-biting event down to the results! During the results we were all told that there was really no second place winner that one lady had won the waltz and tango and the other foxtrot and VW. This can always easily happen since there are only 4 dances in the Smooth category. Beverly Moore from Canada dancing with Alain Doucet won the waltz and tango and Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowoski won the foxtrot and VW, so the first place winner and champion was decided by Rule 11. The rule like every rule is very complex to explain, but basically Beverly Moore won her two dances more easily than Lisa Lowery giving her the edge and the Championship title. Beverly got 8 first places in the waltz winning this dance with a majority of first from the 13 panel of adjudicators. In the tango she also got the majority with 7 first place marks out of 13, while on the other hand Lisa won the foxtrot with 6 first place marks not a majority and the VW also with 6 place marks. The rules are very specific as to what to do when a tie happens and we were lucky enough that just a simple Rule 11 was used and we did not have to go into one of our other complicated rules. Congratulations to our scrutineers and the comp manager for sorting this out for us quickly, in the past this might have taken some time to do by hand! LOL
Robin Kencel w/Sergey Vasilyev placed third in all dances but she too took a few firsts, the most in the VW were she took 3 first from the judges. Lynn Murrell with Peter Perzhu took all fourth, Sue Eldred w/Artem Plakhotnyi all fifth places and Paige Riffle w/Alex Zagrean placed all sixths.
I must say that we were thrilled to sit and watch all the events without wanting to move from our chairs. Yesterday, everyone down to the senior level were brilliant so I must also tip my hat to these brilliant dancers and ladies. In the Senior 1 Patricia Mooney overtook the rest and became the overall champion by winning all dances, my congratulations to Patricia who in our opinion has made a huge change to her game and is looking fabulous. Patricia dances with Travis Tuft. Second was awarded to one of our favorite Pro/Am dancers of all time Elaine Sheresky w/Victor Russu 2,3,2,2, and third went to another all time favorite of ours, Charlotte Carey w/Kostadin Bidjourov. Even the Senior 3 dance was a terrific event last night and that went to Doreen Marchack w/Youriy Pavlov and she won all dances.
Our congratulations also to Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov who won all dances in the “B” 9 dance Championship, and to Viktoriya Tverskaya dancing with Ilya Reyzin who won the “A” 9 Dance Championship. Viktoriya won all five Rhythm dances, placed second in three Smooth dances and tied for first in the tango.
Congratulations to all Smooth competitors you made yesterday a very special day for us and I’m sure a number of us old, jaded judges and followers of Ballroom dance feel that it would be nice if the professional results were as unpredictable and exciting as they are in the pro-am divisions. This was a very exciting night – if you weren’t here you don’t know what you were missing!
We are back in Ohio once again for the Ohio Star Ball! And we have started as usual with the Rhythm World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Championships.
Last night in the Regency Ballroom it was a “nailbiting” experience! Every category was incredibly challenging and as we mentioned this year on our US Championships report, Rhythm like Smooth has finally found its legs and is no longer the stepsister, following a few steps behind the other styles.
As you will see the Open “A” Rhythm category was heavily contested in entries and in talent but when the decisions were made Viktoriya Tverskaya partnered by Ilya Reyzin took the scholarship home overall. She won four dances and placed second in the cha cha. I must point out that Viktoriya won two dances with the majority of firsts, the rumba and the mambo, the rest of the dances she won some firsts but most relied on seconds, third or better to get through and even then as you saw lost the cha. Second in this excellent event went to Brianna Yadgir w/ Levgenii Grytsak but this placement was decided by a hairline. Brianna placed 4,3,2,2,3T, leaving third to Julia Vaysfeld w/Nikolay Karchev who won the cha cha placed 4th in the rumba, third in the swing, bolero, and tied for third in the mambo. Yes the way you are reading the scores is the way we saw the comp it was very difficult to place everyone in this excellent heat. Fourth went to Natalie Crandall w/Decho Kraev 3,2,4,4,2, fifth was Rachel Sayotovich w/Ilya Velednitskiy 5,5,5,6,5, and sixth went to Megan Strong w/Slash Sharan 6,6,6,5,6.
The “B” was also heavily contested. Here this category went easily to a man, Giovanni Fortezza, with his teacher Jolanta Mosteika from NY. Giovanni won all dances but it was not as easy as it sounds, he won the bolero and mambo with the majority of firsts but the other dances he won with a number of firsts but had to rely on third or better to win comfortably. Colin Hillary was Giovanni’s worst judge awarding him 6,7,6,6,6, totally a contrast from the other judges’ marks in this heat. Second in this very contested heat was awarded to Kathy Howell w/Martin Cawston. However, she was not second in all dances she took third in the swing and bolero and even a fourth in the mambo. This was for sure a very indecisive panel of adjudicators if I have ever seen one! Third went to Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov and this was no different, her marks were 3,4,5,2,3, but to be fair to the judges as I mentioned on our opening these were some tough rhythm competitions that we saw here last night. Fourth in these excellent heat was awarded to Kia Malone w/Eddie Rivera 4,5,2,5,2, a very interesting result. Fifth was Shelia Davis w/Sergey Barsukov 5,6,4,4,6 and by the way “Happy Birthday Shelia” yesterday was Shelia’s 30 birthday, (we think you are in the wrong category baby, looking fabulous;) LOL. Sixth was Julie Korsog w/Misha Vlasov 6,3,6,6,5, and seventh was awarded to Elena Cormio w/Edwin Torres.
The “C” division was also excellent and here Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowoski won all the dances, however, even though we felt that she would be the easier winner the judges were not as sure. Lisa won three dances with the majority of firsts needed but in the swing and mambo she only managed to take five firsts out of the thirteen judges, having once again to rely on third or better to win these dances. So as you can see it was a fun task but not an easy task for these Pro/Am competitors, and we have to say that this was one competition that all the Dance Beat staff were happy to sit and watch. Second in the contested “C” division was awarded to Gracelyn Tuoti w/Andrei Abrahin and here again the judges were a little shaken she was awarded 2,2,2,3,3, the seconds in the bolero and mambo went to Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu 3,3,3,2,2. Fourth was Quin Bommelje w/Misha Vlasov 4,5,4,5,6. Quin was also the winners of the Senior I Division. Fifth went to Dianne Caracciolo w/Nazar Norov 6,4,5,6,5, and sixth was awarded to Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert 7,7,6,4,4, leaving seventh to Lynn Magnesen w/Caleb Aleman 5,6,7,7,7.
The “Best of the Best” Bronze challenge went to Bozena Kochanska w/Erwin Rybczynski and the silver was awarded to Margarite Daniels w/Tibor Kerekes.
In the World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Bronze and Silver Smooth closed levels, the Bronze “A” went to Liz Thomson w/Kyle Spinder, the Bronze “B” was awarded to Angela Fuller w/Dmitriy Volodko and the “C” Bronze went to Judy Reneau w/Ben Ermis. In the silver “A” that competition went to Madison Stribling w/Mayo Alanen, the “B” was Selene Steelman w/Travis Tuft and the “C” to Sophia D’Angelo w/Michael Choi.
Tonight it will be “all about the Smooth no treble!” Stay tuned for results and commentary if you care or dare…..
The Battle Decided!
The (Rhythm) Battle of Hotel San Juan is decided and the victors are Us Champs, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova who won all 5 dances. Emmanuel & Liana had the majority of 1st places in all dances. The swing was the closest fought however, as the runners-up, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova had 7 1st places to Emmanuel & Liana’s 10. Nazar & Irina were clear in 2nd spot in all dances. 3rd went to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and once again it was in all dances. 4th in all fell to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polyakova, once again a clear finish for them. 5th and 6th spots were a little closer with the result going to Maksim Lototskyy & Sara Haworth 5,5,6,5,6 over Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt 6,6,5,6,5. Andre & Natalie Paramonov were also slated to compete but unfortunately had to withdraw.
Watch out for Ilya Reyzin’s report on this division in Dance Beat soon.
Matthew & Lauren were the winners in the NDCA sanctioned World Salsa Championship, a title they now add to their US National Mambo title. They received 16 of the available 17 first places. 2nd in this division went to Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash and 3rd to Rodrigue Edouard & Diana Heilig.
Only 2 couples entered the Professional Showdance and the win went to Travis & Jamie Tuft over Eddie & Meg.
For the pro-ams it was Ballroom day and it proved a good day for Carole Simmons & Serghei Pogonet from Canada. Carole won the both the Open A & B Scholarships.
Only 2 couples entered the A and Carole won all dances. Tamuria Thompson w/ David Weise was 2nd.
In the B Carole placed 1,2,2,1,1. Runner-up was Noriko Kiernan w/ Eric Pali with 2,1,1,2,2. 3rd in all dances was Mary Jane McCarran w/ Basil Issaev; 4th in all Laura White w/ Andrea Faraci and 5th Darcy Adamcyck w/ Garl Dahl.
Lisa Liao w/ Andrea Feraci was the winner in the C placing 1,1,1,1,2. 2nd spot with 2,2,2,2,1 went to Alla Neystadt w/ Basil Issaev. 3rd was Dexter Wang w/ Liane Apale 3,4,3,3,4; 4th Audria Hill-Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu 4,3,4,4,3; 5th Janet Caruso w/ Edgar Osorio 5,5,5,5,5.
The weather gods were kind in San Juan as the sun shone throughout Saturday afternoon when all competitors had time off to enjoy the beach or pool.
The evening session began with the Gala San Juan, the cocktail hour sponsored by Rums of Puerto Rico. Music Director, Brent Mills entertained us in his inimitable style on the piano.
For those competitors who stayed an extra day and were on the extended La Vida Loca package it was a day of sailing on the calm Caribbean Sea for lunch and snorkeling on a deserted (except for us) island.
Stars over the Caribbean Sea
Last night at Caribbean Dancesport the stars were out in the ballroom if perhaps not over the Caribbean Sea. Both the Open Professional Smooth and Latin had US finalists attending.
Current US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu easily won the Smooth taking all 4 dances with a large majority of 1st places and perfect scores in the waltz. Only judge Diana McDonald placed them 2nd overall. Clearly 2nd with all the 2nd placements and a couple of 1st placements were Travis & Jaimee Tuft. Moving up from their 2nd spot in the Rising Star, Leo Mora & Christina Garced overtook the RS winners, Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski to place 3rd 3,3,4,3. Radek & Denise placed 4,4,3,5. Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth were 5th 5,5,5,4 and Aaron Talbert & Angela Maughan were 6th.
In the Open Latin it was the turn of Roman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova to take the trophy and they won all 5 dances with every 1st place from all judges. Fellow Californians Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova were 2nd in all dances. They had the majority of 2nd places in all dances, but the cha cha was close as they had 7 to the 6 received by 3rd place recipients, Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, who ended up 3rd in all dances. 4th place fell to Vlad Astafiev & Linda Gergye.
The largest event of the night was actually the Pro Rising Star Rhythm that began with a semifinal. This was quite a tight competition but the win went to Maksym Lototsky & Sarah Haworth 2,1,1,1,1. They had the majority of 1st places in R,S,B. With 1,2,2,2,2, Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti were the runners-up. With all 3rd’s the new pairing of Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash were 3rd. All the 4’s went to Marco Pizarro & Tamara Richartz; 5th were Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messenger 5,5,5,5,6 and 6th were Rodrigue Edouard & Diana Heilig 6,6,6,6,5.
For the pro-ams it was a full day of Rhythm with the Scholarship and multi-dance divisions at night. The Open Scholarships produced some good finals. The winner of the B was Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres. Elean lost very few 1st place scores. 2nd in all dances went to Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin. These two were well clear. 3rd went to Eileen Arcilla w/ Golden Parker 3,4,3,5,3. 4th was Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago 5,3,4,3,4; 5th Ceci Torres w/ Eddie Rivera 4,5,5,4,5 and 6th Kimberley Taylor w/ Misha Vlasov.
The Open A went to Katia Diamond w/ Nazar Norov 1,2,1,1,1. The runner-up was Alison Schill w/ Emanuel Pierre-Antoine 2,1,2,2,3. In her 2nd open final of the night, Ceci Torres w/ Eddie Rivera was 3rd, 3,3,3,3,2. 4th place in all dances fell to Tanuja Tharani w/ Adrian Persad and 5th was Tamuria Thompson w/ David Weise.
With perfect scores Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert won the Open C. 2nd spot went to Daniel Haims w/ Natalie Paramonov 3,2,2,2,3. 3rd was Liz Velazquez w/ Eddie Rivera 2,3,3,3,2; 4th Deborah Davey w/ Joseph Smith 4,4,4,6,6; 5th Deborah Liguori w/ Rodrigue Edouard 5,5,6,4,4 and 6th Patrice Tanaka w/ Emanuel Pierre-Antoine 6,6,5,5,5.
After the competition the dancing moved to the famous El San Juan lobby, the party capital of the Caribbean. We think the competitors danced more there than they did in the actual competition! But what's 3 AM between friends?
Tonight promises a true Battle of the Hotel San Juan with most of the current US Finalists competing in the Open Rhythm. Check back tomorrow for the outcome!
Only in the Caribbean
Caribbean Dancesport 2014 is underway in the El San Juan Hotel, Puerto Rico.
Early arrivals enjoyed a night out at a Condado Beachfront restaurant in a private space with dancing and a buffet. The next day it was off to Old San Juan for a tour of this historic walled city and of course a few rum cocktails for those who don’t mind a midday tipple.
Wednesday night saw the inauguration of the “True Nightclub Experience.” Following welcome cocktails the nightclub and Caribbean dances (salsa, bachata, wc swing, stc.) took place in a true nightclub space with lightning and a blasting sound system. (Back up singing by MC Mark Brock, DJ Brent Mills and a few trills from Chairman, Richard Booth). It was time to get loud and get happy.
Yesterday was Smooth and Latin day or the pro-ams with the smooth attracting the larger entries both in the single dances and in the multi dances. Joann Smith w/ Sharon Levitt from Canada was the big winners in the Open Smooth Scholarships as she won both the Open A and Open B divisions, taking all dances.
The C was the larger, beginning with 14 couples and here the winner was Alla Neystadt w/ WEric Pali 1,1,1,1.
2nd in the A went to Keiko Matsumoto w/ Dave Hannigan 2,2,2,2 and 3rd was Tamuria Thompson w/ David Weise. 2nd in the B , Sophia D’Angelo w/ Michael Choi 2,2,2,2 3rd, Keiko w/ Dave, 3,3,3,3. In the C the runners-up were Janet Smith w/ David Weise 2,2,2,2 and 3rd was Michael Schmidt w/ Michelle Hudson 3,5,4,3.
The Pro-Am Latin was danced in the evening. Winning the Open Scholarship in the A divisions was Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 1,1,1,1. The runner up with 2,2,2,3,2 was Cindy Mishlove w/ Vartan Zakhariants and 3rd was Patria Mui w/ Alex Samusevich 3,3,3,2,3.
7 couples entered the B, the largest of the Open Latin Scholarships. The winner in all dances was Marina Svyatets w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic. Once again 2nd, but this time in all dances was Cindy Mishlove w/ Vartan Zakhariants and 3rd was Melinda Santos w/ Vaidas Skimelas 5,4,3,3,4.
Lisa Liao w/ Roman Kustkyy won the C with Michaela Puno w/ Slava Sergiev the runner-up
The Pro Rising Star Smooth produced one of the closest races we have ever seen involving both a Rule 11 and Rule 10 tiebreak. The winners were the new partnership of Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski and they placed 1,3,1,3. On the other half of the Rule 11 were Leo Mora & Christina Garced placing 3,1,3,1. Confused yet? Placing 2nd in all dances but after a Rule 10 decision winning an overall 3rd place were Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth. Aaron Talbert & Angela Maughan were 4th in all dances but certainly picked a fair share of higher scores. A veryinteresting result indeed!
Today the pro-ams dance Rhythm and at night there are some strong open professional divisions in Latin and Smooth plus rising star. Check back tomorrow for the updates.
Miami lived up to it’s Latin heritage last night at Grand Nationals as the Professional Rhythm was the best professional competition of the week.
Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were the undisputed champions, receiving perfect scores in all 5 dances. The competition was really from there down and it was tight! Runners-up were Maksym Lototsky & Sarah Haworth and they placed 2,3,2,2,2 but had the majority of 2nds in only cha cha. In fact they took 2nd in mambo despite having only two 2nd places in that dance. That gives you some idea about how varied everyone’s marks were. 3rd with 3,2,3,3,3 were Tamas Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shuropova. 4th in all dances were the new partnership of Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash. We were a little surprised with the 5th place finish of Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov. We saw them higher in this final. They were 5th in all dances. Closing the final were Jhondarr Lopez & Amber Osborn from Texas, the only non-Floridian couple in the final.
Also on tonight was the Pro Ballroom. This attracted only 3 entries but all were of a high level. The winners were Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova. They won all dances with only two judges, Shirley Johnson and Alexander Mueller, placing them lower. 2nd in all dances went to Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova and 3rd to the new pairing of Marta & Anastasia Kazmina representing Italy.
5 couples contested the Showdance and it was the usual mix of cabaret and more traditional showdance routines. Cabaret won the day as Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez won the day with an adagio routine that had some interesting and fast paced liftwork. They received 7 or the 9 first places. Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova gave a showdance style routine and they took 2nd. 3rd were Slava Panakshev & Datia Cebotaru; 4th Alfred Perratta & Sloan Cobb and 5th Richard Ortiz & Hannah Pickard.
Keep checking Dance Beat for reports on these professional divisions from former US Champions, Bill Sparks, Shirley Johnson and Susie Thompson and former World Champion, Wolfgang Opitz.
The pro-ams danced two styles today – smooth and Latin. In the Open C Smooth Scholarship Beverly Marsh w/ Sergey Barsukov was the winner 2,1,1,1. 2nd went to Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin 1,12,3,2 and 3rd to Dee Iannone w/ Markus Cannon 3,3,2,3. Chris Wilson w/ Emilia Goldberg won the Open B Smooth 1,1T,2,1 with another gentleman, Terry Anderson w/ Olga Bogdanov taking 2nd, 2,1T,1,2. 3rd was Anna Trull w/ John Abrams.
Astrid Rush w/ Radim Lanik won the Open B Latin, winning all dances. 2nd in all went to Lisa McKee w/ Clement Joly and 3rd in all to Alice Lekht w/ Igor Derimov.
Throughout the day the audience was vastly entertained by the young dancers from Dance Town in Miami, mostly partnered by professional, Ivan Mulyavka.
Dancing Through the Ages!
As many of you may know, The Grand Nationals Dancesport Championships is one of the longest continuing running competitions in the USA – celebrating, we believe, 47 years in 2014.
Last night we were amazed to see gentlemen professional competitors in the Open Pro-Am Rhythm C Scholarship who have been finalists in the Rhythm and other styles, representing almost every decade of those years including current finalists. We’ll spare their modesty and not say who represented each decade – but guys! You all looked great! Here are the results:
1st, Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin (1,1,1,1,1); 2nd Janet Brutell w/ Michael Neil (3,4,2,2,2); 3rd Becky Kirby w/ John Abrams; 4th Beverly Marsh w/ Nazar Norov; 5th Dee Iannone w/ Markus Cannon (6,5,5,5,5); 6th Linda Marcus w/ Brian Smith (5,6,6,7,6); 7th Kathy Williams w/ Alan Williams (7,7,7,6,7); 8th Sharon Albert w/ Darren Cupp (8,8,8,8,8).
Another good Open Scholarship last night was the Open C Ballroom that began with a semifinal. The winner here was April Haims w/ Ruslan Meskkov (1,1,1,1,1). 2nd went to Rosann Bonotto w/ Alain Doucet (2,2,2,2,3); 3rd Frances Yu w/ Paolo DiLorenzo (3,3,3,3,2); 4th Diana McDonald w/ Alex Koulik (4,5,5,4,4); 5th Yusuf Mihaylov w/ Elena Simonova (5,4,4,5,5); 6th Annina Nosei w/ Lina Korieva (6,6,6,6,6).
There were 2 open professional divisions also danced last night and the Smooth produced a very tight race decided in fact by a Rule 11 tiebreak. Taking the title with 1,1,2,2 were Kirill Gorjatsev & Daria Zotova. They won their two dances with the majority of 1st places from the judges. They received mainly 1st and 2nd placements with only 2 judges, Alexander Mueller and Ron Troy marking them further down the field. The runners-up with 2,2,1,1, were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark. They had the majority of 1st places in the VW and for them too it was mostly 1st and 2nd places from the judges except Wolfgang Opitz and Oksana Zolotarevskaya. 3rd in all dances were William Proper & Jennifer Elliott; 4th in all Martin Pickering & Natalie Botes; 5th Vadim & Karla Boldirev.
For us and the judges the Latin was more clearcut with Dmitry Nikishkin & Oleans Shvets winning all dances. We were surprised, however, to see a few 3rd places in their marks column. They did receive perfect scores in the jive. 2nd were Dmitry Zavialov & Ashley Sanchez 2,3,2,2,3; 3rd Aleksey Alekseev & Ekaterina Dareleva 3,2,3,3,2; 4th in all dances, Srdjan Mikuljan & Carolina Avila; 5th Hector Quiles & Maria Balashova.
The current venue for the Grand Nationals is the splendid Ritz Carlton on Key Biscayne in Miami. This area and the hotel is beautiful almost with the feel of a tropical island while being basically in Miami. As one would expect the service and hotel amenities are superb.
The ballroom décor is also superb with the showcase LED programmable light backdrop always adding so much to the ambiance.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Last night the Hollywood Dancesport Championships lived up to its name with a fabulous after party that overshadowed even the terrific professional events that were held just earlier in the Ballroom.
The party had a feast for a king a buffet that included a couple of food stations, but the real action came in the show were some excellent dancing was presented including, US Professional Rhythm Champions Emmanuel Pierre Antoine and Liane Churilova, Canadien Cabaret sensations Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva, Singing group Innovate, a ladies modern dance group called “Love”, the master of ceremonies who was very charming with lots of humor, Rob Glover, and to top all this the three amigos and organizers of the Hollywood Dancesport, Michael Chapman, Mary Murphy and Jonathan Roberts.
The show in itself is hard to describe but all I can say is that it was very fast paced and possibly one of the best put together shows I have ever seen, including some major events. The organizers brought the house down with Mary coming in as the lead man and Jonathan and Michael as the Carmen Miranda girls!!
The night in the ballroom was very short but sweet only two Professional events were held the Smooth and the Latin and they were both full semifinal rounds, with excellent professional dancing.
The Latin was an easy win for Roman Kutsky & Anna Kovalova who got a huge majority of firsts from all the judges. The only judge to award them 4th place marks across the board and a 6th in the jive was Mrs. Shirley Ballas. Second place in all dances was awarded to Andrey Tarasov & Yuliya Kuznetsova and they received three of Mrs. Ballas’ first place marks, the other two first place marks went to the couple that placed third overall Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova and they placed third in all dances. Fourth was Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova 4,5,4,4,4, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina were fifth 5,4,5,5,5, Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva were sixth in all dances and Sergiy Kvashyn & Olga Ginzburg placed seventh.
The Professional American Smooth was also a great comp Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with nearly perfect scores, only one or two judges per dance awarded then second places. Nick Cheremukin & Viktorija were second in every dance, and Mikolay Czamecki & Victoria Malko were third. Things got a little different from fourth place on, Kyle & Allie Spindler placed fourth overall but not in every dance 4,5,4,4. Kris Suakjin & Briana Haft were fifth 5,4,5,5. Sixth down was a straight across with Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski plasing sixth in all dances, and Sean Brunell & Ekaterina Marshukova taking all sevenths.
The Amateur Open Ballroom event although, a six couple final, was also a noteworthy event. Here Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova were first in all dances, Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky were second in every dance and Tyler Wilson & Annie Seeley placed third.
The Pro/Am Ballroom categories in the late afternoon were also excellent and here Melonie Kruner w/Max Sinitsa won the “A” category, Ani Mkrtchyan w/Nick Cheremukin was second in all dances and Levina Kasmara w/Slava Stefanov was third. In the “B” category it was an 8-couple final and here Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano was the champion wining all dances. Michelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeev was second in all dances and Ling Ma w/Edgar Gasjuns placed third 4,3,3,3,3. The “C” category went to Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski 1,1,1,2,2 and second was Nancy Mei w/Dariuz Michalski 2,2,2,1,1, and third was Jenny Fong w/Victor Veyrasset and they took thirds in all dances. In the Senior Yumiko Nakagawa w/Robert Nemiro was the winner.
I want to congratulate the organizers on that phenomenal after party!
Last night at the Hollywood Dancesport Championships it was all about the Rising Professional Stars and the Pro/Am showcases.
The night started with the pro/am showcases and some of them were excellent a few with great humor, our favorite was Ceci Torres, this showcase number had lots of humor.
The Pro/Am Solos were followed by the professional Rising Star Events, the Rhythm had the most entries with a full semifinal, the event was highly contested but in the end the winners were Eddie Rivera & Megan McNash from Florida taking first in all dances. Second was awarded to Romney Reyes & Brooke O’Donnell 3,3,2,2,2, and third went to Ryan Lockham & Danelle Newman. Fourth was Zeki Maviyildiz & Crystal Chang; fifth Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno and sixth Mictchel Kibel & Bobbie Briceno.
In the Rising Star Smooth, the new partnership of Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski placed first in all dances. Second was awarded to Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow, and third was Sean Brunell & Ekaterina Marshukova. Fourth was Slavic & Valeriia Kostianets; fifth Nathan Simler & Mireille Ginests and sixth was Angelo Verazzano & Erin Drake.
In the Rising Star Professional Ballroom first place position was more challenging but in the end Stefano Di Brino & Bianka Zubrowska took first place overall 2,2,1,1,1. Martin & Liene Reinbold were second 1,3,2,4,4 and Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya placed third 3,1,4,3,3. Fourth were Alex & Grace Wang, fifth Slavic & Valerria Kostianets, and sixth were Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo.
In the Rising Star Latin Adam Katona & Denise Sobiewski won overall 1,1,1,2,1. Simeon & Kora Stoynov were second 2,2,2,1,2, and third were Maksim Kapitannikov & Natalia Fridmanibitch third in all dances. Fourth were Stefan Golubovic & Uliana Maslovskaya; fifth went to Kirill Nikitin & Jenya Kanchukova leaving sixth for Oleksii & Carly Lytvyn.
There are no other words to describe the Hollywood Danceport Championships, a four-day event in Los Angeles southern California. As always the ballroom was decorated to the nines, with posters of the most popular stars of the century giving the ballroom the feel and glamour of where we are.
The competition yesterday was all about the Rhythm. All day long Pro/Am competitors took to the floor to showcase their Rhythm. In the end the evening sessions concluded with the best Pro/Ams competing for scholarships.
The Open Rhythm “B” had the most entries with an 8-couple final. Here Lisa Lowery with her teacher Radek Wiatrowski took first places in all dance. Kia Malone w/Eddie Rivera all seconds and third went to Heidy Kellison w/Sean Tamashiro.
The “C” category was also excellent and here we had a five-couple final. This Scholarship went also to Lisa Lowery, again first in every dance. Second was awarded to Quin Bommelje w/Misha Vlasov and they placed second in every dance, I must also point out that Quin was the overall winner of the Senior Schoralship. Third in this “C” division was awarded to Evelyn Lamden w/Daniel Vasco.
The “A” competition was the smallest of all with only 5 couples entered. Here Nadia Kieyko w/Daniel Vasco won all dances. Second in this heat went to Kia Malone w/Eddie Rivera and third was awarded to Nicole Huerta w/Edwin Torres.
The night ended on a very high note and almost right on time, making people enjoy their surroundings or go to the bar for a cocktail or two.
Looking forward to tonight when things will start getting hotter, with some more scholarships this time in the Smooth divisions.
And the Viennese Waltz!
Last night at the Autumn Dance Classic the Professional Ballroom competition came with a twist. It was the “Professional Ballroom and the Viennese Waltz,” meaning that the Viennese Waltz was a separate competition from the Ballroom that was then a four dance competition.
Are you still confused? So were we, and many of the entrants including Gary McDonald who questioned this from the standpoint of NDCA regulations. We are not sure as to what or how it all was resolved, except we concluded once we got going, that perhaps this was not a Championship since the event is just a competition and so not a championship, so the rules may not apply! Nevertheless, this broke the usual routine of a normal competition and made it very interesting for the viewers and for the competitors who got to make some extra “money” now participating in two separate competitions. It was very unique and from our point of view a win, win situation for everyone involved.
The winners of the Viennese Waltz were Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova, second was awarded to Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blimova and third was awarded to Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa. Fourth in this fun event was awarded to Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito, fifth was Vladish Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova, and in sixth position were Stefano Di Brino & Bianra Zubrowska. 11 couples entered.
As you will see the actual Ballroom competition had a slightly different result. First of all it ended up being a seven couple final as 13 couples entered. The second difference was a major one, the overall winner of the four dance combined was Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blimova who placed first in three dances and second in the quickstep. Second overall was awarded to the winners of the VW competition Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova who placed second in three dances and won the quickstep. Like in the VW, Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa placed third in all dances, and from here down was the exact result as in the Viennese Waltz with the exception that Stefano Di Brino & Bianra Zubrowska who were sixth in the VW were also sixth in this competition but tied for 6th in the foxtrot with the additional couple who placed seventh overall, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson 7,7,6T,7. Youriy & Sarika did not participate in the VW.
We think this was an excellent competition and we were glad the organizers thought of something new to separate them from the rest - promote, motivate and entertain their guests, some who, we are sure, are now a bit “jaded” with the same scheduled routine. It is great that regular competitions are able to try new things and make things a little different, otherwise the calendar of over 100 competitions a year would look a little bleak in excitement.
The Open Rhythm competition was also featured last night and here Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti, placed first in every dance taking the trophy home. Romney Reyes & Brooke O’Donnell were second in all dances and third was awarded to Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno 3,3,3,3,4. Fourth in this category went to Richard & Marianne Meyers 5,4,4,4,3, Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Elizabeth Kinney were fifth 4,5,5,5,5, C.J. & Jenny Gomez were sixth in all dances and Zach Crawford & Kate Castor seventh.
The Amateur Latin, like the day before in the Ballroom, was also quite an excellent event. Here Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler won all dances. A new pairing from New York of two experienced dancers. Kiril Kulish & Orsoyla Horvath took second overall but placed third in the Jive. Another new partnership, this time from California. Russia’s Michael Koptev & Alexandra Atamantsev placed second in the jive but overall placed third. It is interesting to note that here we noticed a glimpse of surprise in their faces when this was announced. Perhaps they are used to placing higher in their country or thought they would have an easy pass here. We are not sure but they looked surprised when they were called for third place. Fourth overall was awarded to Teleryck Ianakiev & Natalla Devitskaya 4,4T,5,4,4. We really liked this couple in particular the lady, Natalla, who we thought was perhaps the best lady on the floor last night. Fifth went to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya 5,4T,4,5,5, and sixth was awarded to Italy’s Luca Di Pumpo & Laura Sassi and they took sixth in every dance.
World & US Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova performed their show, many of the routines new and very artistic. Many observers were very impressed wit not only the incredible level of dance but also the sense of showmanship they exhibited.
The evening concluded with the results and we all went to the “after party” where everyone casually enjoyed they rest of the time.
It’s All About the Music!
Last night at the Autumn Dance Classic it was all about the music! Composer Georges Lifermann (a lifetime friend of pro-am competitor, Catherine Gallo) with the assistance of our own DJ extraordinaire, Brent Miles, who arranged M. Lifermann’s original scores, porvided the music played for the Professional Smooth last night.
The 5-couple final was terrific especially the 2 top couples, US Champions Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and Nick Cheremukin & Viktorija. The composer presented the award at the end of this excellent final. Peter & Alexandra won all dances, Nick & Viktorija were second in all dances.
The rest of the Professional Smooth final was also excellent. Leading the way in third position were Nikolai Plilipenchuk & Natalia Skorikova. Fourth were Nathan Simler & Mireille Gineste 4,4,4,5, and fifth position was awarded to Slava & Valeriia Kostianets 5,5,5,4. The professionals seemed to enjoy the Smooth music. A first since John Montenegro in the 70’s composed the music for the US Championships.
In the Open Professional Latin all firsts went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova. Second in all was awarded to Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina and third in all were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokona. In fourth place was Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina, fifth was Arjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina and in sixth position were Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys.
The Professional Rising Star ballroom was the largest pro event of the night beginning with a semifinal. The winners were Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova, a new partnership now based in Florida. They won all dances. It was quite tight between 2nd and 3rd with the victory going to Stefano Di Brino & Bianra Zubrowska 2,2,3,3,2 over another new team, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson 3,3,2,2,3. Alex & Grace Wang, new professional up from the amateur ranks were 4th, 5,4,4,4,4; Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets were 5th 4,5,5,6,5 and Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriella Sevillano were 6th 6,6,6,5,6.
The Professional Rising Star Rhythm was also a 5-couple final and here Rommey Reyes & Brooke O’Donnell took first in all dances. Second went to Jeremy Babagey & Carolyn Barrerto who placed second in four dances and third in the cha cha. Daniel Lee Tran & Tayloe Elizabeth Kinney were third overall 2,3,3,3,3. Fourth place in all dances went to C.J. Gomez & Jenny Lynn-Gomez and fifth were Zach Crawford & Kate Castor.
The Amateur Ballroom was also a terrific event, a seven couple final was called at the end and Dusan Dragovic & Greta Laurinaityle, from England and recent International finalists took first in all dances. Second in all dances went to the NDCA US Amateur Champions, Andres & Veronika End and third was awarded to Rusland Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko 3,5,3,3,3. Taking that 3rd in tango were Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhitarova 4,3,4,4,4. Russia scored the 5th place, Michael Koptev & Alexandra Atmantseva 5,4,5,5,5; Michael Vorobiev & Sonya Tsckanovsky were 6th 7,7,6,6,6 and from the Ukraine, Sergey Averkov & Oleana Bariva were 7th 6,6,7,7,7.
The Pro/Am Ballroom was also a highlight of this weekend of dance and here the Pro/Am Ballroom “A” was awarded to Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov, second was Rebecca Kuhn w/Andrea Faraci and third went to Irene Lau w/Mikhail Avdeev.
In an in an interesting twist, the “B” Scholarship was awarded to Michelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeev, they took first in all dances. In second place was Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov and third went to Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev.
In the “C” division Lisa Liao w/Andrea Faraci won all dances, second was awarded to Takako Treholme w/Valdas Padriezas 2,2,2,2,3 and third went to Margaret Loo w/Joel Marasigan 6,3,3,3,2.
There were two other interesting performances, the Boy Band, Innovate (featuring the son of pro-am teacher Louis Bar) gave a high energy and well-rehearsed performance. A bit earlier, Dad, Louis gave a Peabody exhibition dressed as Charlie Chaplin with well-known pro-am competitor, Lauren LaPointe.
The last night at the Orange County Dancesport Challenge was short and sweet, the day was filled with Ballroom Pro/Am competitions as well as children, and in the evening there were only two main events running the Open Professional Smooth and Latin.
Out of the two pro events, the Smooth had the most excitement in this occasion for us, and we thought it was a walk in the park for Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges and in the foxtrot they got perfect scores from all the judges. There were only two judges who awarded them second place marks and they were Giaccomo Steccaglia who awarded them a second in the waltz, and Cynthia Long who awarded them seconds in three dances and first in the foxtrot. Kyle & Allie Spinder placed second and where the only couple that stole the firsts from Nick & Viktorija. Third was awarded to Nathan Simler & Mirelle Gineste and they placed third in three dances and fourth in the tango.
Fourth in this Professional Smooth heat went to Valeriia Kostianets 4,3,4,4, fifth was Kyle & Christina Campbell 5,6,5,5, Kelton & Jessica Johnson were sixth 6,5,6,6, and Drew Miller & Kristina Humphrey were seventh in all dances.
The second feature event this evening was the professional Latin and here the winners were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova, but it was not as easy as for the Smooth winners. Roman & Alexandra did manage to get the majority of firsts in most dances but placed second overall in the paso doble with only five firsts in this dance and the rest second place marks. However, in the other dances a few of the marks made us raise our eyebrows. For example, in the cha cha Cynthia Long awarded them a sixth, in the Samba she gave them a fourth, and in the rumba she upgraded them to a third. Cynthia concluded her marks with a second in the paso, and a first in the jive.
In this Professional Latin event those missing firsts in Roman & Alexandra’s column went to Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina who placed second overall and took the paso from Roman & Alexandra. From this point on the final became and easy read from the judges. Maxim Kapitannikov & Natalya Fridmanovich were third in all, Oleksii & Carly Lytvyn were fourth, Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti placed fifth, Artemi Okunev & Yulia Dragina were sixth and seventh was awarded to Israel Pena & Lisa Holt.
Overall this year there was an increase in entries and people here at the OCDC. They are in a new venue, the Marriott Irvine, with a bigger ballroom, the hotel has been renovated and so it is a fresh look for this up and coming event. The after party at the restaurant as always was a hit with great company and excellent laughter. Mr. Booth’s panoramic picture taking skills have improved from the last time and so we hope to get some of those shots to you here soon. Congratulations to Richard and Jennifer Booth for their success and thank you for your hospitality.
New Faces in Rhythm!
There were quite a few new faces in the Open Professional Rhythm competition here last night at the OCDC, this made for a very interesting competition for both the judges and the audience.
The competition went to Riccardo Pappi & Sabrina Moretti who not long ago changed styles from International Latin. They were the most clean and had no problems getting the majority of firsts to win all dances. However, some judges still feel that perhaps it’s all still looking too much like Latin. Corky Ballas awarded them all thirds and Didio Barrera along with a few other judges gave them a few second place marks including a fourth in the mambo - that came from Didio.
Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman placed second in all dances and managed to steal some of the first place marks from Riccardo & Sabrina but not enough to make a difference to their scores. Here again we felt that their work was very clean but still lacks a little individuality. Some of the judges were very excited with Kevin Garcia & Giovanna Velazques who took third in all dances. They seem to bring a fresh approach to the style, however, in speaking to one of the judges some of what is lacking is the quality of lines and posture to give them the push to be on top. This must have been a very disappointing competition for Richard & Marianne Meyers who seemed to slip down a few notches. For some reason they did not stand out enough to be noticed either way. They have great skills and with a little more luck we are sure they could easily do better. New to the scene, Antonio Nunes & Hadas Fisher took all fifths and sixth went to Pierro Della Santina & Alessandra Gonzelez. This competition had the most attendance, it started with a quarter final round something that has never happened before in the history of the OCDC according to organizer, Richard Booth. He appeared to be thrilled about it.
The second Open Professional event of the evening was the Open Professional Ballroom but unlike the Rhythm it only managed to attract four couples. The competition went to Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti who won three dances and placed second in the waltz and third in the foxtrot. Igor & Roxanne had a “take no prisoners” attitude from the word go and although at times it was a little “discombobulated” they managed to have it their way and won the event. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija placed second overall but did manage to steal two firsts from Igor & Roxane 1,2,2,1,3. Third was awarded to Stefano Di Brino & Bianka Zubrowska 3,3,3,2,2, and fourth was Valeriia & Viachelav Kostianets and they placed fourth in every dance.
The Professional Rising Star Smooth and Latin were also held last night. The Smooth had a semifinal round and here the competition went to Sean Brunell & Ekaterina Marshukova. They won three dances and placed second in the VW. WE tjpught they really stepped up their game last night. Second place went to Valeriia & Viacheslav Kostianets they placed second in three dances and won the VW. Third place went to Nathan Simler & Mereille Gineste and they took third in every dance.
The Rising Star Latin was a five-couple final and here Maxim Kapitannikov & Natalya Fridmanovich were the clear winners they took all dances. Oleksii Lytvyn & Carly Lytvin were second overall 2,2,2,2,3, and Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti were third 3,3,3,3,2.
The competition finished with a very nice touch, an appreciation party. The curtain to the neighboring ballroom opened and a full spread of roast beef, cheese and pasta was offered for those with the after competition munchies. Everyone got a plate and then sat down and had a nice social get together. Congratulations to Richard and Jennifer Booth for a successful weekend once again at the OCDC.
Rhythm Rules at OCDC!
Rhythm ruled at Orange County Dancesport yesterday. All day the pro-ams competed in the Rhythm style and then at night the Pro RS Rhythm was the main event, beginning with a full semifinal of 12 couples.
In that RS Rhythm final the 6 finalists were pretty evenly matched as was evidenced by the wide disparity in the judges’ scores. The eventual winners were a new couple to us, Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman who placed 1,2,2,1,1 and they had the majority of 1st places in bolero and mambo. The panel was fairly evenly split on them, some placing them in the lower half and just enough placing them in the top half. 2nd today were Richard & Marianne Myers who were perhaps the favorites to win. They scored 2,3,3,2,3 but we thought they looked in great shape overall with a new trimmer silhouette. 3rd with 3,5,1,3,2, were Kevin Garcia & Giovanna Velasquez, a new couple to us and one showing a lot of potential. The other couple to win a dance were Antonio Nunez & Hadas Fisher who placed 4,1,4,4,4. Great personality on the floor from these two. Piero della Santina & Aleesandra Gonzalez were 5th 5,6,6,5,5 and CJ & Jenny Lynn Gomez were 6th 6,4,5,6,6.
5 couples contested the Pro RS Ballroom and in contrast to the Rhythm the judges were quite decided on this one. Nick heremukhin & Viktorija won all dances, comfortably in our view. Stefano di Brino & Bianka Zubrowska were 2nd in all, Viacheslav & Valerria Kostaniets were 3rd in all. Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo were 4th 4,4,4,5,4 and Jerswin & Anne Poloyapoy were 5th 4,4,4,5,4.
In the pro-am Open Rhtyhm Scholarships Sally Baird w/ Steve Vasco won the largest, the C. Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco won the A and Sharon Powers w/ Jason Daly won the B.
In a small but high quality Amateur Ballroom, Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova won all dances.
The Hawai’i Star Ball finished with a superb gala affair on Friday night, a sit down dinner was served while the excellent 14 piece band played for the pleasure and dancing of the packed ballroom.
This was complimented by a terrific Taiko drum section followed by Peter & Alexandra Perzhu’s Rhythm show and a special presentation of “Say Something” by Felipe & Carolina Telona dedicated to David Alvarez the new organizer of the Hawai’i Star Ball.
During the cocktail party and in the interlude, many of the judges and attendees, purchased their fresh leis, many of them beautifully crafted with intricate patterns made by the different plants and flowers of the islands. These beautiful lands of the State of Hawaii are so unique in culture and traditions that to many of us it almost seems as if we are in another country, quickly to be corrected by the locals who keep pointing out that we are in the USA.
On a side note, it is one place that we totally enjoy playing general dancing. Here in Hawai’i we actually have plenty of generals that get up and dance every dance, making it a pleasurable experience and not just killing time (scheduling error as I usually call it) playing music to people that have no interest in getting up to dance with anyone.
During the gala there was what we would call a formal passing of the stewardship from Geoffrey Fells to the new organizers, David Alvarez and John Fishpaw. Geoffrey was brought to the floor and was honored as the organizer for the past 25 years or more. A standing ovation was appropriate and then everyone as customary came on to the floor made a circle holding hands, like a lei without end or beginning for the song “Hawai’I Aloha” and with that the 2014 Hawai’i Star Ball came to a conclusion with great energy and great prospects for many years to come for a successful Hawai’i Star Ball……
What can one say today about the Hawai’i Star Ball, but simply Hawai’i?
There are few words to explain paradise, but here in Honolulu yesterday all day was paradise. In the ballroom it was ballroom day but outside the ballroom it was beach time and for us some pool time. The adult infinity pool at the Sheraton is magnificent. At first sight the pool mixes with the sea where the turtles pop up and down giving us all an orchestrated show while sipping on your chi chi, or maitai and reclining in the many floating bean bags that are provided to the guests.
For those not at the pool or beach inside the ballroom was a day filled with Ballroom dancing and at night the Professional show by Peter & Alexandra Perzhu was excellent and totally well received by the welcoming audience. Here in Hawaii Ballroom and Latin seem always to be more prominent than Smooth and Rhythm, but by the turn out and the audience reception to Peter & Alexandra, it seems by all accounts that Smooth and Rhythm fever has finally reached the state of Hawaii.
More proof that Smooth and Rhythm are on the rise is the fact that both lectures by Marianne Nicole and Linda Dean on Rhythm were packed with over 30 participants. We personally were not fully present due to the fact that somebody had to manage the infinity pool and take all the sun, but it certainly was reported to us by a few of the attendees that the lectures were excellent and that they were glad to get this type of excellent knowledge here in the islands.
Today it is a marathon day in the Sheraton’s ballroom with the Rhythm style. During breakfast we noticed many ladies sporting rhinestones in their hair, so not sure we will be able to suck up as much sun today. We will report both from in and out of the ballroom and keep you posted as the competition progresses and on the last meeting of the LPP. In a foot note it was great to see the LPP get back to business after a one year hiatus, and we are pleased to report that there are many new members and plenty of old ones including us.
Tonight Peter & Alexandra will do their Rhythm portion of the show and according to the organizer, David Alvarez, we are supposed to have a few extra surprises. Our leis have been purchased, our tuxes have been ironed now for the gala….. keep tuned in for more on this wonderful competition in paradise, and simply Hawai’i!
It is so great to be back in Honolulu for the Hawai’i Star Ball!
Last night, overlooking Diamond Head, a luau reception was held with music and entertainment a true feast. The hula dancers were awesome and we were quite impressed with the fire dancers down to the smallest of them all, a 2 ? foot tall child, who could work the fire as good as his siblings. The adult hula dancers were also super both men and women could move with the control and beauty that would make “Pele” proud.
The new and improved Sheraton was an improvement from the Hawaiian Village where it was held 2 years ago, the hotel as well as all the rooms have been improved, the pool area is gorgeous, especially the adult pool overlooking the bay. The new organizer, Mr. David Alvarez, was very gracious and in a few words greeted us making us welcome and extended his happiness for the future of this unique and wonderful event. Geoffrey Fells, the previous organizer, was present and seemed very supportive of the new organizer and was there as in previous years welcoming everyone and helping in the passage of stewardship.
From last night’s show and luau we cannot wait to see what else Mr. Alvarez has in store for us. We know that the recently crowned US Smooth Champions and continuing 9 Dance US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, will be here to perform a show starting tomorrow, but from what we can tell Mr. Alvarez is very motivated and excited to continue to make the Hawai’i Star Ball a must competition in your calendar year.