Dance Beat Team
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.
The Legend that is Sam!
Last night at BBC & C, billed in their advertising as “A Legendary Celebration,” honored Mr. Sam Sodano, with it’s 5th annual Lifetime Achievement Award.
We at Dance Beat feel that BBC & C truly honors their recipients. The award is presented at a banquet specifically designed for the occasion. The elegant room is equipped with a large size video screen on which a video with tributes from friends and associates, plus a compilation of photographs and clips.
Last night Mr. Sodano was visibly moved by the tributes from friends, many of whom were present as well as from his long-time partner, Mr. Bill Sparks. Before the accolades, Ms. Pantera presented a spectacular pole-fitness routine in honor of Mr. Sodano (The BBC & C also hosts a pole fitness event) and in true form, Sam could not help but try his hand on the pole when he got up to receive his award.
Past recipients of the award, Margaret Redmond, Pat Traymore and Peter Eggleton were also present.
Back in the Imperial Ballroom the featured events of the night were the Open Professional American Style categories and the Open Amateur Latin – all started with a semifinal round.
In the Open Rhythm, newly crowned US Champions, Emanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova received a perfect sweep of 13 first places in all 5 dances – obviously unchallenged in this event. The other places were more hard-fought. No couple had a majority of 2nd places in any dance, but Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone did have enough “3rd or better” scores to take 2nd in all dances. Placing 3,4,3,4,3, Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt took 3rd. Interestingly they had 6 second places in cha cha, 1 less than the majority needed to take the 2nd place overall. Ferenc Nemeth & Olga Kinnard took 4th with 4,3,4,3,4. They also took a major share of the 2nd places, the most (5) in bolero. Matthias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel were 5th in all dances and Alexandre Konovalev & Ecaterina Liubenco were 6th.
Travis & Jaime Tuft won the Open Smooth with almost a clean sweep. Only 2 judges dissented, Margaret Redmond who scored them 2nd in 3 dances (T,F,VW) and Pat Traymore who scored them 5,5,5,4. Sergey & Yana Nelyubov were the runners-up and they had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances. Dave Hannigan & Maggie Troth were 3rd in all dances, Aaron Talbert & Angela Maughn were 4th in all and Matthias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel were 5th in all. With 6,7,6,6 Alexandre Konovalev & Ecaterina Liubenco were 6th and Ryan & Laura Kenner were 7th 7,6,7,7.
Danills Kutezovs & Maria Shalerova from Canada won all dances in the Amateur Latin and had the majority of 1st places in all dances. From England, Michael Herrera & Lauren McFarland-Herrera were 2nd in all dances. However, the 2nd places were quite spread out and they did not have the majority of “2nd or better scores” in any dance. 3rd went to Nikita Malakhov & Nadya Vlasova, 3,3,3,3,4. They had some scores in the lower half of the final and that ruined their chance for 2nd place. Ron Garber Liza Lakovitsky were 4th with 4,5,4,4,3. Arturs Voicehovics & Albina Gorbachevskaya (Canada) were 5th, 5,4,5,5,5 and Stanislav Engelgardt & Tatiana Vasilyeva were 6th.
The rest of the night session was taken up with the pro-am nighclub dances and as usual, some of the contestants really got into the act – see the photos!
During the day, it was Rhythm time for the pro-ams. The largest of the Open Scholarships was in the C Division and it was won by Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert 3,1,1,1,1. 2nd in all dances went to Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin. 3rd overall went to Ann Morsilli w/ Tibor Kerekes, 4,3,3,3,3. That missing 1st place in cha cha went to Philip Widlanski w/ Jolanta Mosteika who was 4th overall but scored 1,4,5,5,5. Maureen Andrews w/ Josh Tilford took 4th in 3 dances but placed 5th overall, 5,5,4,4,4. 6th in all dances went to Maria Matulaniec w/ Gunnar Sverrisson.
Alisa Yetter w/ Dave Hannigan won the Open B Scholarship beating out the current US Champion in this division, Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika. Alisa placed 2,1,1,1,2. Giovanni was the runner-up with 1,2,2,3,3. The 1st place in mambo went to 3rd placed Gwen Bourque w/ Aaron Talbert who scored 3,3,3,2,1. Diane Michelle w/ Gunnar Sverrisson was 4th.
The C1 was won by Ann Yearian w/ Eddie Ares. Sharon Brown w/ Javier Buentello was 2nd.
The evening ended, as did all the others, with unlimited champagne in the Presidential Suite for package holders and for those still standing, there was even a champagne “Hair of the Boston Bulldog” brunch in the suite this morning.
Stay tuned to Dance Beat for a full report on the unusual BBC & C – a “legendary celebration!”
Gimaev/Basyuk Take Eggleton Cup
Last night at BBC & C Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk took the annual Peter Eggleton Cup in a great Professional Ballroom competition. Another highlight was the appearance of US and World Pro Latin Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko in the Pro Latin.
The Ballroom was the most contested of the divisions with 3 US finalists in attendance. Marat & Alina were the comfortable winners, with the majority of first places in all dances and a perfect 13 in the quickstep. We thought they appeared to be having a really good time tonight – some of their best recent dancing. The fight for 2nd was between Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova and Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. The tussle went to Alex & Veronika 3 dances to 2 – 3,2,2,2,3. They shared most of the 2nd and 3rds with Mikhail & Olga, only judge Margaret Redmond scored them in the lower half of the final and only Ieva Pauksena gave them a 1st, in VW. Mikhail & Olga actually received some 1st places in all dances.
4th spot went to Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley 4,5,5,4,5; 5th to Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 5,4,6,5,4 and 6th to Anatoli & Irina Gorolevici 6,6,4,6,6.
The competition began as a semifinal and Peter & Pam Eggleton where present to present the cup – the third time it has been awarded.
Not surprisingly, Riccardo & Yulia received perfect scores in the Latin. It was a great treat to see dancers of this caliber (together with the ballroom) competing in such a beautiful setting. Easily taking 2nd with the majority of 2nd places in all dances were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets. The tightest race was for 3rd but it went to Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina by 3 dances to 2 – 3,3,3,4,4 over Jean Paul & Lana Rossi 4,4,4,3,3. Tomas Vasiek & Kimberly Harris-Vasikova were 5th in all dances and Dmitry & Nina Kovolenko were 6th.
Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth (local favorites) won all dances in the Pro RS Smooth. Runners-up, again in all dances, were Matthias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel and 3rd in all dances were Aaron Talbert & Angela Maughn. Matt Fortuna & Tania Munez were 4th 4,5,4,4; Ryan & Laura Kenner were 5th 5,4,5,6 and Leo Mora & Christina Garced took 6th 6,6,6,5. This event began as a semifinal.
The Pro RS Rhythm was a straight final and this time Matthias & Christina moved up to 1st place 3,1,1,1,1. Grey Masko & Elizabeth Hayner were 2nd, 1,4,2,2,3 and Edson Jeune & Nina Gruezo took 3rd 2,2,4,4,2. 9-dancers, Leo Mora & Christina Garced were 4th 4,3,3,3,4; Nikko Negado & Pamela Providel took all the 5’s, Ross Toporski & Sophie Cazneuve all the 6’s and Julius Solano & Simone Ousset all the 7’s.
All of the professional finals were preceded by individual dance-ons with videos of the music being played projected on to the giant screen.
The Amateur Ballroom was an entertaining division. The winners were Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova and they won all dances with a comfortable majority of 1st place marks. Only judge Pat Traymore consistently scored them in the lower half of the final. From England, Bohdan Malov & Mariya Krivko were easily 2nd in all dances. They had also won the U/21 Ballroom earlier in the evening and the Youth Ballroom in the afternoon. 3rd, with 3,3,3,4,3, were Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili and 4th with 4,4,4,3,4 were Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova. Cezary Dyrda took all the 5’s and Ben Moss & Esther Rheinbay all the 6’s.
The new partnership of Phillip Kudryavtsev & Dasha Ryndych won the U/21 Latin.
For the pro-ams it was a full day of American Smooth. The big winner of the day was Alla Neyshtadt w/ Erik Pali who won both the Open B and Open C Scholarships, winning all 8 dances. 2nd in the C was Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin 3,3,2,2 beating Leila Zukowsky w/ Dave Hannigan in a Rule 11 decision (2,2,3,3).
2nd in the B was another student of Mr. Dave Hannigan, Kako Matsumoto who placed 3,2,2,2. 3rd went to Nadia Sicila w/ Chris Panasuk (Canada), 2,3,3,3.
Meg Gibber w/ Aaron Talbert won the Open A Scholarship, 1,1,2,2. 2nd went to Nadia w/ Chris 3,2,1,1 and 3rd to Sara Sharpe w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 2,3,3,3.
Elaine Sheresky w/ Victor Russu won the Open C1, taking all dances.
During the evening, there was a floorshow from some of the "future champions" of the dance world - how many of you recognize these offsspring of some famous dance parents?
Stay tuned for another full day from BBC & C today. The “Legend of Dance” award will be presented to Mr. Sam Sodano in a full banquet this evening.
Champagne on Tap!
It’s time for the BBC & C, Boston’s elegant Fall celebration at the Park Plaza Hotel. If you enjoy being treated like a President (or a king), then this event is for you. Package holders get the chance to “party where presidents dream” as there are nightly champagne parties in the Presidential Suite – a suite that has hosted every modern era sitting president.
And when it’s time for dancing – the Imperial Ballroom at the Park Plaza is among the most elegant in the nation.
Yesterday was a full day of pro-am dancing in both of the International Styles, with scholarships in both held in the evening session. We thought the Ballroom Scholarships were especially strong with a healthy contingent coming from Canada.
The Open A Scholarship was very strong and resulted in a win for Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein. Audrey won all dances, although in two she tied for 1st place with the runner-up, Jennifer Lee w/ Serghei Pogonet (Canada) who placed 2,2,1T,1T,2. Another Canadian took 3rd in all dances – Michelle Yeh w/ Anton Lebedev. Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) was 4th in all dances, Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips was 5th and Bambi Hall w/ Tibor Kerekes was 6th.
It was a great day in general for Audrey as she also won all dances in the Open B Scholarship. Once again Canada took 2nd, Carole Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet (2,2,2,2,2). 3rd in all dances fell to Noriko Keirnon w/ Erik Pali; 4th in all was Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson; 5th in all Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster; 6th George Watt w/ Anna Borsch 6,6,7,6,6; 7th Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips 7,7,6,7,7 and 8th James Coltharp w/ Olga Chekhova.
Massachusetts came to the fore in the Open C Scholarship taking the top 3 places. Alla Neyshtadt w/ Basil Issaev won all dances. 2nd in all was Annie Woon w/ Erik Pali and 3rd in all Vicki Gorder w/ Anton Gorolevici. George Watt w/ Anna Borsch (Canada) was 4th in all dances. Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips took 5th 5,6,6,5,5; Josee Duboc w/ Sylvain Trottier (Canada) was 6th 7,5,5,6,6 and Sheila Cosby w/ Gabor Seres was 7th 6,7,7,7,7.
The Pro Rising Star divisions also began yesterday with competition in Latin and Ballroom. The Latin began with a semifinal and the winners in all dances were Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances and all 11 firsts in paso doble. Runners-up today were Tomas Vasiek & Kimberley-Harris Vassikova, they were 2nd in all dances and certainly get the Dance Beat Award for the most improved couple – a big improvement here. 3rd in all dances were Dmitry & Nina Kovalenko; 4th Vlad Astafiev & Linda Gergye 4,4,4,5,5; 5th Leon Turetsky & Kim Lee 5,5,5,4,4 and 6th Manuel Trillo & Anastasia Zhitova.
The Ballroom had only 4 entries but still gave us some entertaining dancing. The winners, all dances, were Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold. 2nd went to Yuriy & Oksana Shelkovyy 3,3,2,2,2; 3rd Manuel Trillo & Anastasia Zhitova 2,2,3,3,3 and 4th Artsiom & Volka Chapialiou.
Stay tuned for more results and news from BBC & C, especially the legends award this year that will go to Sam Sodano on Sunday.
Watch the finalists perform on our Video Page
And a Fond Farewell........
And so we come to the final day of the 6-day extravaganza that has become the USDC. The featured divisions today were the WDC Super Series Professional Divisions in Ballroom and Latin.
For the most part these were repeats of the US National divisions with a couple of additional couples from foreign parts, but several withdrawals from some US couples.
In the Latin Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were once again the victors in all dances, but they did not have the perfect scores that they had in the National Championship. They lost a few first place marks to the runners-up, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite (Canada). The closest scored dance was the paso doble that was won by 9 firsts to 4. Third in all dances were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. 4th went to Dorin Frecantanu & Maria Sergeeva (Moldova) 4,4,4,4,5; 5th to Aleksandr Skariato & Yulia Lesokhina (Ukraine) 5,5,5,5,4 and 6th Gunnar Gunnarsson & Marika Doshoris.
Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were the winners of the WDC World Super Series Ballroom winning all dances and losing only 1 single 1st place mark out of the 65 available. US Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova did not compete. 2nd in all dances went to Domen Krapez & Monica Nigro (Slovenia). 3rd in all to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk and 4th in all to Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva. 5th and 6th places were a little closer. 5th went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova 5,5,6,6,5 and 6th to Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa 6,6,5,5,6.
There was a little shuffle in the World Professional Cabaret, in comparison to the national event. Tonight, with their new routine, the winners were Shane & Shannon Jensen – up from 2nd in the national. 2nd this time went to Justin Guilmette & Kimerlee Piedad which left 3rd place to the 2014 Blackpool Exhibition Champions, Craig Smith & Micheline (Hong Kong).
In the afternoon the US National Professional Showdance Championships were decided. These are world championship selection divisions. The Classic Showdance division was the larger with 8 entries and the two representatives are 1st, Pavel Cherdantsau & Svetlana Rudkovskaya and 2nd, Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. In the South American division, the reps are 1st, Andre & Natalie Paramonov and 2nd, Genya Bartashevich & Yana Masnikova.
The Pro-Am US Open Cabaret Championship was won by Nicole Haute w/ Justin Guilmette and the US National Mambo Championships by Kia Malone w/ Eddie Rivera.
New this year was a Professional Grand Championship between the winners of the US National Championships. This was judged by audience applause with a “clapometer.” The winners were Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko. Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova did not compete.
In the evening two prestigious awards were presented. The John Monte Award went to Martin Chiang, CEO of American Ballroom Company and United States Championship Hall of Fame Award went to Bruno Collins & Luann Pulliam.
$100,000 in Top Teacher prize money was given out this week and the big prize winner overall was Siniza Vasic.
Many try - few have made it!
A long time ago it was simple time, a time of no separation, a time when you danced everything and dance gods like Larry & Betty Silvers won everything - 10 Dance, Latin and Ballroom. You also had long-time legend Frank Regan dancing with Victoria Regan (who is here this weekend) winning the Latin and the Ten dance.
And when the big bang came and the American Style separated Charles & Jean Penatello won both the Smooth and Rhythm, shortly followed by Joe Lozano and Jan Mattingly who also won these two styles.
Then came development and changes and the first couple to win the Smooth and Nine Dance was David & Carrie Kloss. We then had our first World Champions, Gary & Diana McDonald who won the US Latin plus the World and US 10 Dance. Ben and Shalene Ermis were the last of the few to win a duel multi-dance event in the same year, they won the Smooth and the Nine Dance in 2006.
Since that year the US has not had any other duel Multi-Dance Champions, but that was all changed last night at the United States Championships in Orlando, Florida when Peter and Alexandra Perzhu became the US National Professional Smooth Champions adding to their previous collection of 5 consecutive gold medals as US Nationals Professional Nine Dance Champions. But this year for the first time they also won the vacant crown as the US National Professional Smooth Champions. They won all 4 dances. As a note we most point out that Peter & Alexandra won three dances with the majority of firsts but in the waltz they got 8 firsts out of the 17 judges. Having these two titles is an accomplishment that as you read in our opening paragraphs, many try for but few have accomplished in the multi-dance arena.
With the exception of the new US Champions Peter & Alexandra Perzhu the competition for us was very close between the other couples in the final. A big surprise for us and I think to many in the independent world, was the ascension to runners up of Mikhail Zharinov & Galina Zharinov who had never occupied this spot. Mikhail & Galina are the Fred Astaire National Champions and you could see by the President of Fred Astaire’s face (he was presenting the awards) and by a huge crowd jumping off their seats, that they were pleased to have their heroes promoted to this high position. Mikhail & Galina took a few first place marks in every dance from Peter & Alexandra, but not enough to make a huge dent and not enough to be second comfortably. They placed second in both their waltzes but third in the other two dances. It is also fair to say that this panel of 17 judges had only one or two judges from the Fred Astaire organization, this as far as we can tell was a very independent panel.
Third in this excellent final went to Mazen Hamza & Izabella Jundzill who placed second in the tango, third in the waltzes and fourth in the foxtrot. This most have been a very disappointing result for this couple who until last year had been so close to the mark. Fourth in this heat went to what we would say was our true favorites of the night, Nick Cheremukhin & Victorija Barasihina who placed fourth in three dances and second in the foxtrot. We could not agree more with the judges in the foxtrot decision this couple has a very unique style but one that with every outing keeps blossoming. Travis & Jaimee Tuft took fifth in every dance and Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko were sixth.
Olga Foraponova will have the report for Dance Beat.
What can we say about the US Professinal Latin? Very little, for us it was more of the same and it did not bring the crowd to excitement levels as did the Ballroom on the night before. Unequivitable and clear winners from the first round Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko won all dances with perfect scores from all the judges, not a second was place in their box. Second in all dances went to Roman Kutsky & Anna Kovalova, but here they did get a few lower marks than second place, specifically noted were the scores of Ms. Shirley Ballas who awarded sixth in both the Paso and Jive and fifth in the samba and rumba, only to upgrade them in their cha cha to a fourth position.
Third in this professional Latin heat went to Nikolay Voronovitch & Maria Nikolishina who placed third in every dance. Nikolay & Maria did not get any major drasticly varying marks but there is definitely some tension between them and Roman & Anna. We are not quite sure what’s going on between these two couples, but this is the second or third time that we have witnessed some, should we say, horseplay between the men. This was caught on tape from what I hear and we cannot wait to dig in. Hey! It’s all great fun for us but we most caution the couples in question that some judges may not like this type of behavior. Just after the awards we were accosted by two judges who asked us what’s going on? So if anyone knows what their issue is let us know we would love to have the insight!
Andrey Tarasov & Yuliya Kuznetsova were fourth and here it became a little more difficult for the judges to decide 6,5,4,4,4. Fifth was awarded to Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova who for the Dance beat Team gave an excellent performance one that we would said deserves better than some of the marks they received 4,4,5,5,6. Sixth position was awarded to Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte, 5,6,6,6,5. We think this to be a very disappointing finish for this couple who we are sure wanted to move up a little in the ladder of the final
Nadia Eftedal will have the full report for Dance Beat members.
The Pro/Am competition, although it did not have the massive entries we are used to seeing in the afternoon, in some ways was quite exciting.
The “A1” US Open Ballroom went to Carley Chik from Hong Kong, partnered by Domen Krapez, and they won all dances, second in this heat went to Denise Evens w/Artem Plakhotny but here it was not an easy placement as you can see by the marks 2,2,3,3,2, and third was awarded to Jennifer Lee from Canada with Serghei Pogonet 3,3,2,2,3. Rebecca Kuhn w/Andrei Faraci was fourth in all dances, Irene Lau w/Mikhail Avdeeev placed fifth 5,5,6,5,5, Lin Meng w/Kamil Urbaniak was sixth 7,6,5,6,6, Rachel Schans w/Garry Gekhman was seventh 6,7,7,8,7, and in eighth place was Estefania Papadpulos w/Ben Seifert 8,8,8,7,8.
The “A2” US Open Pro/Am Ballroom was also a terrific event and here Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano took first in all dances, second went to Canada’s Beverly Moore w/Alain Doucet, however this was not an easy second overall Beverly was awarded two thirds one in tango and one in VW. Third in this same heat went to Langxi Gao & Kamil Urbaniak and they took the two seconds away from Beverly, 4,2,2,3,3. Fourth overall wen to Bo Chang w/Giampiero Giannico 3,4,4,4,4. Fifth was Audrey Paek w/Ronen Zinshtein 5,8,5,6,5. Sixth was awarded to Michael Peng w/Mikhail Avdeev 7,6,6,5,7, seventh was Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev 6,5,8,7,6, and in eighth place was Brynda Insley w/Martin Reinbold 8,7,7,8,8.
As you can see all US Open Pro/Am Scholarships Championships were difficult for the judges making them bring back at times more couples than they were asked for and in the “B” it was no different here too the judges brought back 8 couples. The winner was Leilani Viney w/Kamil Urbaniak they took three firsts and placed third in the waltz and fourth in the quickstep. Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk was second 1,4,2,4,2. Beatrice Wang w/Giampiero Giannico took third 4,2,4,2,3. From here down keep and eye on the marks - Connie Edmonds w/Samuele Pacchini was fourth 2,3,5,5,1. Paige Riffle w/Iaroslav Bieliei placed fifth 6,5,3,3,5. Deborah Errico w/Dariusz Michalski was sixth 5,8,6,7,6. Tammy Knight w/Artem Plkhotnyi placed seventh 8,6,7,6,7 and Suzanne Lee w/Igor Suvorov was eighth 7,7,8,8,8.
The “C1” and “C2” were also great competition and here in the “C1” Susan Walter w/Samuele Pacchini won every dance. In the “C2” Sandy Fortier w/Richard Tonizzo (Canada) won the overall and placed first in three dances but third in the quickstep, this was still good enough to give Sandy the US title.
The US Open Amateur Championships were disappointing, attracting few entries. The winners of both the Latin and Ballroom, however, certainly deserve a mention. Andres & Veronica End in the Ballroom and Alexey Karaulov & Vlada Semenova in Latin.
As you can see although not the most thrilling night it was a night of making history and a night of solid entertainment. Tonight the open to the world events should be fun but we expect a repeat of all the other national competitions with one or two people pulling out and maybe even one or two couples coming in from outside the US. Saturday is like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re going to get!
“Our waiting days are over…….” They had a dream and last night Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova’s dream came true, they are officially the current United States Professional Rhythm Champions.
The road has not been easy for this couple with many years spent preparing for this day and a number of stumbling blocks in their way, but after all they still standing and now on top of the world.
Congratulations Emmanuel & Liana from the Dance Beat Team, and in looking at the marks, they won every dance with a huge majority of firsts only a handful of judges’ dissenting the decision. Their worst marks came from Linda Dean who awarded them 3,4,3,3,1 and Melissa Dexter 2,3,2,3,1.
Second place in this very phenomenal competition and somewhat of a surprise to all following the “caravan” over this summer, went to Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova who took second in all dances. We said “surprise” because up until now every competition we have witnessed has been won by the third place awardee’s here at the United States Championships Andre & Natalie Paramonov, who just about a year or so changed styles from the International Latin to the Rhythm. (This was the first time Andre & Natalie had competed against Emanuel & Liana). But the marks say it all, the only dance where the Paramonovs came close to second was the rumba where they tied the ‘second or better’ scores with Nazar & Irina and second in this dance was decided by “third or better.” All fourths were awarded to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, fifth overall but not in all dances was awarded to Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 5,5,5,6,5 and sixth went to Vard Margaryan & Sofya Fill 6,6,6,5,6.
Dan Rutherford will report on this division for Dance Beat soon.
The US Professional Ballroom was run head to head with the Rhythm, but here there was also no lack for excitement. Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova continue to be our reigning National Champions, (their 7th consecutive title together and Katusha’s 17th consectutive title) but in the final and especially when the marks were being called out, the audience favorites were Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva. Unlike the previous week at the Embassy Ball, Victor & Anastasia to the delight of the educated public, took two dances away from Arunas & Katusha, the tango and quickstep, this was well received by Victor & Anastasia whose smiles ran from ear to ear. In looking at their marks we must also point out that Victor & Anastasia took four, first place marks in the waltz, two in the VW and six in the foxtrot. It is quite reassuring to see this huge improvement in our second place couple. This positively reinforces the United States of America’s superiority in this style in the world today. Congratulations to both these wonderful couples!
Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk took third in all dances, Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva were fourth 4,4,4,5,4, Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova fifth 6,5,5,4,5, and in sixth place was Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 5,6,6,6,6.
Watch for Irina Suvorov’s report on this division.
The 2014 National Ballroom Championship was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Brian Puttock. American Ballroom Company presented Mrs. Sue Puttock with a Lifetime Acheivement Award for her husband and partner. The whole ballroom rose in salute.
The third national title decided on this night was the Professional Mambo. The winners this year were Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt. Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messenger were the runners-up and Timothy Polaschek & Katie Hutchinson took 3rd.
The atmosphere in the ballroom last night was electrifying to the point that we did not want to leave our seat for fear of missing a beat. The excitement carried over to the US Open National Pro/Am Latin Scholarships in the afternoon and early evening.
The Open “A1,” a straight final this year, went to Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Altukhov with first in all dances. Second in this category was awarded to Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi 3,3,2,2,2 and third to Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglin 2,2,3,3,4. Fourth Grace Kuan w/ Evgeny Likachev 5,5,4,4,3; fifth Maria Ceva w/ Lyubomir Asenov 4,4,5,5,5; sixth Shelby Wadsworth w/ Paul Richardson 6,6,6,6,6 and 7th Estefania Papadpulos w/ Ben Seifert 7,7,7,7,7.
In the Open “A2” first place was awarded to Tina Broccole w/Delyan Terziev 1,1,2,1,1, second went to Svetlana Van Tassel w/Andrey Tarasov 4,2,1,2,3 and third was Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas 2,3,4,6,2. Fourth place, Elizabeth Rocco w/Eric Hudson 3,4,5,4,4, fifth Khuong Pham w/Jessie Mineau (Canada) 5,6,3,3,6, sixth was awarded to Jeanine Steward w/Cristiano Callegari 6,5,6,5,5 and seventh was awarded to Mattias Kirwald w/Leanne Aranza, seventh in all dances.
The “B” Champion was Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski, they placed first in every dance. Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen took all seconds and Lynn Magnesen w/Caleb Aleman was third 5,4,3,3,3. Nora Fox w/Plamen Danailov was fourth 4,3,5,5,4, Agnes Brzeski w/Cristiano Callegari placed fifth 6,6,4,4,5, Sara Switzer w/Shandor Shtefil was sixth 3,7,6,6,6, and Linda Ciabatoni w/Slava Sergiev was seventh 7,5,7,7,7.
In the C1 and C2, the C1 was awarded to Olga Bassett w/Petr Dubovsky, and the C2 went to Janet Carrus w/Edgar Osorio.
Yesterday we predicted this to be a terrific night but it overpassed our expectations, the afternoon and night events were supurb. We hope tonight will as exciting with the Smooth title up for grabs and the Latin showcasing some of the world’s best. I’m sure tickets are still available so come join the fun!
Birds of a Feather Flock Together!
The evening crowd is beginning to thicken as the weekend approaches and the Open US and National Championships are almost upon us. Even the birds want a piece of the action! Yesterday during the afternoon session two birds flew into the ballroom and from what we were told one even made a dive at judge, JT Thomas. We think she or he wanted to be scored on how smooth his flight was during the smooth section of the competition. In the evening the birds all went to sleep and all that was left was fierce competition on the “Dance Floor”
The US National Ten Dance took place and after two days of competition the winners were Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarb they won all the Latin dances, placed second in three ballroom dances and third in the waltz, and foxtrot. The winner of all five Ballroom dances were Igor Coloc & Roxanne Milotti. This might have given them a great start but unfortunately in the Latin they placed third in every dance, giving them a second overall in all ten dances. Third in this excellent 10 dance heat was awarded to Simeon & Kora Stoynov and here they took second in all the Latin dances but fourth in four Ballroom dances and third in the tango.
Fourth in the US National 10 dance was awarded to Russ & Katusha Wilder 2,4,3,2,3,4,4,4,4,4, fifth were Pavel Cherdantsau & Svetlana Rudkosvakaya 5,5,6,5,5,6,5,6,6,5, sixth went to Jang & Adele Don 6,T8,5,T7,6,7,6,5,7,6, seventh position was Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer 7,T8, T8,9,9,5,7,7,5,7, Eighth position went to Manuel Trillo & Anastasia Zhitova 8,6,7,6,7,8,8,8,8,T8, and in ninth place was Dmitriy Solomakha & Gabriela Sevillano 9,7,T8,T7,8,9,9,9,9,T8. As you can see the ten and nine dance are calculated and per dance not overall. This makes these events quite interesting when it comes to the results.
Speaking of interesting the US National Nine Dance Championships was also run this evening here the winners with a perfect run in all dances was Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, (first in all dances). Second in all dances in this nine dance championship and second overall was awarded to Sergiy Shapoval & Ania Tarnowska. Third went to Matthias Krushel & Christina Schlege, and here things got a little different 5,4,4,4,3,
T4,T3,6,3. Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kelyman were fourth overall 3,3,3,3,7,6,6,T4,5; Jan & Adele Don were fifth 4,5,5,5,5,3,5,T4,6. Sixth was Justin Guilmette & Kimalee Piedad 7,8,6,6,4,T4,T3,3,4, and in seventh position was Dustin Donelan & Kristen McCloskey 8,7,8,8,6,7,7,7,7, and finally in eighth position was Leo Mora & Christina Garced 6,6,7,7,8,8,8,8,8.
The US National Cabaret Championship also took place this evening and it was an unprecedented 9-couple final, not sure if this has been done in previews US championships but I suppose it has. With a majority of firsts Justin Guilmette & Kimalee Piedad won the event again, they only had a couple of marks lower than second place a fifth from Richard Booth, and a third from Marianne Nicole. For us Justin & Kimalee’s routine was perfectly executed with some excellent combinations of overhead lifts and dancing. Second overall went to Shane Jensen & Shannon Jensen their performance to “Cry Me River” was also worth a standing ovation, and here they took seven first places out of the 15 judges. Shane & Shannon’s worst marks came from Olga Foroponova who placed them 4th and from Glen Weiss who too had them fourth. Third in this mix was awarded to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, they did not get any first place marks from any of the judges but they did get a fifth and that was from Linda Wakefield. Fourth was Brandon Baker & Chelsey Cherie, fifth was awarded to Clyde Harris & Summer Black Elkin, sixth place went to Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez, seventh went to James Brann & Sayra Vazquez, eighth place was awarded to Richard & Laurie Collect and in ninth place were Chris & Shelly Eckert.
The US National Pro/Am Smooth Championships also took place this same day, and we must say the competition was excellent. The “A1” was won by Melonie Krumer with teacher Max Sinitsa. Melonie won three dances with the majority of firsts but in the VW she only manage 5 first places. Melonie’s worst judge was Inessa Strellniikova who awarded her 2 fifths and a fourth. Here are Melonie’s marks 1,1,1,2. Second place wen to Julia Vaysfeld w/Nikolay Karchev 2,2,2,1. We must point out that Julia took at least 4 firsts away from Melonie in every dance. Third was awarded to Christina Diaz & Kris Suakjian 3,3,4,3; fourth was Brianna Yadgir w/Chris Germain 4,4,3,4; fifth place went to Sara Jess w/Tomas Mielnicki 7,5,5,6; sixth was Liora Panis w/Leonid Burlo 6,7,6,5; seventh was Irene Lee w/Nick Cheremukin 5,6,8,8, and eighth was Megan Strong w/Sergey Smolin 8,8,7,7.
The “A2” was also a great event to mention and here Elizabeth Rocco partnered by Eric Hudson was the winner overall by placing second in the waltz and first in the other three dances. Lisa Berry w/Rauno Ilo took the waltz, placed second in the T,F, and third in the VW, this combination awarded her a second overall. Third overall went to Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov 4,3,3,2, as you can see Susan got a much higher placement in the VW. Fourth was Kim Hardin w/Billy King 3,4,4,4; fifth was awarded to Christina Donelson w/Peter Perzhu and they were fifth in every dance, and sixth place went to Lance Smith w/Tone Jacobsen taking all sixths, we must note this was the only man amateur in this final heat.
The “B” was a very disputed heat and the largest heat for the Pro/Am Smooth events with 40 couples entered. At the end it all came down to a top six and the championship went to Canada’s Beverly Moore with teacher Alain Doucet, but it was not an easy task for them, Beverly placed first in T,VW, second in the W, and third in the F. Beverly’s worst Judge was Urs Geisenhaimer who awarded them fifth in the W, and sixth in the VW. Second on this very contested heat was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 1,2,2,3, for this judge Inessa Streinkova, awarded them their worst scores two sixths a five and a fourth. Third was Robin Kencel w/ Sergey Vasilyev and as you can see by her scores this too was not an easy task 3,3,1,2, however, this was a lot better than last week at Embassy Ball where she was left out of the final. Fourth was Paige Riffle w/Alex Zagrean 4,5,4,4; fifth was Sue Eldred w/Artem Plakhotnyi 5,4,5,5 and in sixth position was Gracelyn Tuoti w/Andrei Abrashin and they were sixth in all dances.
The C1 Division went to Penelope Rostad w/ Nikolay Karchev, her 2nd Open title so far this week, and the C2 fell to Georganna Beuerman w/ Jonathan Atkinson.
The professional Rising stars were the last events run last night and they finished way after midnight. This must have made a few competitors a little testy and on edge since a medal was thrown out to the side by a competitor apparently not satisfied with her results. The US National Rising Star Rhythm was the largest and the last to be awarded. Here Shane & Shannon Jensen took the honors home by winning every dance, however not with a majority of firsts in any of the dances. Second in this very contested heat went to Sergiy Shapoval w/ Ania Tamowska, and they had marks from sixth to first, the majority of these first place marks were handed down by Eddie Simon who awarded them first in three dances and second in the bolero. Their overall scores were 4,3,2,2,2. What shocked us the most was during the prize presentation Ania seemed very perturbed by her second place finish. She seemed to be holding back with a fixed smile as she collected her award but as all pictures were taken and the party dissolved, many of the judges saw her disposing of her medal by throwing it to the side. Third in this very heated and contested competition was Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov 2,2,3,4,3.
The US National professional Rising Star Ballroom was not as dramatic when it came to the awards - they all took it well we did not notice anyone visibly displeased. Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk placed first in all dances, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took second in all dances but the waltz were they placed third and third in this final was awarded to Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova, they placed second in the Waltz and third in the other four dances.
So there you see it - there were a few birds popping up on the floor but not so many that could not be handled by the judges and officials. Good luck to all today’s competitors!
Best Rhythm of All Time!
Dance Beat has been covering Ballroom and Dancesport dancing for over 20 years and we the team agree that yesterday’s US Open Pro/Am Rhythm Championships were about the best we have covered so far.
The US Open “A” was brilliant and there was not one lady or gentleman who was not in complete shape ready for the task of becoming a US Champion. Viktoriya Trverskaya dancing with former Professional National 10-Dance Champion, Ilya Reyzin, was fantastic, their energy as well as their quality of performance we would say rivaled even some of the professional heats at other events. Viktoriya won the overall by placing first in four dances and second in the bolero, and all the dances she won she had a majority of firsts from the judges, we most also point out that even though she lost the bolero she still manage to take four firsts out of the 11 panel of judges.
Julia Vaysfeld w/Nikolay Karchev won the bolero in this “A” category but in the other dances she had mixed marks, placed second in C,R,SW and what we think might have been a disappointing third in the mambo. Second in this mambo was awarded to Natalia Crandal w/Decho Kraev who placed third overall and third in the other four dances. All the other couples in this category were excellent and worth a mention - Brianna Yadgir w/ Aaron DeSoto were fourth in every dance; Matthew Shimizu w/Jessica Nicol placed fifth overall 7,7,5,5,5; Rachel Sayotovich w/Ilya Velednitsky were sixth 5,5,6,7,6 and seventh was awarded to Chasity Smith w/ Eddie Ares 6,6,7,6,7.
The “A2” Rhythm Open US Championships was also excellent here as in the past four years or so Giovanni Fortezza partnered by Jolanta Mosteika took the Open US Pro/Am Rhythm title home, and in speaking with Giovanni he was quite thrilled but best for him is that he won every dance. According to Giovanni, in the past he has won the overall but always lost a dance or two, but not this time, he had a clear sweep and this was quite special for him. Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov was awarded overall second place, but not in every dance in the swing they took third. Third in this impressive heat went to Julie Korsog w/Mikhail Vlasov and they placed second in the swing and third in the other four dances. Fourth was Kia Malone w/Eddie Rivera 5,4,4,4,4, Fifth went to Darcy Ehrlich w/Aaron DeSoto 4,5,6,6,5, and sixth was awarded to Cindy Wang w/Steve Vasco 6,6,5,5,6.
In the “B” Rhythm Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski took the US Championships home, and she won all dances. Quin Bommelje w/Mikhail Vlasov was second overall but not in all dances they got a third place in their bolero. Darla Davis w/Jim Maranto was fourth 3,5,4,4,4; Gracelyn Tuoti w/Andrei Abrashin was fifth 5,6,6,5,5, and Renee Kuwahara w/Ilya Reyzin placed sixth 6,4,5,6,6.
The US Open Rhythm had to “C” categories the “C1” and the “C2.” The “C1” was won by Penelope Rostad w/ Nikolay Karchev and the “C2” went to Sharree Hannah w/Forrest Vance.
The US National Open Professional Compulsory Theater Arts took place this evening it was a very small heat with only three couples entered. We felt this to be a very difficult song to dance to and choreograph to, even the recording of this song is quite questionable. We recommend ABC puts a little more care when it comes to selecting the music in order to draw more couples to this Open Championship. The winners were Shane & Shannon Jensen, second was awarded to Justin Guilmette & Kimalee Piedad and third went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who we felt were a little unlucky.
The US National Rising Star Compulsory Theater Arts also took place and here we had 2 couples, Clyde Harris & Summer Black Elkin who won the category and Chris & Shelly Eckert who took second.
For us here at Dance Beat out of the two professional feature events the US National Professional Rising Star American Smooth was the best from a viewing perspective. There was more stuff going on and the couples were very close in talent and performance and so this made it for a nail-biting experience. The winners were quite surprised when the runners-up were called, the lady literally started crying and big “oohs” with very emotional tears went up all the way up to the lineup podium. The 2014 US National Rising Star Smooth winners are Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova, they won overall and most of the dances but in the waltz they took a second place. With the exception of the waltz Sergey & Maria won with the majority of firsts from the judges and even in the waltz they manage to still receive 7 first place marks.
The winners in the waltz and overall second place in the competition were also quite touched by the spectacle and they were Kyle & Allie Spinder. This must have taken a lot of mental stress as well as physical strength for the couples. Kyle was gracious to be in this position but Allie was emotional as well, her tears flowed down her face standing on the podium. Third overall were Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who took third in every dance.
The US National Professional Rising Star Latin event ran side by side with the Smooth but although for us did not have much spark it was still a competition with excellent skill and quality. Here for us and the majority of the judges the easy winners were Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova and they won all dances. However, in looking at the marks the cha cha was not won with a majority of firsts like the other for dances. Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets seemed to be quite disappointed and understandably so, all couples work hard for this moment in time at the US Championships and to be almost there as vice-champions must be very moving. Third in this heat went to Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie 4,3,3,3,4.
Today we will be keeping and eye on the Pro/Am Smooth categories and later in the evening more professional events.
Their First World’s!
Last night at Embassy Ball, one couple had the satisfaction of winning their 1st World Title.
Peter & Alexandra Perzhu of Florida won the NDCA World Professional Smooth Championship taking over from last year’s champions, Slawek Souchaki & Marzena Stachura, who have retired. The win was not unexpected as Peter & Alexandra have won their last few competitions and they were comfortable winners today with the majority of 1st places in all dances.
Runners-up were Mazen Hamza & Izabellla who had some 1st places in all dances but never enough to threaten the Perzhus. In fact they had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in only tango needing to rely on “3rd or better” to place 2nd in all 4 dances. The couple moving up the ladder today were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who benefited from a Rule 11 tie breaker to take 3rd with 4,3,3,4 over Travis & Jaimee Tuft who were 4th with 3,4,4,3. We thought Nick & Viktorija had a sensational night and were not at all surprised with their improvement in position. In fact we were not surprised either by the 2 first places awarded to them by judge, Toni Redpath. 5th spot went to Mickolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko 5,5,5,5, who are another couple that must surely be close to a breakthrough result. Closing this truly great final were David & Natalie Shulz 6,6,6,6. This was a strong placement for David & Natalie as this 6th place in the final was hotly contested. Among others we noted in the semifinal were Nikolai Pillipenchuk & Natalia Skorikova, Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft and Sergey Shapoval & Ania Tarnowska. The stage is certainly set for quite a showdown at the US Championships this week.
Bob Long will have the full report on this championship in Dance Beat soon.
Although not a world championship, the Pro Latin was a WDC World Ranking event, as was the Ballroom the day before and it certainly attracted some of the world’s best including the current WDC World Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko from New York. Riccardo & Yulia had little trouble taking this event losing only 2 first place marks from a total of 75. During the first round Riccardo aggravated and injury to his leg and left the floor during the paso doble, the audience let out a gasp, but they were back for the jive and danced the rest of the competition apparently without problems.
Both of those 1st places not awarded to the winners were given to the runners-up, Stefano DiFillipo & Dasha (USA). Sammy Stopford placed them 1st in rumba and Richard Porter in jive. Stefano & Dasha easily secured 2nd place in all 5 dances and we at Dance Beat really enjoyed their performance today. 3rd in all dances went to Mirko Rissi & Maria Ermatchkova (England). Since turning professional this duo seem to have acquired a new lease on life – for us their performance level and zest have quadrupled. They had the majority of “3rd or better” scores in all dances except the paso doble. Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina took 4th in all dances. In paso doble they had 7 third place marks (1 less than the majority) so were unlucky not to place 3rd in that dance. 5th in all dances fell to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk (Ukraine). They received mostly 4th, 5th and 6th places marks but did receive 5 second places from judge, Donnie Burns MBE. Kamil Studenny & Anna Pellypenko (Canada) took 6th place 6,6,6,6,6. This was a terrific competition although a few of the USA’s leading contenders were not present – perhaps saving their strength for the upcoming US National Championship. Sergey Ryupin will comment on this division for Dance Beat soon.
The two supporting events tonight were both in the ballroom style. The under 21 and over 35 – I guess if you were aged 21 to 34 you just had to sit down tonight! England took the U/21 in a close contest. Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko won the event 1,2,1,1,2. 2nd went to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski (NY) 2,1,2,2,1 and 3rd to William Stansbury & Jenny Sokolsky (CA) 3,3,3,3,3.
In the O/35 Zingmin & Katerina Lu (NY) were the winners.
Embassy at Work!
The Embassy Ballroom Championships continues to be at work this weekend hosting and conducting some of the best international events in the USA today.
Last night in the Open Amateur Latin more than half the final was from outside the USA, there were also some couples in the professional Ballrooms and of course we had the NDCA Professional World Rhythm Championship.
The Professional Ballroom and the Open Amateur Latin had the most attendance. The Ballroom was excellent with what we will discribe as a fantastic, unconventional performance by Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva. At first we thought that it was Victor’s home turf (California) causing all the audience to keep cheering them on, but as we got drawn to their performance we realized that it was the content of their performance that was making people rise out of their seats. We must tip our hats to this world renowned couple - their artistry last night along with their “out of nowhere,” unconventional maneuvers will keep us motivated for a very long time and yes, for those questioning our opinion at the moment - Ballroom can be astronomically fun. Victor & Anastasia took second in all dances but did manage to grab a few first places in a few dances. (2 firsts in the tango and the quickstep from Toni Readpath, and one first in the quickstep from Alan Dixon.) Their worst mark was a third in the waltz and this came from Massimo Giorgianni from Italy.
The unmistakably winners from the judges’ perspective in this event, gave us what we can only describe as their trademark perfection from beginning to end, earning them perfect scores from all the judges in both the waltzes, and the majority of first from all the judges in the rest of the dances. The Embassy Ballroom Champions continue to be the incomparable Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova’s with first in all dances. It was such a pleasure to see this two great couples of the Ballroom style go head to head in a Ballroom arena, the Californian audience and we who were there are so lucky to witness this wonderful encounter.
From what we just mentioned you would have thought that only these two couples made a splash at the Embassy, but this is not the case the rest of the final was perhaps one of the best the world can offer. Third in this spectacular heat went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk who were the only other couple other than Victor & Anastasia to take a first place mark away from Arunas & Katusha - in the foxtrot. Marat & Alina were third in every dance.
Fourth in this excellent final went to Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva and as you will see the judges were not quite so sure from here down 6,4,6,5,4. And in a “rule 11” decision fifth place went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova 4,6,4,6,5. Last in this parade of stars was awarded to Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. It is important to note that Mikhail & Olga were placed sixth only in the quickstep the rest of the dances they placed fifth or better 5,5,5,4,6, here again this placement was sorted by a “rule 10” and for those that want to know what rules 10 and 11 are, as Mr. John DePalma says, “read the manual.”
We thought that there were some excellent couples left out of this final but they were good enough to be there and with a little more confidence they could easily challenge.
The Professional Ballroom was not the only international professional event here at the Embassy last night, the NDCA World Professional Rhythm Championship was also a feature event here last night. The panel of judges was filled with world-renowned adjudicators, we counted at least seven judges from outside the USA out of 15. It was unfortunate that some of our best Rhythm couples were not present. It is quite a rare occasion to have such a distinguish panel of foreign judges added to the equation, you would have thought this to be a great opportunity for advancement. Nevertheless, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, second in command at last year’s USDC but the defending World Champoions, won every dance with a majority of firsts from the judges. There were some odd marks for Emmanuel & Liana - a number of fourths and thirds were awarded to them. Their worst judge was Richard Porter from England who awarded them 3 fourths, and he was joined by another English legend, Hazel Fletcher who awarded them 2 third place marks and a second.
Second in this NDCA World Rhythm event wen to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and they placed second in four dances and third in the mambo. Alexandra sported a beautiful tight fitting black short dress for the final and her loose hair gave her a carefree appearance, totally sexy! We are not sure about the loose hair though. Maybe it was Alexandra’s loose flowing hair but they too shared in some of those interesting marks from the judges. Here Donnie Burns MBE, President of the WDC, awarded them four sixth place marks and one fifth, not far behind Richard Porter awarded them four 5th place marks and a fourth, they also manage to take a number of firsts from Emmanuel & Liane, two in the rumba, two in the swing and three in the bolero.
Third place in this World Rhythm went to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova, here they placed third in every dance but the mambo where they took second overall. This was Richard Porter’s favorite couple he awarded them first in every dance but in the cha cha were he place them 2nd. Fourth wen to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov and they placed fifth in the cha cha and fourth in the other four dances. New on the Rhythm scene Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti were fifth overall 4,5,5,6,6 and sixth was awarded to Sergei Shapoval & Ania Tarnowska who we had a hard time recognizing in the earlier rounds. They sported and outfit that was quite busy and made them both unrecognizable till the final, once here they placed sixth in three dances and fifth in the bolero and mambo. In case anyone is wondering or questioning, the US National Anthem was played at the start of the competition with all couples on the floor as all couples were from USA.
The Amateur Latin was a fantastic addition to this night of shining stars. WDC World Amateur Latin Champions, Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova from Denmark placed first in every dance and took the Embassy trophy home. Troels & Ina won with a huge majority of firsts from the diverse judging panel, but here it was time for the US Judges to hit back. Ronald Montez delivered the hardest punch awarding them three sixth place marks and a fifth in the cha cha and fourth in the samba. They got also some seconds, these came mainly from our Canadian neighbor, Aigars Stolcers who gave them second in every dance. Their worst dance according to the judges was the jive where even Shirley Ballas awarded them a third. Second in all dances was awarded to Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina from USA, who were Aigars’s favorite, he awarded them all firsts but in the samba where he placed them third. Third was also taken by Demark, but this time by Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva and here they placed third in every dance.
Slovenia’s Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts took the fourth overall and fifth in the rumba. Yes, there were many US couples in this heat and two more in the final. Pasha Pashkov & Daniela Karagach who took that fourth place mark in the rumba from Denmark and who placed overall fifth was one of them. The sixth place in this heat also went to the USA this time to Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina and they took sixth in every dance. To our neighbors up north wondering if there were any Canadian couples in this excellent heat, yes plenty but none made the final.
As we mentioned earlier, the US National Anthem was played a number of times in the late afternoon fro the NDCA World Pro/Am Latin Championships. One of those times for the “A” division and Cheyenne Murillo dancing with Sasha Altukhov. They won the “A” by placing first in all dances. Cheyenne won with the majority of firsts in all dances, but here too some of the judges had the “low mark fever.” On this occasion Robert Long awarded her a 6th in the samba. Second in the “A” went to Vera Xu w/Jakub Zeglen 6,2,2,2,2, and you can see how indecisive the panel was by the sixth in the cha. Third was Michael Roberts w/Milana Pliner 3,4,3,3,4. Fourth in this excellent final wen to Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada 2,5,5,5,3, fifth was Emily Takhtarov w/Evgeny Dyachenko 4,3,4,6,5, and sixth in this heat went to Grace Kuan w/Evgeny likhachev 5,6,6,4,6.
The “B” NDCA World Pro/Am Latin for us was very strong in numbers and in quality. The final was quite hard-fought but in the end it all went to Russia and to Svetlanta Mukhametshina dancing with Alexander Chesnokov. Here they placed first in four dances and second on the jive. We must point out that Svetlanta only won two dances with the majority of firsts, the cha cha and the samba, in the other three dances she only managed to capture 3 out of 7. Second overall went to Tina Broccole w/Delian Terziev. She won the jive and placed second in the C,S,P but an unlucky third in the rumba sealed her fate. Robert Long was her worst judge awarding her three fifth place marks. Third went to Rhonda Lee w/Daniel Gozzi 3,3,2,4,3, fourth was awarded to Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas 4,4,4,5,5, fifth was Sabrina Strasser from Canada who also competed in the “A” with Stanishlav Kochergin 5,5,5,3,4, this most have been a tough venture for Sabrina doing this competition with so many heats you have to really be in top shape and for us she is. Sixth in the “B” division went to Loan Lam w/Nikolay Voronovich and they placed sixth in every dance.
The “C” NDCA World Pro/Am Champion was Arlene Yu dancing with Nikolai Shpakov she took first in three dances, second in the jive and third in the cha cha. We must mention that Arlene only managed to win the rumba with the majority of firsts from the judges. Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski placed second overall. She won the jive, placed second on the cha cha, samba and third in the other two dances. Lisa tied for third in the rumba not with the Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen who was third but with Rhonda Lynch w/Stephen McCann who was fourth overall. Suzanne’s marks for her third place finish were 1,3,2,2,4 and Rhonda’s marks were 4,5,3T,5,3. As you can appreciate the judges were all over the place on this one, even in the fifth place finish that was awarded to Tammy Knight w/Oleksii Lytvyn it was a bit crazy 5,4,5,4,6. Sixth was Joan Goddard w/Chris Johnston and they placed sixth in every dance but the jive where they placed fifth.
The Senior Pro/Am World Latin was also an excellent heat, here Teryl Anderson w/Marcus Johnston was first but not in every dance, in the jive they took second. Susan Sosin w/Roberto Cavallo was second in three dances and third in the jive. As you can see the Senior was a four dance Championship without the paso doble. Third was delivered to Michaela Puno w/Slava Sergiev 3,3,3,1, as you can appreciate Michaela won the jive. From here down the judges taste for marking up and down settled a bit and fourth went to Penelope Parmes w/Mikail Watkins and they took fourth in every dance, fifth in every dance was Jane Carrus w/Edgar Osorio, sixth wen to Katie Braun w/Alexander Andreev 6,7,6,6, and seventh was awarded to Ilona Abraham w/Vadim Lyubushkin 7,6,7,7.
World Championships were also held in the pro-am junior categories and attracted strong entries. THe winners were: Daniel Novikov w/ Alla Novikova (PT); Ashley Mattingly w/ Cristiano Calegari (J); Sam Burekovich w/ Natia Kuprava (Y).
The NDCA World Amateur Smooth Title was awarded for the first time this year and it was won by Charlie Roberts & Emily Kapral
The Embassy Ball hosts the US National Formation Championships in Ballroom and Latin and this year the BYU Team won both titles as they have done for as long as the event has been run. At the conclusion of the awards it was announced that Lee & Linda Wakefield will be stepping down this year as trainers of the team. What a run they have had!
Also this evening long time sponsor of dancesport throughout the USA, Josie Lee was inducted into the NDCA Hall of Fame. The presentation was made by Brian McDonald, President of the NDCA.
As you can see it, was a busy and hard tasking day for the Embassy Ballroom Championships, but as always they continue to deliver great quality to the ballroom world.
An International Flair at Embassy
As the Ballroom section of the NDCA Pro-Am World Championships brought a more international flair to the proceedings with several competitors from overseas contributing to the mix.
In the final tally, the 4 winners in the open categories came from 3 countries, USA, Canada and Italy.
Beginning with the A division. The winners was Elisa Dalia Vecchia w/ Ruedeger Homm representing Italy. Elisa placed 1,2,1,1,1. In the dances she won, Elisa had the majority of 1st place scores and we felt she offered the best overall package of the final. Taking 2nd but winning the tango (also with a majority of 1st places) was Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa. You will note that these two ladies were also 1st and 2nd in the Smooth, but the result was reversed. With 4,3,4,3,3, Jenny Kalish w/ Rafael Sabato. We liked her dancing and judge, Taliat Tarsinov awarded were 2 first placements. 4th spot fell Jacob Tsai w/ Iveta Pauryte-Faraci 3,4,3,4,4; 5th to Vinnie Miller w/ Anton Koukareko 5,5,5,5,6; 6th to Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci 6,6,6,6,5.
Celai Chou w/ Erminio Stefano (USA) won the highly contested B division. Celia received the majority of 1st places in all dances except the VW, although she received all 7 first place marks in QS. Runner-up today went to Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet. Beverly was easily 2nd in all dances, but surprisingly to us, she did not receive many 1st place scores. Taking all the 3’s was Lilly Chang w/ Sergei Kiselev. The judges were split on Lilly’s performance with some marking her in the bottom half of the final, but the majority placing her in the top 3. We agreed with the majority! 5,5,4,4,4 gave Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev the 4th place. 5th fell to Lengzi Gao w/ Kamil Urbanik 6,4,5,5,5. This is lady we were certainly considering for a top 3 placement! 6th was Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein 4,6,6,6,6 and 7th went to Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo.
The C was the largest of the divisions with 35 entries, the event danced over 4 rounds. The winner of this marathon was Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk (USA) who placed 1,2,1,1,1. The scoring in this final was very erratic – the judges were quite at odds. Lynn fared the best but did not have the majority of 1st places in any dance. In fact she won the foxtrot without receiving a 1st place from any judge. Nevertheless, this lady has made great improvement in this style – congratulations! 2nd place went to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski who was 2nd in 4 dances and won tango. Lisa has also made al lot of progress in this style. With 3,3,4,5,4 Connie Edmonds w/ Emanuele Pacchini took 3rd. 4th went to Jill Bradford w/ Gert Roslender 4,4,5,4,3. That left 2 couples, both of which we felt could have placed in the top half of the final. 5th went to Hye Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva 5,5,3,3,5 and 6th to Hans Stork w/ Inna Berlizyeva 6,6,6,6,6. Both of these unlucky couples received some 1st places.
Canada took the Open Senior - Margaret Loo w/ Joel Marasigan placed 2,1,1,1,1. The runner-up today was Susan Walter w/ Emanuele Pacchini 3,2,2,2. The winner of the waltz placed 3rd overall 1,3,3,4, and that was Yumiko Nakagawa w/ Robert Nemiro. 4th was Takako Trenholm w/ Valdas Padriezas; 5th Noriko Ide w/ Dariusz Michalski and 6th Gail Sherman w/ Slava Stefanov.
There was some good competition in the pro-am junior and youth divisions. Lisa Dubinsky w/ Ronen Zinshtein won the Junior and Jacob Tsai w/ Iveta Pauryte-Faraci won the Youth
The pro-am world championship divisions closed the afternoon session. The main event of the evening was the Open Amateur Ballroom Championship, danced over 4 rounds. Andres & Veronika End continued their US victory tour with an easy win here taking all dances with a huge majority of 1st places. 2nd went to Canada, the new partnership of James Cutler & Virginie Primeau placed 2,2,2,5,2. From 2nd to 7th the couples had rather mixed scores from the judges. 3rd place fell to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhitarova 3,3,3,2,3; 4th to Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko (England) 4,5,4,3,4; 5th Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Savenko 5,6,5,6,5; 6th Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov 6,4,7,4,7; 7th Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova 7,7,6,7,6. Watch out for Igor Litvinov’s report in Dance Beat soon.
Two strong Pro Rising Star events were also featured. The winners of the Smooth were Kyle & Allie Spinder 1,1,1,1. 2nd went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 2,2,2,2 and 3rd to Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 3,4,3,3.
Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova won all dances in the RS Latin. Jake Davies & Alyona Kalenina (England) were 2nd 2,4,3,2,2 and Pavel Balykin & Meagen Mendoza were 3rd 4,2,4,4,3.
Only 2 couples contested the Pro Cabaret. Travis & Jamie Tuft were the winners over Ivan Berkovic & Dena Anne Weiner.
One other feature event was the U/21 Latin. Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakotos-Hayward (Canada) won all dances. Taking 2nd, and from the Ukraine, were Maksym Bodnar & Yelzaveta Vnuchkova, 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd were Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo 3,3,3,5,3.
Two achievement awards are customarily presented at Embassy Ball. This year the John Ford & Marguerite Hanlon Award was presented to Michael Chapman. Michael was unable to attend, so the award was accepted on his behalf by Rufus Dustin. The Bill & Bobbie Irvine Award was given this year to Sammy Stopford.
A North American Draw!
Last night along with 2 renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner,” we also heard “Oh Canada” playing twice during the NDCA Pro-Am World Championships.
All the divisions were excellent so let’s look at them in order. Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa won all dances in the A division and for us this lady is unchallenged in this category at the present time. However, even though Melonie won all dances with a majority of 1st places she did have some judges not as impressed, most notably Hazel Fletcher who placed her 5,2,4,5. 2nd in all dances was Elisa Dalia Vecchia w/ Ruedeger Homm, but she had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in only waltz and in a vagary of the Skating System, Elisa received only one 2nd in foxtrot while still taking 2nd in that dance. With 4,3,3,3, Christina Diaz w/ Kris Suakjian was 3rd, judge Hazel Fletcher awarded her all 1st places. Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin was 4th 3,4,4,4, Liora Paniz w/ Leonid Burlo 5th in all dances, Elena Eroshin w/ Daniel Vasco 6th in all and Joel Jimenez w/ Lisa Cristiani Brown 7th.
The first of the Canadian victories came in the B Division as Joanne Smith w/ Sharon Levit took the competition 1,2,1,1, but it was a tight race with no competitor receiving the majority of 1st places in any dance and several sharing the 1st places. 2nd with 2,1,2,2 was Susan Sidman w/ Gleb Makarov and 3rd, Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo 4,3,3,3. The whole final was closely scored by the judges. Sheila Davis w/ Sergey Barsukov was 4th 3,4,4,4; Kako Matumoto w/ Dave Hannigan took 5th 6,5,6,5 and Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki was 6th 5,6,5,6.
Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet was back on top in the C Division to score Canada’s 2nd victory of the night, but it wasn’t a clean sweep, Beverly placed 2,2,1,1, with the majority of 1st places in the VW. Lisa Lowery took the runner’s up spot w/ Radek Wiatrowski. Her scores were 4,1,2,2. Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean was 3rd today with 3,4,3,3. Taking 1st in the waltz, but 3,5,4 in the other dances, Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu was 4th, Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian was 5th 5,6,4,6 and Alla Neyshtadt w/ Erik Pali was 6th 6,5,6,5.
The second US victory was in the Senior division where Michaela Puno w/ Slava Sergiev took the title with 4,2,1,1. This division was the most diversely scored by the judges with almost all couples taking a 1st place in each dance. 2nd went to Doreen Marchack w/ Youriy Pavlov 1,1,2,6; 3rd to Yiru Sethavanish w/ Kris Suakjian 2,4,4,2; 4th to Norio Yamamato w/ Anna Shabazyan 3,3,3,5; 5th to Kathy Boyle w/ Alexander Novikov 5,6,5,3; 6th to Sarah Spindler w/ Eddie Stutts 6,5,6,4; 7th Cher Cunningham w/ Daniel Vasco.
There were two strong Pro Rising Star events danced tonight also. The Ballroom was headed by two new partnerships. The win fell to Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikaliuk 2,1,1,1,1, over Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova 1,2,2,2,2. Oscar Pedreinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took all the 3rds. Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were 4th 4,5,4,4,6; Simeon & Kora Stoynov were 5th 5,4,6,6,4 and Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina were 6th 6,6,5,5,5.
The RS Rhythm was also a strong division, we thought it was close between the top 4 couples, but agreed with the judges that Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov got the better of it. They won all dances in the end. 2nd spot went to recent Rhythm converts Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti, although they scores 2,3,3,3,3. Taking two of those elusive 2nd places were 3rd placed Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov 3,2,2,4,4 and the other 2nds went to 4th placed Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova 4,4,4,2,2. All the 5ths went to Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty; 6th fell to Richard & Marianne Myers 6,6,6,6T,7 and 7th to Martin Barthold & Natalya Bychkova 7,7,7,6T,6.
An upset in form gave the Amateur Masters (+50) Ballroom to John Chen & Jenny Du over Hans & Ans Stork. It was a Rule 11 tie that broke in John & Jenny’s favor.
Last night at the Embassy Ballroom Championships the Star Spangled Banner was played 4 times during the award ceremony for the NDCA World Pro/Am Rhythm Championships. Four US contenders took the honors home.
This was not an unexpected occurrence, the majority of the competitors were from the USA, and right out of hand we only spotted less than a handful from outside the USA. One of the unusual countries participating was Australia, we are sure to get other countries as the weekend continues and the international style categories draw more participation.
Out of the 4 main Rhythm NDCA Pro/Am World Championships, the C, B, and senior were the most populated with a semifinal round in each. The “A” was nearly nonexistant with only two couples participating. As you can see although there were no major rounds to these championships the competitions were still of good caliber and the competitors had a good fight for top placement.
In the “C” category Lisa Lowery partnered by Radek Wiatrowski won all five dances but not all with the majority of firsts. Lisa had a majority of firsts in the cha and rumba, but in the other three dances she only manage to get 4 out of the nine firsts that could be awarded by the judges. When looking at the marks Lisa was given quite a collection of marks down to even a sixth in the mambo from Aigars Stolcers from Canada who was perhaps her worst judge on this panel.
Joan Goddard w/Chris Johnston took second in every dance overall and did manage a number of firsts including three in the rumba and three in the swing. Joan too managed to acquire a few sixes but for her they came from Ronald Montez and Toni Redpath who both awarded her two sixes each. From second down as you will see things got a little murkier Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu were third overall but not in every dance 5,4,3,3,3. Quin Bommelje w/Misha Vlasov took fourth 3,3,4,4,5. Renee Kuwahara w/Ilya Reyzin placed overall fifth 4,6,5,5,4, and to show you how varied this panel of judges were in their marks, Renee was the recipient of three first place marks form Aigars Stolcers from Canada. Last but not least in sixth position was Sally Bard w/Steve Vasco 6,5,6,6,6.
The “B” was also an excellent event and here Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov became the NDCA World Rhythm “B” Champion by winning four dances out of five. Susan took three dances with a majority of firsts, and in the swing she took four out of nine firsts and won. However, in the bolero although Susan took the same amount of firsts (4) she was still second because Shelia Davis dancing with Sergey Barsukov managed to get the majority of firsts in this dance. Overall Shelia Davis placed second and in all dances but the bolero were as we said she had the majority of firsts and was first.
Third in this NDCA Worlds was awarded to Jacqueline Bequette w/Daniel Lee Tran 3,3,3,4,5. Fourth went to Cindy Wang w/Steve Vasco 4,4,5,3,6. In fifth position was Donna Sparano w/Evgeny Dyachenko 5,6,4,5,4, and in sixth place was M’Balia Tagoe w/Mariusz Zakrzewski 6,5,6,6,3.
Out of such wonderful talent we have seen all year around at Manhattan, Wisconsin State, Empire and even NV Ball, it was a little sad to only have two couples entered the NDCA World Pro/Am Rhythm “A” category, however although this was a small heat it was still a mighty competition with two excellent ladies going head to head. Nadia Kireyko who has turned from a junior to an incredible, highly skilled and talented lady won the category but not every dance. Nadia placed second in the cha partnered by her teacher, Daniel Vasco. Well knownn competitor Chasity dancing with renowned Rhythm dancer Eddie Ares took first in the cha cha and second in the other four dancing giving them second overall.
The NDCA World Pro/Am Senior division was also well attended with excellent ladies and certainly worth a mention. Quin Bommelje who placed fourth in the “C” division now won the Senior by placing first in all dances. Yiru Sethavanish w/Kris Suakjian placed second overall 2,2,3,2,3, and Sarah Spindler w/Eddie Stutts was third 4,3,2,3,2. The last three ladies in this final were also terrific and they were Cher Cunningham dancing with Daniel Vasco who placed fourth 3,4,4,4,4, Penelope Parmes w/Mikal Watkins took fifth in all dances and sixth was awarded to Ruby Yap w/Felipe Telona Jr.
As rumors had it, the now “Hotel Irvine” (formerly the Hyatt Regency) has ongoing renovations but arrangements have been made so that you can still enjoy a good meal as well as a fun time at the bar, now located in the lobby, for a nightcap if you wish following the competition. The hotel staff have been great and nothing has been missed, even a temporary gym has been set up.
Today we concentrate on the Smooth divisions and we are sure the NDCA World Championships are going to be great as usual.
Capital Comes to a Close!
Yesterday the Capital Dancesport Championships came to a close and as usual the evening session was dedicated to the open professional events.
Out of the four styles the Smooth had the most punch with 6 very promising couples in the final. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu were the best and the judges awarded them first in all dances and they won with a majority of first places in every dance. Peter & Alexandra only received a handful of second and third places. The most noticeable were Pat Traymore and Diana McDonald, the only judges to award them a third place, Pat in the VW, and Dianna in the tango.
Second in this excellent heat, in all dances, went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, but when looking at the marks they had a lot of variety. Their worst judge was Linda Dean who awarded them three fifths and a fourth in the tango. Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko were third in all dances and here too there was a variety of numbers. Their worst marks came from Glenis Dee-Creger - 2 5th one 4th and a 6th in the waltz. Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidjova were fourth overall but not in all dances they placed 5th in the foxtrot. Nickolay Pilipenchuk & Natalia Skorikova were fifth 5,5,4,5, and Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 6th in all dances.
The Professional Rhythm was also a well attended heat with a healthy quarter-final and here Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed first in every dance with a near perfect run, just a total of 3 scores that were not 1st. Ivan & Marieta Dishliev placed second overall and in all dances but here their marks were a little more varied and Diana McDonald thought they should be last in every dance. Third was awarded to Shane & Shannon Jensen and their best marks came from Nick Short who thought they should win the cha cha and had them second in all the other dances. From this point on, the couples had to share placements in some of the dances. Shandor Shtefil & Alekandra Barsukov were 4th overall but took fifth in the cha cha. Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti placed 5th overall but took a 4th in the cha cha, and 6th in every dance went to Erwin & Iwona Rybcynski.
The Open Latin was a nice event and that went easily to Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte who placed first in every dance with the majority of firsts in every dance. Second was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who placed 2nd in four dances and 4th in the rumba. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova took 3rd 4,4,2,3,3. 4th place overall was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova 3,3,3,4,4. 5th went to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and they took 5th in every dance and 6th were Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina.
The Ballroom was also a significant event and here Alexander Volskalchuk & Veronika Egora placed 1st in every dance, but they only managed to get the majority of firsts in the tango. The rest of the dances they won with 4th or better. Second in this competition went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova who placed second overall in every dance and third was awarded to Nazar Batih & Marico Cantley 3,4,4,33. During this final the foxtrot as in many of this summer competitions was dedicated in the memory of Brian Puttock, his wife Sue was present and judging the event during the dedication, everyone gave a standing ovation during the dedication. Fourth in this seven couple final was awarded to Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena 4,3,5,5,4, fifth went to Iaroslar Beiliei & Olga Tsikalyuk 5,5,3,4,5, sixth was Samuele Pacchini & Ana Oblakova 7,6,6,6,6, and in seventh position were Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 6,7,7,7,7.
It was a pro/am Ballroom day beginning at 7:00AM. The Open Scholarships were pretty good and following the pattern here at Capital, the C division was the largest beginning with a semifinal. Taking 1st in this was Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 1,2,1,1,1. We thought Beatrice danced great today - everything went just right. 2nd overall fell to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 2,1,3,2,3 and 3rd to Paige Riffle w/ Iaroslav Bieliel 3,3,2,3,2 - this was the first time we have seen Paige with this new professional.
The B divisions began with a semifinal and Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won the day, taking all dances. 2nd went to Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico 2,3,3,2,2 and 3rd to Yanina Kisler w/ Peter Walker 3,2,2,3,3. We felt Yanina a little unlucky today as attires she looked very strong today.
The A division was again a straight final and was won by a gentleman, Andrey Privda w/ Olga Chekhova. This young man certainly has a lot of potential. He placed 1,1,2,2,1 today. Taking 2nd was Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) 2,2,1,1,2 and 3rd was Jana Hester w/ Dmitry Savchenko 3,3,3,3,3.
As customary at the conclusion of the Capital Dancesport Championships a showcase of many who performed during the weekend took place. The “Show” is put together by Wendy Johnson and a parade of couples get up to do their thing. There were quite a few eye-catching numbers this year and in particular catching our eye were the “wearing different hats” by Mr. Louis Bar was quite humorous and kept everyone in stiches from beginning to end. Penelope Rostad with teacher Nikolai Karchev did a wonderful exhibition featuring some lifts and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were devilish with their cute swing. Travis & Jaimee Tuft and Shane & Shannon Jensen did a spectacular duo with some excellent floor and lift work and they closed the show. It was so interesting that we suggested to start a two couple category group number competition. There were plenty more but these few caught our imagination.
The after party was a lavish breakfast affair with about four stations so everyone that needed a little food could enjoy, the only complaint is that in Virginia they must stop serving liquor at 1AM and so everyone rushing to the bar were quite disappointed not to be able to have a cocktail before bedtime.
Overall the Capital Dancesport was a tremendous success and as usual it ran like a tight ship with no difficulties and with great class. Congratualtions to John & Marianne DePalma for another terrific year.
Pro Cabaret Ends Marathon Day at Capital
5 great couples contested an excellent Cabaret division at the end of a long day yesterday. The event went on around midnight, but the couples were in good form and gave us 5 very different routines.
Shane & Shannon Jensen continued their winning form taking the division with their new number. We thought it looked just a little uneasy in places, but the level of difficulty in the adagio work is very high. Runners-up were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who produce a more typically “theatrical ballroom” presentation. We thought they were very secure tonight. 3rd went to the acrobatic prowess of Jugie Zamora & Sheena Damimar. Again good lifts but a few wobbles here and there. 4th and 5th went to “showdance” style routines that were also very accomplished. Vincnzo Minieri & Rosaria Virone were 4th and Manuel Trillo & Anastasia Zhitova were 5th.
Overall it was a great night for Shane & Shannon as they also won all 5 dances in the RS Rhythm to take that division. 2nd went to Riccardo Pappi & Tina Moretti in their first competition in this style. They are the latest Latin duo to make the switch. This was a good start. They placed 2,2,2,3,2. 3rd were Erwin & Iwona Rybcznska 3,3,3,2,5. This division began with a quarter-final.
In the RS Smooth, that also started with a quarter-final, Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova won all dances with little challenge in our view. We also liked runners-up Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and the judges concurred, giving them 2nd in all 4 dances. The new partnership of Morten Jensen & Ashley Mayer took 3rd 3,3,3,4 and certainly showed promise.
The pro-ams contended with 2 styles today – Smooth and Latin. Of the two we felt the Open Smooth Scholarships had the edge over the Latin.
The A was the smallest, a straight final. The winner was Jessica Spink w/ Peter Walker 1,1,2,1. We liked Jessica’s dancing, especially her closed work. 2nd went to Sara Jess w/ Thomas Mielnicki 2,2,1,2, Sara has great floor presence and soft interpretation, but perhaps needs more consistency in technique. 3rd was Samanta Rico w/ Morten Jensen 3,3,3,3.
Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu won all dances in the B Division and looked the strongest to us also. Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston took 2nd 2T,2,2,2 ad Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was 3rd 2T,3,3,3.
In the largest division, the C, Robin Kencel w/ Sergey Vasilyev won all dances and was clearly ahead of the field we felt. 2nd went to Aviva Adler w/ Victor Russu 2,2,2,4. Aviva shows improvement all the time. 3rd in all dances went to Charlotte Carey w/ Kostadin Bidjourov.
In the Latin the A was once again the smallest division and it went to Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinadko 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd was Cynthia Hwang w/ Marek Gabor 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd, Sherry Chen w/ Sergey Izyumov 3,3,3,3,3.
The B division gave us the toughest race for the win but it went to Lorraine Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline 1,2,1,1,2 over Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich 2,1,2,2,1. We might have called it the other way, but Lorraine has made great strides and certainly there is no argument over her win. 3rd was Anna Poberetsky w/ Andre Strinadko 3,3,3,3,3.
Suzanne Saperstein w/ Ricky Bentzen won all dances in the C Division. Jeanie LaFavor w/ Mariusz Olszewska was 2nd 2,3,2,2,2 and 3rd was Vicki Gorder w/ Andre Strinadko 3,2,3,3,4.
Organizer, John DePalma, took time from his pressing organizer duties to participate in the latest craze of dumping a bucket of iced water over your head. He, Dan Messenger and Mark Weiss took the challenge!!
Short but Sweet!
Last night at Capital Dancesport Championships the night session was short but sweet, filled with excellent dancing. The Rising Star Professional Latin and Ballroom were the featured events as well as some terrific Open Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships.
Out of the two professional events the Latin was possibly the best with a healthy semifinal round. There were no superstars that grabbed your attention but the quality of the dancing was terrific. Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina from California won all dances and Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina from England were second. Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie placed third in every dance, Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Virone took all fourths. Tomas Vasicek & Kimberly Harris were fifth and Jungie Zamora & Sheena Damiar, sixth.
The Ballroom was a six-couple final and the win went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova, they won all dances. Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were second in four dances and placed third in the foxtrot. Second in the foxtrot and third in the other four dances went to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina.
Two very capable couples entered the rare Professional Compulsory Theater Arts. This competition I think only takes place here at Capital and at the USDC. The winner was Shane & Shannon Jensen and second went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft. After the event was run there was an issue about the music. Apparently the music has been changed a number of times on the website and so one of the couples had been rehearsing to a different recording. This possibly presented a problem. We think it was a few seconds longer or shorter. It was not a big issue both couples looked wonderful and ready and had it not been brought up to the attention of the chair by one of the judges, nobody would have known that the song came up too short for one of the couples. However, the couples were fine for the moment and we proceeded with the award. Hope the issue gets clarified before the US Nationals in a week.
The Professional Basics divisions, sponsored by DIVIDA, were not as well attended. The Rhythm had the most couples, 4, and they were all quite proficient at the skill. Nazar Norov & Irina Krudyashova were first in all dances, Shane & Shannon Jensen placed second and third went to Jeffrey Goltiao & Katt Baumgartner (3,3,3,4,4). Thse last two were the only couple entered in the Smooth Basics. Finally fourth was awarded to Rex & Rachel Jones.
The Open Rhythm Scholarships were also good and here the “A” Was won by Viktoria Tvreskaya w/Ilya Reyzin. This lady was great! We are sure that she will do quite well at Nationals. The “B” was taken by Kathy Howell w/Martin Cawston and the “C” went to Penelope Rostad w/Nikolay Karchev.
The fashion show by Dore was a success. Many at the bar were quite impressed by the collection. Alexandra Perzhu openned the runway and it was a good intermission between the two professional events while couples made some costume changes.