Dance Beat Team
Can-Am the Flagship!
Can-Am Dancesport in Toronto Canada concluded last night with a terrific WDC World series Professional Latin event and all we can say is that Can-Am Dancesport is the Flagship of Dance Competitions with attention to detail and first class service from the Venue, the hotel, the meals and parties and even down to the flowers it was a first class Flagship experience.
The Professional WDC World Series was a six-couple final, and all couples were of good quality. The first place was very close with the top two couples winning two dances and with it all left to the jive. The victorious couple in this intense fifth dance were Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc from Quebec (1,1,2,2,1) they won the jive with 7 first place marks to 5 a full majority with 13 judges. Second place went to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko from Ontario (2,2,1,1,2), who looked obviously shocked by the result. We ourselves from the stands were slightly shocked since we too felt they could have easily won. In defense of the judges we did not think this was the best performance we have seen from Kamil & Anna, and so perhaps some of the judges might have been marking their performance rather than comparing, however, judging so many couples on the floor all at once leaves plenty of room for the judges to see only spontaneously what is happening on the floor.
The competition on top was fun but the couple that drew our attention the most was Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier who placed third overall (4,4,3,3,3). They looked excellent and in a few dances and on some occasions we even felt they could have easily taken a dance. We knew this to be an impossibility in our business but it was nice to see this couple be so sharp and improved. Fourth went to Rafael Piecyk & Betty Attia (3,3,4,4,4), fifth were Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko who were fifth in every dance and sixth in all were Eyal Glezna & Amanda Fleising. The biggest surprise to us was the little support that the professional WDC couples gave this event, you would have thought that with a world series in hand more would have turned up.
The Professional Smooth was quite impressive with a semifinal round and here once again all couples were very capable. The talented duo of Travis & Jaimee Tuft gave an excellent performance, the best we have seen from this couple and they took all dances. Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft from California placed second in all dances also with a strong performance and Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko from Canada were third in all dances. It was great to see Smooth dancing being developed in Canada and to have such a terrific couple in this field. It was also great to see Vladimir Popov back on the floor but this time with Anastasia Kazmina (5,4,4,4). Vladimir continues to be an excellent dancer but the partnership needs further work to challenge for top placement. It is a difficult transition from Ballroom dancing to Smooth but we are sure Anastasia will soon be totally up to par and ready to take the top on. Mark Igor Shpuntov & Crysta Gunn were fifth (4,5,5,6) and Dmytro Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn were sixth (6,6,6,5).
We must also point out that Travis & Jaimee won the Professional Cabaret challenging successfully well-known Canadian Champions, Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva.
It was also our first chance to see the new Canadian amateur partnership of James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau – they won all dances in the 3-couple Amateur Ballroom Championship. 2nd in all were Marciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob and 3rd Alexandre Douradine & Arielle Jacob.
As is traditional now at the Can-Am, a special award achievement was announced and this time it went to former Canadian and World Champions, Alain Doucet & Anik Jolicoeur. Alain & Anik performed a beautiful waltz proving that although retired now for some years – once you have it, you don’t lose it!
We want to say thanks to Ann Harding, Brigitt Mayer & John Karakis who most definitely pay attention to the details and are able to put together such a Flagship of an event!
WDC World Series Comes to Can-Am
This year for the first time the Can-Am Dancesport Championships are offering WDC World Series events in the Professional Ballroom and Latin.
The Can-Am Dancesport Championships are once again under way at the spectacular Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, situated in downtown Toronto, Canada, right on the shores of Lake Ontario. This facility offers a wonderful ballroom and many guest rooms with a lake view. The lakefront features great cafes and restaurants for those who want to take in the scenery, and boat rides to the outlying islands are also available.
Unfortunately the WDC World Series Ballroom, that was held last night, did not not attract a huge entry. In fact only 3 couples contested the division, but they were all of a high caliber and so the audience was delighted with some great dancing nevertheless. Canadian Champions, Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch were the comfortable winners taking all 5 dances. 2nd in all 5 went to fellow Canadians, Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen. USA took the 3rd spot in the persons of Anatoli & Irina Gorolevici.
6 couples entered the Professional Showdance and we enjoyed a large variety of styles and quality. The two routines that could really be termed “Cabaret” finished 1st and 2nd. Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva (Canada) were the winners with their effective “Exorcist” routine that recently won them 3rd spot at Blackpool. 2nd went to the comedy genius of Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova (Canada) who, with their usual mix of whacky music and sound effects, transported us to the Wild West. 3rd with a more traditional “showdance” routine were Travis & Jaimee Tuft (USA) – their routine based on music from Pirates of the Caribbean. 4th fell to Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft (USA); 5th to Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina (USA) and 6th to Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko (USA).
2 couples from Canada also finished on top of the Open American Rhythm. 1st place went to Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay (1,1,2,2,1). This is a new couple to us and they show great promise. 2nd once again were Egor & Alla with 2,2,3,1,3. The winners of the Rising Star from the night before, Viktor & Yuliya, took 3rd 3,3,1,3,2. Dayan Mantecon Roldan & Kyra Kalweit (Canada) were 4th in all dances, Michael Zepada & Kimberley Turner (USA) were 5th in all and Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin (Canada) were 6th.
The Amateur Latin was the largest of the events. The top 3 couples finished in the same order as in the Youth Latin, danced earlier in the evening. Winners were Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward with 2,1,1,1,1. (In the Youth they placed 2,2,1,1,1). 2nd were Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowska 1,2,2,2,2 (1,1,2,2,2 in the Youth). 3rd in all dances in both events were Marciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob. In the amateur, 4th went to Steve Forest & Bianca Izzo 4,4,4,5,5; 5th to Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru 5,5,6,4,4; 6th went to the only couple not from Canada, Rafael Kyu & Laura Padroni (England) 6,6,5,6,6 and 7th to Jamie Domb & Elsie Magliocchetti.
From Thursday night, Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko (Canada) won all dances in the Rising Star Smooth. This was the first time we have seen them in this style and we think they could really cause a stir on the N. American scene. Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko won the Rising Star Latin, 1,2,1,1,1.
IGB Comes to a Close!
Last night the IGB came to a close with the last of the professional open events. The best and most attended was the Professional Smooth with five couples and here it was an easy win for Mikolay Czameki & Victoria Malko who won the W,T with perfect scores from all judges, the other two dances they had a huge majority with only a few judges awarding them second, and in the VW Anna Trebunskaya from DWT awarded them a third. Second in this heat was David Estrada & Stephanie Betts they took a third in the waltz but second in the other dances. Third overall went to Sean Brunell & Ekaterina Marshukova and they took the second in the waltz from David & Stephanie.
The Pro Latin had four couples total and this competition went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who won all five dances. In looking at the marks it was a clear win but they did manage to take a few seconds from a number of judges, we our selves though that Evgeniy Likhachev & Mariya Potys could have easily taken the competition but both couples were in great form and it was a wonderful competition to witness. Third was awarded to Evgeniy Nazarov & Amy Bennett.
The third and the most attended event this final night was the Amateur Youth U/21 Championship. Here Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson placed first overall 1,1,2,2,1. Second in this event wen to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya and third went to Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich.
And as Beth Knoll said on her face book page: “Big huge "thank you" to Stephan Krauel and Denise Jourdaine for yet another wonderful weekend at the International Grand Ball! So much fun watching great dancing, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and just generally having a good time! This competition is one of the oldest and most respected competitions in the US, and Stephan and Denise run it with class and expert attention to detail. I mean REALLY..... at what other competition can you drink diamond-infused water?”
International Grand Ball
Last night was the main evening at this grand and historic competition. With nearly 50 years under its’ belt it can still produce some excellent dancing and terrific results.
Out of the two featured professional events the Ballroom to me had the most punch. From the start it was clear as to where the top placements were going to go, a clear fight between Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa and Yarasloav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk. Overall Denis & Lesya won all dances with the majority of firsts in every dance from the judges. There was only a judge of two that did not agree and gave them seconds, but their only third came from Alan Dixon who gave them it to them in the VW. Seconds in this parade of wonderful dancers went to Yaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk, they placed second in every dance but not always with a huge majority of seconds. Yaroslav & Olga got some firsts, seconds and even a fourth from Judge Nadia Eftadal in their VW. Their most amount of seconds was in the foxtrot and quickstep.
Third in the Professional Ballroom went to Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti, but from here the marks got murkier 3,4,3,4,3. Fourth overall was awarded to Michal Towliszew & Tiffany Fung. We were a little disappointed in this couple’s performance we expected a little better. They started well but by the end for us they fizzled out 4,3,4,3,4. A clear fifth position was awarded to Evganiy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya.
The Professional Rhythm was also a well attended heat at this “Grand” competition. Here for us was more like a coin toss. The winners overall were Richard & Marianne Myers, who won all dances but not with a majority of firsts, they had to rely on fifth or better to get them through. We usually love this couple, unfortunately for us their performance was not totally up to snuff today. Richard has gained a few pounds since the last time we saw him and her zebra print outfit had for us too much going on - fringe, red sequins and her hair had just as many colors. Never mind the combination of all the judges’ marks presented them with first place in all dances.
Second in this professional event wen to Jim Clark & Tania Chegini, who for us had every thing going for them this evening, but we most also point out that they did not place second in every dance 2,3,2,2,3. This was the best work the Dance Beat Team has seen from this talented couple. Third overall was awarded to Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno 3,4,4,3,2, fourth wen to Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Elizabeth Kinney 4,2,3,4,4 and fifth was awarded to Zach Crawford & Kate Castro 5,5,5,5,5 and Albert Ayers & Kristina Mola were sixth in all dances.
The Adult Amateur Latin was small but with great energy. Here Nikolay Tarasov & Egle Straleckaite won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second overall wen to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya and they took second in every dance with a majority, and third was awarded to Parker Lynn & Kristina Tieken and they got third in every dance.
The Amateur youth Latin Championship was better attended with a seven couple final and here Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson took first in all dances with a majority of firsts in almost every dance. Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich placed second overall and in every dance and third was awarded to Tyler Alder & Makayla Bezzant here things got a little different - here are their marks 4,3,3,3,3.
The International Grand Ball continues to be a terrific competition to attend and it offers great music, a great ballroom and excellent prizes. Tonight we will see the Professional Latin and the Professional American Smooth, look forward to an excellent event as it was yesterday.
Good Night for Nick & Viktorija
Last night at Volunteer State was a great night for Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija. They won both the Open Professional Smooth and Ballroom.
First up was the Ballroom – an event with 3 high-quality entries. Nick & Viktorija placed 1T,2,1,1T,1 in a close 3-way decision. The runners-up were Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab who placed 1T,1,2,3,2 and 3rd were Martin & Liene Reinbold 3,3,3,1T,3. Nick & Viktorija are comparative newcomers to the Ballroom field so this was an impressive win against two high-quality opponents.
In the Smooth, their more accustomed style, we felt they were easy winners and indeed they had a huge majority of 1st places in all dances although they did get a couple of scores lower. Comfortably 2nd in all dances were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark. A ‘Rule 11’ separated 3rd and 4th places with the result falling to Dennis Woods & Amber Reich (4,3,4,3) over Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth (3,4,3,4). 5th in all dances were Jimmy Mulligan & Dani Atkins and 6th Michael & Suzi DeSante. The event started with a semifinal.
The Open Pro Rhythm finished in the same way as the Rising Star the night before. Maks Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were once again the winners and they won all dances. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances, but swing was a close call as they had 7 first places to the 6 of runners up, Erwin & Iwona Rybccynski who were 2nd in all dances. 3rd were Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova (3,3,4,3,3); 4th Rex & Rachel Jones (4,4,3,4,4) and 5th, Blake Glaskox & Kelsey Medeiros.
Volunteer State 2014
The Volunteer State, a Global Spectrum event, is underway right now at the Lowes Vanderbilt in Nashville. The hotel has undergone quite a facelift since last year – the whole bar area is new and the guest rooms have all been upgraded. The ballroom with its chandeliers is very elegant as always.
Over the first 2 days the pro-ams have completed their events in Smooth, Ballroom and Latin. The bronze divisions were the largest.
It was a good day for the gentlemen students and teacher Shalene Archer in the Ballroom as her students won 2 of the Open Scholarships. Ming Wang won all dances in the A and Rick Brooks won the B (1,1T,1,2,3). 2nd in the A was Wende Stambough w/ Ben Ermis (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd was Danielle Mege w/ Jari Muller (3,3,3,3,2). In the B Karen Weber w/ Maks Lototskyy was 2nd (3,1T,2,1,1), Cindy Blanchard w/ Tibor Kerekes was 3rd (2,3,3,3,2) and Jackie Johnson w/ Ben Ermis was 4th.
In the Open B Latin Scholarship Kush Smith w/ Tibor Kerekes was the winner in all dances. Jan McElroy w/ Andriy Velychko was 2nd (3,2,2,2,4), Marguerite Daniels w/ Erik Pali took 3rd (4,3,4,3,2) and Anna Prusinski w/ Robert Surowiec was 4th (2,4,3,4,3).
The evening before Alla Neystadt w/ Eric Pali won all dances in the Open B Smooth Scholarship. Wende Stambaugh w/ Ben Ermis was 2nd in all dances, Bonni Silfer w/ Jeremy Gatlin was 3rd and Charlie Carboneau w/ Kelly Bartlett was 4th.
There was also a “Solo Scholarship” that attracted over 20 entries. The winner of this was Talia Wong w/ Krisztian Timar.
All of the Rising Star Pro divisions were held on Friday night (although there were no entries in the Latin.) The largest event was the Smooth with 6 entries. The Winners, all dances, were Dennis Woods w/ Amber Reich. 2nd in all dances were Dave Hannigan w/ Maggie Toth and 3rd were Jimmy Mulligan & Dani Atkins. Jimmy & Dani also won the Open Showdance.
Maks Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth won all dances in the Rhythm. 2nd in all were Erwin & Iwona Rybczynski and 3rd in all Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova.
There was only 1 entry in the Ballroom – Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.
Great Night of Dance at Twin Cities!
The last night at Twin Cities Open Ballroom Championships was filled with the celebration of dance.
The four Open Professional Dance Events took place and at the end of the night there was a showcase of champions and highlights from this excellent weekend of dance. The Professional Smooth and Ballroom were the most attended events of the evening and possibly the most entertaining for all.
The Professional Smooth started with a quarter but in the end as always came down to six couples. This time Mazen Hamza & Izabella were in the mix and it was clear to most of us that they would take the night. In the end Mazen & Izabella won every dance with a huge majority of firsts and perfect scores in the foxtrot where every judge awarded them first. Their few seconds came in the Waltz and VW from Linda Dean, a second in the tango from Izabella Lewandowski, and so only a total of 3 seconds stood between them and having perfect scores. Second place overall with a huge majority of seconds in every dance went to Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sindnjova, their worst judge on this occasion was Didio Barrera who awarded them 2 thirds, one in tango and one in foxtrot.
Andrian & Hannah Dydynski took third overall and fourth overall but not in every dance went to Mark Short & Alyssa Kark (4,4,5,4). We were a little surprised by such a low position we felt that although this was not a traffic stop performance it was still good enough for them to place higher. We will discuss how we saw it here in the full article from the Twin Cities Open Ballroom Championships soon. But for now just know that Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini were fifth (5,5,4,5) and Ben Sefert & Cheryl Seifert were sixth in every dance.
The Professional Rhythm was also a hit especially when competitors Andre & Natalie Paramonov graced us with their presence. We felt that in this performance their quality was brilliant where it would have been strange to flaw them over their execution of movement - but as everyone was discussing at the bar, “was it Rhythm we saw or an extension of international style?” To be fair to the couple it is unjust to judge them by the fact that they did quite a number of years in that style and it was nice to see that none of the judges fell for this trap they rewarded them in our opinion on the quality of movement, rhythm or not. All these extras continue to give this American category drama and excitement and one that all enjoy from beginning to end.
Seocnd in this heat fell to the Rising Star champions from the night before and that was Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson (2,3,2,2,3). Not far behind and picking up those two second places were Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messanger (3,2,3,3,2). This was also very exciting to see both couples are very close in quality and technique and both get the fans going.
The Professional Latin had only three entries and this went to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka and the Ballroom had four and this open title wen to Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshch from Canada who won every dance with perfect scores from all the judges.
The show that followed these two excellent competitions was terrific. It showcased some past and new champions and the numbers were excellent. The tap performance by the two male artists was fantastic and very unique for that venue.
My congratulations to Amy & Scott Anderson on to their success.
It’s been along time since we have attended the Twin Cities Open, owned and managed by Scott & Amy Anderson. I did not realize how much we miss this wonderful group of people, it’s been a great experience for us as always.
Last night the competition was all about the Professional Rising Star events and with the exception of the Cabaret where only three couples entered, they were well supported and attended.
The Professional Smooth in particular had a huge entry with a healthy quarter final round. In the end six couples were called back and we all agreed on a winning couple, Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sindnjova took first from all judges with a perfect run, not one second was awarded to this couple. They totally took control of the floor from the beginning and we agreed there was no competition here. Second in this Rising Star Smooth went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and they took second in all dances, but here it was not as clear. They got a few thirds and even a fourth in one of their dances. Third was awarded to Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini and they placed third in every dance, also with not as clear marks as the top couple.
The Rhythm Professional Rising Star category was awarded to Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson winning four dances and placing second in the Mambo. Second place overall went to Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messenger and here we have to say it was a very tough decision for the judges. When looking at the marks Jonathan & Nadine managed to steal a few firsts but not enough to win any other dances but the Mambo from Slash & Meghan. For us it could have been a toss up between these two talented up and coming couples. Third overall by placing fourth in cha and third in the other four dances were Jhondar Lopes & Amber Osborn.
As I mentioned earlier the Professional Showdance took place as well but with only three couples, first place was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka .
There has been three days of full pro/am competition and there were some Open Scholarships worth a mention.
Firstly the Pro/Am “B” Rhythm. Here it was a seven-couple final and Renee Kuwahara with teacher Ilya Reyzin took the cup home. In the Open Smooth the “B” Category was also very exciting and here Elizabeth Rocco w/ Eric Hudson was the victor. The “B” Latin was also quite nice last night and here Elizabeth Rocco also took the prize home.
Small but Mighty!
The Professional Ballroom last night at Desert Classic was a straight final of 7 couples, but what a final it was! Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva ran away with the title, losing a total of only 8 first place marks from a total of 75.
Easily 2nd in all dances were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa although the majority of judges did not feel that they challenged the winners. (More about this in the full report in the members’ section soon). For 3rd place the judges were faced with a choice of two disparate (not desperate!) couples - the new partnership of Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikalyuk, tall and stately, or the lively and free-flowing Emanuel & Francesca Pappacena. It was very close in all dances but Iaroslav & Olga took all dances in 3rd position leaving Emanuel & Francesca with 4th in all dances. Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti were 5th in all dances; Evgeny Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya were 6th in all and Slava & Lara Kostianets were 7th in all.
The Rhythm began with a semifinal. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu made it a double, winning all dances to take this title quite easily and add it to the Smooth title from the day before. The clean and readable dancing of Ivan Dishliev & ?? Nedyalkova gave them a comfortable 2nd in all dances. The closest race for us came in the choice for 3rd and 4th between Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov and Vicente Martinez and Meaghan Murphy, who incidentally are similar in appearance and style. It was very close in every dance but when the chips were down, Donovan and Rose took it 4 dances to 1 (3,3,3,4,3). 5th in all dances went to Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty and 6th to Jim Clark & Jennifer Chegini. Watch out for Bill Sparks’ report in Dance Beat soon.
Another double win of the weekend went to Dmytry Dymytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo who won the Amateur Latin, a straight final. They had also won the U/21 Latin the night before. They placed 1,1,1,2,1. 2nd were Telercyk Iankiev & Natella Devitskaya (2,3,3,1,2) and 3rd Nikolai Tarasov & Egle Straleckaite (3,2,2,3,3).
Hans & Ann Stork won al dances in the Senior II Ballroom and Aaron & Katelyn Holmes took all dances in the Amateur Smooth.
The pro-ams danced Rhythm all day and although the freestyle heats were full and exciting the Open Scholarships drew small entries. Nadiya Kireyko w. Daniel Vasco was uncontested in the A division. Sue Putzier w/ Radomir Pashev won all dances in the B and Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian won all dances in the C.
This was the 15th anniversary of the Desert Classic and to celebrate, Igor & Irina commissioned a show to close the evening’s event. Wendy Johnson was in charge of staging the performers that included some high-energy formation numbers from the kids of Center Stage Ballroom as well as feature performances by some of the amateur and professional couples in attendance. This was followed by the now traditional “Breakfast under the Stars” for competitors and package holders.
Today is junior day and it is a full day of competition that does not conclude until 8 PM.
Smooth Heads the Bill!
Friday at Desert Classic
There were 2 Open Professional Championships at Desert Classic last night, both began with a semifinal and both were strong events. Of the 2, we felt the Smooth held the most interest as many of the nation’s best were here and as there is an open throne at the top of this division right now – every competition is important.
Peter & Alexandra Perzhu once again proved up to the task, winning all dances with the majority of 1st place marks – but it was by no means unanimous. 2nd place Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija took 2nd in all dances but had 1st places in all dances. The foxtrot and Viennese were the closest going to Perzhus 8 first places to Nick & Viktorija’s 6 first places. This is an interesting result indeed! The newbies, Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko were comfortably 3rd in all dances. We felt the next 3 places were the hardest to decide and the judges giving very mixed individual marks. With their best performance in some time, David & Natalie Shulz were 4th (5,4,4,4); Kyle & Alle Spinder were 5th (4,5,5,6) and Kri Suakjian & Brianna Haft were 6th (6,6,6,5). Winners of the RS took 7th – David Estrada & Stephanie Betts. In Dance Beat soon find out which couple could maybe have placed better with better floorcraft and just how much the overseas judges impacted this event. Plus watch out for Wendy Johnson’s commentary.
Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina won all dances to take the Professional Latin Championship. They won 4 dances comfortably but were taken to ‘2nd or better’ scores in the rumba as they had 7 first places to the 6 of the runners-up. (not a majority). Those runners-up were Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who were 2nd in all dances. With 4,3,3,3,3, Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova were 3rd. We thought this was certainly the best performance we have sen so far from this couple. Alexandra looked much more confident. Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina were 4th (3,4,4,4,4). Another new partnership, Sergiy Kvashyn & Olga Ginzberg were 5th, 5,6,6,5,5, and Oleg Astakhov & Olivia Wesolowska were 6th (6,5,5,6,6). Armando Martin will have a full commentary on this division in Dance Beat soon.
Only 3 couples contested the Cabaret and it went to Ivan Berkovic & Dena Anne Weiner.
There was a very good Amateur Ballroom and this began with a semifinal. The winners were Andres & Veronika End who won all dances with the majority of 1st places. 2nd in all dances were the always appealing Ruslan Kalyuzhny & Kseniya Sovenko. Showing great promise in this style were 10-dancers, Nikolai Tarasov & new partner, Egle Straleckaite (3,3,4,3,3). 3rd went to Alex & Grace Wang (4,4,3,4,4), 5th in all dances were Tyler Wilson & Annie Seeley and 6th were Dan Manea & Mia Hu, who had won the Senior Ballroom earlier in the evening.
There was also a strong U/21 Latin this evening and Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo were the winners in all dances. 2nd were Umar Diallo & Natalya Zrazhevskaya (2,2,2,3,2) and 3rd, Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson (3,3,3,2,3).
For the pro-am dancers it was a day of international Ballroom that ended with very high level Open Scholarships. Our congratulations to Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov who won 2 of the Open Scholarships - the B and the C. She won all 10 dances! 2nd in the B was Lilly Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev (3,2,4,2,2) and 3rd was Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev (2,3,3,3,3). The missing 2nd place in the Viennese went to Alexandra Michel w/ Victor Veyrasset who was 5th overall.
2nd in the C was Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi, 2nd in all dances and 3rd was Deborah Erico w/ Dariusz Michalski (3,4,4,3,3T).
The A was the smallest division and it was won by Grace Wang w/ Mikhail Avdeev shoo won all dances. 2nd went to Irene Lee w/ Mick Cheremukhin again in all dances and 3rd was Andreas Mantius w/ Jenny Rozhkova
Desert Classic on the Move
This year, but for 1 year only, Desert Classic has relocated from the JW Marriott in Palm Desert to the Renaissance, Indian Wells – a short distance away. Organizers, Igor & Irina Suvorov, assured Dance Beat that this was just for 1 year and involved scheduling problems at the iconic JW where Desert Classic has been held since its inception 15 years ago.
That’s not to say that the Renaissance is a slouch by any standards. It offers world-class golf (a favorite of so many dancers), spa, pools and all the amenities of a 5-star resort. The ballroom is spacious and contemporary and happily is right by most of the guest rooms. We are all certainly happy to be here.
The competitions started with a bang yesterday. The pro-ams competed in 2 styles – Smooth and Latin and all 4 of the Rising Star divisions were danced in the evening session.
Two of the RS divisions began with semifinal rounds, the other 2 were straight finals.
The Smooth had a semifinal and was won by a couple competing in their first competition together – David Estrada & Stephanie Betts. We thought they looked strong considering the brevity of their time together. The judges seemed to agree, awarding them the majority of 1st places in all 4 dances and very few placements less than 2nd. With 2,2,2,3, the tall Slava & Lara Kostianets placed 2nd (incidentally they also competed in the Ballroom tonight). 3rd went to Nicholas & Laura Manzo 4,4,3,2.
The Latin was the other semifinal and this offered, we thought, the highest standard of the 4 divisions overall. The winners were Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina and they won all dances with the majority of 1st places except the jive. 2nd were Oleg Astahov & Olivia Weslowska who were 2nd in all dances and closest to the winners in jive. 3rd spot fell to Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie with 3,4,4,3,3. We felt their final round was so much stronger than their semi.
In the Ballroom Nick Cheremukhin & Victorija turned their attention to the ballroom style – the first time we have seen them compete in this. They were the winners taking all 5 dances with a strong majority of 1st places. This is an interesting development. 2nd place went to Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya. The Kostianets were 3rd overall with scores of 2,3,3,2,3.
Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov easily won the Rhythm taking all dances with the majority of 1sp place marks including a perfect ‘9’ in the cha cha. 2nd in all dances went to Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty and 3rd to Pietro Della Santini & Allesandra Gonzalez (3,4,3,3,3).
Unusually, the Latin Open Pro-Am Scholarships were larger than the Smooth all 3 beginning with semifinals.
The A divisions went to the unstoppable Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov who won all dances. (We did note that se lost a couple of single dances in the afternoon to her runner-up tonight). That runner-up was the highest placed gentleman of tonight’s pro-am scholarships, Sam Burekhovich w/ Natia Kuprava – 2nd in all dances. Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco took 3rd place 4,4,3,3,3.
In the B Division Oksana Kalimuka w/ Denis Podolskiy was the winner with 2,1,2,1,1. Rhonda Lee w/ Daniele Gozzi took 2nd place 1,3,1,3,2 and Svetlana Van Tassel w/ Andrey Tarasov was 3rd 3,2,3,2,3.
Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephan McCann won the C division taking 1st in 4 dances and 2nd in paso. Winning that paso and taking 2nd in the remaining dances was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn. 3rd went to Iris Chang w/ Evgeny Nazarov 3,4,4,3,3.
The best of the Smooth Op[en Scholarships we thought was the C Division. This was won by Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi who won all dances. 2nd in all went to Marina Sanchez-Torres with Max Sinitsa and 3rd fell to Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean 3,3,4,3T.
The A and B divisions had only 1 and 2 competitors respectively. Cato Seets & Jim Maranto in the A and Iene Lee w/ Nick Chermukhin who won all dances in the B and Elena Eroshkin w/ Daniel Vasco.
The Morning After!
The morning after the biggest celebration in America the 4th of July (US freedom of Independence), the ballroom dance celebrations continued at the Manhattan DanceSport this time with the Pro/Am Latin Categories during the day and at night with the Open Professional Ballroom and Rhythm. Both evening and daytime sessions were packed with excellent dancing and nail-biting competition.
The Professional Ballroom Championship had some of the world’s best competing for the Manhattan title, with Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, WDC World Professioanl Ballroom Champions in the lead and this was an easy win for them with perfect scores from all the judges in every dance. Second in this parade of world stars went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk and almost as if it had been rehearsed most of the judges followed in line awarding them a huge majority of seconds, but not without some dissent - one third in the waltz, another in the tango, one fourth and a few thirds in the VW, and even a sixth in the foxtrot. This unprecedented 6th was awarded by Marina Tarsinov who most have not gotten the “memo,” because she also awarded them a fourth in the quickstep.
In some ways we too tend to agree with Marina Tarsinov, the spark in this world class final did not came from the top it was the bottom half that thrilled and excited us, beginning with Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa who placed sixth overall 6,6,6,5,6, but who were incredibly musical, and in this case we have to agree with the secretary of the WDC, Hannes Emrich, who awarded them third in three dances. The second couple that for us basically stole the show but placed fourth overall was Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova and they were awarded 4,4,3,4,4. What presence and what command of the skill this gentleman has! And the lady was totally there complimenting and selling their goods like butter. We have to wonder what competition Ms. Meryem Pearson from Canada was looking at when she awarded them sixth in every dance, however, in her justification beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we here at Dance Beat are known for having inexplicable taste when it comes to ballroom dancing. In our defense there were quite a few judges who awarded them thirds and even a second in the VW that came from Mr. Brian McDonald.
Continuing with this impressive final Artem Plakhotniy & Inna Berlizyeva were third overall 3,3,4,3,3 and Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova placed fifth 5,5,5,5,6.
After the final, it was announced that Egor Abashkin & Katya Kanevskaya were announcing their retirement from competition. This well-loved couple danced a farewell waltz and then many of their fellow competitors joined them on the floor in celebration. (Egor was actually hoisted and thrown into the air!!)
In the Professional Rhythm for us and for what we think was the majority in the audience two couples stole the show. Firstly Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who placed first overall with perfect scores in the cha cha and nearly perfect scores in all the other dances. Funnily enough, that near perfect accomplishment was spoiled in the other four dances by the judge from England, Lorna Lee, who awarded them thirds in R,SW,M and a second in bolero. Joining her in one dance was Mr. Mark Weiss who awarded them also third in the swing. The second couple that people were raving about and who placed second in every dance was Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. I think the majority will agree that it is a breath of fresh air watching this couple dance Rhythm. Firstly they have a lot of that special element “Rhythm!” Secondly, with their smiles and their emotional performance you cannot help but be drawn to them. But when you look at the marks, you can tell the judges are not totally convinced. They got marks from fifth to second place with Mr. Allan Tornsberg being their worst judge. He awarded them three fifths, a third and a sixth in the mambo. Perhaps he was watching the same competition as Ms. Pearson from Canada earlier on. (lol). Towards Allan & Meryem’s vindication this is what makes our competition dancing so unique from other competitions, the variety of opinions in style and philosophy, and the freedom to get them across. Without this we would not grow and we would not progress.
Third in this Rhythm Championship went to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, and they took third in every dance. From here down we believe things got a little less clear - the pool became a little murkier, with some of the couples making some excellent runs but them pulling back to where any mark could have been awarded. Fourth overall went to Azamat Evgamuko & Kateryna Angelone, here is a perfect example of a couple that at any moment shows a different story every time, when looking at the marks you can see this clearly and we totally agreed. Ms. Lorna Lee from England, awarded them four first place marks and a second in the cha cha, on the other hand this couple got quite number of sixth place marks in their run as well.
Fifth place overall was awarded to Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 5,4,4,5,5. Here we totally agreed with the judges that awarded them seconds and thirds. This couple were totally together from the beginning and were possibly the most consistent of all. Sixth overall went to Vard Margaryan & Sofya Fil, and they took sixth in every dance. In our opinion this couple’s work is well organized and put together, what we hope to see in future outings is an understanding of the where it all came from - it’s not just about being able to do a “startle split” to music.
The professional Cabaret had also a very robust entry but for us at least half of the 8 couples entered were more perspiration than inspiration. The top three routines had the most vision, story and creativity especially the winners, Shane & Shannon Jensen. The second place routine by Travis & Jaimee Tuft was not far behind, they too showcased a routine with some sort of pattern or idea and as you can see it was rewarded. The third place couple, Jungie Zamora & Sheena Daminar, had some nice lift work but we began to lose storyline, (and at some point the grip, the lady was nearly dropped from an overhead). We are sure this did not help their cause even though the majority of their lifts were well-executed.
The Amateur Latin also took place this night and gave us the biggest upset of the weekend. USA’s Ferdinando Iannccone & Yulia Musikhina (NDCA Sanctioned US Champions) lost to Denmark’s Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva of Denmark. Here we have 2 of the DB Team’s favorite ladies in this style and we have to say, whichever of them won tonight was OK with us! The judges were fairly evenly split. Morten & Roselina won it 4 dances to 1 (2,1,1,1,1) but individually the judges were fairly evenly split. Ferdinando & Yulia took the cha cha 8 first places to 5. In the samba Ferdinado & Yulia had 7 first places (not a majority) to Morten & Roselina’s 6 but the Danes had more ‘2nd or better’ scores. In the rumba it was 6 first places to 6, but once again Morten & Roselina had more seconds. Morten & Roselina won the paso doble outright with 8 firsts to 6 but in the jive it was once again the second places that won the Danes the dance. There were just some judges not keen on Ferdinando & Yulia tonight! Marianne Nicole placed them 6,6,3,6,4; Melanie Lapatin scored them 3,2,3,3,3; Mark Weiss 4,3,2,3,3; Stanislav Popov 1,3,3,1,2; Tony Dovolani 2,2,3,3,3. Those marks below 2nd were what cost Ferdinando & Yulia the win tonight.
From 3rd to 6th it was the battle royal of the USA’s best Amateur Latin couples. 3rd with 3,4,3,3,3 were Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach and they had some first places in all dances except paso. 4th with 4,3,4,4,4 were Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina; 5th Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova 5,5,5,6,5; 6th Artur Tarnavsky & Gabriela Sabler 6,6,6,5,6.
For the pro-ams it was Latin day and we thought the Open Scholarships were the best of the weekend – especially the B divisions that began with 31 couples. In this division Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov (Moscow) were the winners as they were also in Ohio last year. They placed 1,2,1,1,1. 2nd this time was US Open Champion, Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev and she placed 4,1,2,2,2. We must admit to being puzzled by the 4th in cha cha! 3rd today fell to Johanna Kornacki w/ Andrei Gavriline (3,3,6,3,5).
The A division went to Canada. Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin was the winner with 1,1,1,1,2. Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi was 2nd (2,2,3,2,1) and Emily Takhtarov w/ Evgeny Dyachenko was 3rd (3,3,2,3,4).
The C was dominated by Florida as the top two ladies are both from there. Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was the winner 1,1,1,1,2 and Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitus was 2nd (3,2,2,2,1). 3rd place went to Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov (2,4,3,3,3).
Fireworks In and Out at the Manhattan Dancesport!
Yesterday the 4th of July, there were plenty of fireworks around Manhattan celebrating Independence Day and inside the ballroom at the Manhattan Dancesport it was no different. Some said the Professional Latin competition was the best they ever saw and the Smooth was “la cream the la cream”!
We have to agree that there was definitely plenty of sparks on the dance floor last night. World and US Latin Champions Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were in a contest of their own with every judge in their court, there was not one negative mark on their score chart - it was a perfect go for Riccardo & Yulia with every judge giving them a first in every dance.
The biggest flair up came from second place down where apparently there were plenty of surprises delivered. The first with the second place finish of Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from the Ukraine. They placed second in every dance but the paso doble where they took third. From looking at the marks we can read that the struggle of a decision between second and third meant perspiring brows for the judges. You would have thought that Manuel & Natalia’s second place win would be an easy majority of seconds from the judges but it was not, they received plenty of thirds, fourths and even a sixth in every dance delivered by Marriane Nicole. This interesting third place went to Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who also had very varied marks, no sixes but low enough marks to hold them from a second place finish in four dances. We must also point out that Nikolai & Maria took second on the paso doble. However, of these two couples Nikolai & Maria were noticeably the most shocked by the result when called for third place and the contrast between the ecstatic happiness from Manuel & Natalia accentuated their disappointment. We have to also point out that this third place finish here in America for Nikolai & Maria must have been extremely disappointing since just last week at the Millennium Dancesport Championships, Manuel & Natalia lost to two other American couples one that is not a US finalist yet.
But the drama did not end in the second and third place finish, fourth to sixth places also had some intensity. Fourth in every dance went to our neighbors from up north Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko from Canada, who from our point of view had a steady consistent time on the floor and managed to get enough good marks to secure this position. The most disappointment and anguish in this excellent final must have been for Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte, who we are sure were expecting to recuperate from unhealthy recent results they had had in a few previous events, but here it was no different even though they danced with what we thought to be fierce skill for their survival in the end placed sixth in three dances fifth in the paso and shared fifth in the rumba, giving them and overall sixth place finish. When looking at the full picture we can understand the huge pressure this couple might be under leading up to the USA Nationals, with result like this they can easily lose their place in that prestigious final. The fifth place finish was awarded to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova who placed fifth in three dances shared fifth in the rumba with Ivan & Loreta and took sixth in the paso.
The “cream de la crème” came in the Professional Smooth where there were plenty of excellent couples from the semifinal on and only six places to fill. Once in the final we think it most have been a nightmare trying to place these couples with so many styles and excellent skill on the floor. The clear winners with the majority of firsts from the judges were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and you can honestly see why. Their work looked relaxed, well-executed and in our opinion looked as if they owned the floor. Second in every dance went to Mazen Hamza & Izabella Judzill who were able to steal a few firsts from Peter & Alexandra but not enough to make a dent in their fierce opponents. Unsurprisingly to us Mikhail & Galina Zharinov took third in every dance. They too managed to take a few firsts from the top dogs, but once again came away empty handed but these first places did help to secure their third place finish overall. What we found interesting about these three couples just mentioned is how different in style and approach they are. This continues to be great news for this style that is thriving in popularity.
From third place down the ground was a little more shaky for the remaining couples. Fourth overall was awarded to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed fourth in three dances and fifth in the VW. In looking at the dancing on the floor with a critical eye we can see how they lost their VW. For us their waltz and their tango were up to par. Once they had a few complications on the foxtrot their stress continued till the VW where we felt they just wanted it to be finished. They wildcard here and for us the biggest challenge at the moment to Travis & Jaimee and to some of the others on top in future outings, was Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who placed fifth overall but as you will see form these marks left the judges scratching their heads. They placed fifth in the W,F, fourth in the VW, and sixth in the tango. Speaking of interesting approaches, this couple are way out there with their creativity, we are sure sometimes for the good of their dancing but it could equally work against them. It all sounds as if the fight is between fourth and fifth but you cannot discount Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko who placed sixth overall but took fifth in the tango, and from what we saw although their work still looks a little new and green could easily sneak up on everyone and have the potential to be the biggest challenge to all. The creativity and participation of so many excellent couples in this style is fantastic for American Style dancing and a win for us all on this fourth of July.
The Amateur International Ballroom also took place last night and here Andres & Veronika End took first in every dance with a majority of firsts from the judges with enough to almost make it a perfect run. Second went to Luca & Krizia Balestra and they took second in every dance but the foxtrot where they placed third. Third went to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova and here the judges decisions were very mixed (4,5,3,2,3). Fourth wen to Taras Savitskyy & Alexandra Seliverstova (3,3,4,4,4), fifth was awarded to Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov (5,4,5,5,5), and sixth went to Maciej Zieha & Lory-Eve Jacob and they took sixth in every dance.
The Pro/Am Ballroom took place and it was a healthy day of fully packed competition with semis, finals and quarters.
In the “A” division Open Scholarship Elisa Dalla Vecchia from Italy partnered by Rudy Homm took first overall but not in every dance. They placed first in three dances and second in the tango and quickstep. Second place went to former US and World Pro/Am Champion, Fuki Uekusa w/Igor Litvinov. They stole the two first places from Elisa and were second in the other three dances. This marked the end of a 1-year hiatus from Fuki. Third was awarded to Rebecca Kuhn & Andrea Faraci 3,3,4,4,3.
In the “B” category Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano had a clear run with none of her closer competitors from recent events in attendance. She clearly was first from start to finish in every dance. Second was awarded to Lengxi Gao w/Kamil Urbaniak, but here things got a little more murky as you will see from the marks 4,3,2,2,2. Third overall went to Michelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeeev with 2,2,4,3,3.
The “C” division had the most attendance with a strong first round of 29 couples. These pro/am competitors really had to be in full physical shape to get through this minefield. First place overall went to Tammy Knight w/Artem Plakhotniy 1,2,2,1,1. Second overall was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva 3,1,1,2,4 and third in this excellent “C” final went to Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk 2,4,3,3,3.
As you can see Manhattan Dancesport did not disappoint us it was still a celebration of dance in the USA during one of the biggest holidays the United States’ Independence were we celebrate freedom to live, work, dance, judge and liberty for all! Congratulations to Gary and Diana McDonald for a terrific event with more to come today!
Rising in Manhattan!
Last night at the Manhattan DanceSport Championships it was a Rising Star night and during the day it was all about the Smooth style in the Pro/Am categories down to the scholarships.
Clear winners in the Rising Star Professional Rhythm were Shane & Shannon Jensen who won all daces with the majority of firsts from the judges. As you can tell it was an easy win for this couple last night. Second in this Rising Star went to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who placed second in every dance down to the bolero where they did not get a single 2nd place but did manage to acquire a few firsts giving them an easy second overall. Third was awarded to Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosava (4,3,3,3,4).
The Rising Star Professional Latin went to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova, who won three dances and placed second in the C,J, their lowest marks came from Lorna Lee from England who awarded them a fifth in 4 dances and a sixth in the jive. Second was Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, they took first in C,J and second in the other dances. Funnily enough, Michael Stylianos, partner in life and in dance of Lorna was not one of their best judges, he awarded them (4,5,5,5,5) and so did Allan Tornsburg who gave them the same exact marks except for the jive where he awarded them a 4th. Third in this very interesting Latin final was awarded to Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova who placed third in every dance, but they too here shared in some low marks, they got all sixths from Eugene Katsevman and three sixths from Allan Tornsburg and 4th in P and 5th in J.
In the Professional Rising Star Smooth Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova won overall taking first in three dances and second in the foxtrot. First in this dance, but second on all others, went to Allie & Kyle Spinder who were second overall. Third wen to Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth who placed third in every dance and did manage to get a few seconds. Their best judge was Wendy Johnson who awarded them all seconds.
The professional Rising Star Ballroom was awarded to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk who won all dances. Second went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovacikova and they took all seconds and third was Vladishlav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova (4,3,3,3,3).
The Under 21 Ballroom was also run this evening and that Championship went to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kacmarski who took first in all dances. It is nice to note that in this division Patryk & Anna took perfect scores in the waltz and in the foxtrot, in their other 3 dances their perfect scores were spoilt by one mark in each dance: in the tango by Luana Conte who awarded them a second and the VW and quickstep by Taliat Tarsinov who gave them a second in each. Second overall went to Maciej Zieha & Lory-Eve Jacob and third went to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili. Both these couples’ marks were very varied from sixth to second but funnily enough nether of them was awarded the three first place marks that were not awarded to Patryk & Anna.
The Pro/Am Smooth Scholarships were excellent with some very interesting results as well as dancing. Christiana Diaz w/Kris Suakjian placed first in all dances and took the “A” Scholarship home. Second in all dances in this same division went to Elisa Dalla Vecchinia w/Rudy Homm from Italy and third was awarded to possibly one of our favorite ladies in this final and that was Anna Devrevyanchenko w/Mayo Alanen they placed 4th in waltz and 3rd in the other three dances.
As you will see by the marks the “B” category was more divided. Here Joanne Tatem w/Mariusz Zakrzewski was the overall winner (2,1,1,2) but as you can see a clear tie that possibly had to be broken with a Rule 10, or 11 to come up with the winner. Second went to Lillian Li w/Tomas Mielnicki (1,2,2,1), and third was awarded to Amanda Levine w/Morten Jensen (3,3,3,4).
The “C” was a little more consistent. Here Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski won first place in all dances to take the Scholarship. Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu placed second in all dances and Aviva Adler w/Victor Russu was third overall (3,3,5,4).
So as you can see it was a busy day at the Manhattan Dancesport, today we are on to the Pro/Am Ballroom and the competition heats up tonight with the open Professional Latin and Smooth and the Open Amateur Ballroom.
We love NY!
Today's photos by SuperShag
Yesterday was all about Rhythm and the Pro/Am scholarships at the end of the evening were the feature act on this busy day of dancing.
The “A” category was won by Matthew Shimizu w/ Jessica Nicol who won all five dances each with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second went to Jessica Sweeney w/Jeremy Pilling who placed second in four dances and third in the bolero. Third position wen to Alison Schill w/Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and they placed third in all dances but the bolero, here they scored a fourth place overall. Fourth position was awarded to Stefan Tuomanen w/Michelle Officer (4,4,4,2,4), and fifth in this five-couple final went to Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar and she took fifth in all five dances.
The “B” Scholarship was awarded to Deborah Altizio w/Jose Decamps and they took first in all dances, with the majority of judges giving them first in all dances but the mambo where they took 4 firsts. She won that dance with the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores. Second in this category went to Alissa Yetter w/Dave Hannigan who placed 2,2,3,2,3. As you can see by her marks the judges were a little undecided, her marks went from sixth to first in almost every dance. Third position was awarded to Donna Sparano w/Evgeny Dyachenko 3,3,2,3,2 and fourth was Heidy Kellison w/Sean Tamashiro 5,4,4,4,4, fifth went to Faye Diamantoudi w/Tony Santana 4,5,5,6,5 and sixth place was awarded to Sophia Chang w/Ron Okubo (6,6,6,5,6).
In the “C” Division Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski won all dances, two of them with the majority of firsts from the judges the rest with ‘2nd or better’, only one judge awarded her a sixth in the bolero and that was Eugene Katsevman. Second overall went to Cathy Fullam w/Evgeny Dyachenko but from here down the judges were having a hard time figuring it out as you can tell by the scores 3,2,2,5,2. Third place was just as hard for the judges and this placement went to Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu 2,3,3,6,3 here the individual judges’ marks went from seventh to first. Fourth overall was awarded to Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert 4,4,4,2,6, fifth went to Quin Bommelje w/Mikhail Vlasov (7,5,5,3,5) and in sixth place was Hope Huber w/Troy Baeten 6,6.5,6,4,4. Seventh was Monica Broch w/Kris Suakjian 5,6.5,7,7,7.
As you can see by the marks the judges are working quite hard so we hope to see some more wonderful surprises here tonight at the Manhattan Dancesport
Great Night at Millennium!
Last night was an incredible night, it took us a little to get this to you because we needed to detox from the overwhelming amount of fantastic dancing and emotional rollercoaster of feelings that this night brought to us.
The show was twice as good as the night before with a fiery BYU and incredible transitions from the team to the ballroom stars who were also in incredible mode. Everything was picture perfect from the video screens to the team and lead dancers’ performances. The crowd was as always happy to be there and if you got a vacant seat you were lucky.
The Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 to Lee and Linda Wakefield was deserving and very moving. We believe they were actually surprised! When they were called they stood by one side and they had to be coaxed on to the seats where they watched their life achievements on video. It was a perfect moment, the team had just finished performing a fabulous show and were still on the floor with the stars in the middle and this night they took no prisoners they left everyone wanting more and more.
Earlier in the evening the Millennium Hall of Fame inductees for 2014 were US National Professional Rhythm & Smooth Champions from the 1980’s Joe Lozano & Jan Mattingly.
The two featured finals that started way after midnight kept many of the attendees glued to their seats and it was worth the wait. Both the Rhythm and the Ballroom were excellent finals with boundless attendance and top of the line couples.
Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk were the winners of the Ballroom and they took first in all dances with a huge majority of firsts. However, not all judges felt the same way some awarded them sixth and we will point them out to you in the full article here soon. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva were not far behind and they were awarded second in all dances and Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova were third, and as you will see this job became harder for the judges as they placed 3,5,3,2,5T. We’re sure the judges were sweating bullets. Fourth in this excellent parade of ballroom dancers went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova (6,4,5,3,4), fifth was awarded to Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch (5,3,4,6,5T), and last but not least in sixth position were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa (4,6,6,5,3).
Watch out for Loraine Barry’s full report in Dance Beat soon.
The Professional Rhythm also had huge attendance and here Andrey & Natalie Paramonov won the night, they took first in all dances but the mambo where they placed third. But here clearly the audience were divided on the results. Just prior to the Parmonovs’ crowning, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were called for second place and the audience clearly were not pleased many of them stood and screamed for them showing what was clearly some displeasure with the judges’ decision. Andre & Natalie had a different group of supporters also. Nazar & Irina got these marks from the judges - 2,3,2,3,1. In this mix of firsts, seconds and thirds were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu who too got a great reception from the audience. Here are their marks -2,3,2,3,1. The audience were very undecided with these two last couples mentioned and so were the judges as you can see by the marks.
From foruth place down it was a little more routine. Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were fourth in all dances. Shane & Shannon Jensen were fifth, Ilya & Mandy Velednitsky were sixth and Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone were seventh.
Watch out for Bob Powers’ opinions on this division.
As you can already tell this was a fully packed evening and the Professional Cabaret took quite abut of time with seven couples called to the final. The title went to Shane & Shannon Jensen with a huge majority of firsts. However, for us it was Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva who placed second who got us moving today. Their unconventional routine made us look more than once especially when she is flying through the air with her head between her legs being “possessed”. Their routine is based on The Exorcist. We were really in doubt here as to what the judges were going to do especially when Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed third were also looking in excellent form.
Clyde Harris & Summer Black captured fourth overall, Jamie Black & Robin Ray were fifth, Igor Alferov & Alexandra Akimova were sixth and seventh wen to Martin Cardoso & Noelia Guerrero.
Watch for Tommye Giachinno’s report.
The Amateur Open Latin was also an excellent heat and here Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina were the clear winner in all dances. Pasha Pahskov & Daniella Karagach were second and Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts (Slovenia) were third. Ilia Ifraimov will have a full report.
In the Pro-Am Latin Scholarship categories some of our results were totally off compared to the judges’ decisions. Our worst prediction came in the “C” where we had Janet Colleran w/Alex Nashev placing first and she took sixth. The winner here was Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitus, 2nd was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn and 3rd Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov.
In the A Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov was the easy winner both for us and the judges. 2nd went Vera Xu w/ Jacub Zeglin and 3rd to Callie Chan w/ Dmitri Mikulich.
The B was won by Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov from Russia. 2nd went to Johanna Komacki w/ Andrei Gavriline and 3rd to Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev.
The Elements Plus!
The Elements finally came together last night at the Millennium Dancesport in an interesting and varied show by BYU, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, Emanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova and Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite.
It was choreographed by Lee Wakefield from BYU and Rufus Dustin from Miami Beach, Florida. A fifth element was introduced, a ballet dancer from American Ballet Theatre, he wore angel wings and portrayed “Sky.” Choreographically he chained all the elements together making the show run smoothly top to bottom!
The Show was sponsored by Debra Fontaine.
On the competition floor it was a smooth night with excellent couples fighting it out to become the Millennium Smooth Champions. From the very start we knew it would be a tough competition, especially for the judges who would have to make up their mind of only six couples for the final. We are sure it was a tough job but in the end the judges did their job, leaving a number of excellent couples out of the final.
The final was a terrific mix giving us great variety to watch and from the judges’ perspective, a great variety to chose from. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges. However, they did get a number of thirds and seconds but not enough to affect their standing. Mazan Hamza & Izabella Jundzill placed second in every dance and took a number of the firsts from the Parzhus and the majority of seconds. Third in every dance was awarded to Mikhail & Galina Zharinov who also took a few firsts as well as a huge variety from 6th up. For us it was an excellent competition the top couples were all in great shape for the task. However, from earlier rounds it almost looked clear to us that Perzhus would take the Millennium trophy home. Second and third were less clear to us but we were ready for what ever decision the judges handed down.
The rest of the final was excellent but from looking at the marks and at the competition itself, it was clear that these top six were divided in two divisions, the second part of this final was lead on paper by Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed fourth in every dance. Travis & Jaimee did get a majority of fourths but also shared in some 5th and 6th. New to the scene, Mikolaj Czarnecki & Victoria Malko placed fifth in every dance and sixth in every dance went to Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft. If is some consolation, we have to say, that this must have really bean a total quick impression for the judges with so much talent and different styles. It must have been hard to compartmentalize and divide these 6 excellent couples. Congratulations to all six of you, you were all terrific!
The Latin was also quite unique, from what we understand there were a few couples that entered on the day and this made for a probable competition rescheduling. However, using a past-used NDCA rule, they were able to go from a 15 semifinal, run in two heats, to what ended up to be an 8-couple final. This seemed fare enough for everyone including the audience who would have had to spend at least another ? hour more in the ballroom and would have taken us to a very late finish. Congratulations to the Chairman of Judges for the efficiency and quick thinking.
Like the Smooth the 8-Couple final was excellent. Roman Kutskyy & Ana Kovalova won every dance with a huge majority of firsts from the judges. From second on it was a completely mixed bag. We are so lucky to have computers because with such variety of marks from 19 judges we would still be there tabulating who got what. Second overall wen to Andrey Tarasov & Julia Kuznetsova and they placed (3,2,2,2,2), This couple were awarded firsts, seconds and on down to a seventh place in every dance but the paso. Third went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from Ukraine (2,3,3,3,3), and they too were awarded from first down, but this time to 8th place. Manuel & Natalie from Ukraine were the only couple noticeably shocked and by their result, it took them quite a pregnant moment to recuperate but that they did and they accepted their award with a big smile. Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte were fourth in every dance, they did not got any firsts but they did get a number of seconds with other marks down to 8th.
Fifth in this marathon of Latin couples wen to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova but here as you will see the mix is almost liquified they got (5,6,5,5,7). Sixth were Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova (6,5,6,7,5). Seventh went to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets (8,8,8,6,6) and eighth was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova (7,7,7,8,8). As you can see the four elements were not the only ones being brought together at this Millennium Championships, great couples from all over were drawn together here and the competition was fierce.
The Amateur Ballroom also had a terrific entry and here before the final Oscar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody had to pull out for medical reasons due to a foot injury (we believe), we wish her a quick recovery. This left the first place easily open for another couple to take and it went to Lucas Balestra & Krizia Balestra (1,1,1,2,1). Second was awarded to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kacmarski (2,2,3,1,2) and third went to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Bakhtiarova (3,3,2,4,3).
The Pro/Am Ballroom was run during the afternoon session and here there was also terrific competition in the Open Scholarships with huge entries and excellent dancing.
In the “A” Ballroom Denis Evans w/Artem Plakhotnyi was first overall but not in every dance (1,4,1,2,2). Second went to Melonie Krumer w/Max Sinitsa (2,2,2,1,3), and third was awarded to Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov (3,3,3,3,4).
In the “B” Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano was the crowned champion placing first in every dance and leaving second place open for Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev who took all second places. Third overall was awarded to Lisa Berry w/Rauno Ilo (3,3,4,3,3).
The “C” went to Tammy Knight w/Artem Plakhotnyi (1,2,1,1,1). Second was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva (2,1,2,2,2) and third went to Leilani Viney w/Kamil Urbaniak (3,3,4,3,3).
Tonight the fourth element would come together once more for another show and we will see the competition heat up in the professional Rhythm and Ballroom as well as the Amateur Latin witch has a huge entry.
“It’s the first annual ………”
Pro-Am Team Match – at Millennium!
The brand new addition to the 2014 Millennium was the Pro-Am Team Match held last night at the start of the evening session.
4 international teams competed over the 4 styles totaling 16 dances. The teams were from USA, Canada, Russia and the Republic of ROW (Rest of World)! The ladies from each team entered wearing “wings” in their country’s color. We thought this was a great way to make the teams cohesive in a relatively simple fashion and without the necessity of everyone wearing the same style/color dress.
The winning team was USA, captained by Marianne Nicole.
We saw the first two professional events of this year’s Millennium last night – the RS Latin and Smooth. Both began with quarter-final rounds and the standard in both was good.
The Smooth was a tight race for first place, but it was won by Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidjnova 1,2,1,1 over Kyle & Allie Spinder 2,1,2,2. But to see how close it was you have to look at the judges’ individual placements. Sergey & Maria won the waltz by 9 first places to 7, the foxtrot by 9 to 8 and the Viennese by 9 to 8. Kyle & Allie took the tango, 10 to 7. For those with a keen eye for maths, that remaining 1st place in the waltz went to 3rd placed Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who were 3rd in all dances. 4th in all dances were Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini, 5th were Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 6,5,5,5 and 6th, Marc Short & Alissa Kark 5,6,6,6.
The RS Latin also had a fairly close race for 1st place, but it went to Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova 2,1,1,2,1 over Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 1,2,2,1,2. The remaining placements were very mixed. All the way from China, Ray Zhang & Ren Yi took 3rd 6,3,3,4,7. From England, Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 4th, 3,6,6,3,5; Pavel Balykin & Meagan Mendoza were 5th 7,4,4,5,4; Ryan Lewis & Tessa Maria were 6th 5,5,5,6,3 and closing the final Felipe Gonzalez & Kathleen Ilo 4,7,7,7,6.
For the pro-ams it was Smooth day. The semifinals and finals of the 3 Open Scholarships were run in the evening with qualifying rounds in the afternoon session. All produced great finals.
The A was won by Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa and Melonie won all dances. We felt she was the best overall dancer in the final who produces a lot of power. The only challenge to Melonie came from Brianna Yadgir w/ Chris Germain who has greatly improved in this style and took 2nd in all dances. Brianna was also the winner of the Open Scholarship in 9-Dance and won all 9 dances. Congratulations! 3rd here in the A Smooth went to Christine Diaz w/ Kris Suakjian and she was also 3rd in all dances. In fact all places in all dances were the same for every competitor. 4th went to the only gentleman in any of the finals, Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer, 5th to Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki and 6th to Melissa Dipietro w/ Randy Dias.
In the B we saw an upset to the expected form as Joanne Smith w/ Sharone Levit (Canada) who has won most events in this division lately, lost to Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo. Lisa placed 1,2,1,1 to Joanne’s 2,1,2,2. So was this upset expected? You can find out our opinion in the members’ section of Dance Beat coming up soon. The remaining couples placed in the same position in every dance. Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu was 3rd , Melissa Rodriguez w/ Mayo Alanen took 4th, Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian 5th, Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto 6th and Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki 7th.
It was a return to glory for Sue Eldred as she took 1st in the C division 1,1,1,2. Now dancing with Artem Plakhotnyi, Sue had been a US Champion before taking a break. This was her first major win since returning. 2nd fell to Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza 3,3,2,1 and 3rd to Lynn Murrel w/ Peter Perzhu 2,2,6,3. As you can see, not too much consensus from the judges on these placements! Monica Broch, in her 2nd final of the night, once again placed 4th, 4,4,3,4. Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean was 5th 5,5,4,5; Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 6th 6,6,5,6 and Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Max Sinista was 7th.
Stay tuned for the first of the major professional and amateur divisions all happening tonight, plus the Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships and part 1 of the Millennium “Show of Shows” that features the BYU Formation Team, Emanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, Victor Fung & Ananstasia Muravyeva and Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidailaite.
Millennium! It’s “Element-ary!”
Millennium’s theme this year is the 4 Elements and it is “elementary” that Millennium Dancesport remains the “best dressed” competition on the circuit. This year the stage is filled with enormous LED displays that constantly change to reflect the theme or what is happening on the floor. It is stunning! This is only enhanced by the superb lighting and sound that Millennium always provides.
The first 2 days were devoted almost entirely to pro-am Rhythm and the culmination of this was the Open Scholarships run last night. All had good attendance and the level of dancing was high.
The winner of the A was Sasha Woshczn w/ Ilya Reyzin. Sasha won all dances and was a clear winner to us watching from the sidelines. 2nd and 3rd placements appeared closer to us but in the final analysis Briana Yadgir w/ Aaron DeSoto was 2nd in all dances and Chastity w/ Eddie Ares was 3rd in all. Julie Korsog w/ Misha Vlasov, who competed and made the final in the B division also, was 4th (4,4,4,5,4); Laurel Skaggs w/ Ben Ermis was 5th (5,5,5,4,5) and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was 6th.
The B and C divisions were very close-fought. Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres won the B (1,2,1,1,1) and we loved her feel for the music. Beatriz Higuery w/ Vlad Kosarev took 2nd (3,1,3,4,2) and she had a great look on the floor. 3rd went to Coleen Peac w/ Ben Ermis (2,3,2,3,4) and this was another very talented lady, new to us. 4th was Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantinov (4,5,4,5,3); 5th Julie Korsog w/ Misha Vlasov (5,4,5,2,5) and 6th Regina Ruff w/ Eddie Ares was 6th (6,6,6,6,6).
The C was if anything, even closer. The winner and obviously thrilled, was Dianna Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov (3,1,1,2,1) – this was probably her best result to date. Congratulations! 2nd went Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu (2,3,3,1,4) who gave her usual consistent performance and had a great look on the floor. 3rd fell to a lady we really liked tonight, Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitis (1,2,5,4,3) – those were some mixed scores! Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Rezin took 4th (4,4,2,3,2) and in a surprise result, Joan Goddard w/ Chris Johnston, a former winner of this event many times, dropped to 5th (5,5,4,5,5). Marcy Garson w/ Mazen Hamza was 6th (7,6,6,6,7) and Quin Bommeljie w/ Misha Vlasov was 7th (6,7,7,7,6).
Today begins the pro-am Smooth divisions and we look forward to a new International Pro-Am Team Match tonight. Check back tomorrow for the latest scoop!
Bill Morganti, progress after car crash
The following comes from Marc Nocera
As you may have heard, Billy Morganti was in a bad car accident on the 4th of July. He is currently recovering at Boston Medical Center. The outlook is positive but he has a long recovery ahead of him. For information on Billy's condition please visit his Caring Bridge page here. If you would like to donate please use the link below - please do not donate through the Caring Bridge page.
Donate via PayPal here: click to donate
Fundraising events will also be held at the Massachusetts Dancesport Challenge next month.
We have a paypal account and a GoFundMe account set up. The link to GoFundMe is: http://www.gofundme.com/bje0c8