Tristate Challenge 2016

(3 votes)

I’ll Have a Slice Please!

There is nothing more annoying than to go to a pizza place ask for a slice and they give you a pot pie! Last night was the finale for the Tri-State Championships and it concluded with the “Best of the Best” competition but on the professional level, the four styles’ champions were invited to perform a solo of their choice all but the Professional Show Dance, I supposed that is not really a style that is just an add on! That’s what I tried to explain to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who won that division and who sounded a little disappointed to not be invited.  Had they danced the outcome of that event might have been a little different.

 See video by Supershag - click here

More results & photos - click here

So the best of the best it was.  We all sat waiting for an incredible challenge. However, very little time is given to the couples to get ready and so we presumed they would do impromptu dances. The first one we saw was the American Style Smooth represented by Mazen Hamza & Izabella Judzill.  The announcer called it a tango, and yes the music sounded like a tango but it was really what I would call a cabaret with tango music, very interesting but far from being a “Tango.” The next one on was the Rhythm Champions Ilya Abdullin & Tara Barakob.  They did an American Style Rumba, unfortunately it looked more like an international style rumba with some Bolero moves in it, with some slow music thrown in, nothing resembling an American rumba.

 Next in this group of Champions came a real international style Rumba presented by Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova.  Their music was a very traditional bolero that is very common among us Latin American people. Like most of the beautiful traditional Latin music, it is timeless and it talks about life between a man and a woman, quite long and they did all “10” minutes of it, or what seemed to be “10” minutes.  The length was a small problem but when it came to the woman/man relationship, there was little compared to the intensity of the song being played.  To put it in a more modern light and comparing it to a common complaint that us old folks have with young people in general nowadays, “why don’t they talk to each other?” Artur & Anastasia could have been texting in their relationship - yes same room a man and a woman but did they ever really speak to each other?

Last but not least Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk, they did a foxtrot and yes as we say here in America “it walked like a foxtrot, looked like a foxtrot, talked like a foxtrot and by golly “jeepers creepers” it was a foxtrot.” I truly believe that the fact that we could all make sense of what was going on helped them become the Tri-State Best of the Best champions for 2016.

The final “Best of the best” was interesting as you just read but what made this night a complete success was the actual four professional events featured on this night. The Rhythm, Ballroom, Smooth and Latin.

The Open Latin was very interesting and you just heard was taken by Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova who won three dances and placed second in the rumba, jive. Artur & Anastasia only won the samba with the majority of firsts the other 2 dances they depended on third or better in order to secure the wins. Second overall went to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets-Nikishkin and they won the other two dances and placed second in the rest. We thought Dmitry & Olena had a wonderful night with clear and precise work, however, at this professional level we are not so sure this is enough for the judges, we want the couples to explore the possibilities and bring to the floor something we have not seen in our “5-year” career (Don’t want to display our age so a fictitious number is being presented), something that says I’m me and you can’t take this away. Third in every dance went to Nikita Malkhov & Nadezda Vlasova, here as well was solid Latin American dancing but once again just a tad slower and no new possibilities. Fourth this time went to a partnership that shows great potential and that is Ilie Bardahan & Bella Gubzheva and they took fourth in every dance. A disappointing fifth place in every dance was given to Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser, we are sure they were slightly disappointed, but here we have the epitome of more of the same - clean cut Latin dancing and in this case I think at times they seemed to give the expression that it is labor intensive, as if they were at work and not a dance floor where they can be creative and expressive.  In sixth place were Maxim Fomin & Alina Litvak from Canada, once again all power and clarity of work from start to finish. Couples, a word of advice if you go in the kitchen don’t be afraid to mess it up a little and come out with some flower stains, don’t just do what they tell you to do, it’s your turn be creative.

 On that note we move on to the Professional Smooth. As we mentioned earlier Mazen Hamza & Izabella Jundzill won every dance and with the exception of the VW waltz we totally have to agree. Mazen & Izabella won the waltzes and tango with the majority of firsts, but the foxtrot they had to depend on third, second or better. Their worst judge was Steven Dougherty who awarded them 2,3,3,3 the rest of the judges gave them second or better. In what we would call a free and carefree performance, Travis & Jaimee Tuft placed second in every dance.  On a personal note we also though they could have won the VW, congratulations Travis & Jaimee, keep doing what your doing it’s looking good. Third in every dance was awarded to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and although they had a couple of judges giving them fifth and sixth place marks, for us they were a clear third place finish on this night. Fourth was awarded to Sergey & Maria Barsukova and here too we totally agreed with this placement. Fifth went to John Campbell & Jaki Brockman, and sixth were Ilya Andullin & Tara Barakova.

 The Open Professional Ballroom was terrific. Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk also gave us a very carefree performance giving them all first place marks and perfect scores in the tango, they would have had a couple more perfect score but those were spoiled in part by Alexandra Gisher who awarded them 2,1,2,2,2. Second overall and dancing with some personality this time and not holding back were Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova and they were given second in every dance. Andrey & Anna’s worst marks came in the quickstep where they got a couple of 5th and a 4th, but they still were able to maintain this second position in this dance. Their worst judge was Rita Algarra who awarded them3,4,2,3,5. Oskar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were third in every dance but the quickstep where they placed fourth, Oskar & Lenka we must also add had an excellent night with huge possibilities. Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina were fourth 4,5,4,4,3, and on this night we could not agree more, this couple are brilliant in the swing dances and with a little more work could easily overtake some of the couples just mentioned.  However, they are still a bit shy about showing us their product, what they are feeling and how they see it. Fifth went to Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena 5,4,5,5,5, and sixth position was awarded to Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova and they took sixth in every dance.

 Last but not least was the Rhythm and here we had our result completely backwards to what the majority of this esteemed panel of judges had. For us Ilya Abdullin & Tara Barakov were good enough to place third but first? I even think they themselves were a little shocked by this result, it was a little like the king that does not want the crown 2,1,1,1,1. In a surprise to us Jean Paul & Lana placed second overall but won the cha cha. They got a majority of firsts in the Cha and did steal some first place marks from the wining couple but it was still not good enough to overtake Ilya & Tara. Third went to Albero Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones and they took third in all dances, fourth was awarded to Kurt Roberts & Anneliece Velasco 4,4,4,4,5, fifth was Jean Michelle Erol & Larisa Mirkryukova 5,5,5,5.4 We thought this couple were unfairly slighted last night, they for us were the only ones showing us any kind of American Style action but I presume this might not be what the judges want to see. And fifth were Viktor Tkachenko w/Yuliya Lukina who placed sixth in every dance.

Between the professional events, we were given a fabulous show by Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko. They performed five numbers in each latin dance, but our favorite was their Cha-Cha which started with Riccardo reading the DanceBeat newspaper! We were pleasantly surprised to know we are great not only for dance news, but for creative choreography development! 

In addition it was our beloved Cathi Nyemchek birthday!! Andrei Gavriline himself brought Cathi to the floor for a solo birthday dance. Time never takes away skill from a dancer as it was a pleasure to watch!

 With that it was over, and we most declare that the Tri-State was a success and a competition we can see will one day be the one not to missed!  Congratulations Andrei & Elena for a tremendous success. On a personal note I was glad it is over, there was so much delicious candy on every table, one more week and I would have to be rolled out not walked!           


Tri-State Owners Lived up to their Game!

Former Latin American sensations Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova lived up to their game (Latin American Dancing) and brought a tremendous Amateur Latin event in numbers and in quality.

We have just attended the United States Amateur Championships in BYU, Utah, and what we saw there was one of the finest Amateur Latin American competition and we figured it would not be replicated so soon. But here at the TriState Challenge a competition purchased just about two years ago by Andrei & Elena, we had as exciting of an event as we did there and although the numbers were not as huge as the US Amateur Championships in Provo, still we had a healthy quarter final round.

For us competition was amazing but in the end with just a few couples missing from this amazing Latin event the fierce final was between Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina and Alexey & Vlada Karaulov. To us it was very close you could have chosen one couple or the other at any time depending on when you were watching which, but on paper it was different story. Alexander & Arina, the winners tonight, won four dances and tied for first in the rumba. Alexander & Arina also won three dances with a majority of firsts from the 11 panel of adjudicators. In the cha cha, samba and paso doble they got 7 first place marks, in the rumba, they tied with Alexey & Vlada Karaulov for first, they both shared the same amount of marks and so they both got a first in that dance and finally in the Jive they got 5 out of the 11 first place marks and so they had to depend on second or better to win that dance.

We are sure it must have been a little disappointing for Alexey & Vlada Karaulov who were clearly second overall but managed to tie for first in the rumba, trust us when we say that it was a fantastic competition and although like every event we all had to have a winner, it was super close, in performance and talent. I do have one thing, that bothered me slightly and it made me wonder, if we the judges and the audience in the “peanut” gallery were seeing the same competition. On the first quarter we noticed the audience were very attentive but as the competition went on they got a little bit polite in their applause and distracted. The next day talking to a few people they told me that they wanted to see sparks and challenges but all they got was a lukewarm reception, to what I responded what did you want them to do, “spin on their ear?”

I have to listen to the audience because they are our fan base and if they got lukewarm energy we have a problem, the couples need to entertain and thrill and make the audience “roar,” we did notice their was no “roaring,” going on and we were possibly too distracted with our own difficult tasks to care. However, for the couples, “step it up!!” Blackpool is coming and they are not going to serve it to you on a silver platter, you need to make them roar like “Vernon Brock & Linda Dean, Bobby Medeiros & Sheryn Hawkins, Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova” when these people got on the floor they moved the audience they made them hate or like, but not go to “Bed.”….. Just a thought!

Third overall went to Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos –Hayward and they managed to steal at least one first in every dance from the top two just mentioned and placed comfortably third in every dance. Fourth overall went to Allen Rudman & Svetlanta Lesnaya and like the winners placed fourth in four dances and had to shared one with the fifth place couple, Ron Garber & Liza who were fifth. These last two couples mention tied for fourth in the Paso.

Sixth, possibly one of our favorite couples to watch were Alexey Sorokin & Sasha Nissengolts 6,6,6,6,6, not because they were so much better than the last two mentioned but because for us they were a breath of fresh air, not many (Wham! Bang! Splat) in their routines and we found it a little easy on the eye especially since we already had 3 days of nonstop competition.

The Professional Showdance was also a highlight last night here at Tri-State, only two couples were entered but both very capable. In the end Travis & Jaimee Tuft won the competition with their interpretation of “Nature Boy.” Second went to England’s Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold.

The Amateur Standard was also run this evening and that went to another English couple and that was Jack Beale & Natalia Syanko and they placed first in every dance. Second in all dances was awarded to Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova, and third went to Brenton Mitchell & Alexnadra Sevastianova 4,3,3,3,3, and taking the third in the waltz and fourth in the other four dances was Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe 3,4,4,4,4.

The Under 21 Latin was also a terrific competition last night and here Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermonova placed first in every dance, but only in two dances got the majority of firsts - the rumba and the paso. Second overall went to Steven Varshavsky & Karolina Loukhikova and they placed second in every dance, here we must say that although we figured Samuel & Katerina would win, Steven & Karolina gave them a good run for their money. Third were Mark Irgang & Sabrina Isakow and they placed third in every dance, fourth were Mikhail Gluskin & Alexis Turko 4,4,4,5,5, and fifth went to Matthew Nacpil & Daniela Solovey 5,5,5,4,4.

It was a terrific evening of Latin American dancing, complemented by some ballroom and the other events just mentioned. Tonight we will see all the open professional events and it should be a night to remember.


Tristate! So far so good!

The Tristate Dancesport Championships are taking place this weekend and so far it has been “so far, so good!” Everything has been running smoothly as always and everything has been right on time giving people a chance to change, eat and enjoy the event without the sometimes “rush and run” of some of the events of today. All the rising stars have taken place and all though there were no quarter-final rounds the events had great attendance and full final rounds in all.

The Rising Star Smooth had a six-couple final and here John Campbell & Jaki Brockman won all dances. Second place went to Ilya Abdullin & Tara Barakov 2,2,3,3, and third was warded to Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth, 3,4,2,2.

In the Rising Star Rhythm Ilya Abdullin & Tara Barakov took the lead by winning all five dances. Second place went to Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth and third was Albero Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones 4,3,3,3,2. In this heat we must say that in our opinion the difference between first and second was little to none, either one of these two couples could have easily taking the first prize in our opinion.

The Rising Star Latin was also good and here Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova were first in every dance. Artur Shvetson & Carolina Avila were second 2,2,2,3,3 and Aleksandr Lushnov & Maria Bavyko were third 3,3,3,2,2.

The smallest of the professional Rising Star Events was the Ballroom, it was a five-couple final but it was of good quality. Radu Sterban & Xebia Cletova were first in all dances, Anatolii Repliuk & Ruslana Mamysur were second in all and Manuel Trillo & Anna Belyavtseva placed third 4,3,3,3,4.

So far we had two days of great pro/am competition and here are some of the impressive finalists we saw. In the Ballroom the “C” Ballroom Championship was terrific and here Charlene Proctor with her new teacher Ihar Kisialiou was first 2,1,1,1,1. Elena Lee w/ Emanuele Pappacena was second 1,2,2,2,2 and Linda Dillman w/Arturas Misurenkovas was third 3,3,4T,3,3.

The “B” was also excellent and here Grace Wang w/Sergey Kiselev was first in every dance. Susan Yu w/ Igor Mikushov were second and James Coltharp w/ Olga Chekhova was third.

The Open Senior is also worth a mention and here Linda Dillman w/Arturas Misurenkovas took first in all three dances, Ron Chen w/Oscar Pedrinelli was second and third was Joan Wright w/Sergei Bezrodnov.

The Pro/Am Smooth had also some impressive events and here the Senior was also quite fun to watch and that went to Annette van Ommeren 3,1,1. Second was awarded to Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov 1,3,2 and third went to Felicia Porges w/ Adam Katona.

The “B” was also good and here Sophia D’Angelo won with Ilya Reyzin. Second was Amanda Levine & Morten Jensen 2,2,3,2, leaving third to Jennifer Hoffman & Dave Hannigan 4,4,2,3. We must also point out that Sophia D’Angelo also won the “C” division. The “A” division went to Kaileen Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson who won all dances.

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