The Latin began with a semifinal. We thought there was at least one couple in that semi who could have progressed to the final, but the top six were all in good form. The winners were Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova and they were the easy winners dropping only 3 first places out of a possible 55. After that, however, the judges found little consensus and most couples received placements from 2nd to 6th in all dances. Placing 2,2,2,4,4, Alexey Karaulov & Vlada Semenova took the runners-up spot. They have recently relocated to Canada and this change seems to have given them some new impetus. The RS winners, Sergiy Chislov & Daria Chislova, took 3rd spot, a good result for them, with 4,3,3,2,3. The winners of the Rhythm, Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin took 4th, 3,4,4,3,2. Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina were 5th in all dances and Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova were 6th in all.
The Open Smooth was a straight final, but the quality was really great. The winners were Nick Ceremukhin & Viktorija. They won all dances with a strong majority of 1st places. 2nd in all were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova and they had the majority of 2nd or better scores in all dances. 3rd in all went to Roman Malkhasyan & Kat Wagner, 4th in all were Evgeny Malkov & Anna Shahbazyan and 5th went to Kevin Dennis & Erin Durand.
There was a bit of a switch around in the U/21 Latin in regards to the result in the open amateur. The winners were Rafael Flaishman & Yael Pasternak were the winners 1,1,2,1,1 – about the same relatively as their finish in the amateur. Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets, however, did much better in this event taking 2nd with 2,2,1,2,2. Nazariy Blagyy & Marketa Vickova slipped a little from their amateur result taking 3rd tonight in all dances. Igor Vanyukov & Liza Shlimovich were 4th.
A lifetime achievement award was presented to Rex Lewis by the current organizers. Rex was one of the original organizers of SFO 37 years ago.
A “Live-ly” Night at SFO
The ballroom was alive last night at The Ball at SFO!
And the reason was both the dancing and the live music provided by the band “Flashback” who played some excellent, danceable music, with help from music director, Brent Mills.
There was some impressive dancing no doubt! None more so than in the Open Pro Ballroom. This was won by Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva who received 11 out of 11 first place marks in all dances. Iaroslav Bieliel & Lilia Gladiuk were 2nd in all dances but never managed a majority of 2nd places and surprisingly to us they did receive scores in the lower half of the final including a couple of 6th placements. 3rd in all dances were Christian Radvan & Krisitna Kudelko and this was a very convincing performance from this duo. With 4,4,4,5,5 Stefano DiBrino & Bianca Zubrowska-Dibrina took 4th spot. Rising Star winners, Andryy Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova were 5th 6,5,5,6,4 and Rudy Homm & Katya Kanevskaya were 6th 5,6,6,4,6. Rudy & Katya’s scores ranged from 2nd to 6th in all dances. The event started with a semifinal.
The Open Rhythm also began with a semifinal. The winners were relative newcomers to this style, Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin. They won all dances with the majority of 1st places. 2nd in all went to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi. This was probably a disappointing result for Danas & Yuki who are US finalists. They had some wildly fluctuating scores in all dances. 3rd spot went to Igor Ustymovich & Brianna Santiago 4,3,3,3,4 and 4th to Ricardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti 3,4,4,4,3. Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman took all the 5’s and Jeremy Babaguy & Oksana Kashkina all the 6’s.
A highlight of the night was the Open Amateur Latin. This also began with a semifinal. The winners were pretty clear and they were Pasha Stepnachuk & Gabriella Sabler who won all dances with a majority of 1st places. For the rest the judges were in some disagreement with most of the couples receiving scores from 1st to 6th! However, 2nd in all dances went to Roberto Flaishman & Yael Pasternak (Israel). With 4,5,3,3,4, Nazariy Blagyy & Marketa Vickova took 3rd place. Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan took 4th 3,6,5,4,3. They fared much better at US Nationals a couple of weeks back so were probably disappointed with this finish. 5th went to Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Herrschaft 5,3,4,5,5 and 6th to Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets 6,4,6,6,6.
Two couples contested the Pro Showdance and both were excellent although very different. The win went to Carlos Zapata & Sophia (Canada) with their quite disturbing but effective “animal trainer” piece and with a lyrical routine Alejandro & Lucelia Falcon were 2nd. Carlos also performed an excellent pro-am cabaret routine with his student Carlynn Reed.
The afterparty was very relaxing with two members of the band, the female vocalist and keyboard player, providing delightful music to entertain us.
It’s a Ball at The Ball!
“The Ball at San Francisco Open” is how organizers, Stephan Krauel, Denise Jourdaine & Colin James, are billing this year’s event.
This is the second year for Colin James on the organizational team and his presence is being felt including co-MC duties during much of last night’s session. He has been the MC at both the UK Championships and Internationals.
Last night it was the Rising Star professionals who created the Ball and all four styles were danced, each a straight final. We enjoyed the Ballroom the most and it was the most highly contested also. The winners were Andrii Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova who placed 2,2,1,1,1 although never achieved a majority of 1st places. In fact it was very close between the top 3 couples. 2nd went to Youriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson with 1,1,3,2,3 and 3rd to Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova 3,3,2,3,2. These 3 couples have very differing styles and all had judges scoring them to win. 4th went to Serhiyy Averko & Olena Barna 4,4,4,4,4 and 5th to Tyrone Thiara & Kateryna Iaritenko 5,5,5,5,5.
Serhiyy & Olena came out on top in the 3-couple Smooth final winning all dances and dropping very few 1st places. 2nd were Brodie Kaster & Erin Drake 2,2,2,2 and 3rd Kevin Dennis & Erin Durand.
4 couples contested the Latin and the winners in all dances were Sergiy Chislov & Daria Chislova. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances. Runners-up were Umario Diallo & Hope Jackson who were 2nd in all dances and came closest to the winners in rumba. Zolt Katona & Timyea Poytz were 3rd 4,4,3,3,3 and Kazuhiko Natsumi & Maiko Hidaka from Japan were 4th 3,3,4,4,4.
Jeremy Babaguy & Oxana Kashkina seemed delighted to win the Rhythm. They placed 1,1,1,2,1. They had the majority of 1st places in the dances they won, including a perfect score in the mambo. The winners of the bolero, Kyle & Allie Spinder, were 2nd overall 2,2,2,1,2. 3rd in all went to Alejandro & Lucelia Falcon and 4th were Clayton Tomic & Carolyn Barreno.
The evening ended for the judges and guests with a wine tasting hosted by Eric Koptke who as welling being a dance competitor and professional, is a licensed sommelier.
The décor in the ballroom, complete with a lounge and bar area at the entrance to the ballroom is very attractive.