Emerald Ball 2017

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A Perfect Gem!

Last night, the last evening at the Emerald Ball we saw a perfect gem on the floor.

Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva competed in the Professional Ballroom Championship and won every dance with perfect scores. Not one judge awarded anything less than a 1st place in all dances. With 19 judges on the panel this is a rare occurrence.

In the first few rounds it was not very obvious but in the final Victor & Anastasia really showed their world-class experience and expertise, like two “Green Lanterns” in perfect harmony they moved on the floor with ease and even to a critical eye it would have been hard to find any fault in this couple. So a perfect score was very appropriate for a terrific evening of ballroom dancing. Second in this excellent event went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova and they placed second in every dance, but unlike Victor & Anastasia, their marks varied from second to fifth place, but with a comfortable majority of second places in every dance. Their worst marks came from Nigel Clarke who awarded them 4,5,3,4,5.

Third place was awarded to Iaroslav Bieliei & Liliia Gladiuk, and they also took third in all dances. In looking at their marks we could tell the judges had a more difficult decision to make, many of their marks varied from 2nd to 6th place in all their dances. When it came to fourth position things got less clear from the judges. Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were fourth with these marks overall 4,5,4,4,5. Fifth place was awarded to Stefano Di Brino & Bianka Zubrowska 5,4,5,5,4, and sixth place went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova taking sixth places in all dances.

The Professional Rhythm Category was the second event featured this night and here Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova won all dances. Their cha cha had almost perfect scores from the judges losing only 2 first place marks, in the other four dances they were the comfortable winners with the majority of firsts in every dance. Andre & Natalie Parmonov took second overall in all dances, their marks varied from first to fourth place in every dance with the exception of the mambo where they got a 6th place position from Vibeke Toft.

Vard Margaryan & Inga Demetryan placed third in all dances, in looking at their scores, we noticed they got no sixth place marks and in fact managed to capture four first places marks from Anna Trebunskaya. Fourth place was awarded to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi 5,4,4,4,5, fifth place went to Ilya Velednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko. Here things got a little less clear 4,5,6,5,6 and in sixth were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets-Nikishkin.

The Amateur Latin began as a semifinal and in the final the judges were so undecided that in the first 3 dances all six couples received at least one 1st place. In the end the winners were Roman Drobatov & Natella Devitskaya 2,1,1,1,1. This was a good result for this energetic couple. Second fell to Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan 1,2,2,2,2 who were probably the favorites based on past results. Neither couple scored a majority of 1st places in the dances they won. 3rd went to Aleksandr Ivanov & Mariya Usanina 3,4,4,3,4; 4th to Vladislav Kvartin & Yulia Koshkina 5,5,3,6,3; 5th Oleksandr Kamniev & Kateryna Kamnieva 4,6,5,4,5; 6th Briant Leytman & Kateryna Klishyna 6,3,6,5,6.

The Amateur Ballroom was a straight final and the winners were the impressive Dan Malov & Anna Kaczmarski and they won all dances with a large majority of 1st places. 2nd in all went to Florin Vlad & Linda Natalia O’Connor. 3rd were Stefan Badea & Madalina Varian 3,3,3,3,3; 4th William Stansbury & Elena Morozova 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Dae Yung Yi & Angelina He 5,5,5,5,5.

The final pro-am division danced over the whole of yesterday, was the Latin and once again the session ended with the Open Scholarships.

In the Latin we saw our only male winner of am Open Scholarship, Christian Solares w/ Alexandra Bokova 1,1,2,2,1. Vera Xu w/ Jakob Zeglin took the other two dances 2,2,1,1,2 to place 2nd. Angelina Evseeva w/ Alekandr Skarlato was 3rd 3,4,3,3,4 and Joanna Wa w/ Plamen Danailov was 4th 4,3,4,4,3. 5th Liang Ying w/ Yegor Novikov 5,6,5,5,5; 6th Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson 7,5,7,6,7; 7th Jaime Berkland w/ Roman Italyankin 6,7,6,8,8; 8th Eliese Holt w/ Daniel Vasco 8,8,8,7,6.

The Open B was an interesting event and the champion was new to us - Isabel Deich w/ Maxim Fromin (Canada). She placed 1,1,2,2,1. The winner of many events in this category, Carolyn Howard w/ Sasha Althukov took 2nd 2,2,1,1,2. Colette Marotto w/ Oleksiy Lytvyn took 3rd with 3,3,3,3,4 and Mirra Blinova w/ Clement Joly was 4th 4,4,4,5,3. 5th Kim Porter w/ Tomas Wlodarski 5,5,5,4,5; 6th Vicki Lane w/ Oleg Astakov 8,6,6,6,7; 7th Caroline Mao w/ Simeon Stoynov 6,7,7,7,6; 8th Michelle Peng w/ Alexey Karaulov 7,8,8,8,8.

Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann was the winner of the Open C 1,1,1,1,2. Lynn Magnesen in her 3rd open scholarship final was 2nd 3,2,2,2,1 and Lisa Lowery w/ Roman Malkhasyan, also in her 3rd open final, was 3rd 4,4,3,3,3. 4th Deborah Wright w/ Nikolai Voronovich 1,2,4,4,4; 5th Marina Svyatets w/ Aleksandar 6,5,5,5,5; 6th Sophia D’Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 5,6,6,6,6.

In the Senior divisions, Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov won the S1 1,1,3,1. 2nd was Vera Gutierrez-Clellan w/ Danas Jacsevicius 2,3,2,2 and 3rd Iris Chiang w/ Evgeny Nazarov 3,2,1,3. Toni Mullins w/ Tomasz Wlodarski won the S2 1,1,1. Jenny Chen w/ Werner Figar was 2nd 4,2,2 and Sophie Cheng w/ Oleg Astakov was 3rd 3,3,3.

Charlene Proctor w/ Igor Kiselev was the winner of the Open B 10-Dance Championship, winning all 10 dances.

A recurring feature of the Emerald Ball is the jewelry given to the lady winners. The Top Lady Teacher this year was Kat Baumgartner and she received the much-loved Emerald Ring as well as a gold and emerald necklace.

No Guts Just Show?

This year the Emerald has been dressed to a “kill”, with a brand new look and full decorations even in the foyer.

Lighting is terrific and everyone we have spoken to raved on how beautiful the Emerald Ball has been outfitted this year. The judges have totally complemented the new look, all ladies looked magnificent some with gowns so well fitted that it nearly takes 2 men to help them up and down the stage, and the men are totally dashing on their tuxedos.

The lights and glamor of this year’s Emerald Ball was totally welcomed by the audience but in the peanut gallery the fans were not as thrilled with some of the judges’ decisions. At the bar someone described the judges as “not having enough guts” and others voiced that their opinion were “cowardly.” With a little shock we began to investigate and apparently just a week or so back, here in California at the Beach Bash the winner of the open Professional Smooth was decided by a rule 11 decision and apparently 3rd and 4th place was also decided by this rule. Many of the local attendees apparently were expecting some lightning bolts or at least another tie from the judges, but all they got was according to one a “same as always decision.”

For us the majority of the judges and we can almost say the audience present the top place was fought between Nick Cheremukhin & Victorija who won last night and Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Silivertone who took second overall. When looking at the marks Nick & Victorija won both waltzes with a huge majority of firsts from the judges 16 to 3 in the slow waltz and 14 to 6 in the Viennese Waltz. They won the foxtrot with a tighter majority 10 first places to the 8 that Max & Tatiana took, so this was a little closer as it was at the “Beach Bash”. And Max & Tatiana as some of our colorful fans called it last night, “they got a token dance”, the tango in a 12 first to 8 first decision.

So, had the fans looked at the scores immediately they would have seen that it was still a little close between these two excellent dancers especially in the foxtrot. But one can understand the frustration of the attendees, they all know that once a couple is positioned on the top, not even a “bill” from congress would remove them, only retirement, separation or death would see them part from the first place awarded “for life”. We have been reporting on dance events for nearly 30 years and we feel the pain and frustration that some of the fans were feeling last night, and yes a change here and there is wonderful for the industry, it makes it real and it would definitely bring more sponsorship and fans to our industry. However, in the defense of both these couples we have to say that last night they were both on top form and had Max & Tatiana won last night, it would also have been an excellent judgment but we were not surprised by Nick & Victorija’s win because they too were in top form, very consistent and won fair and square 3 to one! “Fans get over it!” the only surprise we had last night was the marks of Gabriela Young to Nick & Victorija, who awarded them 6th in every dance.

Third place in all dances was awarded to Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova but here the marks were a little varied, Yegor & Alexandra were awarded from first to fifth place in nearly every dance. Some of the attendees also had an opinion and although they liked Yegor & Alexandra they felt that at times it got a little wooden!! What? The lady has a very flexible back. But, in researching we found out some people got the illusion that Yegor does a lot on straight legs, pivots and all! Something rare in ballroom dancing! If this is true, congratulations to them, a new style might be developing and so I will keep my eyes on this and keep all posted. Fourth place went to Travis & Jaimmi Tuft and their marks were also varied from first to also fifth in every dance, but with not enough firsts to pass Yegor & Alexandra. Travis & Jaimmie placed fourth in all dances overall. Fifth and sixth places were even more varied and here Roman Malkahasyan & Kat Wagner placed fifth overall but not in every dance, they took sixth in the foxtrot. People, especially the women, love Kat’s new look, getting rid of the “Bangs” as someone put it was a “good thing”. Many love their dancing seeing a lot of promise, one prominent attendee said Roman was perhaps his favorite man on the floor this evening. Sixth place was awarded to Kyle & Allie Spinder, they took fifth in the foxtrot and placed sixth in the other three dances.

Click Here to watch exclusive video from the Pro Smooth.

The Professional Smooth was possibly the most talked about competition of the evening, but the Latin was not far behind. The easy winners were Justinas Duknauskas & Anna Kovalova who won three dances with a huge majority of firsts from the judges and placed first in the paso and jive with very few low marks. The only judge to award them 6 in three dances was Gabriela Young, and she liked their paso and jive better in this dance she awarded them 5th. Second in this heat went to Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina but not in every dance, they were awarded 3rd in the paso doble. In looking at Mykhailo & Anastasia marks it looked varied with marks from 1st to sixth place in nearly every dance, so as you can see, this makes it an easy win for Justinas & Anna.

From third down the marks got very varied Andrey Kaslouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir placed third with this marks 4,3,4,2,3, perhaps not as good as they have been doing since their return to the floor in December of last year. Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova were 4th placing 3,4,3,4,4. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova were 5th with 5,6,5,5,5 and Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier placed 6th 5,6,5,5,5. Maybe Ilya & Polina were a little disappointed with this as they have fared better in recent events.

Click here to watch exclusive video from the Pro Latin

6 couples entered the Professional Showdance and the result was surprisingly close. Travis & Jaimee Tuft were the winners, receiving 5 of the 11 first places. With 4 first places Mykhalio Azerov & Tetyana Makarenko were the runners-up. As neither couple had a majority of 1st places, the fact that no judge placed Travis & Jaimee below 2nd is what ultimately gave them the win. Receiving 2 first places and 3rd place overall were Tsorokean & Wheeler. 4th went to Kudashev & Sokolova, 5th to Francoviglia & Derington and 6th to Brouwer & Weiner. 

Click Here to watch exclusive video from the Pro Showdance.

There were 2 very good Youth divisions also danced last night. In the Ballroom Kingsley Lin & Michelle Yiu were the winners in all 5 dances. Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor took 2nd 4,2,2,3,2 and after a Rule 11 tie Igor Vanyukov & Liza Shlimovich were 3rd 2,3,4,4,3. Erik Linder & Shelly Meshkausk were the other half of the tie and they ended up 4th.

Yusif & Naomi moved up to the winners spot in the Youth Latin although they only won 2 dances 1,2,1,2,2. D’angelo Castro & Amanda Carbajales also won 2 dances but ended 2nd, 4,4,2,1,1. Erik & Shelly also won a dance and placed 3rd 3,1,4,3,3.

For the Pro-Ams it was a continuation of the Ballroom divisions begun on Thursday and these concluded with the Open Scholarships at the end of the very long day session.

In the Open A, the winner was Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev and Natalie won all dances with the majority of 1st places. The runner up was Sabine Blyth w/ Daniele Gozzi again in all dances. With 3,3,4,3T,3 a gentleman student, Simon Li w/ Liana Bakhtiarova placed 3rd followed quite closely by Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Feraci 5,4,3,3T,4. Another gentleman, Andreas Mantius w/ Olga Tsikalyuk took 5th 4,6,5,5,6 and Colette Marotto w/ Egor Abashkin was 6th 6,5,6,6,5.

Laura Shooks w/ Alexander Voskalchuk won all dances in the Open B Scholarship and had the majority in all dances except tango. 2nd place, also in all dances, went to Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold and 3rd in all went to Monica Sun w/ Iaroslav Bieliel. Also placing in the same position in all dances were the remaining 3 couples of this final. 4th Patricia Schneider w/ Sergey Kiselev, 5th Lengxi Gao w/ Kamil Urbanick, 6th Carole Simmons w/ Serghi Pognet.

The most mixed scores came in the Open C. Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano was the winner but certainly not in all dances - 1,5,1,3,1. Hye-Kyung Park w/ Linas Korieva took 2nd but also had a mixed bag of placements - 2,2,3,1,5. Ans Stork w/ Igor Pigotskyy was 3rd 5,3,5,2,2. Jenny Du w/ Darius Michalski took 4th 3,4,4,4,3 and if you were wondering who won the tango it was 5th place Lynn Murrel w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 4,1,2,5,6. 6th went to Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 6,6,7,6,4 and 7th to Charlene Proctor w/ Igor Kiselev 7,7,6,7,7.

In the two senior categories, Linda Huntress w/ Andrea Stefano won the S2, 2,1,1 and Linda Dillman w/ Arturas Misurenkovas won the S1, 1,1,4,2.

Sailing Smoothly!

Yesterday we enjoyed the Open Pro-Am Scholarships as the feature event for the pro-ams.

As the day before, the Open C was the largest division danced over 3 rounds with 3 heats in the first round.

The final of 7 was very hotly contested with most competitors receiving scores from the judges up and down the scale. The winner today was Lisa Lowery w/ Roman Malkhasyan. Lisa did in fact win all 4 dances but did not achieve a majority of 1st places in any dance but she did have the majority of “2nd or better” in all 4. 2nd and 3rd spots were determined by a Rule 11 tiebreak that went in the favor of Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa 2,3,5,3 over Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 2,3,5,3. As you may remember Lynn was the winner in the C Rhythm and Lisa was 3rd, so a reversal for these two great lady competitors. With 4,5,3,2, Michiko Cantor w/ Evgeny Malko took 4th place. Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy was 5th 5,2,4,5. It was great to see former World Pro-Am Champion Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet back on the floor following a year’s hiatus and she placed 6th today in all dances and 7th in all went to Charlene Proctor w/ Victor Tkachenko. This was a great division!

The Open A was a straight final. The clear winner to us was Whitney Myers w/ Evgeny Malko and she did win all dances with most of the judges scoring her to win. We were a little surprised to see a couple of distinctly lower scores from one judge. 2nd in all dances went to Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin. 3rd was decided by a Rule 11 and went to Sam Smith w/ Dave Hannigan 5,5,3,3 and 4th went to the winner of the A Rhythm, Nathalie Vuong w/ Volvik Edouard 3,3,5,5. Francesca Scalise w/ Enzo Zappia got the 5th spot but actually placed 4th place in all dances!! 6th in all dances went to Cynthia Vana w/ J.C. Yeh and 7th to Ann Marie Lenza w/ Eugene Parkhimovich.

Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won the Open B taking all dances and losing very few 1st placements. The runner up was the winner of the B Rhythm, Karen Angell w/ Gleb Makarov 2,3,2,2. Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa took 3rd 3,2,4,4. Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki was 4th 4,5,3,5; 5th went to Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft 5,4,6,3 and 6th to Joanne Tatum w/ Mariusz Zakrzewski 6,6,5,6. We were a little surprised that Joanne did not place higher.

As in the Rhythm, Open S1 and S2 divisions were offered and the S1 began with a quarter-final round. The winner was Diana Best w/ Aloysha Anatoliy in a Rule 11 decision 2,2,1,1. The runner-up was Yi-Ru Sethavanish w/ Kris Suakjian 1,1,2,2 and 3rd was Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov 3,3,3,4. Diana Dean w/ Slava Stefanov won the S2 1,1,2. Susannah Lowe w/ Yuriy Kravets was 2nd 2,2,1 and Shiela Ragan w/ Sid Pocius was 3rd 3,3,3.

It was also the conclusion of the Scholarship 9-Dance events and the two winners were Lisa Lowery w/ Roman Malkhasyan (B) and Nathalie Vuong w/ Volvick Edouard (A)

Yesterday we also saw the first of the professional events here at Emerald Ball. All 4 styles of Rising Star took place.

The Rhythm went to Alberto Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones. They won all 5 dances and had the majority of 1st places in R,S,B. This is fast-rising couple in this division. 2nd spot wet to Christian Sese & Mae Lozado 3,3,3,2,3. Interestingly they actually palced 2nd in only 1 dance. Placing 2nd in 3 dances but ending 3rd were Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker 2,4,2,5,2. Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman were 4th 4,2,4,3,4; Alexander Zarek & Julia Vaysfeld were 5th 6,5,5,4,5 and Kyle & Allie Spinder were 6th in all.

The Smooth was the largest division of the night and the win went to Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets and they easily won all dances. 2nd went to the new partnership of Radek Wiatrowski & Mila Popovich 3,2,2,2. This is a very attractive new pairing. 3rd and 4th were separated by a Rule 11. 3rd fell to Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts 5,3,3,3 and 4th to John Campbell & Jacki Brockman 2,4,4,4 – perhaps a disappointing result for this latter couple who have been scoring higher of late. 5th tonight went to Slava & Jessica Stefanov 4,5,6,6 and 6th to Maksim Lototsky & Sarah Haworth 6,6,5,5.

Another fast-rising couple won the RS Ballroom, Andriy Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova. They took all dances and had the majority of 1st places in T,VW,F. Overall they had just a handful of placements lower than 3rd. The runners up were Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova 2,2,2,3,2, closely followed by Yury Nartov & Sarika Hudson 3,3,3,2,3. 4th in all went to Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna; 5th Anatoli Repliuk & Ruslana Mamaysur 6,5,5,5,5; 6th were Dmitry Nikolaev & Ksenia Kireeva 5,6,6,6,6.

The RS Latin was a close finish. The winners were Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo 1,1,1,2,1. They had the majority of 1st places only in jive. Runners-up were Sergey Chyslov & Daria Chysolva 2,2,2,1,3. 3rd spot went to Riccardo Pacini & Sonia Spadoni 4,3,4,3,2; 4th Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova 3,4,3,4,4. In their 2nd final of the night, Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker took 5th in all dances and Nikita Tsernov w/ Anna Oblakova were 6th.

A week in LA – Emerald Ball 2017

Here we all are, the LAX Hilton for what has become a yearly pilgrimage to one of the USA’s largest competitions – the Emerald Ball organized since 1992 by Wayne & Donna Eng and held right here in this venue for the entire time.

At around 12,000 entries you know there’s a lot going on and so far we've seen all the pro-am divisions in Rhythm and some of the Smooth. Last night the headline events were the Open Scholarships in the Rhythm in 4 age divisions.

The largest was the Open C division that began with a quarter-final. The winner was Lynn Magnesen w/ Vard Margaryan who won all dances and had large majorities of 1st places in all dances. 2nd in all dances went to Quin Bomelje w/ Misha Vlasov and this lady also had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all 5 dances. 3rd today went to Lisa Lowery w/ Roman Malkhasyan and similarly Lynn was easily 3rd in all dances. We felt these 3 ladies were in tip top form – well done! With 4,4,5,4,5 Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez took 4th place, Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert was 5th 5,5,4,5T,4 and Nancy Lam w/ Sean Tamashiro was 6th 6,6,6,5T,6.

The Open A Division was a straight final and was much more tightly contested division. The winner came from Canada and was Nathalie Vuong w/ Volvik Edouard 2,1,1,2,1. Close behind was Gabrielle Devitta w/ Maxim Lototskyy 1,2,2,1,2. 3rd and 4th was also a close race. Sophia Montantez w/ Daniel Vasco 3,3,3,4,4 took 3rd over Marinda James-Heskett w/ Jeremy Pilling 4,4,4,3,3. This closely contested final continued with Ricci-Lee Hotz w/ Moses Ramos in 5th 5,5,5,6,6; Donie Burch w/ Kosta Trifunovic 6th 6,6,6,5,5 and Ann Marie Lenza w/ Eugene Parkhimovich 7th in all dances.

The Open B Division began with a semifinal. Karen Angell w/ Gleb Makarov was the winner in all 5 dances and had the majority of 1st places in all. It’s great to see this lady back on the floor after a several-year hiatus. 2nd in all dances went to Joanne Tatem w/ Mariusz Zakrzewski. Anna Capo w/ Luis Lopez moved up to 3rd in this division with 3,3,3,3,3. 4th fell to Powers w/ Jason Daly 5,4,4,4,5; 5th to Marina Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev 4,5,5,5,4 and 6th this time to Donie Burch w/ Kosta Trifunovic.

There were also Open Scholarships in the Open S1 and Open S2 divisions. These were strong divisions also and the top 3 in each division were as follows: S1 Quin Bomelje w/ Misha Vlasov 1,1,1,1; Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy 3.2.3.2; Lois Fein w/ Aleksandr Vuskolvejic 2,3,2,3. Lois moved up to 1st in the S2, 1,1,1; Diana Dean w/ Slava Stefanov 3,2,2; Rita Lonergan w/ Pavlo Barsuk 2,3,3.

Stay tuned to this blog for more highlights from the week and also be sure to watch our exclusive video highlights coming soon. Click here for the vidoes!

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