It was hardly surprising that Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, reigning World Ballroom Champions, would win the Open Ballroom last night and it was equally unsurprising that they would win with perfect scores – 15 first places in all dances. Enough said!
From there the marks were more mixed. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 2nd in all dances but had the majority of 2nd place marks in only waltz and Viennese Waltz. Their lowest score was a 5th from judge Jonathan Wilkins in quickstep. 3,4,3,3,3 gave Iaroslav & Lilia Bieliei a 3rd place finish overall, however, they did pick up a few 6th placements from some judges. 4,3,4,4,4 saw Rudy Homm & Katya Kanevskaya in 4th spot. 5,6,6,5,5 were the placements for Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova giving them 5th and 6,5,5,6,6 gave Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina 6th. There were definitely some strong challengers in the semifinal round, so congrats to these, the top six.
Although not quite “perfect” Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova did win all dances in the Open Rhythm. They had the perfect “15” in swing and 14 in cha cha. They received no score lower than a 2nd. Andre & Natalie Paramonov took 2nd in all dances and they were equally clear with large majorities of “2nd or better” scores in all dances. They received no score lower than a 3rd except for a 6th in mambo from judge, Vibeke Toft. Vard Margaryan & Inga Demetryan maintained their form and took 3rd place in all 5 dances. Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin kept up their assault on the Rhythm division and placed 4th 4,4,4,4,5 receiving scores from 2nd to 6th. We also noted that they did not compete in the Open Latin yesterday. Aaron & Iryna DeSoto had a good showing, placing 5th with 5,6,5,5,4 and closing the final wereDanas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi 6,5,6,6,6.
Travis & Jaimee Tuft were the winners of the Professional Cabaret. Mykhailo Azerov & Tetyana took 2nd and Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez were 3rd.
The largest event of the night was the Open Amateur Latin. Fresh from their finalist position at Blackpool, Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze, were the winners 1,1,1,2,1. They had the majority of 1st places in the dances they won (large in the first 3 dances, but just 8 in the jive). They had the most 1st places in the paso doble (6) but had some thirds which gave the runners-up, Tal Livshitz & Ilona Keselman, the win with the most “2nd or better” scores. Nino was unwell in the semifinal and it was touch and go whether they would be able to continue. As we said, Tal & Ilona were the runners-up placing 2,2,3,1,2. Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler took 2nd in the rumba and 3rd in the other dances to take 3rd overall. Looking at the judges’ scores the remaining 3 places in this final were quite close. 4th went to Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward (Canada) 5,4,4,4,5; 5th Kiki Nyemchek & Magda Fialek 4,5,5,5,4; 6th Tagir Mansurov & Alexandra Kondrasova.
For the pro-ams it was Latin day. In the Open A Scholarship the winner was Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) and she won all dances. 2nd went to Emily Takhtarov w/ Nikita Malakhov 2,2,2,3,2 and 3rd to Ekaterina Vitoshhinskaya w/ Troels Bager 3,3,3,2,3. With 4,4,4,6,4, Nicole Pierzchalski w/ Vlad Astafiev took 4th; 5th Bekka Karasek w/ Aleko Khutsidze 5,5,5,5,6; 6th Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richadson 6,6,6,4,5.
The Open B also went out of the country, to Russia this time. The winner was Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Chesnokov and she won all dances. 2nd went to Christine Stanko w/ Jean Paul 2,2,3,2,2. Taking 2nd in rumba and placing 4,3,3,3 in the other dances, Nathalie Belanger w/ Genya Bartashevich was 3rd. 4th went to Colette Marotto w/ Oleksiy Lytvyn 5,4,4,4,4; 5th Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 3,5,6,5,5; 6th Jelena Sevaljevich w/ Richard Lifshitz (Canada) 6,6,5,6,6; 7th Vanessa DiCicco w/ Vlad Astafiev 7,7,7,7,7.
Andrea Bennignton w/ Ivan Mulyavka took the Open C for the first time scoring 1,1,2,2,1 over the experienced Lisa Lowery w/ Roman Malkhasyan who took 2nd with 2,2,1,1,2. 3rd spot went to Sophia D’Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 3,3,4,5,5. 4th Loranie Peoples w/ Genya Bartashevich 6,6,3,4,3. 5th and 6th were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 5th Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme 4,5,5,6,4 and 6th Marina Svyatets w/ Alexandr Vukosavljevics 5,4,6,3,6. As you can see some very mixed scoring in that final!
The famous after-party went on until after 3:00 AM and featured the the wonderful singer/saxophone player who is here every year and this year also gave us a “Ray Charles” style “America The Beautiful” in the ballroom that brought a tear to many eyes.
Pro Latin - “Just WOW!”
Last night at Manhattan both Open Pro events were spectacular but our vote has to go to the Latin for “best of the night.”
While the Smooth was also a “cracking” event it was the Latin last night that really stirred the audience. With so many of the world’s top couples resident in the USA, it is not surprising that we had an event that included the World Champions and Blackpool finalists.
Those World Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, were on fire last night producing some of the best dancing we’ve seen from them. The judges definitely agreed, awarding them perfect scores (15 first places) in all dances. With nearly all the 2nd places from all judges, it was also a stellar performance and result for Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova. It was great to see these two leading couples producing such great dancing and not just “walking” through their dances as we have seen some champions do in the past. A testament to the atmosphere, the audience, the venue and their spirit!
3rd in all dances went to Andre Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir. They did achieve a majority of “3rd or better” scores in all dances and we thought they produced their best dancing since returning to the competition floor late last year. All the 4’s went to Myhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina. From the judges they received marks from 3rd to 6th in all dances. 5th spot fell to Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier (Canada) 5,5,6,5,5. This was another strong performance from this duo. They were the only couple apart from Troels & Ina to receive any 2nd places – 4 from judge, John Nyemchek. Closing this final were Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach 6,6,5,6,6. The semifinal was equally strong and some terrific couples were left 6th to 12th and all deserve our congratulations.
The Smooth, on any other night would have been the stellar event as it was also superb and had the added thrill of some changing positions. The winners were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who now seen unassailable in the top spot of this division. They received the majority of 1st places in all dances. The next 3 places were anything but clear. In fact the judges were fairly equally split on all of them and 2nd place in 3 of the dances was decided by the most “3rd or better” marks. Here’s how it panned out. Travis & Jaimee Tuft took 2nd overall placing 2,3,2,2. This was a much better showing for them than at Millennium last week where they were 4th in a similar field but mirrored their finish in Blackpool. Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova took 3rd 3,2,4,4 and they took the tango with a majority of “2nd or better” scores. This was probably a disappointing result for them. The 4th spot fell to Peter Perzhu & Izabella Jundzill and they placed 4,4,3,3. We must reiterate that the judges’ marks for these 3 couples were extremely close and promise some hot duels in the coming months.
With 5,5,5,6, Sergey Samchynskyy & Yulia Besarab took the 5th spot in this final and sixth with 6,6,6,5, went to Sergey & Maria Barsukov. As in the Latin there were several semifinalists who certainly would have looked at home in this final.
The Amateur Ballroom was the 3rd featured event of the night and was hotly contested for almost all positions. The winners were Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli. They won all dances an all except the foxtrot with a majority of 1st places. This was a strong result from them and followed on from their great finish at Blackpool. This eems to have given them new confidence. 2nd in all dances went to James Cutler & Virginie Primeau and they had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances except tango. As with all other couples in this final, they had a large range of scores and as one observer put it – “these couples were all just so good that I knew this was going to happen!” 3rd spot went to Dan Malov & Anna Kaczmarski 6,4,4,3,3. This was a better result for them than in the U/21 the day before. Sam Hacke & Katerina Hermanova took 4th tonight with 5,3,3,5,5 not quite as good as their U/21 placement, but as you can see this was an extremely close race. 5th spot went to Vladyslav Komelkov & Olena Dovgan (Ukraine) 4,5,5,4,4 and 6th to Marek Klepadlo & Nina Zhiting Yang 3,6,6,6,6.
The evening began with the Open Pro-Am Scholarships in the Ballroom division. The Open A was the first of these to go outside of USA. In a very close race, Irina Agaletskaya w/ Alexandre Zhiratkov from Moscow took the win 1,1,2,1,2. This lady had the majority of 1st places in the first 2 dances. Her compatriot from Moscow, Nadezhda Solzhenitsyn w/ Sergei Konovaltsev was a close 2nd 2,2,1,2,1. A gentleman took the 3rd spot, Alex Arazawa w/ Liene Apale 3,3T,3,4,3. 4th Vinie Miller w/ Denis Kutepov 5,5,4,3,4; 5th Amy Liu w/ Igor Mikushov 6,3T,5,5,5; 6th Colette Marotto w/ Egor Abashkin 4,6,6,6,6.
In the Open B, Grace Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico was the winner in all dances and she had the majority of 1st places in 3. 2nd spot went to Lily Chang w/ Andrei Mykhailov 2,2,2,2,3. In 3rd was Sharron Ji w/ Thomas Papkala 3,3,3,3,5. Picking up the 2nd place in QS but placing 4th overall was Brynda Insely w/ Martin Reinbold 4,4,4,4,2. 5th Sabrina Zagolina w/ Yuriy Kravets 5,5,5,5,4; 6th Bo Chang w/ Andrea Stefano 6,6,6,6,6.
Hye Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva won the Open C 2,1,1,1,1. She had the majority of 1st places in the dances she won. Winning the waltz and placing 2nd overall was Lyn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 1,2,2,2,2. From there the scores were more mixed. Lisa Liao w/ Iaroslav Bieliel took 3rd 4,5,3,4,3; 4th Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 6,3,5,3,4; 5th Leila DeNotaristefani w/ Igor Mikushov 3,6,4,5,6; 6th Sibyl Yang w/ Rudi Homm 5,4,6,6,5; 7th Eva Fong w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 7,7,7,7,7.
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A Day of Diversity at Manhattan
Yesterday we saw a little of everything at Manhattan Dance Championships – pro-am, professional, amateur!
We began with a full daytime session of pro-am Smooth competition ending with the Open Scholarships to close the afternoon. In the Open A we felt Brittany Myers w/ Evgeny Malko was in a class of her own and it seemed the judges agreed with us, awarding her every available first place mark. 2nd with 4,2,2,2 went to TJ Kyle w/ Jaimee Tuft. This gentleman was new to us, but he showed some maturity in his performance. We felt he was a good 2nd place. With 2,3,4,4 Rebecca Mandell w/ Marko Urosevic took 3rd and Vera w/ Greg Fidurski took 4th 3,4,6,3. We must report that the judges’ scores were quite mixed for everyone except the winner. Sam Smith w/ Dave Hannigan was 5th 6,5,3,5 and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was 6th 5,6,5,6.
Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won all dances in the Open B and had the majority of 1st places in all dances with waltz her best scored dance 7 out of 9 firsts. Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft took 2nd in all dances and was the only competitor to take some 1st places from Celia. 3rd in all fell to Irene Wong w/ John Campbell who matched her 3rd place in the Rhythm the day before. With 5,4,4,4 Susan Cassano w/ Randi Dias took 4th . 5th Anna Boyd w/ Gabor Seres 4,5,5,5; 6th Christa Mason w/ Dmitri Dolgopolov 6,6,6,6; 7th Jen Sauter w/ Juan Solano 7,7,7,7.
A student of teacher, Evgeny Malko, also won the Open C Scholarship – Michiko Cantor. Michiko won all dances with the majority of 1st places. 2nd in all went to Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa and 3rd in all to Alla Neyshtadt w/ Sergey Vasilyev. Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza took all the 4’s. Charlene Proctor w/ Victor Tkachenko was 5th 5,6,6,4 and Kako Matsumoto w/ Erik Pali was 6th 6,5,5,6.
In the evening we had the first of the professional events here at Manhattan and those were the Rising Star in all 4 categories. Three of these began with quarter-finals.
First up was the Rhythm, quarter-final. Alberto Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones were the winners and they took all 5 dances with the majority of 1st places and only 2 marks less than 2nd in the whole competition. 2nd in all dances went to Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker but their scores from the judges ranged from 1st to 6th over the course of the event. 3rd in all dances went to Kristian Sese & Mae Lozado and they also had wide-ranging scores from the judges. 4th in all went to Jean Michel Erole & Sasha Nissengolts; 5th in all to Daniil Rostvinschii & Yuliya Rudenco and 6th in all to Kurt Roberts & Anneliece Velasco. It was interesting that even though the couples’ marks from the judges all varied quite widely, the couples all finished in the same position for each dance.
The only division not to have a quarter-final was the Ballroom and that began with a semifinal. The winners were Andrii Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova. They won all dances w,t,q with small majorities of 1st places. This event was closer than we thought it would be. With 3,2,2,2,2, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson took 2nd but they had a wide range of individual scores ranging from 1st to 6th in all dances. Sirhiy Averkov & Olena Barna took 3rd, scoring 2,5,3,3,5. Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets were 4th 4,4,4,3. 5th Anatolii Repliak & Ruslana Mamasur 5,3,5,5,4; 6th Lukas Chockuba & Angelina Oh 6,6,6,6,6. As you can see not much consensus from the judges on this event.
In the RS Smooth Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets moved up to the winners podium taking all dances with the majority of 1st places from the judges. 2nd went to Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts 2,2,2,4. As in the Ballroom, these runners-up received scores from 1st to 6th in all dances. Daniil Rostvinschii & Yuliya Rudenco placed 3rd 4,3,3,2 and as they also placed in the Rhythm final, this puts them in the running for 9-dance events. With 3,5,4,3, Radek Wiatrowski & Mila Popovich were 4th. 5th Morten Jensen & Ashley Mokris 5,4,5,5; 6th Roszak & Denise Sobiewski 6,6,6,6.
The RS Latin was probably the most tightly contested of the 4 divisions. The winners were Andrii Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko and they placed 1,1,2,2,1. No couple had a majority of 1st places in any dance. 2nd tonight went to Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolva 3,2,1,1,2. Nikita Tsernov & Anna Oblakova seemed in the running with 2,3,3,3 in the first 4 dances but then dropped to 6th in the jive. 4th went to Vlad Astafiev & Annie He Xiao 4,4,4,5,3; 5th to Riccardo Pacini & Sonia Spadoni 5,5,6,4,4; 6th Pavel Balykin & Anastasia Levadnia 6,6,5,6,5.
We also enjoyed 2 very strong U/21 events beginning with the Ballroom. The delighted winners were Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova who placed 2,2,1,1,1 finishing ahead of Dan Malov & Anna Kaczmarski 3,1,2,2,2. Taking 1st in waltz and 4,3,3,3 in the other dances, Tony Cooperman & Rickie Taylor were 3rd. Gregory Rybakov & Eva Tulchinsky were 4th 4,5,4,4,4; 5th Alex Maslanka & Christine Budniak 5,3,5,5,5; 6th Yuriy Markovetskiy & Samanta Bryk 6,6,6,6,6.
The U/21 Latin was an excellent 3-round event. It was fairly close but the winners in the end were Artem Zhychuk & Klaudia Petriti 1,1,2,1,3. They seemed happy with this result. 2nd and 3rd positions were separated by a Rule 11. 2nd went to Tony Cooperman & Rickie Taylor a strong result for this 10-dance duo 3,3,1,2,4. The other half of the tie and ending up 3rd was Mitchel Itkin & Natasha Shevchenko 4,2,3,3,1. Also close to the top 3 in scores were 4th places Aleksandr Mitronin & Olivia Agranovich placing 2,4,4,5,2. 5th were Kevin Sun & Amelia Wat (Canada) 6,6,5,4,5; 6th Alex Maslanka & Christine Budniak 5,5,6,6,6.
Manhattan Goes “Sticker-less!”
The Manhattan Dancesport is off and running here at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott, NYC.
This year there is an important change for pro-am dancers here at Manhattan. Remember those stickers for placements? Ever wonder what to do with them? Well, at Manhattan Dancesport this year, you don’t have to, because there aren’t any. Instead, winners in the single dance categories are given raffle tickets and then about 3 times a day there is a drawing from those raffle tickets and some really great vendor-sponsored prizes are awarded to the winners. Cool idea Gary & Diana!
The competition began yesterday with the pro-am Rhythm categories concluding with the Open Scholarships in the evening.
The Open A went to Mengqi Huang w/ Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and she won all dances with a majority of 1st places. This is a new lady to us, but obviously very accomplished. All the 2’s went to Marinda James-Heskit w/ Jeremy Pilings another very strong contender in this division. 3rd place went to Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer 3,3,4,3,3. We were very impressed with his improvement in the Rhythm style. With 4,4,3,4,4 Cristina Diana w/ Ion Simboteanu took 4th; Mackie McGill w/ Fitzgerald St. Hilaire was 5th 6,5,5,5,5; Donie Burch w/ Kosta Trifunovic was 6th 5,6,6,6,6 and Kelby Dougherty w/ Julius Solano was 7th in all dances.
The Open B was a little more tightly contested at the top. Kelly Wain w/ Vlad Astafiev was the winner 1,1,2,1,1 but shared a lot of the judges’ 1st places with Gwen Bourque w/ Aaron Talbert who was 2nd with 2,2,1,2,2. Both strong ladies. Irene Wong w/ John Campbell took 3rd 3,3,3,3,5. Marcie Garson w/ Ilya Reyzin was 4th 4,4,4,4,3; Donie Burch w/ Kosta Trifunovic was 5th 5,5,5,5,4 and Mary Jane Sibayan w/ Matt Hauer was 6th in all.
The clearest win came in the Open C and that went to Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert who won all dances bolero and rumba with perfect scores. 2nd in all dances went to Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin and 3rd in all to Mary Jane Sibayan w/ Matt Hauer. 4th was Deborah Hoag w/ Gherman Mustuc 4,4,4,4,4; and 5th went to Ingrid Pessa w/ Jean Michele Erole 5,5,5,5,5.
Stay tuned for much more from Manhattan Dancesport including our new video reports. Be sure to check them out!