Desert Classic 2017

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More Good Competition at Desert

Last night we saw excellent professional divisions in the Ballroom and Rhythm categories. Both started with semifinals.

The Ballroom final was excellent. Winning tonight were Iaroslav & Lilia Bieliel 1,1,2,1,1. This was quite a tight race as no couple had the majority of 1st places in any dance. In fact all of the 1st places were split between the top 3 couples in all dances. 2nd spot went to Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova 2,2,1,2,2 and 3rd to Igor Mikoshov & Ekaterina Romashkina 3,3,3,3,3. These 3 couples all had a great night, as in fact, did all the finalists. With 5,4,4,5,5, Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti had a strong 4th place finish. Stefano & Bianca DiBrino took 5th 4,5,5,4,6 and Rising Star winners, Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova were 6th 6,6,6,6,4.

The Open Rhythm gave a clearer result with Andre & Natalie Paramonov winning all 5 dances with a majority of 1st place marks. The closest scored dance was mambo that the Paramonovs won by 6 firsts to 5 over the runners-up, Vard Margaryan & Inga Demetryan who were 2nd in all dances. Andre & Natalie had perfect scores in cha and bolero. These two couples were well clear we felt. With 3,3,3,3,4, Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova were 3rd and we thought clearly stamped their mark on that position, a good performance from them. Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti took 4th 4,4,4,4,3. The last 2 positions gave us a reversal from the RS result. This time Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman got the nod placing 5th in all dances and Daniele Cavallo & Leela Fazzuoli were 6th in all.

The Open Amateur Latin was one of the most interesting results we’ve seen in some time and showed the workings of the Skating System of scrutineering. 1st & 2nd positions were decided by a Rule 11 tiebreak and 3rd place needed to be calculated using a Rule 10. Each of the top 3 couples scored 10 in the final summary and the couple with the most 1st places overall (but with the majority in only 1 dance) placed 3rd overall!

So how did it break down. The winners tonight were Dmytry Dmytrenko & Yelzaveta Hyzhko 2,3,1,1,2. We thought they were on fire tonight and gave the best performance we’ve seen from them. 2nd went to Aleksandr Ivanov & Maria Usanina 2,1,3,3,1 – a quieter performance than the winners but obviously appealing to a lot of judges. 3rd went to Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan 1,2,2,2,3 and they had the majority of 1st places in cha cha and missed that majority by 1 first place in samba, rumba & paso. A very unlucky result for them. 4th fell to Jacob Murillo & Alexis Warr 4,5,4,4,5. 5th were Danya & Anastasiya Rubashevsky 5,4,5,5,4. We saw this couple higher in the final. 6th were John Swiger & Ariana Shtykova 6,6,6,6,6 and 7th Aleksei Anikev & Daria Samorodova 7,7,7,7,7.

Yesterday was judge and former US Champion, Stephen Cullip’s 70th birthday and we’re sure he celebrated in style!

Today is junior day here at Desert and the ballroom is rocking!

An Unexpected Pleasure!

Last night at Desert Classic, the audience received an unexpected pleasure.

Organizers, Igor & Irina Suvorov came on to the floor near the end of the evening with a special announcement. The advertised show was to be by Mirko Gozzoli & Edita Danuite, but earlier this week Igor received a facebook message that Mirko did not have the correct visa and was unable to board the plane to the USA. This could have been a disaster, but luckily the new Open British Champions, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were available to admirably fill the gap. The audience was treated to a flawless show by the local heroes!

Prior to show time we also enjoyed 2 first class open professional events, Smooth and Latin.

Once again, the Smooth was a stellar event. In this division the top couples are all avid competitors and on any weekend you can see national quality competition – and so it was here. Once again, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija came out on top winning all dances. But we believe this was their strongest ever showing as they received every first place mark except one 2nd in waltz. Runners-up were Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova and they placed 2nd in all dances and received the vast majority of 2nd place marks from the judges and that lone 1st place in waltz. 3rd in all dances went to Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova. We liked their performance tonight and Yegor was sporting a new, almost “Latin” look with a ruffled white shirt. It will be interesting to see if this catches on. 4th in all dances went to Genya Malko & Anna Shahbazyan. This was a very strong result for them, several laces ahead of their finish last week in Manhattan. 5th Kyle & Allie Spinder 5,7,5,5. Kyle was also sporting the new look. 6th Sergey & Maria Barsukov 6,6,6,6; 7th Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets 7,5,7,7.

The Open Latin was also an impressive event. Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina were the winners 1,2,2,2,2. They were the favorites and were perhaps a little surprised that the win was not clearer. They had the majority of 1st places in paso and jive only. The couple taking the most 1st places from the winners and winning the cha cha was Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier (Canada) 1,2,2,2,2. Many observers were impressed with this couple tonight and we feel they definitely get stronger each time we see them. Another Canadian duo placed 3rd, Alexey & Vlada Karaulov 3,3,3,3,4. We feel that since their relocation to Canada, they have really put more spirit into their dancing. With 4,4,4,4,5, Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina took 4th and we were also very impressed with their dancing tonight. Maria especially was in great form. 5th went to Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo 5,5,5,6,3 and 6th to Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko 6,6,6,5,6.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was a straight final of 6. Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli won all dances and had the majority of 1st places in all. Florin Vlad & Natalia O’Connor were 2nd in all 5. These 2 couples were well clear of the field we felt. 3rd in all dances were Danya & Anastasiya Rubashevsky who have shown much improvement in this style recently. 4th Aleksei Hadlock & Katya Ivahno-Kalinuka 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Andrew Hadlock & Alexi Ruffell 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Benjamin Lin & Jennifer Wong 6,6,6,6,6.

Two other amateur events decided tonight were the Senior Ballroom and U/21 Latin. Winners of the Senior were Dan Manea & Mia Hu 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd Yuliy Sannikov & Regina Paregis 2,2,2,2,2; 3rd Hans & Ans Stork 3,3,3,3,3. Mitchell Itkin & Natasha Shevchenko were the easy winners of the U/21, taking every first place from all judges. 2nd Miles Wu & Rachel Ma 2,2,2,2,2; 3rd John Swiger & Arina Shtykova 4,3,4,4,3.

For the pro-ams it was Ballroom day with the Open Scholarships decided in the late afternoon.

In the Open A Natalie Rozai w/ Sergey Kiselev stayed in winning form placing 1st in all dances. Runner-up spot went to Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci 2,2,3,3,2. Sabina Blyth w/ Davide Gozzi was 3rd 4,3,2,2,3. 4th Andreas Mantius w/ Olga Tsikalyuk 3,4,4,4,4; 5th Colette Marotto w/ Egor Abashkin 5,5,5,5,6; 6th Bing Zhang w/ Stefano DiBrino 6,6,7,6,5; 7th Brenda Dalzell w/ Evgeny Mayorov 7,7,6,7,7.

Shin-Chang Wang w/ Leonid Burlo won the Open B 1,2,1,1,1. Winning the tango and placing 2,2,2,3 in the other dances was Monica Sun w/ Iaroslav Bieliel. 3rd spot went to Patricia Schneider w/ Sergey Kiselev 3,3,3,3,2. 4th Laura White w/ Andrea Faraci 4,4,5,4,5; 5th Grace Wang w/ Victor Yushin 5,5,4,5,4; 6th Catherine Gallo w/ David Semken 6,6,6,6,6.

Ans Stork w/ Oleksiy Pigotsky won all dances in the Open C. 2nd in all went to Paige Riffle w/ Iarslav Bieliel. 3rd Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 3,3,5,5,3; 4th Jenny Fong w/ Victor Veyrasset 5,4,4,3,4; 5th Sheila Zou w/ Denis Kutepov 4,5,3,4,5; 6th Sylvia Mortgat w/ Robert Nemiro 6,6,6,6,6; 7th Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Andrea Faraci 7,7,7,7,7.

The Open Senior Ballroom was the largest of the open scholarships, beginning with a quarter-final. The winner was Yeh w/ Stefano DiBrino 1,1,1,1. 2nd Suzuki w/ Sergey Kiselev 2,2,2,2; 3rd Chiang w/ Igor Colac 3,3,3,3.

In the Sunshine at Desert Classic 2017

The sun is definitely shining on the JW Marriott, Palm Desert – solid blue skies and temperatures over 100.

This venue is one of my favorites on the dance circuit with its towering atrium lobby, complete with boats that enter and exit, exotic birds and lobby bar. There’s plenty of restaurant choice too and the ballroom is adequately suited to dance competition.

The competition began yesterday with 2 styles of pro-am dancing – Smooth and Latin. We thought the Latin Open Scholarships were especially strong with some relative newcomers, at least to our eyes.

The Open A began as a semifinal and was won by Liang Ying w/ Yegor Novikov 2,1,2,1,1. This final was tightly scored but this talented lady did have the majority of 1st places in the 3 dances she won. Sofya Pesternikova w/ Daniele Gozzi took 2nd 1,2,1,2,2, also a strong competitor. 3rd went to Danielle Forman w/ Jason Daly 6,3,4,3,3. We felt this lady really gained in strength as the event progressed. 4th was Emily Garrett w/ Yavor Genev 4,5,3,4,4; 5th Eliese Holt w/ Daniel Vasco 3,6,5,5,5; 6th Amber Ji w/ Nikolai Voronovich 5,4,6,6,6.

Rhonda Lee with Daniele Gozzi won all dances in the Open B and had the majority of 1st places in all 5. 2nd in all went to Colette Marotto w/ Oleksiy Lytvyn - we felt she had a strong competition. 3rd place went to teacher Yiri Kosydar with his student (unnamed in results) 5,3T3,3,3. 4th Lim Marilyn w/ Oleg Astakhov 3,3T,4,5,5; 5th Tiffany Miller w/ Daniel Vasco 4,5,5,4,4; 6th Lily Kim Thai w/ Vasily Anokhin 6,6,6,6,6.

In the Open C, Deborah Wright w/ Nikolai Voronovich won all dances and had the majority of 1st places in all. We found her a very strong competitor. Equally strong was the runner up Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann 2,2,2,2,2. With 4,3,3,4,3 Anna Bai w/ Daniele Gozzi took the 3rd spot. 4th Michelle Peng w/ Alexey Karaulov (Canada) 3,4,4,3,4; 5th Summer Chung w/ Illy Bardahan 6,5,5,5,5; 6th Robyn Shreiber w/ Italo Elgueta 5,6,7,6,6; 7th Wendy Yu w/ Evgeny Nazarov 7,7,6,7,7. Iris Chiang, also with Evgeny Nazarov, won the Senior Latin 2,1,1,1.

All 4 Professional Rising Star Divisions were also held last night. The Ballroom and Smooth each began with a semifinal.

Radu Sterban & Ksenia Cletova won all dances in the Ballroom and they had the majority of 1st places in all but the waltz. Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets were 2nd 2,2,2,2,3 and Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna were 3rd 3,3,3,3,2. 4th Mikhail Nikoalev & Ksenia Kireeva 4,5,4,4,4; 5th Tyrone Thiare & Kateryna Iaritenko 5,4,5,5,5; 6th Daniel Buhala & Natalia Bekker 6,6,6,6,6.

The new partnership of David Estrada & Meagan Mendoza won the RS Smooth. They had the majority of 1st places in 3 dances but there was an unbreakable tie in the waltz between them and the runners-up Stephen McCann & Elisa Seja 1T,2,2,2. 3rd in all dances fell to Nikolay Kralev & Julianne DiBacco Daniels; 4th in all went to Brodie Kaster & Erin Drake, 5th in all to Tyler Ryan & Jennifer Marie Davis, 6th in all to Joel & Kimberly Callahan.

The Rhythm was a straight 7-couple final. Winning today were Daniele Cavalo & Fazzuoli 1,1,2,1,2. They danced very strongly tonight to beat who were perhaps the favorites, Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman, who finished 2nd today 2,2,1,2,1. 3rd in all dances went to Bryant & Stavrica; 4th in all to Pierto della Santina & Jennifer Gonzalez; 5th Zegarra & Huapaya 6,5,5,5,5; 6th Daniel Lee Tran & Rayzberg 5,6,6,6,6; 7th in all Carrrington & Quiblan.

The Latin was the smallest with only 3 couples and also the cleanest win. Andrei Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko won all dances and lost a total of only 2 first place marks total. 2nd Daniel Buhala & Natalia Bekker 2,2,2,2,3; 3rd Vasily Golovin & Anastasia Banderovskaya 3,3,3,3,2.

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