This is the second year for new organizers Richard & Jennifer Booth and Dan Messenger at the helm of this competition and last night they gave us a good night of dancing with the 4 Open Pro divisions and a great show by Travis & Jaimee Tuft.
Travis & Jaimee are the consummate “show” couple with their combination of Cabaret and American Smooth skills. It’s easy to watch and exciting for the audience. Highlights were their “Nature Boy” cabaret number and an exciting American Style “Quickstep.”
Unusually the panel of adjudicators includes 7 national professional Smooth finalists, (9 if you include Travis & Jaimee who judged amateur and pro-am divisions) and 5 of these were national champions. It was therefore not surprising that the Pro Smooth was the largest and best division. Winning all dances and well clear in our view were Yegor Novikov & Alexandria Smirnova. In fact they received every 1st place mark from all judges. 2nd in all and also very strong last night were Mariusz Zakrewski & Lynnsay Ray and 3rd in all were Slava & Jessica Stefanov who also looked very fluid. For us these 3 were a level above the field. 4th fell to Martin Pickering & Natalie Botes; 5th Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo; 6th Tyler Ryan & Jennifer Marie Davis; 7th Cory Pichette & Lena Hardwick.
Richard Tonizzo & Clare Hanson made the trip down from Canada and won the Pro Ballroom but with scores of 1,1,1,1T,2. We thought this was a very strong performance from them showing much more attack than in the past. 2nd spot went to Andrii Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova and they tied the foxtrot and won quickstep. 3rd were Simeon & Cora Stoynov and 4th Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydrug.
Probably the tightest division for the judges was the Pro Rhythm that had a rather mixed bag of styles. The winners were Johnny Bryant & Ksenia Stavrica who had also won the Rising Star the night before. They placed 1,2,1,1,2. 2nd went to Slash Sharan & Rebecca Vincitore, a new partnership that just needs to gain confidence and stability, 2,1,3,2,3. 3rd were the diminutive but very fast Renzo Zegarra & Andrea Huapaya 3,3,2,3,1. 4th were Daniel Lee Tran & Danielle Rayzburg 4,4,4,4,4 and 6th Pietro della Santini & Allesandra Gonzalez 5,5,5,5,5.
Only 2 couples contested the Pro Latin and the winners were Simeon & Cora. 2nd were Emanuele Magnasco & Viktoria Nemeth.
Matej Pritekelj & Sonya Tsekanovsky won both the Open Amateur Latin & Ballroom.
Also a special shout to Kris Suakjian doing a great job his first time as MC!