North American Imperial Championships 2017

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Unifying North America!

Last night was the formal conclusion to the North American Imperial Star Ball, and we give Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova an “A” for making their first competition a terrific experience for all.

Last night the featured events were the Open Professional Ballroom and Rhythm, both had terrific dancing and the Ballroom began with a semifinal round.

After the final was run the overall win went to Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk and they had a majority of firsts in all dances. We were not surprised by the win or even the majority of first, but we were a little surprised by some of the judges’ marks especially Mr. Jonathan Wilkins who awarded them 3 thirds and 2 seconds, making these the worst marks this couple got on this outing from any judges. However, these were not the only thirds they got, they also got a third in the quickstep from Mr. Michael Mead and another from Mr. Mark Weiss.

Second place and possibly the eye opener for this weekend of dance went to Igor Miskushov & Ekaterina Romanshkina who placed second in four dances and third in the Viennese Waltz. Igor & Ekaterina’s marks were very varied from sixth to even first places but in the end they secured a comfortable second place run and when discussing this heat everyone seamed to be in agreement that they had a wonderful night and they danced beautifully. Third in this heat went to Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen with these marks 3,3,4,3,5; fourth was Stefano & Bianka Di Brino 4,4,5,5,3; fifth went to Christian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko 5,5,2,6,4. The other eye opener in this heat was the sixth place finish for Andrew Begunov & Anna Demidova who took sixth in four dances and fourth in the foxtrot. Andrew & Anna’s best marks came form Mr. Joe Howard who awarded them 4 seconds and a third in the VW, we are certain that this placement left many judges and attendees scratching their heads either way.

The second event was the Open Professional Rhythm and here the clear winners were Aaron & Iryna DeSoto who placed first in every dance. Second overall was awarded to Tomas Vasicek & Vitalija Tyrnova who took second in all dances and third overall went to Mikhailo Annienkov & Yuliya Sinevych with these marks - 3,3,4,3,4. Abraham Sannoh & Trish Stuckey placed fourth overall 4,4,3,4,3; Dustin Donelan & Georgietta Anderson were fifth 5,5,6,5,5, and sixth went to Nicolas Rodriguez & Paulina Struk 6,6,5,6,6.

The Rising Star Professional Smooth also took place here last night and this went clearly to Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer who took first in all dances. Second overall were Nick Haklin & Sarah Ford 3,2,3,2, and third was awarded to Mikhailo Annienkov & Yuliya Sinevych 3,3,4,3,4.

The pro-ams danced Smooth and Latin yesterday and the Smooth had some good Open Scholarships. The C was the largest – an 8-couple final. The winner was Gail Komar w/ Serghiy Komar 1,1,1,1. 2nd in all dances was Andrea Flink w/ Val Grebenin and 3rd was Debra Hoag w/ Gherman Mustuc 3,3,4,4. Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won all dances in the B. Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago all the 2nds and Anna Gilbertson w/ Tom Neterval all the 3’s. Barbara Okupna w/ Alex Tecza won the A 1,1,1,2 and Nicole Vass w/ Scott Ruddick was 2nd, 2,2,2,1.

We were once again treated to show from organizers and World Champions, Arunas & Katusha. Earlier in the evening Chairman of Judges and current 1st Vice President of the NDCA read a letter of commendation from NDCA President, Brian McDonald, that called them “the greatest US Champions of all time.”

It was also time for surprise show #2 last night and this time it was Gary & Diana McDonald, back on the floor with their Michael Jackson tribute cha cha. Gary even reprised his famous back spin!!

After the competition was over we had an after party where Ballroom was the name of the game and if you did not do foxtrot you were out of luck. The singer was terrific and simulated “blue eyes” to the T (Mr. Frank Sinatra). It was a great ending to the North American and it proved our theory that if you really want to party, you invite the Ballroom people over! Congratulations to Arunas & Katusha for putting on such a terrific event and we look forward to the 2018 North American!

The Coming Together!

This weekend North America comes together for the North America Imperial Star, an event with a long and prestigious history.

This event was held for many years in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and it brought together two North American Nations, Canada and the USA. This event is now owned by our current US Ballroom and World Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova and it’s held in the city of Chicago, a city with also a lot of history when it comes to ballroom dancing.

The Professional Smooth was the main feature last night here in the ballroom. A strong semifinal round took to the floor and it was an easy win for Travis and Jaimee Tuft who won all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances. Only two judges awarded this couple some second place marks Jonathan Wilkins second in every dance and Henning Christensen who awarded them second in waltz and tango. Second overall was awarded to the brother and sister team of Slava & Valeriia Kostianets who were the recipients of all those first place marks from Jonathan & Henning. Third position went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who placed third in every dance but their marks varied a little more than first and second position. Fourth in this excellent Smooth Professional final was awarded to Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer who took fourth in every dance, fifth placement went to Gage Clark & Randy Nicole, and sixth place went to Jay Morth & Heather Wudstrack.

The Open Professional Latin was also held this evening but it did not have a huge entry, here only two couples competed Jonas Kaslauskas & Kathleen Ilo and Nikita Malakov & Nadesda Vlasova. Nikita & Nadesda won overall with perfect scores in the cha cha, samba, one second place in the rumba, and two second marks in the Paso and jive.

The Amateur Ballroom was a small field of only four couples but very strong in quality. James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau from Canada took the prize home by taking first in three dances and second in the Viennese Waltz and quickstep. We have to say that this event for us was very close with Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova riding at their heals and taking a number of first place marks in all dances from the winners. Both couples looked excellent and it was thrilling to see such great couples come head to head and make us all take notice. Oleksandr & Olena from MA took first in the VW and Q and second overall. Third went to Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor and fourth were Yuliy Sannikov & Maria Zhukovskaya.

Two Professional Rising Star events took place this same evening. The Rising Star Rhythm & Ballroom. The Rhythm was won by Tomas Vasicek & Vitalija Tyrnova, second in this heat were Senzo Makhae & Agnieszka, leaving third to Abraham Sannoh & Trish Stuckey. The Rising Star Ballroom was a four-couple event and here Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna took first place overall, second was Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skripsova, and third went to Pavel Bic & Ersi Nie.

The Pro/Am Ballroom “B” “C” and Senior were excellent events and very well attended and with full semifinal rounds in each one of them. The “C” was a 14 couple semifinal round and here Jill Bradford w/Andrea Stefano took the trophy home. Second in this same event was awarded to Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk and third was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva.

In the “B” category Carol Simmons w/Serghei Pogonet placed first, second was Janet Simsic w/Andrea Stefano and third position was awarded to Grace Wang w/Leonid Burlo. The Senior was also a very healthy semifinal round and here Linda Seagull w/Gage Clark won overall, second was Laura Solomon w/Oscar Pedrinelli and third went to Miriam Grahan w/Igor Fylymonchyk from Canada. The Senior 4-Dance went to Linda Huntress w/ Andrea Stefano.

The show by Arunas & Katusha was terrific. They did 2 dances and the surprise show (advertised on the web) was quite funny and very well received. The surprise guest artists were Ilya & Amanda Reyzin and they revived their “Austin Powers” routine. We were all quite surprised and excited to finally see who the surprise show was and tonight we expect another surprise .

Congratulations to Arunas & Katusha for putting such great effort into this, our North American Imperial Star Ball and bringing it back to life!

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