Held at the renovated Hilton Downtown Miami, the emphasis was on Latin this weekend. The formal banquet on Saturday night had a well-received Flamenco themed show that featured musicians, singers and dancers – the style was “Nuevo Flamenco.” And then of course, to close the show we had 8-time World Latin Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko. We have seen this wonderful duo many times before, but in truth this was one of our favorite performances. We loved the musical selections – mostly authentic Latin – and the crowd, edged on by MC, Rufus Dustin, was very vocal and supportive. Great job!
Of course there was some hot spice in the professional events also none more so than the Rhythm. Andre & Natalie Paramonov were on hand and easily won the event, winning all 5 dances. They had the lion’s share of the judges’ 1st places in the first 4 dances, but ceded 4 of those 1sts in the mambo. Here’s what was interesting – those firsts went not to the runners-up, Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin, but to the 4th placed couples overall – Kevin Ubillus & Miagros Lareto whose placements were 6,4,4,7,4. So what was going on here? The night before Kevin & Miagros had placed a disappointing 6th in the RS division. We were very surprised with this low placement. This did not deter this young couple, who I believe are from South America originally, and they came back stronger than ever. The dance on (unjudged) for the Rhythm was mambo and they killed it! Undoubtedly theirs was the strongest of the 7 finalists. I’m sure this did not influence the judges’ competitive scores, but it certainly made them aware! We saw this couple a coupe of years ago and were impressed – this could be a great addition to the Rhythm division!
Dmitry & Olena easily took their 2nd in all dances and had some 1sts in all dances except the mambo. 3rd spot went to the new partnership of Shandor Shtefil & Anna Tabolina, 3,3,3,3,3. Shandor is no stranger to us, but his young partner is new on the scene and what potential we saw! Great energy and focus! With 4,5,7,4,6, the 9-dance duo, Jang & Adele Don took the 5th spot; Daniils Rostvinschi & Yulia Rudenco were 6th 5,7,5,6,5 and Andrey Svirydzenka & Yulia Zubava were 7th 7,6,6,5,7.
Another strong division, although not in the Latin idiom, was the Pro Ballroom. Alexander & Veronica Voskalchuk were the easy winners in all 5 dances taking a large majority of the 1st places. 2nd & 3rd was a little closer but fell to Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova 2,2,3,2,2 over Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina 3,3,2,3,3. The couples had the majority of “2nd or better” places in the dances they won. We were a little mixed on this one. We felt Igor & Ekaterina had a better semifinal round than Vlad & Ekaterina who often seemed caught up in traffic, but Vlad & Ekaterina danced a much stronger final round to take the result.
Andrey Begunov & Anna Deidova took 4th in all dances. They had some 2nds and 3rds but never enough to impact the result. 5th were Alexandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova 5,6,6,5,5 and 6th Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zavr 6,5,5,6,6.
Roman Malkasyan & Galina Detkina easily won the Pro Smooth losing a total of only two first place marks. We thought, although clearly the best on the floor, this was not as strong a showing as we have seen from this new partnership. 2nd in all dances fell to Jang & Adele Don who we thought have made great strides in this style. In fact they were the most musical couple on the floor. Daniils Rostvinschi & Yulia Rudenco, the other 9-dancers, were 3rd in all dances. 4th in all went to William Proper & Jennifer Elliot; 5th in all to Ryan & Laura Kenner; 6th in all to Vincent McClain & Natalie Cardenas and 7th to Anthony Kantin & Ami Vaimont.
With only 3 couples entered, the Pro Latin was the smallest division and apparently gave the judges no trouble. The couples received the exact same scores from all judges in all dances. Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova 1st, Sam Paliaschuk & Jill Apostolica 2nd and Anthony Kantin & Lisa Ventura 3rd.
On Friday night there was a wonderful demonstration of wheelchair dancing by Natalia Kolosova & Igor Kiselev. Natalia is a 2-time World Champion in this style of dance and is originally from Ukraine. She is now living in the USA and with Igor & Natalia will be representing us in the Special Olympics.
With the beautiful views of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay, plus the Florida sunshine, Platinum is a great getaway for dancers wanting to escape the winter chill!