Vegas Open 2018

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Over the Top!

Last night here at the Vegas Open was over the top in many different ways.

Some of the best competitions in the country this weekend happened last night, many of them with some wonderful dancing that put them over the top! And even when the top teachers spun the “Wheel of Fortune,” some of the prizes were over the top!

To begin with the Professional Open Ballroom was completely over the top. The competition began with a semifinal round and heads turned when the second best ballroom dancers in the world showed up and were in the mix. Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva danced to perfection last night taking every first place in every dance from every judge, this was way over the top.

Second place were not as pleasing to the judges’ eye. Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei placed second overall but not in all dances, they took third in the foxtrot and third in the quickstep. We are not too sure about the foxtrot but for sure their quickstep was a bit of a disappointment to say the least. Quickstep is supposed to make you “rattle” but the only thing rattling were “I can’t believe” in everyone’s eyes. This was especially for judge number 14, Diana McDonald, who awarded them nothing above 4th place marks, and when it came to the quickstep a sixth place!

Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya placed third overall and managed to take second in the foxtrot and quickstep. When looking at the marks nearly 4 judges and in at least one dance more, awarded them 2nd place. We have to agree with some of these second place marks, they definitely were in top form last night. We might even say it was the best performance we have seen from this couple so far, they were light on their moves and danced without fear making us look over and over again.

Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova placed fourth in all dances and were for us also in very top form last night. Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova took fifth place overall but not in all dances they took a sixth in the foxtrot. We have to say we were a little hot and cold with this couple last night, yes they got your attention and their movement were correct, but failed to reach out heart and soul. Speaking of soul, it was a pleasure to see Stefano & Bianka DiBrino perform in this final, some of their movements might be perhaps slightly questionable in some of the judges’ minds, but they have over the top soul when they perform, a good thing for an audience. Professional Ballroom expert Igor Litvinov will have his opinion on this excellent final, here in Dance Beat.

Speaking of soul, the Professional Smooth was also way over the top. US Champions Nick Cherermukin & Viktorija showed us why they are on top with their very “airy” waltzes and punchy foxtrot. We say “airy” because they were perhaps the only couple that in our eyes breathed and let go of the intensity on these lovely swing dances. It is okay to have a little intensity but at some point you must let go and float above the rest. However, in their Tango they might need to give us, as a famous world class dancer used to say “the 3 D’s” (Down, Deep, and Dirty). Here they had to take second to Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Selevirstova who really and truly make us feel this dance, and who placed second in the other three dances.

Slava & Valeria Kostianets took third in all dances, this was perhaps not the best performance we have seen from them, but it certainly was good enough to get them this position and secure third place in all dances.

The couple that made all of us take notice was the new partnership of Nikolay Karchev & Ania Tarnowska who with a rule 11 scored 4,5,5,4, and took fourth place overall. For us we found this new partnership very interesting, they are not afraid to show us their own flair and they were rewarded by the judges. So was this a case of judges being rattled over the top because they are a new and exciting partnership? Or are they here to stay? Only time, I think will tell with this one, but a very interesting new couple for this style indeed!

The other couple, part of this interesting tie and the bottom receivers of the rule 11 decision, were Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall who took 5,4,4,5. So far Oleksiy & Natalie have had a very successful run in their partnership and I am not sure they were expecting to lose to Nikolay & Ania last night. A tie does not say much because both couples were even, but they still got the bottom position when the rule 11 was used. This is perhaps one of our favorite couples in the Smooth and they have tremendous talent, but some areas need to be addressed. Last night just a hair would have pushed them over the top. We had a couple people mentioning that Natalie’s dress made her look a bit choked and that it made her neck look a little tight, did it?

Closing this very strong final were Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts and they were 6th in all dances.  Diana McDonald will give us her final take on this excellent event so stay tuned for more.

The Professional Rhythm was also well attended and a very interesting competition. Andre & Natalie Paramonov won all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances. The only dance that in our opinion did not quite go over the top was the mambo and here yes they had a huge majority of first, but lost 4 marks and two of the marks were very low 3,4. Speaking of interesting for us Vard Margaryan & Inga Demetryan who placed second in all dances had an interesting final. In some dances in our opinion they were perhaps good enough to win like the mambo, but in dances like the rumba, swing, we just could not believe what we were looking at - missed connections and at times even missed steps was a little puzzling to us? We also noticed Vard’s toe dancing in the mambo was banished? Was that a good thing? There were many questions when watching this couple, perhaps here time will also tell, where all this will go?

The most consistent couple of the night for us was Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi who took third in all dances. Consistency is a very good thing, and at times I think this consistency could have easily put them above Vard & Inga in at least a few dances. We were glad to see that Danas & Yuki seam to have a clear road they are following and are no longer all over the place, this might be the best time for them to push hard forward and make a bigger stride. Also “consistent” but not in such a good way were Ilya Veleditsky & Mariya Ilchenko. We have always enjoyed Ilya & Mariya’s performances and last night they were totally deserving of this fourth place in all dances, but we felt they were just going through the motions last night. Their gearshift was in “idle.!” Is “idle” the right gear when you’re reaching for the top? We don’t think so!

Speaking of not being in “idle,” Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman who placed fifth in all dances were totally ready, full of energy and ready to charge. It’s a little green perhaps but on an excellent track forward. We expect great things from this couple in future outings and a word of advice, don’t lose that ready to charge mode you’re in. Kristijan Burazer & Anja Imamovic took sixth in all dances and although we did not expect them to be in this final we are very happy for them, in fact there were a number of excellent talented couples who we thought could have also been there. A report on this event will be here soon and this time Forrest Vance former US Rhythm Champion will tell us his views.

The Professional Latin was perhaps the most predictable of all the four professional events run this one evening, Francesco & Sabrina Bertini solidified their position and won all dances 4 with a majority of firsts from the judges. Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina took second in all dances, we find it all to be a little about statics and very little soul making it all seem a little detached. The competition here was really for third and fourth positions between Tykhon & Yana Zhyvko and Andrii Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko. This time we think that in talent and performance they were about the same, however, when it comes to feeling it and showing us some soul, Andrii & Kateryna on this night got it over the top and over the net and placed third in all dances, leaving Tykhon & Yana holding fourth. Fifth position in all dances went to Lukas & Simona Alisauskas, and sixth was awarded to Sergey Savelyev & Kristina Cheremnykh. A report on the Latin will come from Chantal LeClerc so come back and visit.

The Amateur Ballroom was also a terrific competition and the clear winners for us were Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli who won all dances. Second and third positions were not as clear. Florin Vlad & Natalia O’Connor, seemed to be relieved when they heard they were second overall and so they should. On this outing I found that it could have been touch and go for this couple. These were their marks 2,3,2,2,3. The saving grace for Florin & Vlad on this night was that perhaps Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu still lack some of the maturity of understanding basic principles of Ballroom dance. Yes they have the energy and yes they move with great ease, but some of the exaggerated postures and leaps, twists and bounds served them a little wrongly, but with more maturity this couple is one to be on the look out for. Last night Artur & Michelle placed third with these marks 3,2,3,3,2, they placed third by one dance.

Stefan Badea & Madalina Varlam from Canada took all fourth in all dances, Logan Beach & Hannah Gasinski were fifth and Matthew & Janice Holden were sixth in all.

The Amateur Latin was a four-couple final, but only the winners was an easy decision to make. Sergey Rozhkov & Tatiana Vasilyeva took first in all dances. From here down was crazy, Misha Roberts & Kristina Sukudyan placed second overall with these marks 2,2,3,2,3. Speaking to one of the judges after the event, they were a little puzzled because in some way they found this couple to be extra talented and unique, but some of the work was plainly weird, lacking basic foundation and understanding, yet they had to be marked due to their unique talent. Third were Marcos Roberts & Whitney Burgess 3,3,2,3,2, this was a little more conventional couple, but not good enough or clean enough to be placed higher and last was Stephan & Brodie Rallison.

There was also an Amateur Smooth that was well attended, however, most of the couples were quite green to the field, perhaps doing a little too much or too little or at times not enough. Joseph Nuget & Kyla Zneger won overall 1,1,2,1, second went to Landon Anderson & Chanel Kostich 2,2,1,2, who by the way were super proficient in their Amateur Cabaret competition winning it hands down. And third was Ryan Migliore & Alexi Ruffell 3,3,4,3.

The Pro/Am Smooth Global Smooth Scholarships were the best Pro/Am of the weekend, well attended in all categories with quarters and full semifinals in a lot of them.

The Open “C” was the most attended with a full quarterfinal round and here Karen Chan w/Paul Cloud won the event 1,2,1,1; second went to Lynn Magnessen w/Tykhon Zhyvkov 3,1,2,2, and third was awarded to Sue Elder w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 2,3,3,3. Fourth was Kako Matsumoto w/Aaron Talbert 4,4,5,6, fifth Careen Friedland w/Slava Kostianets 5,5,6,4, and Hope Huber w/Eddie Stutts placed sixth 6,6,4,5.

The “B” Pro/Am Smooth had an 8-couple final and here Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa took first overall 1,2,1,1; second wen to Stacy Tilford w/Josh Tilford 2,1,2,2, and third was Zlata Clark w/ David Moon, and they took third in all dances. Irene Lee w/Egor Bezukladnikov were fourth, Randi Zedek w/Steven Mcgrath were fifth, Suanne Summers w/Daniel Vasco placed sixth, David Burt w/Lynnsay Ray were seventh and Nicole Vass & Scott Ruddick took eight.

In the “A” division Stacy Tilford w/ Josh Tilford won all dances, second went to Zlata Clark w/David Moon 2,3,2,2; Irene Lee w/Egor Bezukladnikov was third 3,2,3,3; Gabriella Pumo w/ Steven McGrath was fourth in all; Audrey Chan w/Daniel Lee Tran were fifth; Nicole Vass w/Scott Ruddick was sixth 7,6,6,7 and David Burl w/ Lynnsay Ray placed seventh 6,7,7,6.

The 3 Top Teachers each got a chance to spin the Wheel of Fortune with a chance to win extra prizes. There were some big money prizes on offer, but no one landed on any of these. Perhaps the best prize won went to Blake Kish who won a standing ovation on his spin!

So as you can see this was a packed day of very interesting competition, down to the Pro/Am categories. Our congratulations to the organizers Paul Holmes, Maria Hansen and Michael Watkins.

Vegas Open Continues!

The Vegas Open continued yesterday and concluded the Professional Rising Star Events, it also had the conclusion for the Pro/Am Latin and Ballroom events. Here is how it went down.

The Professional Rising Star Smooth was very well attended with a full semifinal round. Here Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall continue in their Rising Star winning streak across the country and won all dances. Second in all dances went to Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson, and third in all dances was awarded to Aaron Talbert & Maggie Toth. Fourth place went to Stephan & Elisa McCan, fifth were Jason Rivers & Meg McNash, sixth place was awarded to Nikolay Kralev & Julianne DiBacco Daniells.

Four couples entered the Professional Rising Star Latin and this win went to Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker. It was announced that Andrew, by the way, was celebrating his birthday and so it was a special night for him. Andrew & Amy’s marks were 1,1T,2,1,1. Lukas & Simona Alisauskas were second and these were their marks 2,1T,1,2,2. Third place was awarded to Dmytry Dmytrenko & Liza Hyzhko 3,3,3,4,4, and fourth were Serge Savelyev & Kristina Cheremnykh 4,4,4,3,3.

The day was full of Pro/Am events, many heavily contested. The “wheel of fortune” in the room kept cranking during the day giving extra gifts and prizes to the winners. All winners got a go at the wheel and it is quite fun to see and also do. The Open Latin Scholarship and Ballroom Scholarships were at night and here is how the results turned out.

A Latin – Ji Rabone w/ Oleg Astakhov 1,1,1,1,1; Eliese Holt w/ Daniel Vasco 2,2,2,2,2; Meera Mehta w/ Kristijan Burazer3,3,3,3,3; Zlata Clark w/ David Moon 6,5,4,4,4; Elizabeth Fuchs w/ Brent Borbon 4T,4,5,5,5; Jennifer Chan w/ Denis Podolskiy 4T,6,6,6,6.

B Latin – Amy Law w/ Eddie Stutts 2,1,3,1,2; Caroline Mao w/ Simeon Stoynov 1,2,2,2,3; Vicki Lane w/ Oleg Astakhov 3,3,1,3,1; Zlata Clark w/ David Moon 4,5,4,4,4; Jennifer Chan w/Denis Podolskiy 5,4,5,5,5; Monica Serpa w/ Artem Shmigeljuk 6,7,7,6,6; Lo-Wei Chang w/ Andrew Winett 7,6,6,7,7.

C Latin – Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 1,1,1,1,1; Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann 2,2,2,2,2; Luna Viva w/ Kristjian Burazer 3,4,3,3,4; Suzanne Summers w/ Daniel Vasco 4,3,4,4,3; Kim Huncharek w/ Guoyong Zhang 5,5,5,5,5.

A Ballroom – Colette Marotto w/ Egor Abashkin 1,1,1,2,1; Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 2,2,1,2; Jen Mo w/ Stefano DiBrino 3,3,3,3,3.

B Ballroom – Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov 1,1,1,1,1; Patricia Schneider w/ Sergey Kiselev 2,3,3,2,2; Sabrina Zagolin w/ Yuriy Kravets 3,2,2,3,3; Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano 4,4,4,4,4; Bo Chang w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 5,5,6,5,6; Sally He w/ Julius Seniauskas 6,6,5,6,7; Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 7,7,7,7,5; Elka Histrova w/ Egor Abashkin 8,8,8,8,8.

C Ballroom – Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano 1,1,1,1,1; Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia 2,2,3,3,5; Careen Freidland w/ Slava Kostianets 4,4,2,4,3; Janice Smith w/ Davide Gozzi 5,6,4,2,2; Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 3,3,5,5,4; Angela Hu w/ Anton Koukareko 6,5,6,6,6.

Viva Las Vegas!

Our 2nd trip to the city in about 3 months and we love it! Vegas has lots to offer our dancers, great food and fantastic shows on your down time and excellent Ballroom competition.

Yesterday here at the Vegas Open we concluded the Pro/Am Rhythm scholarships and began with the Professional Rising Star events.

The Rising Star Rhythm stared with a semifinal round and in the end 7 couples were called back. Kristijan Burazer & Anja Imamovic placed first in all dances and took the top prize home. Second went to Eddie Rivera & Marta Lyszkowics and they placed second in all dances, and third were Danielle Cavallo & Leela Fazzuoli, they took third in four dances and fourth in the mambo.

From fourth place down in this this excellent Rhythm heat things got a little more varied. Luis Grijalva & Hadas Fisher were fourth with these marks 5,4,4,7,3; Tudor Alexander & Sonya Petkova were fifth 4,6,7,4,7; sixth were Dustin Donelan & Georgietta Anderson 6,5,6,6,6 in seventh position were David Moon & Jessica Mancini 7,7,5,5,5.

The RS Professional Ballroom was not as well attended but in the end was also a terrific final. Here Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna placed overall first 3,3,1,1,1. Second was awarded to Slava Kostianets and his sister Valeriia Kostianets with these marks 1,1,2,3,3 and third went to Marek Klepado & Nina Zhiting Yang 2,2,3,2,2. Fourth, fifth and sixth were a little less variable. Fourth went to Robert Nemiro & Lydia Miner-Voigt 4,4,4,4,5; fifth were Egor Bezukladnikov & Anastasia Krivisheeva 5,5,5,5,4, and in sixth position were Toshi & Sachi Matsuda from Japan 6,6,6,6,6.

In the Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships the “C” division was well attended and here Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov took first in all dances. Second place went to Hope Huber w/ Eddie Stutts and third was Ceci Torres w/ Eddie Rivera.

In the “A” division Gabriella Pumo w/ Steve McGrath placed second in all dances and Elise Holt w/ Daniel Vasco won all dances. The “B” went to Stacey Wojcichowsky w/Diego Semprum.

An interesting addition this year is a “Wheel of Fortune” where pro-am winners get a chance to try their luck for some great prizes.

On the first night of competition it was "Nightclub" night.  This year there was a hippy theme and the whole evening was held in the delightful Velvet Room to give it an authentic nightclub atmosphere.

Tonight will be the conclusion to the Pro/Am Ballroom and Latin and more Pro RS. Stay tuned for more on the Vegas Open tomorrow!

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