Tristate Dancesport Championships 2018

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The Latin Rhythms!

The last night at the Tristate DanceSport Championships was all about the Latin rhythms with the inspiring Amateur Latin and the Professional Rhythm Championships running back to back.

To compliment this finale we also saw the Open Professional Ballroom Championship and a quick and sweet Best of the Best competition between all professional styles!

Watch video from Tristate in Comp Crawl with Dance Beat - all divisions!

The Open Amateur Latin was the awaited event of the weekend with many of the top amateur champions expected to be in attendance. In the end there were a few top couples missing but it was still an excellent competition to start our last blog with.

The untouchable winners by far taking all five dances with a majority of firsts in all dances were Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze. We said untouchable because like the night before with Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina who won the Professional Latin, Austin & Nino were a pleasure to watch, the communication between these two is almost amazing and without the pressures of a US National Title this time, they seemed to be focusing on each other with a very rhythmical approach that I have not seen in years. Nino for us is possibly one of, if not the best lady in the field today and although we had some reservations about Austin’s role in the past that at times seemed overrated, lacking the command and support this brilliant lady needed on the floor, he now seems to be filling in these big shoes, looking like a confident young man, taking control of this powerful instrument and like a true artist playing this beautiful music and commanding all of our attention with every step like a true US Champion.

Having said that we most also point out that in all the dances Austin & Nino lost at least one mark, their worst marks came from Maria Manusova who awarded them 2,3,2,3,3. The majority of Maria’s firsts went to Pasha Stepanchuck & Gabriella Sabler who placed second overall. Pasha & Gabriella placed second in four dances and third in the rumba. Pasha & Gabriella’s marks were a little more varied than Austin & Nino’s, but for us on the night they were clearly the second best in this field. We have to point out that although we liked Pasha & Gabriella’s performance they lack the earthiness and realism needed to fully compete with Austin & Nino at this time.

Third in this excellent final went to Alexander Chermositov & Arina Grishinina 3,3,2,3,3. We think this to be the correct call as well for this couple on this night. We did see a couple of weird and a little exaggerated movements from Arina that made us wonder a little. But overall they were good enough to maintain this solid third place finish in our opinion.

Fourth was awarded to Taras Savitskyy & Yuliya Koshkina placing fourth in all dances and fifth went to Max Firestine & Nicole Renee with these marks 5,6,5,5,5, leaving sixth to Vladishlav Krupskii & Valerie Dubinski 6,5,6,6,6.

The Professional American Rhythm also took place on this night and here Andre & Natalie Paramonov won all dances with a huge majority of firsts from the judges. In the bolero and rumba Andre & Natalie almost won with perfect score loosing only one mark in each dance. In the rest of the dances they lost 2 to 4 marks per dance, their mambo was their “Achilles heel” losing 4 marks, but we must point out that this dance in our opinion could have easily gone to a couple of people one of them was Alberto Cortez & Jena Mae Briones, who in our opinion really put in their hearts and soul in this one. Judges Didio Barrera and Anna Mikhed were two judges that noticed this because they awarded them first in this dance. Alberto & Jena placed 5th overall in this Championship.

Overall we were a little surprised that Andre & Natalie from the judges’ perspective had so little challenge in this competition. We feel that Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets–Nikishken had a wonderful night and could have taken a few dances away from the Champions, in particularly the cha cha where their body isolation and energy were oozing out of them. Dmitry & Olena did get three firsts in this dance, one from Marat Gimaev, one from Inessa Strelnikova and one from Didio Barrera, this was the most firsts anyone took from the champions in any dances. Dmitry & Olen placed second in all dances.

Third in this interesting Rhythm went to Ilya Velednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko, with 3,3,4,4,4. As you can see by the marks this couple had a very hard time holding on to the third placement and we have to agree with the judges marking them on the lower side this time. We have been a fan of this very talented couple in the past, but last night they were not really in it to win it! Ilya & Mariya looked as if they were just marking their steps, hoping that their past performances would carry the night.

Fourth overall and nearly third place recipients were Ilya Abdulin & Tara Barakov 4,4,3,3,5. This couple had very varied marks from second to sixth place from the judges. We have to say that this was a stronger performance than in the Smooth the night before. We have to recognize that this couple do two styles - that is 9 dances they have to perfect and it is quite admirable how terrific they look considering the amount of time and effort that takes to keep up this pace.

As we mentioned before Alberto Cortez & Jena Mae Briones placed fifth overall and here are their marks 5,5,5,5,3, as you can see it reflects the fact that they really had a terrific mambo totally worth a higher placement and for some judges even a first. Unfortunately for them we need that kind of performance in the other four dances in order to move higher. This was a great start and we think that here perhaps they could have placed higher in at least another dance. In a surprise turn of events the Rising Star winners, Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker made this good quality final and placed sixth overall. Andrew & Amy’s semifinal was not as thrilling as the final and in our opinion with just getting the foot in the door they cannot afford to just walk around going through the motions, they need to dance strongly like they did in the Rising Star and be noticed from the second they step onto the floor. We would say that in some ways Andrew & Amy were lucky to make this final, but once in this final they gave an excellent performance and it would not have surprised us had they placed higher.

The Professional Ballroom was nothing to sniff at with some excellent dancing on the floor. Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk won the event and every dance with a majority of firsts in all dances and like the Paramonovs missed winning with perfect scores only by a few marks in each dance. Boriana Delcheva was the most consistent of all judges awarding them 2nd in both waltzes, foxtrot and quickstep. 

All those firsts went to the couple that took second in all dances, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina. We actually understand Boriana, Alexander & Veronika had incredible posture and displacement around the floor and for us there is very little question they should not have been first, but Igor & Ekaterina gave a heart felt performance with great musicality and this we think should nearly always count for at least half the vote.

Third in this terrific Ballroom competition went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova with these marks 4,3,3,3,3. As you can see, according to the judges they had a slow start but soon caught up with the pace to capture this third placement. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova took fourth overall 3,4,4,4,4, on this performance we think that they perhaps are making some changes in their approach and it is better than in recent performances we have witnessed. However, we still find Andrew & Anna a little heavy on their feet and them being such a beautiful model-looking, tall couple that can’t be missed on the floor, they can easily look heavy if they both don’t use every skill on the book at all times.

Sporting a blondish look in the hair and placing fifth in all dances were Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantly. We think the new hair on Nazar looks great and we also think that they are beginning to really play with their music and with what they are doing on the floor. This is a great thing to do in order to challenge the top in future outings, great work guys! Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver took sixth in all dances and completed this final.

Before we move on to the Pro/Am Latin categories we most mention that when all was said and done there was a “Best of the Best” competitions between the professional winners in all four styles. It is important to note that not all winners were able to stay and compete in this final championship, because obviously they did not know they were going to win and so they could not change their plans. The winners of this final contest at the end of the evening were Andre & Natalie Paramonov by one mark they had 12 second or best scores to Ilya Maletin & Polina Majer from Canada who had 11 second or best scores. Funnily enough, the two couples just mentioned each had 6 first place marks from the judges in this venture. Ilya & Polina represented the Professional Latin because Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina who won the Latin had already departed and so they took their place.

Third and fourth place in this Best of the Best competition got a little more complicated due to a penalty. Third place due to a penalty in their favor were Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk who as you just read earlier were the winners of the Professional Ballroom. When looking at the marks Alexander & Veronika were really in 4th place but due to the fact that Ilya Abdulin & Tara Barakov who represented the Smooth did not do a Smooth routine but a ShowDance or Cabaret routine with lifts and all, they were penalized on placement and dropped to a fourth place finish, elevating Voskalchuks to a third place finish. On a personal note, we have to say that we really enjoyed the Voskalchuk’s foxtrot we though they might have even a chance to take that extra prize home.

The Open Pro/Am Scholarships in the Latin were fantastic, great couples took to the floor and every heat was packed to the max.

The “A” category ended up with an 8-couple final and here this scholarship went to Emily Takhtarov w/Nikita Malakhov placing first in all dances. Second went to Nicole Pierzchalski w/Vlad Astafiev 2,2,3,2,2, and third was awarded to Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson 3,3,2,3,4.

In the “B” Scholarship the win went to Isabel Deich w/ Maxim Fomin from Canada winning all dances. Canada also took second place with Sabrina Nirchi w/Danny Arbour taking all seconds and third went to the US with Irina Rich w/ Andrej Hacke and they took third in all dances.

In the “C” division in the end there was a 7-couple final and this scholarship went to Sophia D’ Angelo w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk winning all dances. Second was Michelle Peng w/Alexey Karaulov (Canada) with these marks 3,2,2,2,3, and third was Ada Fung w/Andrei Kaslouski 2,3,3,5,4.

The senior was also a terrific competition and this category went to Fifi Wang w/Delyan Terziev winning all dances, second was Alice Lekht w/Igor Derimov and they were 3,2,2,2,2, leaving third place to Ibis Wu w/Mikhailo Bilopukhov.

My congratulations once again to Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova for putting so much care and effort to this competition, from the decorations to the awards and concerns for all your officials. It is quite obvious that you care for the dancers and you care to present an excellent competition within our industry. Congratulations and thank you for you cordial invitation!

The Greatest Show in CT!

Last night’s Championships here at the Tristate Dancesport Championships were amazing, but the P rofessional ShowDance division took top billing and it will go down in our minds as the Greatest Show in Connecticut!

The other competitions through this night were also, as many will say, the best of the best and we will try to break them down for you.

There were only 4 couples entered in this very interesting ShowDance but as far as we thought they were totally worth over 100. The heat began with Pavel Cherdantsau & Svetlana Rudkovskaya from Jacksonville, FL, it was a great opening for this heat. This couple is very experienced in this field and their routine was what we would call ShowDance perfection. Their number had a wonderful storyline, down to the music, their characterization of a couple having fun was wonderful and their three costume changes within the routine were very entertaining adding to their skillful routine. I am sure everyone thought this would be placed very highly. Unfortunately for them, things got even tougher, placing them in the end in third position.

Second to come out was Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich from Hartland, WI. This couple had a very challenging routine that in our opinion and that of other was perhaps a little too long in length. Zachiry & Ariel did some amazing lifts but theirs were the greenest of the group when it came to clean entrances and exits and transitions. In fact a couple of times were where literally on the edge of our seat thinking they might not make it, this perhaps contributed to their fourth place finish.

The last two routines were the best part of the Greatest Show in CT. Travis & Jaimee Tuft and Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko were unbelievable, to the point that we were all left wondering how the judges would see this? Travis & Jaimee’s routine was faultless and it was all we want to see when it comes to a perfect cabaret performance. Mykhailo & Tetyana’s routine had a dramatic touch to it with a perfect theme and storyline. Their characterization of the painter “Dali” and his troubled mind was perfect with some very challenging moves. For us the uniqueness of this routine and the level of difficulty could have also put this routine in first place, but in looking at the marks the majority of the judges were down to perfection and beauty and awarded the first place to Travis & Jaimee with a majority of 14 firsts to 3. Mykhailo & Teyana took second with three judges awarding them first and the rest seconds. Pavel &Svetlanta were third and Zachary & Ariel ended up fourth in this Greatest Show in CT!

The Professional Latin and Smooth also culminated this evening and they were also terrific Championships. In the Latin Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina won all dances with a majority of firsts with only 2 or 3 judges dissenting in each dance. For us they were the clear winners, they were the epitome of classical Latin - earthy and communicative between them, making us and the majority all enjoy watching them dance.

Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer from Canada took second, but we must point out that in looking at the marks their position was not as clear. They took marks down to fourth place from a number of judges. We have to agree with the dissenting group of judges. This is a brilliant couple with a huge amount of talent, but at some point and at this high level of dancing, they need to allow the audience and perhaps the judges to take a breath. It is high energy 24/7 nonstop, to the point that someone described it to us as a little frantic. Third in this excellent final went to Artur Tarnaskyy & Anastasia Danilova, taking third in all dances. Our favorite dance from this couple was the samba, it was playful, had great isolation of the body and unlike any of the other dances, it traveled down the line of dance as it should. In this dance they got the most two’s within their marks grid. In the rest of their dances their marks were not as favorable a few judges had them 6th and even 7th place in a few dances. For us they were clear enough to perhaps be in second place but we can honestly understand the judges dilemmas in this case.

With huge improvement, fourth place was awarded to Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova with these marks - 5,4,4,4,5. This is the first time that Nikita & Nadezda have really made us do a double take. They are two different people - now they are in the game to stay! Their work is powerful, clean and we are able to understand where they are going, congratulations!

The surprise of the evening was the demotion of Ivan Mulyavka & Karin Rooba 4,5,5,5,4. As professional as this couple is, we still felt a slight grimmace of surprise from them, when they were called for fifth place. We too were a little surprised but perhaps we are in the same bubble they are in? If you look at this couple, they are hard to miss. Last night when they were dancing, you saw very clear dancing. Like the winners for us they gave us a very clean performance with no frills or thrills and we tend to like this. However, in this group only one could afford to do this and it better be almost down to perfection to get away with it. And so here too we can understand how the majority of the judges did not have them very high. Their performance had to be more energized especially since we hardly ever see them on the scene nowadays.

Ivan Kudashev & Ksusha placed sixth in all dances and Vlad Astafiev & Annie He Xiao took all sevenths.

Colin James will have a report soon for you to see another point of view.

The Professional Smooth was also an excellent event and here Travis & Jaimee took all dances with perfect scores from all judges. This is not a usual thing, but on last night’s performance we could not find a single couple that could have touched them and so we are not surprised. Ilya Abdulin & Tara Barakov were second but when looking at the marks we noticed that it was the opposite to Travis & Jaimee. Their track was a little more littered with marks down to fifth place at times. Last night seeing them be so close to the top made us take a very close look and we can see how some judges might mark them as low as fifth. Cosmetically and choreographically they are great but when you look at the core of their work like feet and swing, they were miles away from Travis & Jaimee. This perhaps should be something to pay closer attention to now that they are getting so close. Jan & Adele Don placed third in all dances and had it not been for their lack of should we say “showmanship” or let’s just say reaching out to us all in the audience, they could have easily placed second. Jan & Adele are the most improved in this style, their work is beautiful now with great basic understanding, but they most now learn how to sell it!

Aaron Talbert & Maggie Toth took fourth 4,4,5,4, and they seemed slightly surprised by this. Aaron & Maggie have great potential and move quite well but I think at times are slightly one dimensional. Their work has to have more shapes and even better isolation of the body in order to keep up and move forward. Slawek Rozak & Denise Sobiewski were fifth 5,5,4,5; Charlie & Emily Roberts took sixth in all dances and Evgenii Rozenfeld & Mariia Shumakher took all sevenths.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was a terrific event with all eyes on these young and talented couples. The top two couples here are incredible for us and they both had fantastic qualities, Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova took first in all dances and have everything a ballroom dancer would want when it comes to body and movement. Dan Malov & Stephanie Noon took second in all dances and for us they are the most musical couple in the Amateur Ballroom today. We are not sure about any of you, but for us seeing someone dance and interpret the music is just as good as having a wonderful top line.

We were very surprised when we looked at the marks and noticed that Oleksandr & Olena won by miles with a majority of firsts in 4 dances and two of those missed perfect scores by one mark. They also won the tango with perfect marks from all judges. When we looked we figured that the marks might be closer but as you can tell that was not the case. We presume now that musicality is not as important as we think it should be, and so this should be a message to Dan & Stephanie that they might need to tighten up their compulsory work.

Third place in all dances went to Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova, fourth in all was Florin Vlad & Natalia O’Connor, fifth went to Alec Zhiwel Zhang & Zhuoshi Xie and sixth were Casey & Kayci Treu.

Yesterday was Ballroom day at Tristate and so the afternoon concluded with the Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships.

The Open “B” ended up an 8-couple final and the winner was Carole Simmons w/Serghei Pogonet from Canada and they won all dances. Second in this heat and in all dances went to Ami Liu w/Igor Mikushov, and third was Bo Chang w/Oscar Pedrinelli 3,4,3,3,3.

The “C” division was also a good category and this went to Anni Chan w/Cristian Radvan placing first in all dances. Second in this heat went to Eva Fong w/Oscar Pedrinelli 3,2,3,2,2, and third was Linda Dillman w/Arturas Misurenkovas 2,3,2,3,3.

The Senior was also a fantastic heat and here Linda Dillman w/ Arturas Misurenkovas won all dances. Second was Sandy Chiu w/Yuriy Nartov and they took all seconds, and third was awarded to Maria Fila w/Kamil Urbaniak 4,4,3,3,6.

As usual here at Tristate, we celebrated the birthday of our Chairman of Judges, Cathie Nyemchek.

The excitement continues tonight with the Amateur Latin, the Professional Ballroom and Rhythm - so stay tuned for more.

Rising Stars!

Last night at the Tri-State DanceSport Championships it was a night for all the “Rising Stars.” So on this night we wanted to make sure we were there early because we might all witness in one of these couples the rise of a major star!

As always the presentation of this event is immaculate.  Stunning decoration in the ballroom and always that little extra in the awards to the competitors - a great credit to the organizational tam and Andre Gavriline & Elena Kryuchkova.

The Professional Rising Star Rhythm was the first to go on the floor and in this heat the “Rising Star” went to Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker who placed first in four dances and third in the Mambo. First in the mambo and second overall went to Mathew Hauer & Anastasia who also placed second in the all the other dances and third overall was awarded to Kritian Sese & Mae Lozada 3,4,3,3,4. Fourth in this Rhythm, Rising Star went to Jean Michel Erol & Sasha Nissengolts 4,3,4,4,2, fifth was Kemar Bennett & Jessica Nicol placing fifth in all dances and sixth was Vladimir Serbulenco & Ivana Strancaric.

In the Professional Rising Star Ballroom the win went to Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver with these marks 1,1,1,3,2. Second went to Artem Belmeha & Anna Shevchenko 2,3,3,2,1, third were Ivan Levin & Anna Sivakova 3,2,2,1,4. Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptova were fourth 4,4,4,4,3; Mykhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska placed fifth 5,5,6,6,5; Pavel Bic & Ersi Nie were sixth 6,6,5,5,6, and Manuel Trillo & Tatyana Larina were seventh in all dances.

The Professional Rising Star Smooth was awarded to Jang & Adele Don who took first in all dances. Second went to Aaron Talbert & Maggie Toth who took second in all dances and third in all was awarded to Slawek Roszak & Denise Sobiewski. Charlie Roberts & Emily Roberts placed fourth with this marks 5,4,5,4, Evgenii Rozenfeld & Mariia Shumakher were fifth 6,5,4,5, and sixth was Dmitry Savchenko & Tania Nunes 4,6,6,6.

In the Rising Star Latin Ivan Kudashev & Ksusha placed first in all dances. Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker placed second overall 2,3,2,2,2, and third were Dymytrii Goncharov & Tatiana Luksenko 2,3,2,2,2. Maxim Fomin & Jessie Mineau were fourth 4,4,4,5,5; fifth were Bozhidar Elkin & Elena Dumanova 5,5,5,4,4; Vasilii Platonov & Irina Panfilova were sixth 6,6,6,6T,6, and seventh were Manuel Trillo & Tatyana Larina 7,7,7,6T,7.

We want to leave our Rising Star competitors with these thoughts. “To be a star you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about the darkness for that is when the stars shine brightest”

So far there have been two days of Pro/Am dancing. Yesterday the day ended with the Pro/Am Smooth Open Scholarships. The “C” division was a very strong scholarship and here Helena Kostik w/Mazen Hamza placed first in all dances, second in all dances was awarded to Andrea Flink w/Val Grebenin and third in all dances went to Susan Cassano & Randy Dias.

In the “B” division Selene Steelman w/Travis Tuft took first in all dances, Amanda Levine w/Morten Jensen was second in all and third place in all was awarded to Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev.

The open Senior Smooth went to Pat Luthy & Vladimir Popov, first in all dances, Annette Van Ommeren w/Charlie Roberts took second in all and third in all dances went to Sandy Finley w/Mikolay Czarnecki.

In the Rhythm Pro/Am Scholarships the “C” division was also a well attended event and this scholarship went to Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert with these marks 1,1,1,1,2. Second overall was Marcy Garson w/Ilya Reyzin 2,2,2,2,1, and third in all dances was Janice B. Gonzalez w/Vladimir Kosarev.

In the “B” Lana Lusher w/Jose DeCamps took first overall 2,1,1,1,1. Second overall went to Mariana Lvoff w/Vladimir Kosarev 1,3,2,2,3, and third was awarded to Angela Morrison w/Peter Santiago.

The “A” category went to Levina Kasmara w/Gleb Makarov taking first in all dances. Cristina Diana w/Ion Simboteanu took second 3,3,2,2,2, and Joanna Gorski w/Vlad Astafiev was third 2,2,3,3,3.

The Senior went to Lois Fein w/Aleksandr Vukosavljevic placing first in all dances. Linda Ficher w/Mikolay Czarnecki took second and third was Vimala Sivaraman w/Dimitrios Damalas.

Tonight the Amateur Ballroom, the Pro Smooth, Pro Latin and Pro ShowDance will take place and we will soon have it all here for you!


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