Emerald Ball 2018

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A Star Among Us!

“The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter!”

Last night at the Emerald Ball DanceSport Championships, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, one of our brighter stars in the world of ballroom dancing, competed in the Open Professional Ballroom and as expected won every dance with perfect scores from every judge.

From first place down the Ballroom competition was very heated between all couples especially within this remarkable final. Before we go on we must mention that Victor & Anastasia’s presence was very welcomed by the audience and this playful couple did not disappoint, they answered their call while dancing by being good-humored and playful during their performance. It was great to see Victor & Anastasia’s home state of California be so alive with this champion that we can truly call an Americans born and bred product.

Second in this Ballroom competition went to Alexander & Veronica Voskalchuk but it was a bumpy road for them placing second in three dances and third in the tango and quickstep. In looking at the marks we can see the judges had a slight struggle with this couple. Most judges gave them the second spot but there were a number of judges that placed them down to fourth and even sixth place especially in the tango and quickstep. Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya were the recipients of the majority of second places in these two dances, and they also took the majority of the seconds from the 2 dances that were lost by Alexander & Veronica.

A straight line was drawn from third place down, the marks were a little more settled in this Ballroom. Vladishlav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were fourth overall and we were slightly disappointed with their performance, we were expecting a nice fight and even a push for higher ground for this couple, but all we got, was a nice and easy performance or should just say a secure performance, no sparks or bangs came from their easy going performance. Andrii Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova were fifth overall but not in all dances 5,5,6,6,5. We really enjoy this up and coming talented couple, and unlike Vladishlav & Ekaterina they were there to win and their performance spoke for itself. A few of the judges really appreciated this and we can see by their third place marks to them, we can tell they were happy with their effort. Last but not least in sixth position with these marks 6,6,5,5,6, were Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romanskina, here too we were a little disappointed and we can summarize their performance with one word, “Laboring.”

We were a little disappointed by the unexpected withdrawal from the competition by Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova, who withdrew due to injury. After the event was over we spoke to Oscar and he said that Lenka had nearly fainted, we don’t know when or how but all we know is that at one point we saw her with her head slightly tilted down holding her neck when they abruptly stopped in one of their dances. We hope this to not be a major injury and we do hope for her to recover and look forward to seeing them on the floor again very soon.

The Professional Rhythm Championships was also held on this night and the obvious winner were the current United States Champions, Nazar Norov & Irina Krudyashova who won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges. Just 2 third place marks were awarded to them and they came from Ron Montez who awarded to them one third in the cha cha and one in the mambo. As also expected Andre & Natalie Paramonov placed second in every dance, but their marks were not as solid as Nazar & Irina’s, they were awarded the majority of seconds or better in all dances, but they also had some very low marks down to sixth place in some of their dances. Andre & Natalie got a sixth in their swing from Bill Sparks and two sixths in their mambo one from Linda Dean and one from Boriana Deltcheva.

An excellent surprise was the third place finish by Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi, and they took third in every dance. We really were not so crazy about the multicolor dress wore by Yuki, but their dancing impressed us tremendously, we started to see where all is finally going and we can now appreciate their motivations and what they are trying to accomplish. Congratulations to them on such a terrific performance. Fourth went to Dmirty & Olena Nikishkin with these marks 4,4,4,6,5, as you can see by their marks their performance went down from the swing on, we do see lots of talent here but they are lacking in putting a new face to their style, good is just not good enough at this level of dancing.

There was also an incredible shake up in this Professional Rhythm Championship and that was the demotion of Vard Margaryan & Inga Demetrian to fifth place overall and sixth in the rumba 5,6,5,5,4. We were very disappointed with their performance, they went from challengers to defenders. Keeping it together for them last night was the name of the game and they nearly did so. We hope to see this couple come back soon and recover the placement they once had as perhaps future champions in this style. Sixth went to Shane & Shannon Jensen who as you will see were also a dilemma for the judges 6,5,6,4,6. Here we saw some great dancing but as with Dmitry & Olena they have yet to find the Rhythm within them and make it their own. They are brilliant at the Showdance level but when it comes to the actual Rhythm group competition they still need to find their footing.

There was also an upset in the Open Amateur Ballroom. After a lengthy process from a full quarter-final, a seven couple final was called and the winners with amazement even to them when the second placed was announced, were Mikail Vorobiev & Natalia Kozhevnikov who won every dance but only the waltz and foxtrot with a majority of firsts. For the rest of the dances they needed “second or better” to win. This was a great win for Mikail & Natalia and I am sure this will give them more confidence that their pass to greatness in the dance floor is within their sights. Second overall was awarded to Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli with these marks 2,4,2,2,2, as you can see they probably need to evaluate their dancing especially the tango. That low placement was quite surprising to us all. Third went to Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsoba with these marks 4,3,4,3,3. This is perhaps one of our favorite couples in this style, we would have thought them to be fighting for second spot, but here a third place position. What message do you think they judges are trying to send? Or were they and Angelo & Clarissa just taking it too easy for their own good?

4th spot, with very mixed scores, went to Oreste Alitto & Valeriia Belozerova 3,2,5,4,6. It is rare to see such a mix of placements in an Open Amateur division. 5th were Ruslan Kaliuzhyni & Elena Dovgan 5,5,3,5,4; 6th Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu 6,6,6,6,5; 7th Tony Cooperman & Rickie Taylor 7,7,7,7,7.

The Open Amateur Latin was also held on this night and in truth was somewhat of an anticlimax. Many of the couples in the earlier rounds were not really of “championship” status – in fact the Youth division seemed at a higher level. Once the final was called, things looked a little better, but the judges had a tough time deciding it seemed. No couple had a majority of 1st places in any dance. The winners, Tony Cooperman & Rickie Taylor, actually placed 2nd in 3 dances and only won the cha cha and jive. Also winning 2 dances, were the runners-up, Andriy & Amanda Besyedin. Their placements were 2,3,1,1,3. That elusive 1st in samba went to Bumchin Tegshargal & Michelle Klets and their full scores were 3,1,3,3,2. Casey & Kayci Treu were 4th in all dances; D’Angelo Castro & Kyla Dzhaniashvili were 5th in all and Ivan Romanov & Katya Ivahho-Kalinuka were 6th in all.

For the pro-ams it was Latin all day long culminating in the Open Scholarships.

The Open A was the best we have seen in quite some time. It began with a quarter-final and ended with a very strong final. The winner was Angelina Evseeva w/ Aleksandr Skarlto 1,2,1,1,1. This was a pretty close race, Angelina had the majority of 1st places in only cha cha and rumba. It was a great performance from this young lady and we also really liked the runner-up, Ekaterina Grishko & Dmitri Mikulich from Canada who placed 2,1,2,2,2. She had the majority of 1st places in the samba. Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglin was 3rd in all dances and we must say that we felt Vera was also a strong contender for the top spot. JJ Rabone & Oleg Astakhov was 4th 5,4,4,6,4. 5th and 6th was decided by a Rule 11. 5th Nicole Pierzchalski & Vlad Astafiev 4,6,5,5,6; 6th Alina Golubchik & Sergiy Kvashyn 6,5,6,4,5.

Christine Stank w/ Jean Paul won the Open B with perhaps the best performance we have ever seen from this lady. She won all 5 dances and had the majority of 1st places in all but cha cha. With 2,2,2,2,3, Tina Broccole w/ Andre Kazlouski took 2nd 2,2,2,2,3. We have actually seen this lady dance with more confidence and we were expecting a stronger challenge. With 4,3,3,4,2, Isabel Deich & Maxim Fomin (Canada) took a strong 3rd place. 4th Henrieta Zagozdzon w/ Massimo Arcolin (Hong Kong) 3,4,4,3,4; 5th Colette Marotto w/ Igor Ustymovych 7,5,5,6,5; 6th Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 6,6,7,5,6; 7th Irma Tan w/ Aleks Nashev 5,7,6,7,7.

Deborah Wright w/ Nikolai Voronovich won all dances in the Open C, but once again things were closer than they appeared as she had the majority of 1st places in only jive. 2nd in all went to Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov and 3rd in all to Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann. These top 3 ladies were all in great form. Sophia D'Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk was also strong taking all the 4's. Tasha Romero w/ Myhailo Bilopukhov was 5th 6,6,5,5,5 and Loraine Peoples w/ Genya Bartashevich was 6th 5,5,6,6,6.

The Open S1 gave the win to Deborah Leibow w/ Alon Gilin and again she won all dances, but only 1 with the majority of 1st places. 2nd went to Iris Chiang w/ Igor Colac 4,2,2,2 and 3rd to Georgenne Nicol w/ Nikolai Voronovich 2,3,3,3. 4th Bonnie Loftspring w/ True McNamee 3,5,4,4; 5th Vera Gutierrez-Clellan w/ Danas Jaksevicius 5,4,5,5; 6th Judy Pedersen w/ Peter Polak 6,6,6,6.

In the Open S2 3-Dance, Tonie Mullins w/ Tomarz Wlodarski was the winner 1,1,2. Susanne Binder w/ Roberto Cavallo was 2nd 2,2,1 and Kumsu Kim w/ David Alvarez was 3rd in all. 4th Yii Moon w/ Illie Bardahan 4,4,4; 5th Ram Viswanathan w/ Sarika Hudson 5,5,5; 6th Wilma Young w/ Werner Figar 6,6,6.

Rock me Baby!

“Rock me all night long…… I want you to rock me like my back ain’t got no bone!”

Last night for us was about earthiness in the Latin and seeing some great ladies’ vertebrae dance like they ain’t got no bones. Even in the Smooth there were some interesting and exciting back action and in the process some might have even broken a bone!

The evening started with a bang the Professional Theatrical Championships had four very different but very interesting couples and whether you wanted or not they kept us on the edge of our seats from beginning to finish. Shane & Shannen Jensen were theatrical perfection with an amazing routine, with some incredible mouth dropping maneuvers, going from one to another with ease and security making the judges award them perfect scores on this outing. In looking at the faces of the judges Shane & Shannen were amazing to the point that had they not been judges we could have sworn that we spotted one of two wanting to get up for an ovation - or maybe they were just stretching their back bone?  This new routine was choreographed by Curt Holman we were told by Shane & Shannon.

Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez took second overall form all judges and they too did some amazing work but we could see why the judges had them second, the lifts were nothing out of this world speaking for the judges who are about our age, they have seen it all and it would take some major rocking to shake them up, and Clifton & Mar with their red outfits were not able to muster enough sauce to shake a first away from Shane & Shannon. Third overall went to Zachary Pohl & Aerial Freilich and here as always the routine just went too long. There has been major improvement in the execution of all moves but we am sure the majority of the judges wished it was just a few bars shorter, when you see them shifting on their seats you know it has gone too long.

The one that nearly broke their head bones were Nathaniel Brouwer & Dena Anne Weiner who did some amazing lifts, but towards the end when they were about to do the most risky moves with her facing down in an overhead lift, the balance went and he nearly “plop” her on the head. Lucky for her she managed to land on her two feet with a “thump” that made all take loud breaths of relief and the podium shake. From then on it was “scary” until the bitter end that we are sure the judges wished would come sooner than later.

The Professional Latin started a bit slowly with an unexciting semifinal. We actually spotted a few people yawning in the bleachers, but if you went home you missed it all. This sleepy semifinal turned into the event of the night, with two or three incredible dancers that kept us rocking all night long.

Mikhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina took first in every dance and for us they were the clear winners of this very exciting event. What we like about Mikhailo & Anastasia is the fact that they are earthy when they dance and seem to enjoy the process a lot more than most. This was second by the majority of judges who awarded them a majority of firsts in the C,S,J. They did not quite get a majority in the rumba but were close with 8 judges awarding them first, and in the paso they missed this extra acclaim by one mark receiving 9 firsts out of 19 judges.

Second overall went to Ilya Maletin & Polina Majer who placed second in four dances and third in the paso doble. In a way we have to agree with the judges on this one somewhat. Ilya & Polina are almost perfection when it comes to their every move, especially Polina who is not only beautiful but a brilliant dancer, we just wish Ilya would look right into her eyes more than once, you’re not driving a “truck”! For us we need to see more communication between them, and if you look at the marks you can see we are not the only frustrated people in the room. The judges awarded them more 3rd place marks than seconds and had it not been for the Italians, Massimo Arcolin & Laura Zmajkovicova, that were slammed by some of the judges Ilya & Polina would have been marked a place down below them. Massimo & Laura who we just mentioned placed third overall with these marks 4,3,3,2,3, and for us as for a number of judges, they did not have much against many of the people in this final. Had any of us been judging I think we would have placed them in fifth or below, the only thing going for this couple were the fact that they were Italian as we learned when they were introduced for the dance on before the final started.

Fourth overall was awarded to Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova 3,5,4,4,5. You can tell by the marks that the judges were having a hard time making up their minds about this couple and we do have to agree that they were not their usual eye catching selves. We found their dancing a little on the quiet side with a lot less energy that we have witnessed in the past. The casualty of this Latin competition was Francesco & Sabrina Bertini who were awarded these marks 6,4,6,6,4 and fifth position overall. We were as shocked as the audience were with this decision. For us and the majority of the audience this couple stole the night, not only were they earthy but Sabrina’s finesse when it came to responding to Francesco was amazing, it reminded us of a Shirley Ballas. When they were called for fifth place we could hear the audience gasp. Our experience in the past with the audience is that they are rarely wrong and it was not just a table or two we were there we heard the gasp! We also heard the “gasp” or we should say more of a grunt from Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk who placed sixth overall and who seemed unhappily shocked. To be fair to them and the judges we have to say that we totally agreed with the judges on this night. We have seen much better from this beautiful and talented couple.

The Professional Smooth started with a bang and at first we thought it would be the event of the night but in the end it fizzled out a bit in the final. First came the injury sustained by one of the finalists, Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Selivertsova during their Tango dance-on. We reached out to Max this morning about the injury and about what happened and this is his words: “During the tango dance on I was dancing a ronde and pulled a my groin muscle, as I continued to dance the leg would not respond so I felt it was better not to dance that final. That was a very difficult decision especially as we felt we were dancing very well that night : (( anyway that’s kind of how it is.” As you can see it must have been very disappointing for them especially Tatiana who had a stunning dress. In the earlier rounds we too have to agree that this was an excellent night for them and we were all looking forward to it, oh well this all goes with the trade!

In the end Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija won all dances with perfect scores from all judges in all dances but one where Jonathan Roberts awarded them a second place in the tango. We have to agree with the majority and wonder what Jonathan saw that we all missed, but we do have to agree with the majority that they were clearly the best even in their dance-on while nearly all couples had a wobble in their action, they were solid a s a rock!

Travis & Jaimee Tuft placed second in all dances, but their marks were not as clear as Nick & Viktorija’s were, they were awarded from second down to fourth place in all dances. We have to agree with the judges I don’t really think Travis & Jaimee had the best night, we found them a little tame and non-confrontational and this you cannot be in a competition you have to really go for and attack it, especially at an event of this caliber. The one couple that for us really went for it and that could have easily taken and did actually take quite a few seconds away from them was Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova who placed third in all dances. They were totally on attack mode and I could see how a number of judges awarded them second place. When it came to rocking the ladies, Alexandra has really no bones in her back, this lady can isolate every part of her body creating some very interesting lines that make them very special, with a little more care I see them really reaching out for very high ground soon enough.

Fourth in all dances went to Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina. Here is another very talented couple, we do not much care for their “monumental stillness” in their tango, quoting world famous “Bill Irvine MBE.” What might work for Ballroom does not quite do it in Smooth for us and it tends to look a little weird and lost in translation. Similarly the swing dance choreography seems a little introverted. Fifth was awarded to Sergeiy Samchinskyy & Yuliya Besarb taking fifth in all dances, this is a clean couple with perfect control and dancing. They now have to define their own look and we are not talking about their outfits. We were totally glad to see Slava Kostianets & Valeriia Kostianets been being put into the final to fill the spot that Max & Tatiana left vacant, it was a good call from our chairman of judges Mr. Richard Booth. Once in the final Slava & Valeriia had nothing to lose and they danced like it. We most applaud the minority of the judges who awarded Slava & Valeriia fifth place.

For the pro-ams it was day when the Ballroom divisions were completed, meaning we finished the afternoon session with the Open Scholarships and these were the best attended of all the Open Scholarships so far with the Open C beginning with 27 couples.

So let us start with this one. The Open C was won by the most successful competitor in this division over the last few years – Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano. Jill had the majority of 1st places in all 5 dances although we were a little surprised to see some 6th and even 7th places in her column. 2nd and 3rd places were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak and another two excellent ladies were involved. The result today went to Jenny Du w/ Dariusz Michalski who scored 4,3,2,2,2 over Hye Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva who had 2,2,3,3,3. Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia took that one remaining 3rd place in waltz and placed 4th overall 3,4,4,4,4. 5th Janice Smith w/ Davide Gozzi 7,5,6,5,4; 6th Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet 5,6,7,6,7; 7th Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 6,8,5,8,6; 8th Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 8,7,8,7,8.

The Open A was a very close competition although this was not reflected fully in the placements. The winner was Aleksandra Grocott w/ Andriy Mykhailov and she won all 5 dances, but only the tango with a slim majority of 1st places. This was a new lady to us and she had a great look on the floor. Perhaps the favorite going into this event, Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev, took second 3,2,3,2,4. Although Natalie had almost as many 1st places as the winner, she never took the majority and had some judges placing her in the lower half of the final. 3rd and 4th was again separated by a Rule 10. 3rd was Julia Shen w/ Vlad Shakhov 2,3,5,3,3 and 4th Vinnie Miller w/ Karlis Trejis 4,4,2,4,2. From the sidelines we felt Vinnie had a particularly strong performance. 5th was a strong gentleman competitor, Andreas Mantius w/ Olga Tsikalyuk 5,6,4,6,5; 6th Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 6,5,6,5,6.

The Open B was also highly contested. The winner was Laura Shooks w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 2,1,1,1,1. This lady had the majority of 1st places in VW and foxtrot. The runner-up was another very strong contender, Brynda Insely w/ Martin Reinbold 1,2,2,2,2. Although placing 4th in 4 dances, Patricia Schneider w/ Sergey Kiselev actually finished in 3rd spot – 4,3,4,4,4, an interesting result based on consistency. 4th went to Bo Chang w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 5,6,3,3,5; 5th Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano 6,4,5,6,3; 6th Donna Hung w/ Christian Radvan 3,5,6,5,6.

The judges were obviously having a tough time with these divisions as although the winner of the Open S1 took all 4 dances, she did not have the majority of 1st places in any. This was Charlotte Carey w/ Andriy Mykhailov. Charlotte is a very experienced dancer and we have always admired her feeling for the dances. 2nd in all dances fell to Christine Campbell w/ Michael Gilkman. 3rd was Kayoko Suzuki w/ Sergey Kiselev 3,3,4,7; 4th Jacquelin Hu w/ Stefano DiBrino 4,7,3,4; 5th Elizabeth Cramer w/ Yuriy Kravets 6,5,5,3; 6th Cheng Chan w/ Iaroslav Bielei 5,6,6,6; 7th Deborah Liebow w/ Alon Gillin 7,4,7,5. As you can see some very mixed scoring in this division.

Completing these Open Scholarships was the S2, a 3-dance event. The winners in all dances was Linda Huntress w/ Andrea Stefano. 2nd in all was Mary Ann Nichols w/ Enzo Zappia. With 3,4,4 Mary Farrrell w/ Paolo DiLorenzo. 4th Dagmar Richter w/ Sergey Kiselev 4,5,3; 5th Yohsuki Fukami w/ Denis Kutepov 5,3,5; 6th Maria Fila w/ Kamil Urbaniak 6,6,6.

The evening session began with 2 very strong Youth division in Ballroom and Latin, sponsored by the Fordney Foundation.

The Ballroom began with a semifinal and was won by Yusuf Amsatr & Naomi Spektor. They won all dances and had very clear majorities from the judges in all dances. 2nd in all dances went to Erik Linder & Shelly Meshkausk and in 3rd place were Kristers Smits & Elizabeth Shlimovich 3,3,4,3,3.

The Latin began with a quarter-final and this time Erik & shelly moved up to 1st place, winning all 5 dances, 3 of them with a majority of 1st places. 2nd this time went to Kristers & Elizabeth who placed 2,2,3,2,3 and 3rd went to D'Angelo Castro & Kyla Dzhaniashvili 4,3,2,3,2.

What a night for Oleksiy & Natalie!

Last night was phenomenal for Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall as they won both the Rhythm and Smooth in the Professional Rising Star divisions.

In the Smooth they won all 4 dances, although only the tango with majority of 1st places where they had 8 of the 15 available. Actually the judges were somewhat undecided individually and every couple in the final received 1st places in at least one dance. 2nd in all dances went to Jang & Adele Don, who also had a good night, placing 4th in the Rhythm division. They actually had more 1st places than Oleksiy & Natalie in the waltz and foxtrot, but never quite the majority. Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson were 3rd in all dances and like all the couples in the final, their scores ran the range from 1st to 6th in all dances. Stephan & Elisa McCann were 4th 4,4,6,6; Ilya Abdulin & Tara were 5th 5,6,4,5 and David Estrada & Meagen Mendoza were 6th 6,5,5,4. As you can see these last 3 places were extremely close, in fact they were a 3-way tie separated by Rule 11.

In the Rhythm Oleksiy & Natalie placed 1,1,1,1,2 but here the scoring from the judges was even more varied. No couple scored a majority of 1st places in any dance and every couple had scores ranging from 1st to 6th. It would be fair to say the judges were not in agreement! The winners of the mambo were Anton Tregubov & Ashley Sanchez and they had the most 1st places (7) of any couple in any dance in that, although still not a majority. Their overall placements were 2,2,3,3,1. With 3,3,2,2,3, Kristjan Burazer & Anja Imamovic were 3rd. Jang & Adele took 4th with 5,4,4,4,4; Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker were 5th 4,5,5,5,5 and Sergio Sanchez & Rachel Sayotovich were 6th in all dances.

Moving to the International styles, Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova were the winners in all dances and the judges were a little more decided in this division, awarding them the majority of 1st places in tango, Viennese Waltz and quickstep. 2nd in all dances went to Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna. Serhiy & Olena had the most 1st places in waltz, but not a majority. 3rd spot fell to a new couple to us, Mikhail Babenko & Kateryna Iaritenko 3,4,4,3,3. Slava & Valeriia Kostianets were 4th 4,3,3,4,4; 5th Aleksandr & Aida Skriptsov 6,5,5,5T,5; 6th Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriela Sevillano 7,6,6,5T,6; 7th Tyrone Thiara & Anna Hsu 5,7,7,7,7. This division was a straight 7-couple final.

Vlad Astafiev & Annie He Xiao won the Latin placing 1,1,1,1,2, but once again the judges were not in full agreement as they only had the majority in samba and rumba. The runners-up were Dymytrii Goncharov & Tetiana Lutsenko who placed 2,2,2,2,1. They actually had more 1st places than the winners in paso doble as well, but lost on “2nd or better” scores. 3,3,3,4,3, gave Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova 3rd place overall. Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker were one place higher here than in the Rhythm taking 4th 5,4,4,3,4. 5th Denis Podolskiy & Oksana Kalinuka 4,6,5,5,6. This is a new partnership we believe. 6th Sergey Savalyev & Kristina Cheremnykh 6,5,6,6,5.

The Pro-Am Open Smooth Scholarships ended the matinee session and we felt they were especially strong in all age divisions.

In the Open A, a 6-couple final was returned from a semifinal. The winner in all dances was Hanna Weiss w/ Slawek Sochaki. Hanna had good scores, losing a total of only 8 first places from 44. 2nd and 3rd places were decided by a Rule 11 tiebreak and the advantage fell to Natasha Namen w/ Alexandr Skriptsov 2,2,3,3 over TJ Kyle w/ Jaimee Tuft 3,3,2,2. 4th Ani Mkrtchyan w/ Max Sinitsa 5,4,4,4; 5th Plamena Gradinarova w/ Slava Kostianets 4,5,5,5; 6th Irene Lee w/ Bezukladnikov 6,6,6,6.

7 couples were returned to the final of the Open B and Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano was once again victorious winning all 4 dances with the majority of 1st places. Just a couple of judges dissented on her 1st place. 2nd in all went to Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa and 3rd in all, Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft. 4th and 5th places were fairly close. Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochaki took 4th 4,5,5,4 over Karen Angell w/ Gleb Makarov 6,4,4,5. 6th Plamena Gradinarova w/ Slava Kostianets 5,7,6,6; 7th Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 7,6,7,7.

The Open C was an excellent competition and very closely contested. No competitor had a majority of 1st placements in any dance. The winner in this great division was Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa and she placed 2,1,1,2. The runner-up was Michiko Cantor w/ Evgeny Malko 1,2,3,1 and 3rd went to Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 3,4,2,4. Oleksiy Pigotskyy’s great night actually began in the afternoon as his student, Sue Eldred, placed 4th in this division 4,3,4,3, and as you will see, also placed 1st in the S1. 5th Angela Fuller w/ Sasha Tsyhankov 6,5,5,5; 6th Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet 5,6,6,6; 7th Charlene Proctor w/ Mikhail Zharinov 7,7,7,7.

As we said, Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy won the Open S1 and she won all 4 dances with the majority of 1st places. Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy was 2nd in all 4. Linda Gill w/ Artem Sharov was 3rd but here the scoring was more varied – 5,3,3,4. 4th Kristi Nadvornik w/ Mayo Alanen 4,4,5,3; 5th Frances Manning w/ Eric Koptke 3,6,4,6; 6th Elizabeth Cramer w/ Yuriy Kravets 6,5,7,5; 7th Audria Hill-Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu 7,7,6,7.

In the Open S2 3-Dance, Kumsu Kim w/ David Alvarez was the winner, placing 1,1,2. Doreen Marchak w/ Youiy Pavlov was the runner-up 2,2,1. 3rd Susan Lowe w/ Yuriy Kravets 3,3,3; 4th Mico Fuke w/ Scott Ruddick 4,4,5; 5th Steve Mason w/ Yuliya Besarab 5,5,4; 6th Jackie Siegal w/ Daniel Vasco 6,6,6.

In tomorrow’s report look out for the Open Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships and Professional divisions in Cabaret, Smooth and Latin!

Be sure to watch highlights from Emerald Ball in our video section!

Emerald Green!

Green is a color pervasive in the natural environment that says “renewing, refreshing and generating.”

It represents balance, growth, learning, and harmony. Green is second only to blue as a favorite color. We are back at the Emerald Ball once again, a competition that for years has given many dancers the opportunity to compete at a high level while enjoying the opportunity to compete with people that you don’t usually compete against, like the Fred Astaire studios who year after year come with great support.

For the last two days here at the Emerald Ball we have focused on the American style of dancing, Rhythm and Smooth in the pro/am divisions. Last night the Open American Rhythm Scholarships took place and they were well attended with great quality of dancing in all heats.

The “A” division came down to a 5-couple final and in the end went to Marinda James-Heskett dancing with Jeremy Pilling and she placed first in all dances with a majority of firsts from all the judges in every dance. Second overall in this heat went to Sophia Montantez w/Daniel Vasco who took second in all dances. As you will see things were very clear for the judges. Levina Kasmara w/ Gleb Makarov was third in all, Nathalie Vuong w/Volvick Edouard was fourth and Jamie Kelley w/ Katt Baumgartner took all fifths.

This did not change in the Open Pro/Am “B” Scholarships. Here the couples retained their positions as well in all dances. Erin Hall w/Steve Vasco won this category as we just said with firsts in all dances. The only dance that was very close between first and second was the cha cha, with a tie between the winner and Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev who placed second in all dances. In this cha cha rules had to be used and the tie was broken by one mark of first or better favoring Erin. Third was awarded to Karen Angell w/Gleb Makarov and once again in all dances. Fourth went to Irene Wong w/John Campbell; fifth was awarded to Beatriz Colon w/Roman Malkhasyan and sixth was Sharon Powers w/Jason Daly.

The Open “C” category was a little more challenging as you will see by the marks. With the exception of first place in all dances that went to Lynn Magnesen with Tykhon Zhyvkov, all other positions were heavily challenged. We must also point out that Lynn took perfect scores from the judges in the cha cha and mambo with first from all judges in these two dances. Lynn could have easily received perfect scores in all had it not been for one judge in every dance awarding her second or third place. In the rumba and mambo, Boriana Delcheva awarded Lynn second, in the swing Melanie LaPatin awarded her a third, so as you can see she was as close to perfection as you could possibly be.

Nancy Lam w/Sean Tamashiro placed second overall but not in all dances - 3,2,2,3,2, as you see Nancy took third in the cha cha and bolero. We must also note that Nancy took a variety of marks in all dances some of the marks even down to sixth place. Third overall went to Marcy Garson w/Ilya Reyzin with these marks 2,4,3,2,4. Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert were fourth overall 4,3,4,4,3. Fifth down to seventh place got a little more settled, Beth Waltz w/Steven Davis were fifth overall 5,5,5,6,5; sixth went to Charlene Proctor w/Mikhail Zharinov with these scores 6,6,6,5,6, and seventh in all dances went to Monica Broch w/Kris Suakjian.

The Senior I also ended up on a seven-couple final and here Diana Best w/Alosha Anatoliy placed first in all dances but only just a majority of firsts in the rumba, swing, bolero and mambo. The cha cha she won but only with 6 “second or better” marks. Luna Viva w/Kristijan Burazer took second overall 3,2,2,2; third went to Janet Bruttell w/Dmitriy Zavialov with these marks 4,5,3,3. Lois Fein w/Aleksandar Vukosavijevic placed fourth 2,3,6,5. Evelyn Lamden w/Daniel Vasco was fifth 5,4,4,4; Heather Petros w/Fonzie Zapata placed sixth 6,7,5,6, and seventh was awarded to Roseann Wherry w/Alexander Novikov 7,6,7,7.

Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian won all 3 dances in the Open Senior II and in fact lost only a total of 2 first place marks. With 2,2,2, Kumsu Kim w/ David Alvarez was 2nd and Buck Lindsay w/ Yuliya Besarab took 3rd in all. 4th Jackie Siegel w/ Daniel Vasco 4,4,4; 5th Patsy Hutchins w/ Darren Fernandez.

Today we will see the Open American Smooth Scholarships and all of the Professional Rising Star divisions. Stay tuned!

  • Emerald Ball 2019

    Gem Stays The Same!

    The last night at the “Emerald” Ball the gem stayed the same, although there were several great competitors from around the USA in both the professional and the amateur there were no change major changes to the status quo!

  • Open Pro Ballroom from Emerald Ball 2018

    Open Professional Ballroom from Emerald Ball 2018

    I want to congratulate Wayne & Donna Eng for another outstanding Emerald Ball. The energy and atmosphere was amazing – beautiful, elegant ballroom with high level competitors made Emerald Ball a perfect competition.


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