Millennium Dancesport 2018

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Millennium at the Big Easy!

Saturday night was the conclusion of the Millennium at the “Big Easy” New Orleans, next year 2019, according to the organizer it will be back at its home in Orlando, Florida, but in the spirit of New Orleans the competition ended with a “Saturday Gras,” and some excellent competitions.

The biggest was the Professional Rhythm but just as interesting was the Professional Ballroom, and we will try to summarize it all for you now.

The Professional Rhythm had great attendance with a full quarter-final round, but for us the Professional Ballroom really brought it home. It started with a semifinal round and seven couples were called back for this impressive final. The winners overall were Veronica & Alexander Voskalchuk who won the two waltzes placed second in the tango, foxtrot and third in the quickstep, in other words as they say here in the USA, they won by the skin of their teeth. We must also point out that Alexander & Veronica won the two waltzes with a majority of firsts.

Second overall went to Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya who won the tango and the foxtrot, but placed third in the two waltzes, and second in the quickstep, had they place second in either waltz they might have won, but this was not the case and so they finished up in second place overall. We must also point out that Rudy & Katia won the tango with a majority of firsts in this dance, the foxtrot they won with second or better marks. Winning the quickstep and placing third overall with these marks 2,3,2,3,1 were Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei. So as you can see from all the marks, the judges really had a very hard time making up their minds on this competition and it got down to just a few points between all three top contestants.

From fourth down to seventh place things got less heated and you can see by the judges’ scores that it was not as difficult to mark as the top three competitors. Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova placed fourth in all dances, Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody were fifth in all, sixth in all wen to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova and seventh in all dances was awarded to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova. We have to say that it was a pleasure to watch this category, the quality was amazing with some terrific dancing and moments.

As we mentioned before the Open Professional Rhythm Championship started with a full quarter-final round and in the end seven couples were also called for this final. Andre & Natalie Paramonov won all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all and they could have easily won the cha cha with perfect scores had Ilya Ifranov not given them a second place mark in that dance. On the defense of Ilia we found this heat to be very close in talent and so it was not as easy as 1,2,3, judges really had to focus on the job at hand and with just a minute and a half of music, it is just a quick impression of each couple the judges get.

Second in all dances went to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi. With the exception of the Bolero Yuki & Danas managed to take at least one first place mark in all the other dances from the Paramonovs. Third overall went to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin with these marks 3,3,3,4,4. Fourth were Ilya Velednitsky & Mariia Ilchenko who for us had a wonderful night and were once again producing the type of work we enjoyed in the past, and this were their marks 4,4,4,7,5. Apparently the bolero seems to be a breaking point for all dancers, the marks seem to always change when it comes to the bolero and mambo.

In a rule (10) decision Shane & Shannon Jensen placed fifth overall with these marks 5,5,6,3,7, leaving Aaron & Iryna DeSoto holding sixth with these marks 6,6,5,6,3. We think that Jensens got two fives making this more favorable to the two sixth place marks that DeSotos got, but to be sure, make sure you check the scrutineer handbook on this one. Seventh was awarded to Alberto Cortez & Jessa Mae Briones with these marks 7,7,7,5,6. We have to tip out hat to the couples who were totally prepared for this competition and we know it was not an easy decision in any of the marks the judges put down on the paper and so we most applaud their honest effort as well.

The Professional Cabaret also took place and ten couples took to the floor. They were all very proficient and here out of the ten Shane & Shannon Jensen won with nearly perfect scores with the exception of Anna Mikhed they got first from all the other judges. Travis & Jaimee Tuft took second overall, but their score card was a little more varied with them taking marks from second to fifth place overall. Third place was awarded to Alyenadrov Tsorokean & Maria Wheeler, fourth went to Vadim Garbuzov & Kathrin Menzinger and fifth was Craig Smith & Andrea Harvey and sixth was awarded to Urial Garcia & Vera Rowe

We must congratulate Mrs. Jackie Rogers on her Lifetime Achievement Award, and we are certain she had no clue she was going to be presented, we could tell she was surprised by the lovely presentation with an opening number sung by a “Cher” female impersonator and the Millennium backup dancers.

The night before we had Linda Eder open with a parade of competitors, this time was the country singer Ty Herndon who did the honors. We also had a few pro/am showcases as we did the night before. Beverly Moore was accompanied by Mark Ballas and his wife and composer BC Jean to her song “Roses are Red.” We also saw Celia Chou with Erminio Stefano and the Millennium dancers do a beautiful waltz and the showcase session finished with Jake Mazhar & Iulia Besarab doing a cabaret to “Batman,” once again with the full cast of dancers and it was terrific!

The same night we saw Part 2 of the “Debra Fontaine” Show of Shows and as the night before featured WDC World Professional Ballroom Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva and Dorin Frecantau & Marina Sergeeva from Moldova.

This was a long but exciting night of ballroom dancing, we are sure that many if not actually there, logged in to see it online. And with this the Millennium Dancesport came to a conclusion for 2018.

Wham! Splat! Boom!

“Superheroes” is the official theme for this year’s Millennium Dancesport Championships, celebrating people from our industry who are doing some achieving accomplishments within our communities.

Two of those heroes were celebrated last night Ian Folker for the work he has done for children in Cambodia and Sara Haworth for the work done with special needs children. But like the superheroes Batman and Robin, there was a major Wham…Splat…..And boom!! When it came to the Professional Smooth.

The Professional Smooth began with a quarter final round and from the start it was a terrific competition. Six very capable couples were called to this sensational final and there was excitement everywhere you looked. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija our current US Smooth Champions were the overall winners by placing first in three dances and second in the tango. We must also reaffirm that the three dances won by Nick & Viktorija were all won with a majority of firsts from the judges, and in our opinion well deserved. However, the tango still eludes them and here they only managed 8 first places out of 21 judges, the majority of firsts in this dance went to what we will call the couple of the night, Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova.

Max & Tatiana for us and from what we can see from the judges’ perspective as well, had a wonderful night. They won the tango with a majority of firsts from the judges and in the other three dances they took every first missing from Nick & Vicktoria’s column. The presumed runners up on the night, Travis & Jaimee Tuft, were left holding third in all dances, and in looking at their column they picked up very few second placed marks. Travis & Jaimee were awarded 7 seconds in waltz, 2 in the tango, 4 in the foxtrot and 6 in the VW.

Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina redeemed themselves from the Open British Championship, in Blackpool England, where they did not make the final, and placed here fourth in all dances, a well deserved position from our perspective and that of the judges. (There was an outcry from many of the US attendees following the British Open because there was not one single American Style or US Judge on the British Panel).

Continuing with last night’s professional final, Sergyi Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab placed fifth in all dances and the fairly new partnership ofAleksandar Vokosavljevic & Neveda took all sixths. Marzena Stachura will give us her opinion on this heat here in Dance Beat soon.

The Open Professional Latin was also started with a quarter final round and it too was a main feature last night at the Millennium. It was a walk in the park for Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina who won all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances with less than a handfull of judges abstaining from marking them as number one. Their worst marks came from Shirley Ballas who awarded them these marks - 1,4,3,5,5. Their second worst marks came from Victoria Regan who awarded them 2,3,4,2,2. Other than that, a couple more judges gave them a few seconds but as we mentioned the majority awarded them first. Second overall but not in all dances was awarded to Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova, here are their marks 3,2,2,2,3. We must say that we found Artur & Anastasia to be on very solid ground on this night but apparently the judges were tougher than we expected. Only in the samba and rumba did they manage to get the majority of seconds in the rest of the dances they got a pot pourie of marks from sixth to first and yes they did get a few firsts from a few of the judges.

In a surprise turn of events at least for us, Francesco & Sabrina Bertini placed third overall with these marks 2,3,4,4,2, and we certainly have to agree with the fourth place marks in fact we probably would have placed them all fourth but the jive where we thought they really rocked the house and deserved full recognition. Francesco & Sabrina have a wonderful and contagious personality with a wonderful rhythmic action, but at times the rhythm and interpretation overtakes the structure of the body and movement and starts to look a little distorted. Having said that we are true fans of this powerful, rhythmic couple and cant wait to get the full package so that they can easily challenge the very top position.

Fourth overall went to Ivan Mulyavka & Karin Rooba with these marks 4,4,3,3,5. Un like the couple just mentioned in the paragraph before, Ivan & Karin are the opposite with beautiful finished lines and great body position and movement. However, the lack of soul and musicality probably killed this couple’s chances at being third in line last night. I think carful attention should be placed on understanding the roots of every dance and the interpretation each one of these dances has. Great lines and body action is not enough to win in a field of this caliber.

Fifth went to Sasha Altukhov & Cheyenne Murillo with these marks 5,5,5,5,4. We really like this couple and we think they are perfectly matched, but we are afraid that perhaps Sasha should allow Cheyenne to dance a little more rather than try to make her do things! Remember partner dancing, whether social or competition, is a communication between the couple, one talks the other one answers. You must never “yell” or push if you don’t get the right answer.

Sixth in all dances went to Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov. This is another favorite couple of ours that with a little more work could be right up at the top. We were glad to see them brought back even though it was due to the fact that Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk withdrew after the semifinal. Nevertheless, they had a wonderful showing and I am sure they will continue to improve and bring their talent forth on to the floor.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was another featured event and here three couples took to the floor. The winners of all dances were Aleksandr Kalnyuk & Olena Ablitsova. Second in all went to Casey & Keyci Treu and third were Andrew Sim & Emily Cobb Hines.

In a surprise turn of events Linda Eder showed up and sang a few tunes to the delight of the audience and she also sang for two Pro/Am showcase numbers. One was “Don’t Rain on my Parade” and the second was “Last Tango of the Night.”

It was also fantastic to see Mark Ballas sing a song for us accompanied by his wife, BC Jean, (Brittany Jean Carlson) an American singer-song writer and actress, perhaps best known for writing the song “If I were a Boy” that was later sung by Beyonce and achieved worldwide commercial success. Mark Ballas & BC Jean have a new band called Alexander Jean, a portmanteau of their middle names, and specializes in a brand of infectious pop-rock-soul reminiscent of Alicia Keys.

The performance was short and sweet and it opened the night for another interesting award given to the Producer of hits like “Kinky Boots,” Hal Lufting, who was in the audience and who says he continues to be a great fan of our industry.

The night continued with the usual Debra Fontaine’s show of shows featuring WDC World Professional Champions Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva and Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova.

The Rising Star Ballroom and Latin also ran this evening and the winners of the Ballroom were Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova, and second went to Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver leaving third to Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skripsova. In the pro Rising Star Rhythm the winners were Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall second went to Anton Tregubov & Ashley Sanchez, and third was awarded to Kristian Sese & Mae Lozado.

Smooth but Very Busy!

Yesterday was Smooth day for the Pro/Am Championships here at the Millennium and it was a packed full day of competitions that started at 7:00Am and ended close to 8:00PM.

The majority of heats were fully contested and the scholarships in the evening session were terrific.

The “A” Smooth category was great and it began with a full semifinal round. In the end 6 couples were called for this final and the winner of all dances was Natasha Namen w/ Aleksandr Skriptov. Second overall in this very contested heat as you will see by the marks was Francesca Scalise w/ Enzo Zappia with these marks 4,2,2,3. Third went to a gentleman, TJ Kyle w/Jaimee Tuft and he placed third in three dances and second in the VW. Olivia Zettergren w/Gunnar Sverrison was fourth 2,4,4,4; Patricia Schneider w/Slawek Sochacki took fifth in all dances and sixth in all went to Nicole Staffinf w/Alex Senko.

The “B” category also started with a full semifinal round and seven couples ended-up being called for this final. The winner of all dances was Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano. Second in all dances was awarded to Selene Steelman w/Travis Tuft and third in all went to Patricia Schneider w/Slawek Sochacki. Antonia Frost w/ Sergey Izyumov placed fourth; Mariana Lvoff w/Vladimir Kosarev was fifth with these marks 6,5,5,5; Leanna Wenderoth w/Kirill Gorjatsev took sixth 5,6,6,6, and seventh in all dances went to Beatrice Colon w/ Roman Malkhasyan.

The “C” category began with a quarter-final round and here the winner was Sophia D’Angelo w/Max Sinitsa and they placed first in all dances. Second overall was awarded to Lynn Magnesen w/Tykhon Zhyvkov 3,3,2,2, and third was Sue Eldred w/Oleksiy Pigotskyy 2,2,4,4. Meredith Kaplan w/ Roman Malkhasyan placed fourth 4,4,3,3; Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet took fifth 5,5,5,6 and Charlene Proctor w/Mikhail Zharinov was sixth 6,6,6,5.

The “D” division also started with a healthy quarter-final round and here Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoly took first in all dances. Second in all dances went to Linda Gill w/Ruslan Meshko, and third was awarded to Paul Duhaime w/Daryll Sverrison, and he took third in all dances. Janet Bruttell w/Dmitriy Zavialov was fourth 4,4,4,5; Audria Mitchell w/Peter Perzhu was fifth 5,5,5,4 and sixth went to Sue Gershowitz w/ Mazen Hamza 5,6,6,6.

There were two professional Rising Star events and both were well attended. The Smooth started with a semifinal round and in the end a seven-couple final was called. The overall win went to Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall winning three dances and placing second in the waltz. We have to say that in the rest of the dances it was very close between them and Jan & Adele Don who won the waltz and placed second overall in the other three dances. In the tango Jan & Adele got 6 firsts and Oleksiy & Natalie 9 first place marks out of 19 judges. In the foxtrot Jan & Adele got 5 and Oleksiy & Natalie 9, and in the VW , Jan & Adele got 6, and Oleksiy & Natalie took 8. Third place in the Rising Star Smooth went to Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson and they took third in all dances. Fourth was Ilya Abdullin & Tara and they placed fourth in all dances. Fifth in all went to Stephen McCann & Elisa McCann; Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer took sixth 7,6,6,6 and seventh was Slawek Roszak & Denise Sobiewski 6,7,7,7.

In the Professional Rising Star Latin, Ivan Kudashev & Ksemia Sokolova won all dances and the paso doble with a majority of firsts. We must say that this was a very close event all couples were in good condition and well prepared for the challenge and all about the same level making it very difficult for the judge as you will see from second placed down. Second overall went to Vlad Astafiev & Annie He Xiao with these marks 2,3,2,2,3, and third was awarded to Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie with these marks 4,4,3,3,2. Fourth overall was awarded to Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova with these marks 3,2,4,4. Fifth place was Ilya Ivanov & Yana Tikhenko 5,5,6,5,6, and sixth were Dymytrii Goncharov & Tetiana Lutsenko with these marks 6,6,5,6,5.

Tonight the Open Professional events will begin and they look to be very interesting.

It’s Not Easy in the Big Easy!

Wednesday night was the culmination of two days of pro/am Rhythm competition and it was not an easy decision for the judges with so many great Rhythm competitors at hand.

The “A” division had a full semifinal round and the winner was Chasity w/ Eddie Ares winning four dances and placing second in the swing. Second overall went to Marinda James–Heskett w/Jeremy Pilling and she won the swing and placed second on the other three dances. Third in this heat was awarded to Levina Kasmara w/Gleb Makarov 3,3,4,3,4; fourth was Jailene Espisnosa w/Eddie Rivera 4,4,3,4,3, fifth was Katia Diamond w/Danas Jakesevicius and they were fifth in all dances, and in sixth place was Pooja Himovich w/Kristijan Burazer.

The “B” division ended up being a six-couple final and here Tina Musico w/Marcio DeSouza won, here too Tina lost the swing placing first in the other four dances. Second overall was awarded to Mariana Lvoff w/Vladimir Kosarev 2,2,3,2,3, and third went to Kelly Wain w/ Theo Martinez, Kelly also took the missing first here 3,3,1,3,4. Beatrice Colon w/Roman Malkhasyan was fourth 4,4,5,4,2; Tracy Hannon w/Iurii Kora 5,5,4,5,5, and sixth was Mytia McNeal w/Damir Karaman and she took sixth place in all dances.

The “C” division was a seven-couple final and here Lynn Magnesen w/Tykhon Zhyvkov took all first in all dances. Janice Gonzalez w/Vladimir Kosarev took all seconds and Marcy Garson w/Ilya Reyzin was third 3,3,4,3,3. Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto was fourth 5,4,3,5,5; Heldy Kellison w/ Sean Tamashiro placed fifth 6,6,5,4,4; sixth went to Ceci Torres w/Eddie Rivera 4,5,7,7,6, and seventh was Scott Magnesen w/Yana Zhyvkov 7,7,6,6,7.

The “D” division was also well contested and here Lois Fein w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic took first overall 1,1,1,4,3. Janet Bruttell w/Dmitriy Zavialov placed second 3,2,3,1,2 and third went to Luna Viva w/ Kristijan Burazer 2,3,4,2,1. Diana Best w/Alosha Anatoliy was fourth 4,5,2,3,4; Linda Metzger w/Troy Baeten placed fifth 5,4,5,5,5, and sixth was Sharon Sanchez w/Anton Tregubov 6th in all dances.

Last night the first of the Professional Rising Stars will begin and we will have it all to you here on Dance Beat soon.

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