Desert Classic 20018

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A Nail-biter in the Ballroom!

Last night we saw a real nail-biter in the Open Professional Ballroom.

Although the ultimate winners were Rudy Homm & Katya Kanevskaya, they certainly did not have things all their own way. Rudy & Katya won waltz, tango and quickstep and were 2nd in Viennese and foxtrot. The winners of VW and F were Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holdy and they were 2nd in the remaining 3 dances and 2nd overall. There were 11 judges on the event and here’s how they awarded their 1st places: waltz - RK 7 / OK 4; tango RK 6 / OK 4; Viennese RK 5 / OK 5; foxtrot RK 5 / OK 5; quickstep RK 6 / OK 5. As you can see, this was a very close race. Interestingly, whilst Oskar & Karolina received very few marks lower than 2nd, Rudy and Katya had 2 judges placing them 5th and 6th and another placing them in the middle of the final. This ultimately lost them the VW and F. Both couples were in great form we thought, and they have quite different approaches to the dances, so we were not surprised that some judges favored one or the other.

3rd in all dances went to the relatively new pairing of Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 3,3,3,3,3. This couple have improved so much since we first saw them back in March. With 5,4,4,4,4, Christian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko took 4th and were also having a great night we thought. 5th Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna 4,5,5,6,6; 6th Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova 6,6,6,5,5.

Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haragouchi had no problems cementing a win in the Open Professional Rhythm, losing a total of only 2 first place marks in the whole competition. WE have noted a tremendous new commitment from this couple this year – they are really “going for it” in 2018. The amazingly consistent 9-dancers, Oleksy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall took 2nd in all dances and had a very large majority of 2nd places plus the 2 first places lost by Danas & Yuki. There was a reverse of placement relative to the RS division for 3rd and 4th. Tonight 3rd went to Renzo & Andrea Zegarra 3,4,3,3,3 over Antonio Nunez & Ksenia Kashkina 4,3,4,4,4. 5th Luis Grijalva & Hadas Fisher 5,5,5,5,5; 6th David Nyemchek & Maysen Wilder 6,6,6,6,6.

The Open Amateur Latin was a very closely fought duel that actually resulted in tiebreaks for 1st and 2nd and for 3rd and 4th. The winners, with 1,1,1,2,3 were Tara Slisarenko & Anastasiia Konieva from the Ukraine over Giulio Ferrante & Lidia Martinez-Espinosa 2,2,2,1,1. These 2 couples have rather different styles. The winners are tall and quite classical in their interpretations whereas the runners-up are looser and more rhythmical. Which is your pick?

3rd went to Sergey Rozhkov & Tatiana Vasilyeva 3,4,3,3,4 and losing the tiebreak were Lozin & Baikova 4,3,4,4,2. 5th fell to Seth Eldridge & Lyndsay Sorensen 6,6,5,5,5 and 6th to Casey & Kayci Treu 5,5,6,6,6. We must say that the Treus seemed a little surprised by their placement and we must confess, we were also a little perplexed.

We were impressed with the Amateur Masters Ballroom that had a full semifinal and a 7-couple final. Winners were David Getchell & Alison Gonzalez 1,1,1,1,1; 2nd Elmer Martinez & Maritess Tuazon 2,2,3,2,2; 3rd Steve Oishi &Emi Donville 4,4,2,3,4; 4th Takeshi Kawarantini & Satomi Seo 5,3,4,6,3; 5th Song Kim & Nicole Suh 3,5,6,5,6; 6th Anthony & Marina Sanchez-Torres 6,6,5,4,5; 7th Peter Kwok & Sue Tang 7,7,7,7,7.

Judge, Wendy Johnson celebrated her birthday here at Desert Classic last night and today is also the birthday of her son Marcus who was also in the ballroom.

Today Desert Classic continues with a large “Junior day.”

A Night of Diversity!

Last night was a night of Diversity at Desert Classic.

Mixed in with the professional and amateur divisions were 3 sets from a Miami flamenco band who perform a flamenco style show of music and dancing.

There was also much diversity in the best event of the night, the Open Professional Smooth. Each couple in the final really demonstrated their own unique style and this is a great asset.

The winners were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who once again demonstrated their classic style. They won all dances with a majority of 1st place marks from the judges. It was close in the tango because here the spicy style of the runners-up, Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova earned them 5 first places to Nick & Viktorija’s 6. Foxtrot was also somewhat close as Nick & Viktorija received 7 firsts to Max & Tatiana’s 4. We did think it was a particularly good night for Max & Tatiana. We were undecided about the side cutout on Tatiana’s dress. It looked great in open work but created some odd lines in closed.

3rd in all dances went to Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova and they took a couple of first place marks – one in waltz and one in Viennese, both from Lilia Padriezas. All the 4’s went to Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina and they too seemed to be having a good night. With 6,5,5,5, Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall took the 5th spot and some in the audience were very impressed with their musicality. Mariusz Zakrzewski & Lynnsay Ray were 6th 5,6,6,7 and Kris & Brianna Suakjian were 7th 7,7,7,6.

The Open Professional Latin was the other featured event of the night and this was won by Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances except rumba. They received mostly 1st or 2nd placement from the judges, but their worst scores came from Nikolay Smodlev who placed them 4th in all dances. Alexey & Vlada Karaulov from Canada were 2nd in 4 dances and tied for 2nd in jive. Their best scored dance was the rumba – certainly their best dance in our view, although paso was also strong. With a 2nd place tie in jive and 3rd in the other dances, Andrii Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko were 3rd. This was probably the most consistent performance we have seen from them and they picked up some 1st placements in every dance. Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova were 4th 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Simeon & Cora Stoynov 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Joseph Hopwood & Alexandra Hanley 6,6,6,6,6.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was also held tonight and it began with a semifinal. Fresh from their success in Blackpool, Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli were the winners placing 1,2,1,1,1. In truth we expected their win to be a little easier, although they did have a majority of 1st places in 3 dances. The judges’ scores were very mixed with almost all couples receiving at least one 1st place in all dances. With 2,1,3,3,2, Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu took 2nd and with 3,3,2,2,3, Oreste Alitto & Valeriia Belozerova were 3rd. 4th Stefan Badea & Madalina Varlam 4,5,4,4,5; 5th Danya & Anastasiya Rubashevsky 5,4,5,5,4; 6th Casey & Kayci Treu 6,6,6,6,6.

For the pro-ams it was Ballroom day and here are the results of the Open Scholarships:

Open A – 1. Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Denise Evans w/ Martin Reinbold 3,4,2,2,2; 3. Jennifer Lin w/ Sterban 4T,2,4,3,3; 4. Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci 4T,3,3,4T,4; 5. Andreas Mantius w/ Olga Tsikalyuk 2,5T5,4T,6; 6. Wanwan Yang w/ Igor Colac 6,5T,56,6,5.

Open B – 1. Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 2,2,2,2,2; 3. Dana Miller w/ Davide Gozzi 3,3,3,3,3; Ling Ma w/ Edgars Gasjuns 4,4,5,4,4; Hansen Chen w/ Olga Tsikalyuk 6,5,4,5,5; 6. Laura White w/ Andrea Faraci 5,6,6,6,6.

Open C – 1. Jenny Du w/ Dariusz Michalski 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Jenny Fong w/ Victor Veyrasset 2,2,2,2,2; 3. Sheila Zou w/ Denis Kutepov 3,3,3,4,3; 4. Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 5,4,6,3,4; 5. Frances Manning w/ Tadas Jonyla 4,5,4,5,5; 6. Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Andrea Faraci 6,6,5,6,6. Open Senior – (3 rounds) 1. Kayoko Suzuki w/ Sergey Kiselev 1,1,1,2; 2. Shih-Chang Wang w/ Victor Veyrasset 2,4,2,1; 3. Jacquelyn Hu w/ DiBrino 3,2,4,4; 4. Kieko Fukami w/ Denis Kutepov 5,5,3,3; 5. Betty Lin w/ Andrea Faraci 4,3,5,5.

Desert Classic Opens with a Bang!

Desert Classic 2018 opened with a bang yesterday!

It was a very full schedule yesterday at Desert Classic, encompassing 2 styles of pro-am divisions plus all 4 styles of professional rising star. The day’s program had no break time, beginning at 8:00 AM and continuing until about 11:00 PM. As usual the venue is the spectacular JW Marriott in Palm Desert, CA.

Of the Rising Star divisions, the Rhythm was the largest beginning with a semifinal. Easy winners on the night were Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall who won all 5 dances. They would have achieved perfect scores in rumba, swing and bolero except judge Nigel Clark awarded them 2nd in those 3 dances. He was joined by some other judges in cha cha and mambo. 2nd tonight were Antonio Nunez & Ksenia Kashkina and they placed 3,2,2,2,3. Ironically we felt cha and mambo were their strongest dances. They have a very different style to the winners. With 2,3,3,3,2, Renzo & Andrea Zegarra took the 3rd spot. Luis Grijalva & Hadas Fisher were 4th 4,4,5,4,5; 5th Aaron Pierce & Giovanna Velazquez 6,6,4,5,4; 6th David Nyemchek & Maysen Wilder 5,5,6,6,6.

Oleksiy & Natalie were equally successful in the Smooth, where they again won all dances and this time achieved a perfect score in the foxtrot. 2nd in all dances and equally clear were Stephan & Elisa McCann. Nikolai Krev & DiBacco-Daniels were 3rd 3,3,3,3; 4th Brodie Kaster & Sabina 4,4,4,4; 5th Robbie Cromwell & Jenna Southard 5,5,6,5; 6th Roland Kyle & Samantha Swart 6,6,5,6.

The Ballroom and Latin were both straight finals. In the Ballroom Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova were the clear winners in all dances and had a perfect score in the VW. All couples finished in the same position in all 5 dances. 2nd Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna; 3rd Mikhail Babenko & Kateryna Iaritenko; 4th Robert Nemiro & Lydia Miner-Voigt; 5th Robbie Cromwell & Jenna Southard.

The Latin was the most contested event of the night from the judges’ perspective. In all dances but jive every couple received at least 1 first place. However, the winners did take all 5 dances, 3 of them with the majority of 1st places and they were Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie. 2nd went to Dymytry Dmytrenko & Yelyzaveta Hyzhko 3,3,2,2,2; 3rd Joseph Hopwood & Alexandra Hanley 2,2,4,4,3; 4th Denis Podolskiy & Oksana Kalinuka 4,4,3,3,4.

There were some strong divisions in the pro-am and the results in the Open Scholarships were as follows:

Smooth A – 1. Hanna Weiss w/ Slawek Suchocki 1,1,1,1; 2. Ani Mkrtchyan w/ Max Sinitsa 2,2,2,2; 3. Nicholas Barkley w/ Leanne White 3,3,3,3; 4. Carlos Ayalo-Gonzalez w/ Alina Sachs 4,4,4,4.

Smooth B – 1. Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa 1,1,1,1; 2. Soo Kim w/ Alexander Novikov 2,2,2,3; 3. John Batak w/ Chelsea Farrah 3,3,4,2; 4. James Coltharp w/ Olga Chekhova 4,4,3,4; 5. Paula Darlas w/ Sean Brunell 5,5,5,5; 6. Joanne Baerg w/ Germaine Lewis 6,6,6,6.

Smooth C – 1. Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 1,1,1,1; 2. Catherine Gallo w/ Kyle Spinder 2,2,2,2; 3. Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Nick Cheremukhin 3,3,3,3; 4. Hong Wu w/ Valeriia Kostianets 4,4,5,4; 5. Dale DeWoskin w/ Nicole Wooding 5,5,4,5.

Smooth Senior – 1. Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 1,1,1,1; 2. Frances Manning w/ Eric Koptke 2,2,2,2; 3. Catherine Gallo w/ David Arnold 3,3,3,3; 4. Kathy Wimmer w/ Alexander Novikov 4,4,4,4; 5. Dale DeWoskin w/ Nicole Wooding 5,6,5,5; 6. Ibis Wu w/ Nick Cheremukhin 6,5,6,6; 7. Teiko Yamada w/ Max Sinitsa 7,7,7,7.

Latin B – 1. Colette Marotto w/ Igor Ustymovych 1,1,1,2,1; 2. Jennifer Lin w/ Ily Bardahan 2,2,2,1,2; 3. Fawn Zhang w/ Vitalii Proskuran 3,3,3,3,3; 4. Monica Serpa w/ Arijom Shmigeljuk 4,4,4,4,4; 5. Katya Nepo w/ Arto Tsaturyan 5,5,5,6,6; 6. Leanne White w/ Myers 6,6,6,5,5; 7. Sheehan w/ Dmitry Kurakin 7,7T,7,7,7; 8. Geogianna March w/ Alexander Andreev 8,7T,8,8,8.

Latin C – 1. Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann 2,2,1,1,1; 2. Tasha Romero w/ Mykhailo Bilopukhov 1,1,2,2,2; 3. Michelle Peng w/ Alexey Karaulov 4,3,4,3,3; 4. Summer Chung w/ Illy Bardahan 3,4,3,4,4; 5. Marylyn Lim w/ Oleg Astakhov 5,5,5,6,6; 6. Me Kim w/ Victor Yushin 6,6,6,5,5.

Latin Senior – 1. Vanessa Wilson w/ Andrey Tarasov 1,2,3,1; 2. Jackie Wang-Dojiri w/ Vitalii Proskurin 3,1,1,2; 3. Gerogeanne Nicol w/ Nikolai Voronovich 4,4,2,3; Bonnie Loftspring w/ Brian McNamee 2,3,4,4; 5. Ibis Wu w/ Mykhailo Bilopukhov 5,5,5,5; 6. Judy Pedersen w/ Peter Polak 6,6,6,6.

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