USDC 2018

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The Last Day

Yesterday was the last day of the 2018 US Dance Championships.

We saw some excellent Open US Professional Championships, although all of them felt a little like “do-overs” as there were few overseas couples in attendance.

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In the US Open Pro Ballroom, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva made it a “double” by winning this championship in addition to the national title they won on Thursday. Once again they were denied perfect scores, this time by 2 judges who awarded them 1 second place each – Heather Smith in Viennese Waltz and Giampiero Giannico in foxtrot. And again following the precedent set in the National competition, Iaroslav & Lilia Bielie were 2nd (2,2,2,2,2) and Rudy Homm & Katya Kanevskaya were 3rd (3,3,3,3,3). Also in line with the national, Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were 4th (5,4,4,4,4). There were 2 spaces left from the national final as 2 of the couples did not compete in the Open and these were filled by Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina (4,5,5,5,5) and Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 6,6,6,6,6.

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The top two couples from the US National Pro Latin did not compete in the open, so the field was pretty open, but in the end the 3rd place couple from the National moved up to the winners’ spot here. This was Andrei Kzalouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir and they placed 1,1,2,1,1. It was, however, quite a closely scored competition and they received the majority of 1st places only in samba. Runners-up tonight were the 4th placed couple from the national, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina 2,2,3,4,2. The winners of the rumba were Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach and they scored 4,3,1,3,4 for 3rd place overall. They did have the majority of 1st places in the rumba. 4th spot went to Canada, Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer 3,4,4,2,3. 5th Manuel Favila & Natalia Maidiuk 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Artur Tarnavsky & Anastasia Danilova 6,6,6,6,6.

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The other World event run tonight was the World Professional Cabaret Championship and like the National Championship in this style, there were once again 12 contestants although not exactly the same 12. The top 2, however, remained the same. Shane & Shannon Jensen were the winners and they received 8 of 17 available 1st place marks from the judges. Although not quite a majority, they were well clear in the “2nd or better” column. We did note one 6th place from judge Richard Porter. The runners-up, as in the national event were Travis & Jaimee Tuft. They received 4 of the judges’ 1st places, but also received a 6th, this time from judge, JT Thomas. 3rd and also mirroring the national event were Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez.  4th went to Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko The couple placing 5th were the ones to divide the panel the most. They received 4 first place marks, the same amount as the Tufts, but they also received several 6th and 5th placements. This was Alyenendrov Tsorokean & Maria Wheeler. 6th Craig Smith & Andrea Harvey.

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For the pro-ams it was the turn of the Ballroom competitors to contest the Open US Championships. Once again it was the B category that was featured and the final was danced at night. It was a very closely fought final and resulted in a 3-way tie for 1st place that had to be broken by Rule 10. After the computer had grinded away, the win went to Sabrina Zargolin w/ Yuriy Kravets 1,3,5,1,2. Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov was the runner-up, 5,2,2,2,1 and Brynda Insley w/ Martin Rynbold was 3rd 2,1,3,3,3. It has been some time since we have seen a 3-way tie for first place! 4th Amy Liu w/ Igor Mikushov 3,4,1,4,4; 5th Bo Chang w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 4,5,4,5,5; 6th Sibyl Yang w/ Rudy Homm 6,6,6,6,6.

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The Open A was a straight final and the winner was Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 1,2,1,1,1. Jen Mo w/ Stephano DiBrino was the runner-up with 3,3T,2,2,2 and Brenda Dalzell w/ Evgeniy Mayorov won the tango but placed 3rd overall 4,1,3,3,3. Miwa Rifu w/ Peter Walker was 4th 2,3T,4,4,4; 5th Nina Ouzdenova w/ Sergey Bezrodnov 5,5,5,5,5.

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Kyle Brown w/ Sergey Bondarenko had a very successful afternoon winning both the Open C and Open S1 divisions. In in the C she placed 1,1,1,2,1. The runner-up was Tomoko Shimizu w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 2,2,2,1,4 and 3rd spot fell to Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 3,3,4,4,3. Anna Oblakova had 2 gentlemen students in the open finals and one of them, Mike Brown, placed 4th in this division – 4,4,3,5,2. They were dancing for Canada. 5th Betty Yeh w/ Enzo Zappia 5,5,5,3,6; 6th Kako Matsumoto w/ Basil Issaev 6,6,6,6,5; 7th Valerie Arias w/ Yevgeny Klyukin 7,7,7,7,7.

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As we said above, Kyle w/ Sergey also won the Open S1, this time placing 1,1,1,1,2. Canada had 2 representatives in this final and the first of them, Bevely Moore w/ Alain Doucet placed 2nd 2,2,2,3,1. Denise Layfield w/ Emmanuele Pappacena took 3rd 3,3,3,2,3. 4th went to Linda Dillman w/ Arturas Misurenkovas 4,4,4,5,4; 5th Susan Walter w/ Samuele Pacchini 5,5,5,4,6. The 2nd Canadian, Avi Lazarovits w/ Anna Oblackova was 6th 7,7,6,6,5 and 7th went to Maryann Nichols w/ Enzo Zappia 6,6,7,7,7.

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In the Open C2 3-Dance, Rong Cheng w/ Oscar Pedrinelli was the winner in all dances. 2nd in all went to Maryann Nichols w/ Enzo Zappia. 3rd Maryanne Helleberg w/ Marta 3,4,3; 4th Pat Klein w/ Marek Gabor 4,3,5; 5th Carol Ferrell w/ Paulo DiLorenzo 5,5,4. We had another 3-way tie in this division, this time for 6th place and this one took a Rule 11 to break. 6th Joan Wright w/ Sergey Bezrodnov 8,7,6; 7th Oliver w/ Buraveko 6,8,7; 8th Nordis Glasoe w/ Anton Gorolevici 7,6,8.

As well as the Ballroom, the pro-ams also competed for Open US Titles in Cabaret, Showdance and Mambo.

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In the Cabaret the easy winner with 6 of the 9 first place marks was Natasha Namen w/ Craig Smiith. 2nd went to Jake Mazhar w/ Shannon Jensen and 3rd to Bonnie Morley w/ Shane Jensen.

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The winner of the Pro-Am Latin Showdance was J w/ Slava Panakshev and the winner of the Ballroom Showdance was Kelley Prisco w/ Paulo DiLorenzo

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In the US National Mambo Jailene Espinosa w/ Eddie Rivera was the winner, receiving all the judges’ first places. 2nd went to Chastity Smith w/ Eddie Ares and 3rd to Roseangelica Luigi-Rivera w/ Jose Perez.

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The prestigious John Monte Award is presented each year on the final night of the US Championships and this year’s recipient was Shirley Ballas.

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War of the Titans!

Last night at the United States Dance Championships we witnessed one of the best Professional Smooth Championships ever, so full of talent and creativity that we can almost say we witnessed a war of the “Titans” of Smooth. But this is not all, we also had a terrific Professional Latin, and all this with no “Hurricane” in sight this time!

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The US National Professional Smooth Championship started last night with a huge quarter-final round, and from the start we knew it would be a clash of the “titans.” The peanut gallery thought that perhaps the three heats at the beginning for the quarter was an overkill, the majority of us would have preferred to see it all in two heats and another round to be called in. We all agree that it is nicest to see the couples go head to head from the start insuring that only the very best get back. (Just saying, we were all so involved in this heat from the start that we figured we’d put in our two cents on this as well).

As we said earlier the final was composed of six of the finest Professional Smooth dancers you can ever see and it felt as if we were finally witnessing a clash of Titans! Nearly every couple down to the bottom six had something special to offer and contribute to this final, as we mentioned earlier the talent, creativity and performance were amazing, like no other. And we can almost affirm that they could have crowned any of the top three last night and it would have been okay. We are not sure we will witness a final of this quality and excitement in any near future outings, but this was for sure very special and well appreciated.

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The top two to begin with were a toss-up - Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija and Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova were amazing. As some of our colleagues mentioned, Nick & Viktorija were their usual selves, same routines, all very controlled and extremely consistent in all their moves, their work was totally correct, very valuable and hard to fault anywhere especially here at our US National Championships. However, on this night they were totally challenged by Max & Tatiana who from our observations could have easily taken other dances, if their charisma and musical interpretation were not enough, in choreography alone these two for us were the top Titans of the night.

Yes, although this was not our favorite dance of the night from them, they did win the tango, possibly due to precedent (they have in the past won this dance a number of times) but in our opinion any of the other three dances could have easily gone to them as well. Unfortunately for them, the judges chose on this night, to follow precedent leaving Max & Tatiana as the runners-up and crowning Nick & Viktoriya one more time as the 2018 US National Professional Smooth Champions. Nick & Viktorija won with these marks 1,2,1,1, and Max & Tatiana placed second with these marks 2,1,2,2. Both couples are amazing – it really is a matter of personal taste.

In looking at the judges’ marks Nick & Viktorija won both waltzes with a majority of firsts, 13 first place marks in the waltz and 10 first place marks in the Viennese waltz. Max & Tatiana won the tango, also with a majority of firsts, 12 to be precise. The big question mark was in the foxtrot where Nick & Viktorija took 8 first place marks and Max & Tatiana also 8. So the result of this dance came down to 3 marks, Max & Tatiana had 14 “second or better” marks but Nick & Viktporija had 17 “second or better” marks, as you can see they won the foxtrot by 3 marks giving them the US National title outright and avoiding a tie-break.  This was for the 3rd time in a row for them, congratulations indeed!

As we studied the marks one by one from this illustrious panel of 19 adjudicators, it seemed that Mr. Patrick Johnston was not in agreement with his peers on the judging panel. He awarded 6th in three dances to Max & Tatiana? We can almost understand the 4th in the waltz, because this dance was easily won by Nick & Viktorija and to be fair they also got another fourth in this dance from Mr. David Kloss, but 6th in the other three dances? Lucky for Patrick we are still in the land of the free, with free speech and free will to mark as you wish and as judges we’ve all had an occasion when we were out of step with the majority. However, it is hard for even us liberal-leaning people to comprehend how anyone would mark Nick & Viktorija, Max & Tatiana, or Travis & Jaimee this low in such a fantastic final with such great dancing from the top!

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Third in this fabulous parade of Smoothies went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft in every dance. We must first point out that Travis and Jaimee also managed to steal some first places from Nick & Viktorija, 1 in the waltz, 3 in the foxtrot and 2 in the Viennese waltz. Jaimee wore perhaps the most beautiful dress in the final and the contrast between her blond hair and dress gave her a Goddess quality to their titan dancing. In the recent past Travis & Jaimee have placed above Max & Tatiana and we could easily see why, but last night as good as they were it was hard to be in the top two mix, as you saw they managed to take a small amount of firsts from Nick & Viktorija and in the tango not one first from Max & Tatiana. Their performance last night had great quality but this was not enough, they needed to be in attack mode, adrenaline flowing at all times and we did not feel this from them last night.

Fourth in all dances went to Aleksandra Smirnova & Yegor Novikov, we love this couple with their unique look and musicality. In extremities alone they tower over everyone else and when Alexandra moves at times she gives you the feeling especially when she opens her arms that you’re seeing a beautiful “condor” flying over the Andes. We truly feel that this might be the next couple to watch for in future outings. We are still not convinced by the loose hair, but on this outing we felt it more contained allowing us to see their beautiful more clearly

Fifth was awarded to Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina, another very talented couple in this very special final. Here are two equally talented individuals who have so much to give to this Smooth machine but arestill trying to find their footing with each other. At the moment their creative juices are overflowing and in nearly all their routines they get stuck in places where they should be moving, perhaps a little less creativity in all their moves and more basic approach could help their performance? We are not sure but it has to flow and not just stop and go. Roman & Galina took fives in all dances.

And finally in sixth position were Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab taking sixth in all dances. A fantastic addition to this final with so much potential and beauty! At the moment they have all the elements to be in this final, but we have yet to determine their colors? We need to hear their argument see what they develop because we know that when they do, it would be fierce.

Once again I want to congratulate and say thank you to this beautiful and committed Smooth Professionals, you make us very proud of what America has created and we are now distributing to the world, perhaps the biggest contribution to contemporary Ballroom dancing.

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The Professional Smooth stole our hearts and emotion but the US National Professional Latin Championship turned out to be a fantastic competition in its own right. As expected WDC World and US Champions Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko won every dance without challenge and with perfect scores from all the judges making them 10-time US Champions, the only time missing the US Championship was last year due to “Irma” (Hurricane).

Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova also sailed right through to be the runners-up with little or no challenge from the other couples. They received every second in three dances and almost all seconds but one mark in the samba and rumba where Linda Wakefield awarded them a third in both dances and one other 3rd from linda Dean in Rumba, ruining their almost perfect runners-up run. We have to agree with the majority there is no second best than these two in our field today and we are happy to have such a fantastic team representing us all around the world.

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In a reverse of placements from the Embassy Ball just last weekend, former US National Champions (Andrei & Asta were last year’s US Champions, perhaps due to hurricane Irma and cancellations from many couples including Riccardo & Yulia) Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir took third overall surpassing their challengers, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina. On this outing Andrei & Asta took these marks 3,3,3,4,4, and Mikhailo & Anastasiia took these 4,4,5,3,3 placing fourth overall. We personally like Mikhailo & Anastasiia’s rhythmicality but that is just our opinion, Andrei & Asta have beautiful aesthetic lines and material that we are sure impressed many.

Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach placed fifth overall 5,5,4,5,5, and for us this was a terrific competition for them right from the start. Her emerald green not only attracted everyone’s attention but is one of our favorite colors. Their dancing was amazing in particular Daniella’s, perhaps Pasha needs to do a little more to compliment such incredible movement and just then the cards might turn to a higher placement.

Sixth in this parade of start went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk. We were glad to see them included in this excellent final and not just for their looks but for their very improved dancing. Congratulation to all the couples mentioned, you also made this excellent National Championship memorable to all.

Both of the open to the world Amateur Championships were held on this night, but once again they failed to attract very much interest from the “rest of the world” or even from the USA. The results were:

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Latin: 1st Besyedin/Besyedin (USA) 2,1,1,1,1; 2nd Drmota/Baranowska (Poland) 1,2,2,2 2; 3rd Groysman/Muraru (USA) 3,3,3,4,3; 4th Rubashevsky/Rubashevsky (USA) 4,4,4,3,4; 5th Williams/Du (USA) 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Boldman/Chaet (USA) 6,6,6,6,6.

Ballroom: 1st Rubashevsky/Rubashevsky (USA) 1,1,1,1,1; 2nd Wilson/Reni (USA) 2,2,2,2,2; 3rd Williams/Du (USA) 3,3,3,3,3.

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The Winner (Nearly) Takes it all!

Last night at our United States Dance Championships Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva won the Professional Ballroom Championship!

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They took all dances, they took the applause and encouragement from the audience and they nearly did it all with perfect scores from every judge in all dances. Unfortunately for them, one of the 19 judges did not feel they deserved to win every dance, with the exception of the waltz where they got perfect scores, Giampiero Giannico awarded them second in every other dance.

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Giampiero spread his other 4 first place marks like Christmas in “July,” one to Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya in the tango who placed third overall, and the other 3 to Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei in the VW,F,Q. To make it all clear in the end Iaroslav & Liliia placed second with these marks 2,3,2,2,2, and Rudy & Katia placed third overall with these marks 3,2,4,3,3.

For us this US Ballroom Championship was a very special final because with the absence of the WDC World and US Professional Ballroom Champions, Arunas Bezukas & Katusha Demidova who have won the US Professional Title for the last the 10 years, The US title was up for grabs. (By the way Katusha won this title with Jonathan Wilkins for another 10 years before Arunas.) It is great to see that for this year Arunas & Katusha have stepped down from major events to allow others to achieve their dreams and to perhaps prepare others to take their place when they decide to retire.

With the exception of the tango we can say that Iaroslav & Liliia placed second with a comfortable lead of seconds in the four dances. 10 or more judges awarded them 2nd or better. And with the exception of the Viennese Waltz we can also say that Rudy & Katia had a majority of third or better marks from the judges. The one missing third place from the top three in this final went to Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova who placed fourth overall with these marks 4,4,3,4,4, but as you can see placed third in the Viennese Waltz. Fifth and sixth places were disputed a little more between the last two couples, but in the end Oskar Wojciechowski & Carolina Holody took fifth overall 5,6,5,5,6, and sixth place went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 6,5,6,6,5.

We are sure that many of the Ballroom aficionados that know about the professional game of Ballroom by now are wondering where the third place hopefuls Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk were? Because they too were missing the action last night. We regret to report that while everyone was practicing earlier on the day Veronika was having some physical therapy for an injury she incurred on the floor a couple weeks ago at the Capital Dancesport. We at Dance Beat are fans of their dancing and we wish her a fast recovery!

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Although everyone’s eyes were on the Ballroom the US National Professional Rhythm Championship also took place last night and it was a terrific event. After a fierce competition we must announce that Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova won this US Championship for the third time in a row. We must also add that they won with the majority of firsts in all dances from the judges. In the cha cha and swing they were only one mark from having perfect scores, and we must also point out that Dan Rutherford was the only consistent judge to award them second in every dance. All Dan’s first place marks went to Andre & Natalie Paramonov who placed second in all dances, we have also to point out that all other first place marks that Nazar & Irina lost went to Andre & Natalie. For us between this two couples it was between spontaneous and studied, Nazar & Irina seem to use a natural approach, while Andre & Natalie seem to be a little more studied and rehearsed, both great deliveries leaving it to the judges’ taste as to who should win.

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Third place was awarded to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi and they placed third in every dance, fourth overall was awarded to Shane & Shanon Jensen with these scores 5,4,4,4,5. Fifth and sixth for the judges got really complicated with ties and placements all over the place, but in the end fifth place was awarded to Dmitriy & Olena Nikishkin with this marks 4,5T,5,6,4, and in sixth place was Ilya Vlednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko 6,5T,6,5,6. For us here was a war between consistency in every round and powerful performance. Dmitriy & Olena seem to deliver these two items without hesitation at will, while perhaps Ilya & Mariya require the environment, from the music to the floor and people surrounding there performance.

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The US National Professional mambo had only 3 couples competing for this honor, in the past we had quite a few people competing for this title, but lately we had just a handfull and yesterday it was “Sad” with only 3 couples on the floor. As our features editor Mr. Barrera would say, “where are my people?” Nevertheless, the title very appropriately went to Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto with perfect scores from the judges and we could not agree more, a very well deserved win for this young couple who capture the culture as well as the rhythm of the Spanish colonial lands. Second from all judges went to Tomas Vasicek & Vitalija Tyrnova and although in a radiant pink pant suit they tried to capture the essence of the dance and did the dance with perfect physical skill, for us they still lacked that understanding of the cultural aspect of the music in question. That left third to Julios Solano & Sophie Cazeneuve, perhaps here was the reverse plenty of soul but the physical skills was lagging a little behind, by they way they took third from all judges.

For the pro-ams it was Latin day. Although not as populated as the Rhythm and Smooth divisions, the Open to the World advanced scholarships gave us some well-contested finals.

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Once again the Open B was danced at night, but was a straight final, in fact there were only 3 entries, so there was no qualification round in the afternoon. Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich was the obvious winner losing very few of the judges’ first place marks. 2nd in all dances went to Elaine Lim w/ Julian Manderson (England) and 3rd in all to Sonja Otto w/ Izak Smit (S. Africa). We wonder where all the Latin dancers were?

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Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglen was the easy winner of the Open A, losing a total of only 6 first places from a possible 55. With 2,2,3,3,2 Jamie Dorotov w/ Allan Genkin was the runner-up. A new lady to us, Mona Desmond w/ Sergey Samchynskyy was 3rd, scoring 3,3,2,2,5. All the 4’s went to June Lin w/ Pasha Pashkov; 5th Estefania Papadopulus w/ Paul Richardson 6,6,5,5,3; 6th Meera Mehta w/ Kristjian Burazer 5,5,6,6,6.

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Lyn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov notched up her 2nd Open win of the week, taking the Open C with scores of 1,1,1,2,2. 2 other very experienced ladies were 2nd and 3rd - 2nd Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann 3,3,2,1,1 and 3rd Marina Svyatets w/ Aleksandr Vukosavljevic 2,2,3,3,3. 4th Tasha Romero w/ Mykhailo Bilopukhov 4,4,5,5,4; 5th Sophia D’Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 6,6,4,4,5; 6th Ada Fung w/ Andre Kazlouski 5,5,6,6,6.

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One of the most successful pro-am competitors of recent years, Joan Goddard, now dancing in Latin with Andrew Escolme, was the winner of Open S1 placing 2,1,1,1,1. Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov won the cha cha and was 2nd in the other 4 dances to take the runner-up position. Alice Lecht w/ Igor Derimov was 3rd 3,5,3,4,3. 4th Luna Viva w/ Krisjian Burazer 4,3,4,3,5; 5th Sarah Switzer w/ Hayk Balasanyan 5,4,5,6,4; 6th Michaela Puno w/ Ryan Jago 6,6,6,5,6.

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High Flying USDC Wednesday

High flying indeed if you count an evening that included a US National Cabaret Championship with a final of, count them, 12 couples!

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The 15 judges were asked to place the couples 1st to 12th a daunting task. And it certainly was high flying as the couples included an average of 10 overhead aerial maneuvers in their routines. The clear winners tonight were Shane & Shannon Jensen who received 12 first place marks and 3 seconds from the judges. Shane & Shannon gave almost their usual slick and faultless performance, but we say “almost” because, unusually for them, they missed one lift. It is interesting to note that this slip up did not weigh on the judges’ decision.

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Runners-up were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who received mostly 2nd and 3rd place marks from the judges and one first from judge, Mary Murphy. Although Travis & Jaimee had no obvious errors in their routine this was not enough to convince the judges. 3rd spot went to Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez who also had a near perfect showing of a routine that we have seen many times before – could this be a factor in that no judge actually placed them to win? One of the two remaining 1st places went to 4th placed Alyenendrov Tsorokean & Maria Wheeler. Judge, Carlos Pabon gave them his first place and we must say that from the sidelines we also thought this was a very impressive performance. The final missing first place went fifth placed Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko – judge Iveta Lukosuite placed them to win. Sixth spot fell to Craig Smith & Andrea Harvey. They were unlucky to draw the number 1 position, although the Jensens also drew an early position. Craig & Andrea had some of the most challenging aerial material but unfortunately had a few errors.

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3 other US National Professional Titles were decided last night and we must now mention the US National 9-Dance Championship that was won by Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall who also won the US Rising Star Smooth competition this same night and had won the US Rising Star Rhythm the night before. What an incredible week so far for this pair! Oleksiy & Natalie easily won the 9-dance winning all dances except the bolero where they were 2nd.

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The winners of the bolero were Ilya Abdulin & Tara, and they were the runners-up overall placing 4,4,3,4,2,2,2,1,3 (Smooth dances are listed first). Close behind them came Jang & Adele Don 2,2,4,2,3,3,3,4,4. Maksym & Sarah Lototskyy were also close, in fact only 1 point behind the Dons, 3,3,2,3,4,4,4,3,2. Only 3 points separated 2nd to 4th places. 5th went to Aaron Talbert & Maggie Toth 5,5,5,6,6,6,6,6,6. This was Aaron & Maggie’s first 9-dance championship. Closing this final were Myhailo Azaerov & Tetyana Makarenko 6,7,6,7,5,5,5,5,5.

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The US National Professional 10-Dance also concluded tonight with the Latin section and the 2017 Champions, Jonas Kazlauskas & Kathleen Ilo, successfully held off all challengers to retain their title. Their scores (Ballroom listed first) were 2,2,1,1,1,1,3,1,1,2.

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The runners-up tonight were Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova 3,3,3,3,3,4,4,3T,3,3. Remarkably, only half a point separated 2nd from 3rd tonight and 3rd went to Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti 1,1,2,2,2,5,5,5,5,5. These 2 couples arrived at their placements in very different ways. Simeon & Kora placed in the middle of the final in all 10 dances, whereas Igor & Roxane did far better in Ballroom than in Latin. 4th spot went to Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva 5,5,5,5,5,3,1,3T,4,4. Dymytrii Goncharov & Tetiana Lutsenko took 5th 6,7,7,6,6,2,2,2,2,1 and Aleksei Minaev & Elena Minaeva were 6th 4,4,4,4,4,8,8,8,8,8.

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The final Professional National Championship decided Wednesday was the Latin Showdance and here we had a very exciting finish and new champions. Last year’s winners and the current World Champions in this division, Andre & Natalie Paramonov, were competing and showing the same routine that won them the World Championship. However, by 8 first places to 6, they lost this year to new champions, Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach. Pasha & Daniella were obviously delighted and they presented the routine that earned them a standing ovation in Blackpool at the Competitors’ Commission Gala. Both couples were flawless in their presentation. We loved both performances, the only proviso we have is that the music chosen by the Paramonovs has lyrics in Russian and it is obviously a very emotional piece. As non-Russian speakers we are left a little in the dark, although we must thank Ilia Kolosov of Aida Dance Shoes USA for his excellent translation. Congratulations to the new champions.

3rd place went to Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova, 4th to Lukas & Katerina Bartunek and 5th to Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina.

For the pro-ams it was Smooth day and it was a long day! In fact, for most of the day heats were running almost an hour behind. As with the Rhythm, the Open B Championship final was run in the evening session.

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The winner of the Open B was Sirinda Sinchareon w/ Max Sinitsa who won all dances, 3 with the majority of 1st places. We also thought Sirinda was a clear choice for 1st place. 2nd in all dances went to Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki and 3rd in all dances went to Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov. This was an 8-couple final. 4th Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen 4,4,5,4; 5th Irene Wong w/ John Campbell 5,5,4,6; 6th Antonia Frost w/ Sergey Izyumov 6,8,6,5; 7th Careen Friedland & Slava Kostianets 8,7,7,7; 8th Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto 7,6,8,8.

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Following on to several recent wins, Hanna Weiss w/ Slawek Souchaki was the easy winner of the Open A Smooth, losing very few 1st place marks from the judges. The runner-up was also clear and this was Natasha Namen w/ Alexandr Skriptsov. Natasha took at least one 1st place in all dances and had a majority of “2nd or better” in all dances. 3rd and 4th were decided by a Rule 11 tiebreak. With 4,3,3,5, Alina Sakura w/ Adrian Dydynsky and with 3,4,5,3, Brittany Falconer w/ Peter Walker was 4th. 5th Kailee Donovan & Gunnar Sverrisson 5,5,6,4; 6th Megan Wallace w/ Kladji Kasemi 6,6,4,6; 7th Francesca Scalise w/ Enzo Zappia 7,7,7,7.

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The Open C Smooth was a very close-fought division and it resulted in a 1-point win for Sophia D’Angelo who placed 3,2,1,1. Sophia was dancing with Max Sinitsa and this was a second open win for Max today. Just that one point behind was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 1,1,3,3. Lisa is a previous champion in this division, but has not competed as heavily this year. And just 1 point behind Lisa was 3rd placed Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 2,3,2,2. As you can see, these 3 ladies were extremely close. 4th Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 4,4,4,5; 5th Chinyen Chuo w/ Shandor Shtefil 5,5,6,4; 6th Charlene Proctor w/ Mykhail Zharinov 6T,7,5,6; 7th Careen Friedland & Slava Kostianets 6T,6,7,7.

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In the Open S1, Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy moved up to first place, winning all dances. The runner-up was Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) and Beverly was 2nd in all dances. Linda Gill w/ Ruslan Meshkov was 3rd 3,3,3,4. 4th Janet Bruttell w/ Dmitry Zavialov 4,4,4,3; 5th Audria Hill Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu 5,6,6,5; 6th Judi Markell w/ Pavel Cherdantsau 6,8,5,8; 7th Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov 8,5,7,7; 8th Elizabeth Cramer w/ Yuriy Kravets 7,7,8,6.

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The Open C2 went to Lyn Riddle w/ Sergiy Samchynskyy 2,1,1,1. The runner-up was Joan Page w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 1,2,2,3 and 3rd Buck Lindsay w/ Yulia Besarab 3,3,3,5. 4th Lois Gochnauer w/ Sergey Averkov 4,4,4,2; 5th Jeanie Bernstein w/ Jim Maranto 5,5,5,4; 6th Kathy Hoffman w/ Darius Mosteika 6,6,6,6.

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2 US National Rising Star Competitions were also decided last night. As we mentioned earlier in the blog, Oleksiy & Natalie were the winners in the Smooth. They won all 4 dances, but with 17 judges deciding this division, they did not achieve a majority in any dance this time. The runners-up were Jang & Adele Don and they were 2nd in all dances. Ilya Abdulin & Tara were 3rd, 4,3,3,3T. These 3 couples were also in the top 6 of the 9-Dance earlier in the evening. 4th spot went to the relatively new couple, at least to us, Vitalii Kaliuzhnyi & Talia Barrington 3,4,4,3T. 5th Igor Afonkin & Meaghan Anderson 5,6,5,5; 6th Stephen & elisa McCann 6,5,6,6.

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To back up their 3rd place in the Latin Showdance, Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova won the US National Rising Star Latin. They won all dances and had the majority of 1st places in all but samba. Vlad AStafiev & Annie He Xiao were comfortable in the runners-up spot with 2nd in all dances. 3rd and 4th place were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 3rd went to Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie 3,6,3,3,5 and 4th to Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova 5,3,4,4,4. 5th Dymitrii Goncharov & Tetiana Lutsenko 4,5,6,5,3; 6th Dmitrii Chopenko & Valeria Khrapak 6,4,5,6,6.

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And We’re Off!

The 2018 US Dancesport Championships are underway – with not a hurricane in sight!

We’re all back at the Swan/Dolphin Resort in Disneyworld, Florida for the US Dancesport Championships, organized by American Ballroom Company. The event began on Monday and last night the first of the US National Championships were decided.

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First up was the US Theatre Arts Championship. Only 4 couples contested this unique championship this year and the win went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft and they in fact received all 15 of the judges’ first places. This is their 3rd win in this division, although not in consecutive years. The other 3 couples shared the 2nd placements but the majority (8) went to Juan Martinez & Elayna Bottinelli to give them the runners-up spot. 3rd were Alyenerdrov Tsorokean & Maria Wheeler and 4th went to Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich.

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The other US National Title decided last night was the Classic Showdance. 3 couples contested this division. Last year’s champions, Alexander & Veronica Voskalchuk were entered but unable to compete due to injury. The clear winners this year were Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley and they received 14 of the 15 first places from the judges. Runners-up were Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina and 3rd were Sergey Isyumov & Oksana Zaver.

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For the pro-ams it has been 2 days of Rhythm that culminated in the US Open Championships. The Open B division final was held last night. The win went to the defending champion, Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika 1,2,1,1,1. The runner-up was Erin Hall w/ Steve Vasco 2,1,2,2,2. The interesting part of this result was that all dances were won by a majority of 6 first places to 5 – so it was a very close contest between these 2 strong contenders. With 3,4,3,3,3, Tina Musico w/ Marcio DeSouza. 4th Akiko Birch w/ Jonathan Green 4,3,4,4,4; 5th Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin 6,6,6,6,6.

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Marinda James-Heskett w/ Jeremy Piling was the easy winner of the Open A taking all dances with a clear majority of 1st places from the judges, although we were surprised to see some scores in the very low end of the final. The remaining placements were much closer. The runner-up was Levina Kasmara w/Gleb Makarov 2,2,2,3,5. 3rd place went to Alina Sakura & Adrian Dydynski 5,4T,5,2,3. 4th Chastity Smith w/ Eddie Ares 4,3,3,4,6; 5th Abigail Montalbo w/ Slash Sharan 3,4T,4,5,4; 6th Jailene Espinosa w/ Eddie Rivera 6,6,6,6,2. As you can see a very close-fought battle.

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Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov was the comfortable winner of the Open C, taking all 5 dances with strong majorities of 1st places. All the 2’s went to Maria Green w/ Toshko Kondov. With 3,4,3,4,3, Kristin Crisci w/ Evgeny Dyachenko. 4th Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert 4,3,4,3,4; 5th Marcie Garson w/ Ilya Reyzin 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Wendy Anderson w/ Michael Neil 6,6,6,6,6.

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The S2 Open Championship went to Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan 1,1,1,1,1. The runner-up was Kelly Akol & Jeremy Pilling 2,4,3,2,2. 3rd Janet Bruttell w/ Dmitry Zavialov 4,2,4,3,3; 4th Sherry Tucker w/ Astafiev 5,3,2,4,5; 5th Sharon Sanchez w/ Anton Tregubov 6,6,5,5,4; 6th Luna Viva w/ Krisijian Burazer 3,5,6,6,6.

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The Open S2 3-Dance went to Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian 1,1,1. Lois Fein w/ Aleksandr Vukoosavljevic was 2nd 2,2,2. 3rd Nancy Politzer w/ Andre Paramonov 5,3,3; 4th Buck Lindsay & Yulia Besarab 4,4,4; 5th Anne Goldstein w/ Andre Gergel 3,5,5; Sharree Hannah w/ Forrest Vance 6,6,6.

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Last night was also the deciding night for professional rising stars in Rhythm and Ballroom. The Rhythm was the larger, run over 3 rounds, and the winners were Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall and they placed 1,1,1,1,2. They were certainly in the running for this win based on recent results but they did not have a majority of 1st places in any dance tonight. With 2,2,2,4,3, Anton Tregubov & Ashley Sanchez were the runners-up. Anton & Ashley actually had the most 1st places in cha cha (7) but not the majority needed to win the dance. Kevin Ubillus & Milargros Lareto won the mambo (again not with a majority of 1st places). Their placements overall were 3,3,4,3,1. 4th Kristijan & Anja Burazer 4,4,3,2,4; 5th Kristian Sese & Mae Lozado 6,5,5,5,6; 6th Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker 5,6,6,6,5.

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The winners of the Ballroom were Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 3,1,1,1,1. They had the majority of 1st places in the quickstep. The runners-up were Marek Klepadlo & Nina Zhiting Yang 1,3,3,2,2. Third were Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna 2,2,2,3,3. 4th Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Artem Belmeha & Anna Sevchenko 4,6,5,5,5; 6th Aleksei Minaev & Elena Minaeva 6,4,6,6,6.

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