Grand Nationals Dance Championships 2018

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Smooth Perfection at Grand Nationals

On the last night of the Grand National Championships for 2018, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina showed us Smooth Perfection.

And the judges certainly agreed, awarding them every available 1st place in the Open Professional Smooth. These are 2 of our favorite dancers in this style. Roman can “move” like nobody else and Galina is perhaps the most “artistically” expressive lady in the field. WE fell they still need to match these styles together fully, but when they do ……..!!

Jang & Adele Don were equally secure in their runners-up spot, taking almost every 2nd place from the judges and in truth they were well clear from the remaining finalists and continue to grow in this style. 3rd, 4th & 5th positions followed the RS from the night before. Dmitry Zavialov & Kat Baumgartner 3,3,3,3; William Proper & Jennifer Elliot 4,4,4,4 and Dmitry & Andrea Kuzmenko 4,4,4,4.

The other featured event was the Open Latin and this had an interesting duel at the top. In the end the winners were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova and they placed 2,1,1,2,1. The other half of this duel were Jonas Kazlauskas & Kathleen Ilo who scored 1,2,2,1,2. The dances were all won with a majority of 1st places, but the cha cha and paso were 6 to 5 in favor of Jonas & Kathleen. As you can see the judges were quite divided and the 2 couples were quite different in style and physique. Jonas & Kathleen are tall and their style is very “competitive” and larger than life, while Roman & Alexandra are a little more subtle in their interpretations. Today it was Roman & Alexandra who found the majority of judges in their favor.

As in the smooth the other placements followed the RS division - Daniele Fulvi & Veronica Criscone 3,3,3,3,3; Adriano Camardese & Lauren Hurley 5,5,4,4,4; Dylan & Nora Jenkins 4,4,5,5,5.

This concluded the 2018 Grand Nationals, but I’m sure preparations are will underway for 2019 when this event will host the WDC World Professional Latin Championship.

Preparing for the World’s

As many may know, in 2019 the Grand National Championships are hosting the WDC World Professional Latin Championship.

In preparation for this exciting event, the organizers, Peter & Cassandra Schneider, searched Miami for a suitable venue. They decided on the Trump National Doral, and so we are all here this year too. The facilities are outstanding and it makes a fine venue for a competition.

So far we have seen pro-am divisions in Rhythm and Ballroom and today we will finish the remaining styles. There have also been Pro RS and Open divisions and here are the results.

The largest event so far was the Open Pro Rhythm with a 7-couple final and we found it interesting and somewhat difficult to select the results. Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin, US Finalists, were the obvious winners and they did win all dances with a majority of 1st places in all dances. Mambo was the closest, where they had 6 of the 11 first place marks. Cher Rutherford was the main dissenting judge who placed them 2,2,3,4,3, but they did pick up some other lower marks as well. With 2,2,2,2,3, Anton Tregubov & Ashley Sanchez took 2nd and gave a strong performance we thought. They had clear majorities of “2nd or better” in the first 4 dances. With 3,3,3,3,2, Kevin Ubillus & Milargros Lareto took 2nd and had 4 first place marks in mambo. They are the current US Mambo Champions and in our opinion have a unique flair for this dance. 5,4,4,4,4 gave Jang & Adele Don 4th place overall and the RS winners, Tomas Vasicek & Vitaija Tyrnova were 5th with 4,5,5,5,5. Dmitry & Andrea Kuzmenko were 6th 7,7,6,7,7, and Hughes Napoleon & Ashley Marie were 7th 7,7,6,7,7.

Only 2 couples contested the Open Ballroom but they were great couples – Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova, US Finalists, and Jonas Kazlauskas & Kathleen Ilo, US 10-Dance Champions. The easy winners were Vladislav & Ekaterina. They had every first place from the judges except 2 seconds from John Elsbury.

In the RS Smooth, Dmitry Zavialov & Katt Baumgartner were the winners in all dances. They had the majority of 1st places in all although in the 2 waltzes it was somewhat close. They have a very active style in contrast to the runners-up, William Proper & Jennifer Elliot who are more traditional in their approach. They placed 2,3,3,2 giving a Rule 11 tiebreak situation. We thought they were easily in the top 2. The other half of the tiebreak with 3,2,2,3 was the Kuzmenkos, so they placed 3rd. 4th Juan Martinez & Elanya Bottinelli 4,4,4T,4; 5th Daniel & Mariel Blain 5,5,4T,5.

3 couples contested the RS Latin with the following result: Daniele Fulvi & Veronica Criscone 1,1,1,1,1; Adriano Camardese & Lauren Hurley 3,2,2,2,3; Dylan & Nora Jenkins 2,3,3,3,2.

On Thursday night the RS Rhythm gave a win to Tomas Vasicek & Vitaija Tyrnova in all dances. The Kuzmenkos were 2nd in all, Daniel & Mariel Blain were 3rd in all and Hughes Napoleon & Ashley Marie 4th in all.

Stay tuned for more!

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