The surprise for us was the third place finish of Nikita Vasilenko & Olivia Agranovich who seemed to be a little surprised themselves when picking up the award, they placed 3,3,3,3,4. When you look at the marks you can see that the judges were quite irregular marking them from third to seventh place in every dance, we agree that their dancing was of good quality for this final but we were as impressed with some of the judges, we felt that even a fourth place would have been a little high for them. Nikita & Olivia’s dancing for us was good enough for a fifth place award, for sure not the seventh place some of the judges gave them but that is why Paragon had 13 judges to get an overall result. Third place for us should have gone to Ewoud Fidom & Melanie Weiler who gave an excellent performance but placed fourth overall 4,4,4,4,3, We suppose the art is in the eyes of the beholder on this one.
Artem Zhychuk & Natasha Shevchenko took fifth to our surprise with these marks 7,5,5,6,5, the partnership looks great and very promising but to us they still lack the consistency to be placed this highly, we felt that Misha Finkelstein & Yuliya Ishchak from Canada should have placed fifth or perhaps even higher, their work is a little to clinical still for our taste but very correct, a little more life and spontaneity could help their performance. Seventh overall was awarded to Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Besyedin with these marks 6,7,7,7,7. In conclusion we might have had a result up or down in disagreement with the judges but the one thing we can all agree with is that this Latin Amateur competition was a paragon of performance.
Fourth place went to Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker who gave a very correct performance, and although this might keep them in a final this is not going to make them get ahead, perhaps they need to take some of Ilya & Mariya’s energy and sweat, to infuse their performance with a little more energy, and they could easily go far with this. It was sad to se one of our favorite couples, Kristian Sese & Mae Lozada placed fifth and we should possibly add, lucky to be fifth. Their confidence level seems to be getting low and they cannot allow this. Last but not least, we had Mathew Hauer & Anastasia who took all sixths, they are the most improved couple in this final and we cannot wait to see more of this very energetic couple.
Second on this professional Ballroom heat went to Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver in all dances; third place went to Artem Belmeja & Anna Shevchenko with these marks 4,3,3,3,3; fourth was Ivan Levin & Sasha Basko 3,4,4,4,4; fifth was awarded to Mikhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska and they took fifth in all dances leaving all sixths to Anton Bilozorov & Samanta Filip.
The Pro/Am Latin was hugely attended and the Open Scholarships were a great example of this. The “A” went to Sabrina Strasser from Canada with her teacher Stanislav Korchergin taking first in all dances; second was Nicole Pierzchalski w/ Vlad Astafiev and they took all seconds, leaving third for Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson.
The “B” went to Jaqueline Soccadato w/ Delyan Terziev 1,1,1,2,2; second was Sabrina Nirchi w/ Dannie Arbour from Canada 2,2,2,1,2, and in third place was Gaelle Benchetrit w/ Dillon Lehman 3,3,3,4,5.
The “C” was also a good heat and here Lorraine Peoples w/ Genya Bartashevich took first in all dances; Marina Svyatats w/ Alek Vukosavljevic took all seconds and Susan Kulman &Nikolai Shpakov all thirds.
In the Senior Diana Night w/ Nikolai Shpakov took first 2,1,2,1,1; Eva Stelzer w/ Danny Arbour was second 1,2,1,2,2 and Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta took all thirds.
Congratulations once again to Andre & Elena for putting on such a fantastic event full of energy, and to Luana Conti for making us feel at home with all her treats and attentions. It was fun and as always a very interesting competition.
A Fabulous Halloween Spirit at Paragon!
"There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow by moonlight!"
Just the right quote to describe this year’s spirit and decorations at the Paragon Open Championships. It is great to see organizers get into the spirit of the holidays, and remind us about the small things in life that should be celebrated. As always they just did not only decorate for a competition that usually falls within or around Halloween, they also go way out with special chocolate gifts for all champions and also, sweets and treats for everyone. However, the treats did not stop there, there were plenty of great dance competitions to placate our dancing palate.
Fifth place went to Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson, who gave an excellent performance last night, perhaps the best we have seen, and sixth place was awarded to Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts. We uost point out that all couples in all placements took that position in every dance, there was no variables.
The Professional Cabaret was terrific and here we saw a new and improved “Dali” routine from Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko who won the competition with just enough judges to call it a majority but not a landslide. We have to say that the routine was super improved costume and all, the Clock placement before getting fully on the way was an excellent addition and we are very glad they have improved the routine rather than change it. The “Tan” number for us was not hitting the mark. Second overall went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft and they took any firsts that were not allocated to Mykhailo & Tetyana. Their number was perfection for us but in a way lacked the intensity, of will they make it that the other couple had. Perhaps they, Travis & Jaimee, need to reach out of their tool box and find something more unique in music and character to break the mold they are in.
Third went to Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova with their well known Gipsy dance that brings the eastern countries to their feet. We wish we could say that it does the same for us, but we must say it is well executed. Fourth were Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley - talk about getting out of you tool box, great job in this excellent Ballroom showdance, it is unfortunate that they are competing with people who can do so many lifts, but they are on top of our list as far as Ballroom Showdance is concerned. Fifth went to Douglas Dombrowik & Angel Foz and sixth were Vincente Antonelli & Stephanie Falciano.
It has been two days of Pro/Am competition with the Ballroom Smooth and Rhythm completely finished. We must point out who won some of these excellent categories. Olivia Zettergren w/ Mazen Hanza won the “A” Open Smooth; Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano took the “B” Smooth; Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski won the “C” and Sandy Finley w/ Mikolay Czarnecki won the Senior.
In the Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships, Levina Kasmara w/ Gleb Makarov won the A; Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan took the “B”; the “C” went to Marcy Garson w/ Ilya Reyzin, and the Senior was awarded to Lois Fein w/ Aleks Vukosavljevic.
The pro/am Ballroom scholarships had the most entries and here Jen Mo w/ Stefano DiBrino won the “A”; Carol Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet took the “B;” the “C” was awarded to Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia and in the Senior Linda Dillman w/ Arturas Misurenkovas took the scholarship.
Our congratulations to Andrei & Elena for doing such a fantastic job and for the care they give all your staff and all your officials.