The Hilton Toronto was an excellent location to host everyone that had come from afar, very close to the convention center (venue where the competition was held) and close to many points of interest around Toronto.
There was some terrific dancing but the Open Amateur Latin was a highlight and great finish to this nearly two days of competition. The event started with a terrific semifinal and once in the final with so much talent at hand, it was hard we are sure for the judges to figure out who would place where. In the end the event went to Misha Finkelstein & Yulia Ishchak by winning four dances and placing second in the samba. We must also point out that three of the dances they won were with a majority of firsts from the judges. Although we are total fans of Misha & Yulai with the amount of talent in this final we can easily see how they lost the samba, the final was divided with three very outstanding couples and three slightly lower tier couples below them. The two couples that challenged Misha & Yulia placed second and third, and they were Sandu Bariba & Alise Dombrovskiy and Idan Daich & Rumi Dolmaya. In the final summary Idan & Rumi placed second overall and won the samba and Sandu & Alise took third in all dances.
We must also point out that Idan & Rumi won the samba with a majority of firsts from the judges, but we honestly have to say that second and third could have been a toss up for us. Idan & Rumi have a very special quality to their movements with very original work and Sandu & Alise for us seemed very solid with great basic and solid understanding of Latin dancing. We must also point out that Sandu & Alise took two firsts from the first place couple, one in the rumba and one in the jive, the rest of the missing firsts from Misha & Yulia’s column went to Idan & Rumi.
Fourth in this excellent final went to Kevin Sun & Tatevik, and they took fourth in all dances, fifth place in all was awarded to Sebastian Tremblay Brosseau & Emmy Chladek, and sixth place went to Michael Rubezin & Elise Magliocchetti.
In the professional divisions there was an excellent heat in the Smooth competition. Top placement in this Professional Smooth heat in our opinion was fought hard between two couples, Pavel Lebedev & Dinara Khayrulina and Sharon Levit & Milena Kolarova. In the end the win went to Pavel & Dinara with a majority of firsts in all dances, second went to Sharon & Milena and they took all of the firsts that Pavel & Dinara did not get. We were a little torn in this event, you had Pavel & Dinara who gave a wonderful performance with excellent execution, but on the other hand you had Sharon & Milena who had a lot of soul in their dancing and who truly embodied the music of each dance. Where to cut you might ask? Well the majority of judges decided to go with a correct and clean performance as we just mentioned, they won with a majority of firsts every dance. The most firsts they lost was in their foxtrot where they lost four marks to Sharon & Milena.
Third in this excellent Smooth heat was awarded to Patrick Derry & Anastasia Trutneva, and they placed third in every dance; leaving fourth to Kevin Casavant & Melanie Martin.
The Toronto Winter Ball was basically a day and a half of competition and the competition in all levels was fierce. Next year it is supposed to move to a hotel and for sure run a two full days and perhaps even a third day. Our congratulations to the Organizers, Inessa Strelnikova & Stanislav Kochergin, for a well done competition and we look forward to seeing them grow.