City Lights Open 2019

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Ballroom shines at City Lights!

Last night’s Professional Ballroom was a huge success in entertainment value with the participation of some important US players.

Victor Fung & Anastasia, Current US Champions and world finalists, were in attendance and this being their state of residence, the audience was going wild. The other three open professional championships also took place and they too had great success.

As expected Victor & Anastasia won every dance with perfect scores - not one judges awarded them anything less. We are not so sure this was a great showing for them, because we have seen better performances from them in the past, but we thought it to be good enough to secure them perfect scores at this competition. We cannot say the same for the runners-up, Iaroslav & lillia Bieliei, who took second in all dances but their marks were not as perfectly secure as Victor & Anastasia’s. Iaroslav & Lillia got a few thirds in all dances and even a couple of fourths and fifths in their column. John Nyemchek awarded them a fourth in the waltz, but Dan Messenger deliverd their worst marks, a fifth in the Viennese Waltz and a fourth in the quickstep. We are not sure we can agree with Dan on the quickstep where we thought this to be their best dance last night, but we are glad the City Lights Ball had plenty of judges to end up with what we think to be a good judgement overall.

Third place was awarded to Serhly Averkov & Olena Barna 3,4,3,3,4. We also thought this not to be the best night for this couple, perhaps not from the result perspective, but in performance. We are usually fans of Serhly & Olena, but on last night’s performance they seemed to just be going through the motions. We were really excited by the couple that placed fourth, Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova 4,3,4,4,3. We felt that perhaps they could have been placed slightly higher in some dances, especially in the tango where they could have nearly challenged the winners.

Fifth place in this excellent ballroom competition was awarded to Oreste Alitto & Valeriia Belozerova who placed fifth in all dances. This couple have some very interesting steps in their performance especially in the Viennese Waltz. We are sure it made some of the old guard’s necks hurt considering that this type of open work in the Viennese is hardly ever seen in NDCA or WDC competition. We don’t know why, it’s supposed to be Open, so why not! LOL. It must me a reminder of the old WDSF and WDC argument from the 90’s. Robert Nemiro & Lydia Miner-Voigt placed sixth and Oleh Teleha & Michelle were seventh.

The Professional Latin was also an outstanding competition and here Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina won the competition with a full majority of firsts from the judges. Like Victor & Anastasia in the Ballroom, they were cheered on by the local fans, them being a California couple. Patrick Johnston awarded them their worst marks and here is how Patrick saw it 5,5,2,5,4, as you can he awarded them very low scores, making us wonder what he saw the rest did not?

Second and also well encouraged by the audience were Francesco & Sabrina Bertini who placed second in all dances and in some cases stole many of the firsts from Mykhailo & Anastasiia, including a couple of firsts from Mr. Patrick Johnston. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova were third in all dances; Lukas & Simona Alisauskas were fourth in all; Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie were fifth with this marks 5,5,5,6,5; Przemyslaw Madrzynski & Magdalena Zybura were sixth 6,6,6,5,6 and seventh in all went to Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys.

The Professional Smooth and Rhythm both went to Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall winning all dances in both styles, with a majority of firsts in both. We were a little surprised they only mange to get 8 out of 15 first place marks in the bolero, because to us they were by far the best in the field this final evening.

In the Rhythm, Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman took all seconds; Aaron Pierce & Ksenia Stavrica placed third, Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were fourth and fifth in all was awarded to Jeremy Babagay & Helen Vazquez. We were happy to see that Helene made a different choice of costume this evening. It was perhaps not what they might have wanted to wear, but perhaps the appropriate outfit for a dance championship.

In the Smooth Stephan & Elisa McCann placed second in all dances; third went to Maksim Leonov & Anastasia Zhuchenko, and fourth in all went to Dave Hannigan & Yulia Koseleva, leaving fifth to Alan Barney & Megan Rund.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was small but sweet, the obvious winners were Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu. Second went to Dan Manea & Regina Pareigis; third was Thomas Yin & Kelly Cheng leaving fourth to Chris Henzie & Rebecca Fernandez.

The Open Smooth scholarships ran in the evening as well and the winners were: in the “A” Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov, and Irene also won the “B.” The “C” division went to Careen Friedland w/ Slava Kostianets.

Do you know the way to San Jose!

We sure do and to the City Lights Open in San Jose, CA, where there is truly a light left on for you!

Last night it was a very “enlightening” evening especially with such great quality Amateur Latin, where most of the judges were left scratching their heads thinking who to put where.

The winners of the City Lights Open Amateur Latin event were Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan, who won all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances. There was lots of talent on the floor but their experience made them separate from the rest and we can see why they nearly got perfect scores from the judges. Only two judges awarded Nikolai & Sarah anything less and they were Babette Brown who awarded them all seconds and Dennis Rogers who awarded them these marks 6,4,4,1,4. The rest of the judges awarded them first in every dance with the exception of Didio Barrera and Ron Montes who perhaps thought their Jive needed some work.

Second in all dances went to Bumchin Tegshjargl & Michelle Klets, but this position was not as clear as Nikolai & Sarah’s first place win. In their column they had marks from fourth to first place. We for sure thought they were good enough to be in this position, but do not have the maturity of understanding yet to be placed above the first place couple, even though their jive was great with that bounce that is totally needed in the basic to be jive. Third in all dances was awarded to Jason Lozin & Mariia Baikova. This we think was an excellent spot for them even though they seemed to be a little surprised with their placement. We have to say that we loved Jason & Mariia’s cha cha, we thought it to be the best on the floor.

Fourth place was awarded to Nikolas Constantine & Kennedy Eaton with these marks 4,4,4,4,3; fifth place was awarded to Mike Monokandilos & Stella Zilberberg 5,6,5,5,5 and sixth went to Edgar Khachaturov & Monet Pinkett 6,5,6,6,6.

The four styles of professional rising stars were run last night and here are the winners. In the Smooth - Stephen & Elisa McCann were the winners; in the Latin Przemyslaw & Magdalena Zybura took all firsts; in the Ballroom, Oreste Alito & Veleriia Belozerova won and in the Rhythm Aaron Pierce & Ksenia Stavrica won all dances. We must point out that in the Rising Star Rhythm the choices of costumes for some of the ladies left little to the imagination, from the judges’ perspective they are there to watch the dancing not to get a lap dance, so when a costume does not fit properly around all private parts, it becomes a little disturbing. Let’s just say that we were glad that we think the majority of the attendees were adults or over 18.

The Open Ballroom Scholarships were excellent and we must mention the winners. In the “C” category Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan won; the “A” went to Jennifer Lin w/ Radu Sterban, and the “B” winner was Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano.

We also had scholarships in the Rhythm and the winners were: “B” Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto; in the “C” Darla Davis w/ Jim Maranto and in the “A” Kim Glover w/ John Yates.

The originally scheduled Argentine Tango show was not able to take place due to travel problems, so at the last minute organizer, Anna Shahbazyan with her competitive partner Evgeniy Malko, recently retired from the American Smooth, stepped in and it was great to see them back on the floor.

Tonight the open professional events continue and we will have it all to you here on

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