La Classique du Quebec 2019

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Last night was the finale night for La Classique Du Quebec and there was lots to see and lots to talk about.

As always the Open Amateur Ballroom was a feature event as was the Amateur Latin, and here we also saw some terrific talent with lots of potential. We also had the conclusion of the professional events the Latin, Smooth and Cabaret, and here is how it all unfolded.

The Amateur Ballroom was slightly smaller than the Amateur Latin but it did not disappoint. From the start we saw talent oozing out of it. In the end six couples were called for this final and right from the start we had some excitement. When couple 284, Vladyslav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova took to the floor for a quickstep dance-on, he took off almost without a partner, or should we say with her lagging behind. Soon they came down tumbling, almost under the judges’ feet, head first out of control into a nasty fall. You could here a big “Ahhhh” from the audience and then a startled Vladyslav got up and helped his partner up and continued with the quick demonstration. We really liked this couple and in the semifinal we thought they might fight for a third or higher placement, but once the fall happened we knew it would be an uphill battle for them to reach the top. In any type of ballroom dancing, one of the objectives is that the couple stays vertical unless doing a lift or a trick of some kind. If you end up sideways, laying down on the floor without meaning to, it does not do you any good, especially in the Ballroom category.

The winner of this ballroom event was Nikita Druzhinin w/ Virginie Primeau-Porier placing first in all dances and we must point out, with a majority of firsts in all dances. We have to say that perhaps this might have been a good decision from the judges but for us Nikita & Virginie left lots to be desired. Among all the other couples we had to search for them and they are not small people. Once found, their work was very correct but for us it lacked excitement. Second overall was awarded to Oleksandr Kelenyuk & Olena Ablitsova placing second in all dances. Oleksandr & Olena were the one couple to steal the most firsts from Virginie & Nikita. We really liked this couple’s dancing. It is a very subtle approach but an excellent style. Third overall was awarded to Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanove 3,4,3,3,3.

As we mentioned earlier, we really enjoyed Vladyslav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova who placed fourth overall 4,3,4,4,4. Unfortunately, they did not get a good start with the fall during the quickstep dance-on, and so my prediction was right - that did not go well with the judges or perhaps the fact that they are not afraid to move and attack each dance with full characterization might have affected some of the old guard who like ballroom dancing to be subtle and non intrusive. Chuck Danza was their best judge he awarded them 1,1,2,2,1. We are not sure we would have awarded them first in that many dances, but we did think this couple was very skilled and full of talent.

Fifth in this Amateur Ballroom event went to Stefan Badea & Madalina Varlam 5,5,5,6,5, and sixth went to David Sholkov & Nicole Beri.

The Professional Smooth was also a terrific event here at La Classique. US and World runners-up, Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Selevirstova, won the competition and all dances with a majority of firsts. In fact they might have won all dances with perfect scores but for Ms. Jane Edgett who awarded them the following marks 3,4,5,3. We were a little surprised by Ms. Edgett’s marks and we wonder what she saw that we all missed. Before we continue we most also announce that Max & Tatiana won the Professional Cabaret this evening as well.

Second overall was awarded to Pavel Lebedev & Dinara Khayrulina 2,3,2,2. On this occasion we found their work very organized and easy to understand. We would have loved to see a little more subtlety in their choreography and approach, but we were happy to see great improvement from them. Third went to Vladimir Popov & Erin Marie 3,2,4,4. As you can see from the marks the judges did not know where to put this new partnership. We really enjoyed their performance it was full of subtleties that only a couple of their experience can get away with. It is unfortunate that perhaps the judges did not see it this way, but this is a brand new partnership and we look forward to seeing great things from this couple to come.

Fourth in this excellent Smooth final was awarded to Christian Lightner & Kia Kenny 4,4,3,3. Fifth place was given to Sharon Levit & Milena Koralova 6,5,6,5, and sixth place went to Patrick Derry & Anastasia Trutneva 5,6,5,6.

There was a five-couple Professional Latin Championship and this was a small heat but mighty. Before we go over this excellent Latin event I want to ask the Latin ladies why some of them have to put so much tan, to the point where they look dirty as if they just came down a chimney or something close to it? A good tan is good, but don’t overdo it to look the part of a Latin lady. We do have some fair skinned people in South America you know!

The winner of this Latin Championship was Valentin Voronov & Anna Pelypenko 1,1,1,2,2. We were totally impressed with this couple’s work and were very pleased they won the night. Their work has light and shade and nothing is overdone or over the top - they look completely real. Second place was awarded to Kamil Studenny & Anna Kaplii 2,2,2,1,1. We found this partnership very interesting, at times almost brilliant, but at times a little prefabricated for our Latin sense. Third went to Richard Lifshitz & Laura Robinson. They took third in all dances. Laura is an excellent lady who looks beautiful on the floor. Unfortunately, the most lasting memory we will have of this couple, is Richard turning his back to all cameras during the presentation. Upon reflection, we see that he was trying to promote a sponsor, and in today's commercial age this is an important thing. But this is perhaps the wrong time to do this. This was a lack of respect to everyone wanting to make a memory out of this moment and a lack of respect to one of the most prestigious events in North America. I know no one does this in England, the country they now represent, and for sure not here in French Canada. Jason Chao Dai & Alina Litvak took fourth in all dances, and Han Ly & Crystal Li were fifth in all.

In the Pro/Am Categories the “A’ Ballroom went to Carol Simmons & Sergei Pogonet, second was awarded to Tetiana Sitiugina w/ Alexandre Chalkevitch. In the “B” division Carole Simmons also took first place in all dances, second went to Sophie Patenaude w/ Konstantin Rogotskyy 3,3,2,2,2, and third was awarded to Kasia Majewski w/Yuriy Shelkovyy 2,2,4,3,3. The “C” division was awarded to Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet, taking first in all dances, second was Sophie Patenaude w/ Konstantin Rogotskyy 3,2,2,2,2, and third was awarded to Nadia Sicilia w/ Christopher Panasuk 2,3,3,3,4. In the “D” category Sophie Ou w/ Pavel Lebedev was first 2,1,1,1,1, Jennifer Breiter w/ Anton Lebedev was second 1,2,3,4,3, and Lisa Fang w/ Serghei Pogonet was third 3,3,2,3,4.

Celia Chou & Erminio Stefano performed a well-received, dramatic routine.

With this La Classique Du Quebec concluded for 2019!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Attending La Classique Du Quebec is as glamorous as being at a Hollywood premiere, the French “Candies” have always dressed up to the nines, and with the simple yet rich decor and sophisticated décor, last night was a night to remember.

The Amateur Latin was as always a major hit of the night but the professional categories as well as some of the Pro/Am categories were not far behind.

The Amateur Latin started with a quarter-final round and from the start everyone knew it would be a magnificent event. Once in the semifinal the hard work began for the judges, separating, as you would say in the USA, “the men from the boys.” In our opinion and in the judges’ defense, this was possibly a very difficult heat to judge when you have less than 2 minutes to bring your top six favorites. Last night we thought this might have been the case, the judges brought 6 couples back but perhaps overlooked some excellent couples left behind in this semifinal.

This is only a sidebar comment and not in the least a reflection on the couples’ work because we know they all work super hard to prepare for a competition of this caliber, but in a few cases we think the judges missed their mark.

Take a look, for example, at couple 312 their last names being Maslanka/Budniak. For us this couple should have made this final easily. Their subtlety and quality we would consider very high standard, but as I said we were not the judges and perhaps we liked them so much we just looked at them more than the others. Nevertheless, we were very surprised and shocked they did not make this grand final, and there was perhaps at least one more couple, I cannot recall their name and number now, that could have easily made over one or two of the finalists.

We were a little shocked, but we still enjoyed this lovely final, that always has fantastic energy along with the perfect choice of music and lighting. But the shock continued! The obvious winners for us in this final and we were also a little surprised to say the least, to see they were not everyone’s favorite, were Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward listed from England, with these marks 1,2,1,1,2. We thought their performance was faultless with their work very organized. Yes, we must agree with the dissenting judges that perhaps their emotional connection was nonexistent, and we do want to see and understand communication of some kind between the couple and here there was little, but we must say that their work was meticulously perfect in every action and movement. We must also point out that the dances that Adam & Morgana won were with a majority of firsts. We also wonder why such a prominent Canadian-raised couple would now want to represent England. Most of whom we consider their teachers and mentors are here in North America, starting with our own Ms. Meryem Pearson who has mentored some of the best dancers on this continent.

Not shocked but happy that second place went to Canada’s neighbor the USA with Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler taking second place overall with these marks 2,1,2,2,1, we continue to be great fans of this couple but last night, for us, some of Gabriella’s outfits have perhaps too much movement. We would have loved to see more of her and not that of the dress. With the style of the judging panel last night, perhaps if they would have seen more of her they might have captured the prize. Pasha was perhaps the best man on the floor with few frills just good, solid dancing, we really appreciate his effort.

Another US couple took third overall and that was Ron Garber & Klaudie Petriti, with these marks 3,3,3,3,4. We really like this partnership they seem to communicate quite well and from the sidelines it looks all like fun. Fourth place was awarded to Max Firestine & Nicole Renee from the USA 4,4,5,4,6. This is a very talented couple with great possibilities, but perhaps their work is still quite green for this arena. Nevertheless, they are very young and we look forward to seeing some amazing work and performances from them on future outings.

I was a little disappointed to see Misha Finkelstein & Yulia Ishchak placed fifth overall 6,6,4,6,3. As you can see from their final marks the judges did not know what to do with them. This was perhaps not one of their best performance especially for Yulia who seemed a little flushed at times, but still we though it good enough to place a bit higher. Sixth were Nikita Vasilenko & Olivia Agranovich 5,5,6,5,5. In some ways their marks on first look might seem better than Misha & Yulia’s, but if you look closely the 4 and 3 helped.

The Professional Ballroom was also a terrific heat with some excellent couples in this final. Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova from the USA won every dance with a huge majority of firsts in every dance. We have to say that this was a great night for this couple. Anywhere you looked they looked untouchable. Congratulations to them!

We were a little disappointed with Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova from the USA, who placed second overall 2,2,3,2,2. Not long ago we saw this couple had made huge improvement, but here they were okay but seemed to lack the power and energy they just developed a few weeks back. Third went to Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen from Canada. Here is a very improved couple, who we also saw not too long ago and were still performing with the same attitude and energy. Good for them! Hope this is just going to propel them further forward. Fourth went to Woodrow Wills & Neli Petkova from Canada and they took fourth in every dance. This is a well-educated couple with good background. However, they need to put a little more fire under their feet and make us take notice. Woodrow & Neli could do so much better if they attacked it a little more. Fifth and sixth couple were more than just green their work seemed a little precarious at times and could use some strong basic background. Fifth went to Mikhail Kudriashov & Sofia Plikarskaja with fifth in all dances and sixth were Mathiu Casavant & Melanie Martin.

The Pro Rhythm was a 3-couple final only and the winners were Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin

There was a terrific Senior Amateur event with excellent couples that we must mention. The winners were Jean-Francois Rousseau & Nathalie Ladoucer who took first in all dances, second went to Richard Leclerc & Martin Lambert and third was awarded to Mario Nadeau & Danielle Nobert.

In the Pro/am Rhythm categories we had a day of excellent quality.

The “A” scholarship wen to Nathalie Vuong w/ Volvick Edouard. The “B” was awarded to Lara Felman w/ Tony Santana. The “C” went to Nadia Sicilia & Chirstopher Panasuk and the “D” was awarded to Tanuja Tharani w/ Adrian Persad.

As we mentioned before, last night was glamorous and we look forward to what tonight will bring with the Amateur Ballroom, Pro Smooth and Latin scheduled to be a hit!

Canada, a Very Inclusive Place!

Yesterday here at La Classique Du Quebec it was all about the Pro/Am Smooth and we are not kidding!

Heat after heat was loaded with a huge, contested amount of couples, competing at all levels and all categories in this style that has basically taken off here in Canada. It now requires a full day of competition. We also had a few Rising Star Division in both the Amateur and the Professional and we will mention those in passing, but first to the Pro/Am Smoothies here in Canada.

The “A” Categories were nothing to write about with one or two entries at the most, but in the “D”, “B”, and “E” divisions the work was totally cut out for the judges.

The “D” was terrific with a full semifinal round and here Josee Dubuc w/ Christopher Panasuk took all dances, leaving second place overall to Ady Djerassi w/ Francesco Arietta with these marks, 3,5,2,2. Third position went to Jennifer Breiter w/ Stanislav Kochergin 2,2,5,3. In fourth place was Patti Collins w/ Patrick Derry, fifth went to Huyung Wang w/ Dmitry Ilyushenov 5,4,3,4, sixth was awarded to Anna Lo Basso w/ Alex Sharov 6,7,6,6, and in seventh place was Jacquie Smith w/ Juan Roca Fabre 7,6,7,7.

The “B” category was also a fantastic competition and this division went to Nadia Sicilia w/ Christopher Panasuk and she won all dances. Second in all dances went to Olga Cauja w/ Volvik Edouard, leaving third to Carole Simmons W/ Patrick Derry 3,4,4,5. Sophie Patenaude w/ Konstantin Rogotskyy was fourth 4,5,5,3; fifth was Amber Mizuki w/ Taras Denysenco 5,3,6,4, and in sixth position was Astrid Pacher w/ Pavel Lebedev 6,6,3,6.

The “E” was a 5-couple final but totally worth seeing. Here Josee Dubuc w/ Christopher Panasuk won all dances, as you can see Christopher won three different divisions with two students. Second in this “E” division went to Ady Djerssi w/ Francesco Arietta and she took seconds in all dances; third was Charlotte Browne w/ Evgueni Chaouski placing all thirds; fourth was Mai- Xuan Brunot w/ Mathieu Casavant taking all fourths and fifth was Georgia Tollstam w/ Nathaniel Kozlov.

Another highlight of this evening was the Amateur Rising Star event. This event started with a full quarter-final round and we saw some excellent dancing. In the end the win went to Idan Daich & Rumi Dolmaya with these marks 3,2,1,1,1. Second place was awarded to Kevin Sun & Tatevik Chibukhchyan 2,1,3,2,3, leaving third place to Vincent Corriveau w/ Bianca Champage 1,3,2,3,2. As you can see it was very close between second and third place in this final.

The other professional Rising Star events were okay and here the Rising Star Smooth went to Sharon Levit & Milena Kolarova, the Ballroom went to Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin.

It was interesting to see a same sex competition held among all the other competitions. One couple went out to dance the Latin, they were not contested, but it was great to see such a terrific, warm welcome from the audience. As same sex competitions pick up more steam around the world, it is great to see countries open their competitions and venues to them. Business wise as well as being on the right side of history will prove that everyone single people, couples, same sex, or not, they all should be able to take part in this great endeavor.

We also had the pleasure to see a full show by Troels Bagger & Ina Jeliazkova who performed some very interesting numbers. The Paso to a classical theme had us all up on our feet. The rumba, their last number, was also fantastic and there was not one person seated when it was over. Great show Meryem and Danie!

Tomorrow all Amateur and Professional Open events begin and we will keep you posted on it all.

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