However, the Professional Smooth really was fantastic with all couples in top form and making us all want to dance not slow or fast, but “smoothly.”
Not far behind is another favorite couple of ours and they too were magnificent, Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova placing second in all dances, and also taking the 5 firsts missing from Max & Tatiana’s column. Here too we can see some wonderful interpretation of this style, slightly different perhaps to Max & Tatiana but beautiful just the same. We love Yegor & Alexandra’s beautiful lines and in particularly Alexandra’s neck that seems now with her well groomed, pulled up hair, not to have an end. Their extremities seemed to continue past the walls with their every move and last night. With a very huge venue, it was perfect for their flight.
Fourth in this excellent heat went to Olexie Pigotskyy & Natalie Crandall who took fourth in all dances. This couple has some stamina because they did two styles and had to change costumes at least 3 times between competitions. Almost “Olympic! Our only observation for this very talented couple is that being a nine dancer and having to do two styles in one night you must really work on changing your motivation for every style every time. On last night’s performance we thought them a little lucky to be fourth. The slight “push and shove” might work some dynamics in the Rhythm, giving lots of impact, but “Smooth” is a complete different matter. Using all this unnecessary power can sometimes work against you. The performance can look forceful rather than “Smooth” should we say.
A couple that we thought should come higher but ended up tying for fifth place with these marks, 6,6,5,5, were Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson. Here perhaps was a little different than the last couple mentioned. They perhaps needed some moments with a little more power or light and shade. Or as one judge mentioned to us at the after party, we would also like to see Igor take more control of his leading skills and not be manhandled by Meghan. Tying for fifth with Igor & Meghan but broken by a Rule 11 was Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts with these marks 5,5,6,6. We found their performance very correct and also a great addition to this excellent final, however, in this type of heat they needed not to be just correct, but they needed to push hard and go for broke.
Missing from this excellent Smooth final were US Smooth Champions, Nick Cheremuking & Victorija, we spotted Nick earlier in the competition and so we figured they were in for the run, however, they did not enter the professional field which made us all wonder what is going to happen in the next match up with Max & Tatiana. As someone mentioned, the US final was very close and Max & Tatiana along with other couples as we just mentioned are all going full steam ahead. There is promise of great things to come in the Smooth this year. And so we leave the Smooth with this smoothly quote, “a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”
Second in all dances went to Ilya Velednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko. Here is another couple that has made a great comeback. Not long ago they were heading for the door. Last night’s performance we found it to be very convincing in particular the rumba where they really showed some clear relationship between a couple, especially with such “iconic” Latin sounds. In this performance Ilya & Mariya’s worst judge was Andrew Phillips who awarded them 4,4,5,4,5.
Fifth in all dances went to Igor Ustymovich & Briana Santiago. We were a little disappointed with their performance last night. We find Briana to be perhaps one of the best ladies on the floor, but last night she was nowhere to be found and nether was he. Let’s hope they put a little more fire under their performance next time around. Sixth in all dances were Aaron Pierce & Ksenia Stavrica, we were very exited to see this couple make this final and we loved Ksenia’s musicality and performance, we are looking forward to seeing more of them on future outings.
Also giving us a fun and playful performance were Stefano & Bianka Di Brino placing third in all dances. Taking fourth in all dances was Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna. Fifth in all dances was awarded to Marek Klepadlo & Zhiting Yang and sixth in all was awarded to Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya.
A five-couple final entered the Professional Latin, it was almost as the day before but with greater energy and excitement. Francesco & Sabrina Bertini won the competition easily in our eyes, but we were surprised to see that not one of the dances was won with perfect scores. Yes, Francesco & Sabrina won with a majority of firsts but with a few dissentions in every dance, we were also kind of surprised to see Pamela Licht award them a 3rd in the rumba, we suppose like beauty, dancing is in the eye of the beholder. Second in all dances was awarded to Roman Italyakin & Alexandra Bokova. We must also point out that with the exception of the jive where they only stole one first place mark from the winners, they were also the receivers of at least two or three firsts in the other four dances.
The Pro/Am smooth was also quite competitive in the Smooth field. The “A” started with a full semifinal round and it ended with an 8-couple final. The win went to Stacy Tilford w/ Josh Tilford placing first in all dances. Second in all dances was awarded to Maddi Berkley w/ Mariusz Zakrewski; third in all went to Gabriella Pumo w/ Steven McGrath. Cindy Vana w/ JC Yeh was fourth overall 4,4,4,5; Kim Glover w/ John Yates was fifth 5,5,5,4; sixth was Birgit Starmanns w/ David Estrada 6,7,6,6; seventh was Stephanie Lovett w/ Chip Hindi7,6,7,7, and eighth position was Karen Brown w/ Drew Mitchell taking 8th place in every dance.
The “B” Smooth went to Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano, first in all dances. Second place went to Patricia Scheneider w/ Slawek Sochacki 2,3,2,2; third place was awarded to Lisa Berry w/ David Elser 3,2,5,4; fourth place was Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev 4,4,3,3; Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto was fifth 5,5,4,5, and Kim Glover w/ John Yates was sixth in all dances.
The “C” division was also an 8-couple final and here Karence Chan w/ Paul Cloud won overall 2,2,1,1; second was Darla Davis w/ Jim Maranto 1,1,2,4; Kako Matsumoto w/ Aaron Talbert took third overall 3,3,3,2; Fram Manning w/ Eric Koptke placed fourth 4,4,4,3; Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Nick Cheremukhim took fifth 6,5,5,5; Randi Zedeck w/ Steven McGrath was sixth 5,6,6,6; Birgit Starmanns w/ David Estrada took all sevenths and Robert Bartlett w/ Brad Montagnese was eighth.
The Senior I was also a good competition and here Fran Manning w/ Eric Koptke took all firsts; Audria Hill-Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu took all seconds and Liz Conkly w/ Dariusz Michalski was third in all. In the Senior II the winner was Diana Dean w/ Slava Stefanov.
Never Split a Winning Hand!
We are back in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Vegas Open Dance Challenge.
The competition began with the Pro-Am Rhythm categories Thursday morning and in the evening we had the “Nightclub Session” where it was cozy and everyone seemed to be having a nightclub blast.
Yesterday it was all about the Ballroom and Latin finishing the evening with the Rising Star Professional Events. But before we recap all these competitions we must give you a “Blackjack” quote that could help us all. Always remember, “It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”
The “C” was also a terrific heat and here Janice Smith w/ Davide Gozzi placed first in all dances. Second overall went to Hans Stork w/ Inna Berlizyeva 3,4,2,2,2; Angela Hu w/ Anton Koukareko was third overall 5,3,3,3,3; Vlaeria Arias w/ Yevgeny Klyukin was fourth 2,2,4,5,5; Carla Murphy w/ Yuriy Kravets took fifth 4,5,5,4,4, and Beth Yeh w/ Enzo Zappia took all sixths.
The Senior I was also a nice event and here the winners were Fran Manning w/ Tadas Jonyla 1,3,1. Second went to Carla Murphy w/ Yuriy Kravets 2,1,4, and third was awarded to Deborah Errico w/ Dariusz Michalsko 3,2,3.
The Open Latin Scholarships also ran yesterday and the winner in the “A” was Stephania Papadopulos w/ Paul Richardson, this was a very secure lady and we can see why she won all dances. Second overall was awarded to Lizzie Fuchs w/ Brent Borton 3,2,2,3,2; third went to Jennifer Chan w/ Denis Podolsky 2,3,3,2,3. Fourth in all dances went to Angelica Mendoza w/ Michael Blanco; Angela Volarevic w/ Gerry DeWet took all fifths and sixth was left for Stephanie Lovett w/ Chip Hindi.
The “C” was the smallest heat of all and this clear win went to Rhonda lynch w/ Stephan McCann. Second overall was awarded to Lo-Wei Chang w/ Vartan Zakhariants 2,3,2,2,2; third went to Yee-Ping Ching w/ Andrea Tarasov 3,2,3,3,3, and fourth was Joan Finley w/ Alex Artega and she took fourth in all dances.
The Professional Rising Star Latin and Ballroom were finals and were the less populated events. The Latin was a 5-couple final and here Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova won all dances. Second overall went to Przemyslaw Modrzynski & Magdolena Zybura 2,4,2,3,3, leaving third to Oleksandr & Kateryna Kamniev 3,3,3,2,4.
Tonight will be the Open Professional events and during the day we have the Pro/Am Smooth, we look forward to bringing that to you so stay tuned.