This is where the winners from all the open professional styles come head to head for an extra purse. There was lots going on in all events but the “Best” as you will see was very interesting. We most also point out that on this final night the organizers went far and beyond to make this the “Best of the Best” as well with live lamp shades and giant fairy ladies greeting at the door. The place not only was very festive but it looked festive, totally appropriate for a grand finale.
In the Open Professional Rhythm we had the heirs apparent to the US Champions, Andre & Natalie Paramonov, competing and they as expected won all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances, losing only a few marks here and there. The only judge to be quite consistent to give them a low score was Natalia Panina who awarded them these marks 3,2,2,3,2, she is also the only one to awarded them third place marks.
Second in this Professional Rhythm went to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin and they took the majority of seconds in all dances, but they also captured most of the firsts that Andre & Natalie lost. For us it was a close call between these two excellent couples and we would not have been surprised to see Dmitry & Olena steel a dance, but it was not to be this night. The only first place mark these two couples just mentioned lost went to Alberto Cortez & Jesa Mae Briones who were awarded first by Mr. Didio Barrera in the mambo, but placed third overall.
With a new partner Ilya Abdullin & Anastasia took fourth in all dances, although it was a little rough at times their work was good enough to carry them to this position. The new partnership is still young but all we can say is that it looks promising. Fifth in all dances was awarded to Artem & Ginny Shiller and sixth went to Vuk Stefanovic & Larisa Mikryukova.
The Professional Ballroom turned out to be a fantastic competition with a number of well seasoned couples in this seven couple final. The winners to us and the majority of judges were Iaroslav & Liliia Beiliei winning all dances but one with a majority of firsts from the judges. The only dance they did not win with a majority of firsts was the quickstep where they missed that threshold by one judge’s mark. Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya placed second overall but missed the Viennese Waltz were they took third from the judges. On this night we thought Rudy & Katia might take at least one of the dances from the top, this dance being the foxtrot where their musicality oozes out of them going right with the music and perhaps even the tango, very sharp indeed, but it was not to be. In the end they had to settle for second overall.
Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took third overall by placing third in four dances and 4th in the Viennese Waltz. We find this couple to be quite musical something we usually admire in this style of dancing, but in looking at the marks we were hoping to see them take at least one or two firsts in the foxtrot or the tango and yes they did take one in each dance, they were awarded to them by Diana McDonald. However, it is interesting to point out that the couple that placed fourth overall Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko stole more firsts from the winners, a total of 7 firsts Cristian & Kristina took to the 3 first sthat Oscar & Lenka were awarded in all dances. We must also add that Cristian & Kristina, like Oscar & Lenka, are two of our favorites in this style, with what we consider to be tremendous talent.
In this same Professional Open Ballroom heat Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova placed fifth in all dances, Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena were sixth, leaving seventh place to Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley who took all sevenths.
The Amateur Latin Championship as always was also a major hit on this last night of competition. The Championship started with a quarter final round and round after round it got better and better. For us and for the majority of the judges, Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler were by far the best and they won every dance. In looking at the marks we can say that they won each and every dance with a majority of firsts from all the judges, and we can add that they won the cha cha with perfect scores from the 13-judge panel. We can also say with certainty that Pasha & Gabriella did not get any score less than second place with the exception of the jive where Mr. Tony Meredith awarded them a 3rd.
There seemed to be a little more of a fight for second place overall, but in the end second place was awarded to Nikita Vasilenko & Olivia Agranovich 2,2,3,2,2, and third to Ewoud Fidon & Melanie Weiler 3,3,2,3,3. We were a little surprised on this part of the result, we found Ewoud & Melanie’s performance quite solid, unfortunately good performance has never been enough to convince the judges to mark you to a higher position. Unique, out of the box perhaps might have done the trick on this occasion. Funnily enough, in looking at the marks we found that like in the case of Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko earlier in this blog, Ewoud & Melanie took more firsts from Pasha & Gabriella than Nikita & Olivia. Nikita & Olivia stole 4 first place marks from Pasha & Gabriella and Ewoud & Melanie stole 7 first place marks. Unfortunately or fortunately, our judging system is not just about how many firsts you get, all marks count and if you get a low score from a judge that can always cancel a high score!
Fourth place in this excellent final went to Andrew Nikitchenko & Yuliya Lisovska with these marks 5,4,4,4,4; fifth was awarded to Artem Zhychuk & Natasha Shevchenko 4,5,5,5,5, and sixth position went to Misha Finkelstein & Yuliya Iskchak and as you can see they took sixth place in all dances.
As we mentioned there was the “Best of the Best” competition for the winners of the professional divisions and here we must say that not one of the couples got a majority of firsts in their show performance. The winners overall of this Best competition were Andre & Natalie Paramonov who performed what we would say to be an interesting American style Rumba and we must also mention that they were the only couple in this “Best of the Best” competition not to receive a fifth place mark from the judges. We must mention that every other couple got at least one fifth from the judges. Andre & Natalie’s rumba was very well put together, the music totally related to what they were doing in the moment and as always with this couple, you could see a storyline.
Second in this best of the best competition was awarded to Ivan Kudashev & Ksusha, they once again did their what I think to be a gypsy number and here all though they did get a number of second place marks and firsts, they also got quite a few 5th place marks, four to be precise. What we were very surprised and almost shocked was that US Smooth Champions, Nick Cheremukhim & Viktorija, placed third overall. They did a very dramatic number where the suffering is palpable, not sure this is a good number to end the night (a little depressing perhaps) but, it was from our opinion perfectly executed with no misses or bumps. We must also point out that Nick & Viktorija got as many firsts as the winners did from the judges - 5 total. However, what possibly hurt them is that they did not get a single second from the judges, the rest of their marks were mainly thirds with a couple fifths and a fourth.
Fourth place in this “Best of the Best” competition went to Canada’s Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer, they did a nice samba with an uplifting song but, it was possibly not show produced, in other words they just did an opening and put their samba routine in the middle, perhaps this is not what they intended, but this is what it looked to us on the sidelines. Last in this Best contest went to Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei, and yes they did not get any firsts or seconds from the judges in their column, and as we just mentioned before this was just their foxtrot with little to show, for a “show” performance, except good dancing of course, but as you can see, this was not good enough for the judges at the end of the night. We do feel that perhaps they could have been placed fourth just for quality alone but we agree with the judges’ decisions fully.
The Pro/Am Scholarships in the Latin division were fantastic, every heat was packed with competitors and the day was long even though they started at 7AM, but it was totally worth it.
The competitions from the start were terrific and the Scholarships very challenging. The Senior I was terrific and in this heat Sara Switzer w/ Hayk Balasanyan won all dances, second was Fifi Wang w/Delyan Terziev, and third was awarded to Alice Lekht w/ Igor Derimov. The Senior II was the smallest of all the Open Scholarships and here the win went to Esperanza Blair w/ Andre Paramonov, and they placed first in all dances, second was awarded to Rica Zamora w/ Sinisa Vasic second in all and third in all went to Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta.
In the Latin Pro/Am “A” Open Scholarship the win went to Angelina Evseeva & Aleksandr Skarlato wining all dances, second was Nicole Pierzchalski w/ Vlad Astafiev 2,2,2,3,2, and third was awarded to Jamie Dorotov w/ Allen Genkin 4,3,3,2,4. In the “C” Category the winner in all dances was Marina Suxtets w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic, second in all dances went to Sophia D’Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk, and third was Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme. And in the “B” division winning all dances was Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich, second overall was Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 2,2,2,4,4, and third went to Sabrina Nirchi w/ Danny Arbour.
As always at Tristate, the Chairman of Judges, Cathie Nyemchek celebrated her birthday.
With this the Tri-State for 2019 concluded as always this competition showed excellence to the participants with a beautifully decorated ballroom, wonderful prizes and great hospitality. If you have never attended this competition, it has to be a must for 2020, and if you have attended you know the care for detail Andre Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova have with us all. Also a huge hug to Luda Conti for all her help and for making sure the officials are always being taken care off.
A Difficult Tri-Latin at Tristate
Last night at the Tristate Dancesport Championships we had some excellent dancing but for the judges the Professional Latin was Tri-Dificult considering there was a Tri- couples (three) competing for first place in this wonderful final.
The Professional Smooth was also nothing to sniff at with at least two of the top US couples competing in the final. We also had an interesting Professional Cabaret Championship and an excellent Amateur Ballroom event.
The Professional Latin was very exciting and for us there were three couples that were fighting for top placement, in the end the best couple in dance of the night won and not the form that we are supposed to be accustomed to. The three couples in question were Artur Tarnaskyy & Anastasia Danilova from the USA, Ilya Maletin & Polina Majer from Canada, and also from Canada, Alexey & Vlada Karaulov. For us the two couples that stood out the most in their performances this night were Ilya & Polina and Artur & Anastasia, in the end we were pleased to announce that Ilya & Polina won all dances and where crowned the Tristate Champions. Second in all dances and looking a little surprised when the decision came down were Alexey & Vlada, for us in this performance, they could have easily been placed third overall and we would not have been surprised.
We have to mention that Ilya & Polina not only won all dances but they won four of the dances with a majority of firsts from the judges, only in the rumba did they need second or better to win. We totally have to agree with the judges’ decision here, we have never seen Ilya & Polina dance this well and the attention and communication from Ilya to his beautiful and talented partner was very present, this was something we have always had against their dancing, not enough communication between the couple. On last night’s performance we not only saw beautiful movements but we saw a story taking us in and wanted to see them dance longer.
In looking at the marks we were also surprised to see that although Artur & Anastasia got a few firsts in all dances and plenty of seconds, they still needed a few more seconds to place them right under Ilya & Polina. This was perhaps not their best performance we have witnessed, but we certainly thought they could have easily been second if not first in a few dances, but it was not to be they placed third in all dances. It was close between Alexey & Vlada and Artur & Anastasia but in the end by a small margin Alexey & Vlada took second in all dances.
In the past Alexey & Vlada had been quite successful and we are sure with great reason, but on this night their performance not only lacked energy but it was a little tedious to say the least. This is a very talented couple that we hope we see pick up and work hard to be up on top of the game again. Fourth in all dances was awarded to Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova, fifth went to Ivan Kudashev & Kusha and sixth in all were Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie.
The Professional Smooth was not as exciting but very interesting as well. Current US Smooth Champions, Nick Cheremukhim & Viktorija, won all dances. Travis & Jaimee Tuft Current US finalists placed second in all dances, and this on the surface sounds quite simple and easy but in looking at the marks today, we were a little surprised to see our reigning champions Nick & Viktorija lose some marks to Travis & Jaimee, even in their waltzes that are almost sacred to many of us. Nick & Viktorija took a second from former US Smooth finalist, Steven Dougherty, they lost quite a few marks and even received a third from Natalia Panina in their tango, a few an even a third from the same judge in the foxtrot, and to our surprise they got three third places in the Viennese Waltz. We are certainly not suggesting that they might lose their reign in the coming USDC, but from what we have witnessed from the other couples that are close in the field, hard work and determination is working, and this might be something to keep a look at in this great field of Smooth dancing.
Third in this Professional Smooth Championship was awarded to Nikolai Pilipenchuk & Sarika Hudson and they took third in all dances; fourth went to Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov; fifth was awarded to Vladimir Popov & Erin Marie 5,5,6,5, and sixth went to Trevor & Emily Guthrie 6,6,5,6.
The Professional Cabaret Championship was also very interesting and here Travis & Jaimee Tuft easily took the Championship home, we were only left wishing and hoping to one day see this wonderful Cabaret couple do the routine to a song without lyrics (Singer) so that we can truly appreciate their work - their faultless lifts and beautiful transitions, without the need for the singer to be a prominent feature of their routine. Nevertheless, what beautiful work this couple keeps producing, congratulations to them!
Second and third were well-executed routines, I am sure they were wonderful to many of the people that understood the regional sentiment of the music and costumes, unfortunately we have to say that we have seen better from both Mikhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko who took second and Ivan Kudashev & Ksusha who placed third. Fourth went to Nikita Zhukovskyi & Angelina and fifth was awarded to Vincent Antenelli & Stephanie Falciano.
The Amateur Ballroom was also a good heat and here seven couples entered and in the end the easy win went to Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova taking first in all dances. Second went to Vladishlav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova and third place in all were Alec Zhiwei Zhang & Zhuoshi Xie.
The Pro/Am Open Ballroom Scholarships took place yesterday afternoon and here is how it worked out. The “A” was awarded to Eva Chen w/ Cristian Radvan placing first in all dances, second in all went to Carole Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet, and third in all was Courtney Delmonico w/ Erik Pati.
The “B” went to Amy Liu w/ Igor Mikushov first in all dances, second was Carole Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet, and third overall was Amanda Parton w/ Igor Gayenko.
In the “C” division Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan took all firsts, second in all went to Kako Matsumoto w/ Basil Issaev and third overall was awarded to Elena Lee w/ Emanuel Pappacena 4,3,3,4,4.
The Senior I was also a great competition and here Laura Solomon w/ Oscar Pedrinelli placed first overall 1,1,2,1,2, second overall went to Leilani Viney w/ Kamil Urbaniak 2,2,1,2,1, and third overall was awarded to Nanacy Balin w/ Gunnar Sverrison 3,3,3,3,4. In the Senior II Ron Chen w/ Oscar Pedrinelli won all dances, second in all was awarded to Nordis Glasoe w/ Anatoli Gorolevici and third in all went to Maria Fila w/ Kamil Urbaniak.
Tonight we continue with the professional open events and the amateur open plus the Best of the Best, we look forward to it and we will have it all to you here tomorrow.
Tri-State Championships Rising!
We are back at the Tri-State Championships in Stamford, CT and yesterday we completed nearly two days of Pro/Am competition.
It started with the Rhythm style and yesterday finished with the Smooth categories and all professional Rising Star events.
The ballroom as always is beautifully decorated featuring diamonds, and as always for that craving sweet tooth there is never a lack of candy around you or your table. We have spotted a number of times people passing baskets of candy around including Mr. Gavriline who we witnessed this morning doing a candy run around the tables. OMG we hope we don’t get an extra charge for the extra weight from all that candy we have nibbled on!
In the Professional Rising Star events the Rhythm had a huge entry with a quarter-final round of competition. In the end six couples were called for this final and this is how the judges had it. First place in all dances went to Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina, second was awarded to Kemar Bennett & Jessica Nicol with these marks 2,3,4,4,2, and third was Artem Shiller & Ginny Ray Shiller 6,5,2,2,3. Ivan Sovetov & Valeris Mkrtchian took fourth overall 3,2,5,5,4; Vuk Stefanovic & Larisa Mikryukova were fifth 4,6,3,3,5, and sixth were Andrei Gavrilov & Mengqi Huang 5,4,6,6,6. As you can see from second place down the judges were very undecided as to who placed where.
The Professional Rising Star Latin was also well attended with a full semifinal round and here a six couple final was called. The winners in every dance were from California, Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie, second was awarded to Daniel Hustiuc & Jess Li with these marks 2,2,2,3,3, and third went to Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina 3,3,3,2,2, and yes we did not make a mistake this same couple also competed in the Rising Star Rhythm and they won it. Malachi Osai & Freda Chan were fourth in every dance, Levan Gelashvili & Lily Kolman placed fifth 5,5,6,5,5, and sixth went to Jason Chao Dai & Alina Litvak 6,6,5,6,6.
In the Professional RS Smooth there was a 7 couple final and here Evgenii Rozenfeld & Maria Shumakher won all dances. Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov took all seconds. Third ended with tie that had to be broken by a rule and in the end Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian were third overall 3,4,3,4, leaving fourth to Leo Mora & Christina Garced 4,3,4,3. Trevor & Emily Guthrie were fifth in all dances, Vladimir Serbulenco & Ivana Stracaric were sixth and seventh in all were Anthony Scalzi & Zhenia Gilday.
The Professional Rising Star Ballroom had the smaller entry of all the professional Rising Star events and this is how the judges saw it. Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra won all dances. Second in all dances went to Aleksandr & Aida Skriptsova, leaving third to Mikhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska and fourth in all dances to Vincenzo Esposito & Yo Matsubara.
The first day was all about the Pro/Am Rhythm and here are how the open scholarships looked. The “A” Category went overall to Baylee Wong w/ Jean Simboteanu with these marks 1,2,1,2,1. Second overall was awarded to Ariel Mayer w/ Mayo Alanen 2,1,2,1,2, and third in all dances was awarded to Brooke Bellows w/ Gunnar Sverrisson.
In the “B” Category Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev won overall 1,1,2,1,1; second went to Irene Wong w/ John Campbell 2,2,1,2,2, and third in all dances was awarded to Lori Chowanec w/ Ken Hansen.
The “C” went to Janice B Gonzales w/ Aleksandr Vukosavljevic and they won all dances; second went to Shari Ozman w/ Hayk Balasanyan and third was awarded to Gabriella Pannunzio w/ Grzegorz Kasprzak, these two ladies placed exactly where they came in all dances.
The Senior I Rhythm Championship was awarded to Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan winning all dances; second went to Sherry Tucker w/ Vlad Astafiev and she was second in all dances leaving third to Lois Fein w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic with these marks 3,4,4,3,4. The Senior II went to Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta placing first in all dances; Ylan li w/ Marcio DeSouza was second overall 2,2,2,2,3, and third was awarded to Margie Juanillo w/ Mattew Hauer.
Yesterday in the Smooth Open Scholarships the “B” was awarded to Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft placing first in all dances; second was awarded to Amy Brewer w/ Gunnar Sverrison with these marks 3T,2,2,2, leaving third to Irene Wong w/ John Campbell 3T 3,3,3.
In the “C” division Inez Inserra w/ Mayo Alanen was first overall 1,1,1,2; Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza was second overall 2,2,2,1, and third was awarded to Vera Maltsev w/ Christian Lange 3,3T,3,3.
The “A” was the smallest of all the Smooth Scholarships with only two couples entered and here Ariel Mayer w/ Mayo Alanen were the winners 2,1,1,1; second was Elaine Anderson w/ Christopher Muise 1,2,2,2.
In the Senior I Alla Neyshtadt w/ Dave Hannigan won every dance, second overall went to Nancy Balin & Gunnar Sverrisson 2,3,2,3T, leaving third overall to Doreen Bender w/ Mikolaj Czarnecki 4,2,3,2. The Senior II went to Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta placing first in all dances, second overall went to Leonore Rich w/ John Campbell 3,2,2,2, and third was Don Jaffe w/ Irina Gorolevici 2,3,3,3.
Today we have Ballroom day for the Pro/Am categories and tonight we will begin with the Open Amateur and Professional events