Emerald Ball 2019

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Gem Stays The Same!

The last night at the “Emerald” Ball the gem stayed the same, although there were several great competitors from around the USA in both the professional and the amateur there were no change major changes to the status quo!

In the Open Professional Ballroom, US Professional Champions and World Professional finalists, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva won the Championship quite easy with perfect scores from every judge in every dance. Second in every dance went to Iaroslav Bieliei & Liliia Bieliev but their scorecard was far from perfect with some quite low marks from a few of the judges. Iaroslav & Liliia’s toughest judges in our view looking at their scorecard were Alan Dixon and Teresa Shiry. Alan awarded them 4,4,5,4,4, and Teresa awarded them 6,6,5,2,2. There were other low marks like a sixth in the tango from Irina Suvorov, and a few fifths and fourth from other judges but, but nothing significant to detract from their clear runner-up position.

Third in all dances was awarded to Vladishlav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova, their scorecard had a little more variety but overall it was a clear third for them at this Championship. Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova took fourth overall with these marks 4,6,4,4,4. As you can see the judges were not to pleased with their tango, but in looking at the whole picture they were good enough for them to be fourth overall. Fifth went to one of our favorites in the Ballroom style, this because of their musicality, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 5,5,6,5,5. As you can see they were also dropped one placement in one dance by the judges. The couple that took some of those marks from the last two couples mentioned was Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko who were awarded 6,4,5,6,6. We were quite pleased to see this very talented couple be brought back for this excellent final here at one of the largest and most prestigious competitions in the USA, the Emerald Ball Championships. For many years we have noticed this very talented couple on many different floors and we are glad to see them be rewarded in this kind of final.

In the Open Professional Rhythm there was also very little change from the status quo. Andre & Natalie Paramonov won the event with a majority of firsts from the judges in every dance. Only a handful of judges awarded them anything less that first place. Their worst judge on this outing was Marianne Nicole who awarded them 3,2,3,4,3. In fact Marianne was the only judge to award their single fourth place. Second in all dances was awarded to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi. They also secured this position with a majority of second and third place marks, but they did get a few fourths in all dances and two fifth place marks in the mambo.

Before we move to the rest of the final we have to bring up this new trend by some of the competitors and designers of their wear to put an overcoat or robe over the ladies’ beautiful costumes! No matter how decorated these “things” might be, they still look like an overcoat or “bath robe” that you forgot to take off before you took to the floor. It’s like forgetting to take your leg warmers and dancing with them on. In this final Yuki was one that wore one in the earlier rounds before the final, but there were others that did too, there was one with even a tie that was hand tied so that it would not flap around, like Yuki’s did. This is not the first time we saw this trend, we started noticing it at the US Amateur Championships, but it’s getting more popular and it was very prominent in this Rhythm Championship. We do hope the trend will pass, for us “old” folks there is nothing beautiful or artistic about wearing a “bath robe” on the floor to dance in.

Continuing on now that we disrobed - third place was awarded to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin and they too placed third in all the dances. Fourth went to Ilya Velednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko, but here things got slightly varied in the marks 4,4,4,5,4. As you can see they were awarded fifth in the bolero. Fifth and sixth place was very varied here at the Emerald Ball, with Shane & Shannon Jensen placing fifth 5,5,6,4,6, leaving Aaron & Iryna De Soto placing sixth 6,6,5,6,5 overall.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was also an excellent event with some great quality dancing. Alex Dubovyk & Rickie Taylor Dubovyk won the championship but not all dances 1,2,1,1,2. For us this is a couple with great potential but for the judges it was not as clear. The Viennese Waltz was the only dance where they secured a majority of firsts. In the rest of the dances they had to rely on seconds, thirds and better to win each dance and in some cases like in the tango, quickstep to placed second.

Second overall but not in all dances went to Mikhail Vorobiev & Natalia Kozhevnikov with these marks 2,1,4,2,3. As you can see the judges were very hesitant with this couple, dropping them to 4th in VW. We thought that they really challenged last night and were not surprised they stole a number of firsts from the winners in each dance. Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu were third overall 4,3,3,3,1, and as you can see won the hearts and many of the best marks from the judges in the quickstep. This was not as good a result for them as they secured at the US Championships last month. Fourth also with a variety of marks was awarded to Rusland Kalyuzhnyy & Sonya Tsekanovsky 3,4,2,4,4; fifth went to Yi Zhang & Zhuoshi Xie, and in sixth place in all dances were Ivan Romanov & Katya Ivahno-Kalinuka.

In the Amateur Latin it was all a little different. Roman Nevinchany & Zoe Zimmerman won all dances but only the cha cha and samba with a majority of firsts, the rest of the dances they needed second or better to secure the first in those dances. Second overall was awarded to Daniil Tymoshenko & Vlada Vursalova 5,2,2,2,2 and as you can see the judges were not to keen on their cha cha. We have to give them major credit for improving the game midstream because to go from a fifth to a second position is very unusual with the judges. Nikita Grygorchuk & Naomi Popov Spektor was awarded third overall and in all dances but the cha cha where they placed second. Fourth went to Erik Linder & Shelly Meshkausk and they placed fourth in all dances but the cha cha where they took third. Fifth and sixth was basically a tie between two couples - Mike Monokandilos & Zoe Zilberberg and Alex Bonkovskyy & Kiersten Lujan. In the end with a rule (11) decision, Alex & Kiersten were fifth 6,5,6,5,5, and Mike & Zoe were sixth 4,6,5,6,6.

On this last full day of competition (there are junior events Sunday), the pro-ams competed in all their Latin divisions from beginner to Open Scholarships.

The Open A was a surprisingly large division here at Emerald, beginning with a quarter-final. The result was close with a tie for 1st place, broken by a Rule 10. Jamie Dorotov w/ Alen Genkin was the eventual winner placing 2,1,1,3,1 over Angelina Evseeva w/ Aleksandr Skarlato 1,2,2,1,2. Vera Xu w/ Vitali Proskurin was 3rd 4,3,3,2,3; 4th JJ Rabone w/ Oleg Astakhov 3,4,4,4,4; 5th Nicole Pierzchalski w/ Vlad Astafiev 5,5,5,6,5; 6th Liang Ling w/ Yegor Novikov 6,6,6,5,6.

Christina Lyon w/ Evgeny Lazarov won all dances in the Open B and had the majority of 1st places in the last 3 dances. 2nd, again in all dances, went to Canada, Sabrina Nirchi w/ Danny Arbour. Irma Tan w/ Aleks Nashev took 3rd overall 3,3,3,4,5. 4th also went to Canada, Chayko Valeria w/ Stanislav Kochergin, 4,5,5,3,3. 5th went to Christina Cullimore w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 5,4,4,5,4 and 6th went to a 3rd Canadian in this final, Rebecca Wong w/ Richard Lifshitz 6,6,6,6,6.

The Open C was the largest Scholarship and provided a highly contested final with the judges offering a wide variety of scoring. The winner was Deborah Wright w/ Nikolai Voronovich 1,1,1,1,2. However, neither Deborah, nor anyone else, received a majority of 1st places. Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann was the runner-up, 2,2,2,2,1. As an indication of how mixed the scoring was – in the jive Deborah received a sixth and 2 seventh places and Rhonda had a fifth and a sixth. 3rd went to Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 6,3,3,4,3. This was Lynn’s third open scholarship final of the week. 4th Tasha Romero w/ Mykhailo Bilopukhov 3,4,5,5,4; 5th Sophia D’Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 4,5,4,3,6; 6th Marina Svyatets w/ Aleksandr Vukosavlejevic 5,6,6,6,5; 7th Kim Luu w/ Andrey Tarasov 7,7,7,7,7.

Joan Goddard won her second Open Scholarship of the week, this time in the Open S1 Latin 4-dance. Dancing with Andrew Escolme, Joan placed 2,1,1,1. 2nd was Vanessa Wilson w/ Andrey Tarasov 1,2,3,2 and 3rd, Susann Tunick w/ Nikolai Voronovich 3,3,2,4. 4th Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov 4,4,4,3; 5th Vera Guttierez-Clellen w/ Danas Jaksevicius 5,5,5,5; 6th Bonnie Loftspring w/ Brian McNamee 6,6,6,6.

Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian also picked up her second scholarship win today, taking the S2 Latin 4-dance and winning all dances. This final was so close from here down that there were 2 ties in the remaining 5 places, the first between 2nd and 3rd. After Rule 11, Penelope Parmes w/ Mikal Watkins took 2nd 3,2,3,2 and Shiang w/ Maksim Kapitanchuk was 3rd 2,3,2,3. The next Rule 11 was between 4th and 5th and went in the favor of Toni Mullins w/ Tomasz Wldarski 5,4,4,5 over Grant w/ Ryazanov 4,5,5,4. Sheila Tuck w/ Tommy Radon was 6th.

Last night the Top Awards in the Dance Vision Series of competitions, the main sponsor of which is Swarovski.

Celebrating 30 Years in Smooth Style

With the first of the Open Pro divisions last night, Emerald Ball really began to celebrate in style!

And for us, the most style came in the Pro Smooth as it does so often these days. Most of the country’s leading players took to the floor for the semifinal, notable exceptions were the current US Champions, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija, but current US runners up, Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova were on hand and so a clean run looked possible for them tonight. And so it turned out. Max & Tatiana won all 4 dances and had impressive majorities in all. Their best scored dance, as is usual, was tango where they had 17 of the 21 first places. Their lowest scores were 2 fourth places, one in tango and one in VW, both from judge, Marina Tarsinov. We loved their performance tonight – so filled with the music and the passion of each individual dance.

Form results were upset, however, in the rest of the final. Runners-up tonight were Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina. You could really say that looking at the judges’ marks, the race for 2nd was between 3 couples, Roman & Galina, Travis & Jaimee tuft and Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova. These 3 couples received the lion’s share of the “2nd or better” scores from the judges between them. Roman & Galina did get the majority (11) in the 2 waltzes, giving them those dances outright, but in the other 2 dances no coupler received this majority and it came down to “3rd or better” on those dances. So here’s how it fell. Roman & Galina placed 2,2,3,2, Travis & Jaimee 3,3,2,3 and Yegor & Alexandra 4,4,4,4. The tango was the closest of all with both Roman/Galina and Travis/Jaimee receiving 15 “3rd or better” scores each. By use of a tiebreak rule, Roman & Galina got the nod.

This was a 7-couple final. Fourth place in all dances went to Sergey Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab; fifth in all to Aleksandr Vukasavljevic & Nevena; seventh in all to Slava & Valeriia Kostianets. These couples were also in fine form and the judges’ scores for them were nowhere near as unanimous as the final placements would suggest. The depth of talent in this competition was so great that there were several couples in the semifinal that also could have been included and nobody would have complained. Special mention from us goes to the couple who placed eighth, missing the callback by 5 marks, and that was Nikolai Pilipenchuk & Sarika Hudson.

The other headline event was the Pro Latin. Although this did not attract all of our top ranked Latin couples, we still enjoyed a stellar competition. The clear winners on the scorecards were Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shypilina who had clear majorities of 1st places in all dances and seemed unstressed to us throughout. Perhaps the most interesting race was again for the runner-up spot. Tonight it went to Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova and they were 2nd in all 5 dances. This was a good showing for them. They had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances except the jive, where it was very close between them and 3rd placed, Francesco & Sabrina Bertini who ended up 3rd in all dances, giving their customary power-packed performance.

4,4,4,4,5 gave Alon Gilin & Anna Oblakova the fourth position, a return to the form they showed at last year’s Ohio Star Ball where they were finalists. (They were announced from NJ, but we think they may actually represent Canada). Roman Italyankin & Sasha Bokova were 5th 5,5,5,5,4; 6th Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova 6,6,6,6,6; 7th Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie 7,7,7,7,7.

It was, as always, a great pleasure to see Shane & Shannon Jensen perform in the Professional Cabaret. They were marked first by every judge. 2nd spot went to Pohl & Freilich and they were scored 2nd by every judge except 1 and 3rd were Douglas Dombrowik & Angel Fox. Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez were scheduled to compete, but an injury during warm up prevented them from doing so.

The nighttime session also saw 2 excellent Youth competitions. The winners were Erik Linder & Shelley Meshkausk and they placed 1,1,2,2,1T and this was a Rule 11 tiebreak decision over runners-up Kristers Smitts & Elizabeth Shlimovich who scored 2,2,1,1,1T. In the Latin, Nikita Grygorchuk & Naomi Popov-Spektor won all 5 dances and Erik & Shelly were the runners-up with 3,4,3,2,2.  It was great to see that most of these young dancers were 10-danceers!

During the night the original ogranizer of the Emerald Ball, Mr. Ken Sloan, shared a celebratory glass of champage with the current organizers, Wayne & Donna Eng.  A total of 56 years, one of the logest running competition in the USA.

For our pro-am dancers it was the more advanced ballroom heats that began the morning at 7:00 AM and concluded with the Open Scholarships about 13 hours later. These were high in both quantity and quality!

The Open A produced a very strong final and nobody received a majority of 1st places from the judges in any dance. The winner was Jennifer Lin w/ Radu Sterban 1,1,1,1,2. This young lady has fared well at recent events and is proving herself one of the leaders in this division nationally. With 2,2,2,2,1 Haley Hernandez w/ Oreste Alitto was the runner-up. A strong contender and new to us. 3rd Rachel Chen w/ Christian Radvan 4,4,3,3,3; 4th Denise Evans w/ Martin Reinbold 5,3,4,4,4; 5th Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev 3,5,5,6,5; 6th Colette Marotto w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 6,6,7,5,6; 7th Wan Wan Yang w/ Igor Colac 7,7,6,7,7

The Open B was a very highly contested division that began with a quarter-final. The judges had some very differing opinions on the final outcome and this was reflected in the final positions of each dance. Congratulations to the winner Amy Liu w/ Igor Mikushov who placed 1,3,4,1,1. The runner up was Laura Shooks w/ Aleksander Voskalchuk and her scores were 4,1,2,3,2. Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold was 3rd 2,2,1,4,5. As you can see some dramatic changes in the scores for these top 3 ladies. 4th Julie Zhou w/ Denis Kutepov 3,4,5,2,3; 5th Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano 5,5,3,5,4; 6th Carole Simmons w/ Sergey Pogonet 6,6,6,6,6; 7th Bo Chang w/ Andriy Mykhailov.

The largest division was the Open C that began with a first round. This division had a clear winner, however, Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano won all 5 dances with a majority of 1st places in each. With 2,2,2,2,3, Janice Smith w/ Davide Gozzi was the runner-up, again a fairly clear decision from the judges. From here, however, the judges were less decided and there was in fact a tied dance. 3rd went to Jenny Du w/ Dariusz Michalski 3,3T3,3,2; 4th Hans Stork w/ Inna Berlizyeva 5,3T4,5,4; 5th Paige Riffle w/ Iaroslav Bieliei 4,5,5,4,5; 6th Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 6,6,6,6,6.

The Open S1 4-dance also began with a first round and produced a 6-couple final. Almost every couple received at least 1 first place in every dance – a tribute to the quality of the competitors. However, the winner today was Laura Solomon w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 3,1,2,2. This was in fact a Rule 11 tiebreak, and the runner-up was Frances Manning w/ Tadas Jonyla 2,2,1,3. 3rd spot in this highly contested final went to Theresa Woo w/ Valeriu Ursache 1,3,3,4. 4th Cheng Chan w/ Iaroslav Bieliei 5,6,4,1; 5th Denise Layfield w/ Emanuele Pappacena 4,4,6,5; 6th Deborah Erico w/ Dariusz Michalski 6,5,5,6.

Dagmar Richter w/ Sergey Kiselev won the Open S2 4-dance placing 1,1,1,2. 2nd and 3rd spots were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 2nd fell to Mary Ann Nichols w/ Enzo Zappia 5,3,2,1 and 3rd to Rong Chen w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 2,2,4,3. 4th Susan Jen w/ Mikhail Avdeev 3,4,3,5; 5th Keiko Fukami w/ Denis Kutepov 4,5,6,4; 6th Maria Fila w/ Kamill Urbaniak 6,6,5,6.

A gentleman won the Open S3 4-dance and he won all dances. This was Yohsuke Fukami w/ Liana Bakhtiarova. 2nd went to Margaret Wang w/ Victor Yushin 3,2,2,2; 3rd Shizuko Tatsumi w/ Alex Wang 2,3,3,4; 4th Ram Viswanathan w/ Sarika Hudson 5,5T4,3; 5th Genny Billings w/ Sergiy Kvashyn 4,5T,5,5; 6th Olivia Chen w/ Hristo Minev 6,4,6,6

Simply the Best!

That’s how many described yesterday’s Open Pro-Am Scholarships in the Smooth style!

“Quite a nightmare!” Was how one judge described having to score all these great dancers. So let’s see how the judges did score the contestants.

The Open A Scholarship was prime example, with the judges’ scores quite spread. The winner, however, did place first in all dances and that was Ani Mkrtchyan w/ Max Sinitsa. Ani had the majority of 1st places in the VW only. The runner-up was Gabriella Pumo w/ Steven McGrath 3,3,2,2. Third fell to Masha Gasyuchenko w/ Maksim Kholostoy 2,2,4,3. This lady was somewhat unlucky as she had the most first places in foxtrot, yet placed 4th in that dance. Also with very varied scores was Liz Thompson w/ Kyle Spinder 6,4,3,4. 5th Liang Ying w/ Yegor Novikov 4,5,5,5; 6th Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 5,6,6,6.

Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano maintained her grip on the Open B division, winning all dances with a majority of first places. Joane Smith w/ Anton Lebedev was the only Canadian competitor to make these Open Scholarship finals, placing second here in all dances. 3rd in all dances gave Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochaki third spot. 4th Whiteside w/ Sergey Barsukov 4,6,4,4; 5th Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft5,4,5,5; 6th Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa 6,5,6,6.

The Open C was, as it often is in the Smooth style, was a headline event. It began with a first round of competition. The winner, in all dances, was Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa. Sophia had the majority of 1st places in 3 dances, but still won the VW on “2nd or better” scores. The winner of this division in the Rhythm, was the runner-up today, Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov. She placed 3,2,2,2. The race for 3rd was extremely close and involved both tiebreaking rules (10 & 11). The final analysis gave 3rd place to Karence Chan w/ Paul Cloud who scored 2,3,5,6. 4th went to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 5,4,3,4 and 5th to Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 4,5,4,3. You will notice that these last 3 each scored a total of 16. This great final was closed by Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia who was 6th in all dances.

The Senior I was a huge division, beginning with a first round. 6 finalists were returned and the win went to Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiy Pigottskyy, 1,1,1,2. Sue had the majority of first places from the judges in the first 2 dances. Winning the VW and placing 2nd in the other 3 dances, the runner-up was Linda Gill w/ Roman Malkhasyan. The scores in all 4 dances were close between these 2 ladies. Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza was 3rd 3,3,3,4; 4th Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy 4,4,4,3; 5th Alla Neyshtadt w/ Dave Hannigan 5,5,5,5; 6th Audria Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu 6,6,6,6.

The Senior II began with a semifinal and 7 competitors were returned. Winning all dances was Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov. The runner-up was Liz Conklyn w/ Dariusz Michalski again in all dances and Teiko Yamada w/ Max Sinitsa was similarly 3rd in all. 4th Diana Dean w/ Barney 4,4,6,4; 5th Mary Beth McCallum w/ Leonid Burlo; 6th Buck Lindsay w/ Yuliya Besarab 5,6,5,6; 7th Lenore Rich w/ John Campbell.

The Senior III also started as a semifinal danced over 3 dances. 8 couples were returned to the final. The winner was Femi Mac w/ Vladimir Popov 1,2,1; 2nd Sheila Tuck w/ Tommy Radon; 3rd Ram Viswanathan w/ Sarika Hudson 3,4,4.

The nighttime session was mostly devoted to the professional rising star divisions, we saw all 4 styles.

The first up was the Rhythm, beginning with a semifinal and leading to a final of 7 couples, most of whom received some first places. The winners were Christian Sese & Mae Lozada and they won all dances, the last 3 with a majority of first places. There were several couples in this final who were unfamiliar to us at Dance Beat, and that is a good thing for a rising star division. 2nd and 3rd places resulted in a tie that was broken by a Rule 10 decision. Alexander Zarek & Oleksandra Kharchenko took the runner-up spot, 2,2,3,2,4 and Aaron Pierce & Ksenia Stavrica were 3rd 3,3,2,3,2. Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea were 4th 4,4,4,4,5; 5th Renzo & Andrea Zegarra 6,6,5,5,3; 6th Tomas Vasicek & Vitalija Trynova 5,5,7,6,6; 7th Artem & Ginny Rae Shiller 7,7,6,7,7.

The Ballroom was the smallest division with only 3 entrants. The comfortable winners were Artem Belmeha & Anna Shevchenko, they won all dances and had a perfect score in tango. Stefan Badeo & Madalina Varlam were 2nd in all and Oleg Telcha & Michelle Brecker were 3rd.

The Latin was also a straight final, this time with 7 couples. Roman Drobotov & Tatiana Kazbekova were the winners of all dances. However, they did not receive a majority of 1st places in any dance. Runners-up were Umario Diallo & Tessa Marie 2,3,2,3,3 and very close behind in 3rd were Oleksandr & Kateryna Kamniev 5,2,3,2,2. 4th were Przemyslaw Modrzynski & Magdalena Zybura 4,5,4,4,4; 5th Dmitry Barov & Joanna Meller 3,4,5,5,5; 6th Joseph & Alexandra Hopwood 6,6,6,6,6; 7th Denis Podolskiy & Oksana Kalinuka 7,7,7,7,7.

The Smooth also turned into a nail-biter with a tie for 1st place. Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson placed 1,1,2,2 and Stephen & Elisa McCann placed 2,2,1,1. After applying Rule 11, Igor & Meghan were declared the winners. Certainly a close event! Vitali Kaliuzhnyi & Talia Barrington were 3rd 3,4,3,3. 4th Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov 5,3,4,4; 5th Dmitry Zavialov & Katt Baumgartner 6,5,5,5; 6th Anton Lebedev & Dinara Khayrulina 4,6,6,6.

From Monday Night Fever to Open Rhythm – Part 1 of the 2019 30-year Anniversary

This year marks the 30th anniversary for the Emerald Ball under the directorship of Wayne & Donna Eng.

Although the event was begun much earlier. Encouraged by the legendary John Morton, Ken Sloan began the Emerald Ball in Northern California. When he moved south to LA, the Emerald Ball moved with him and ran under the stewardship of Ken & Sheila Sloan for 26 years. Ken is an adjudicator here this week.

Wayne & Donna are delighted with the turn out this week. They have 16,100 entries and perhaps more importantly, a grand total of 1,700 competitors.

Dance Beat has attended the Emerald Ball for every one of the 30 years Wayne & Donna have been at the helm and we note another unusual aspect of this event is that it has never moved – it has Always been at the Hilton LAX. But the Hilton never looked quite as it did on Monday night when the “Monday Night Fever” nightclub session took place right in the lobby. This was a 5-hour party complete with drinks and food.  Wayne was somewhat unrecognizable! We are so glad so many competitions are offering this special nightclub experience.

Following the nightclub, the regular competitions got underway with pro-am competition in Rhythm and Smooth so far. The Smooth continues today, but the Rhythm concluded last night with the Open Scholarships capping off a day with more than 18 hours of continuous dance competitions. All open level scholarships showcased some of the best talent in this field.

The Open A became an 7-couple final following some last minute deletions. The winner was Veronika Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco and she placed 1,1,2,1,2, but did have the majority of 1st places in the cha cha and rumba. The runner-up and obviously close behind was Pooja Mehta w/ Kristjian Burazer with 2,2,1,2,1. Although some other finalists did steal some 1st places, these top 2 ladies took most of them and it was a great competition between them – well done! 3rd spot in all dances went to Gabriella Pumo w/ Steven McGrath and she did take first places in all dances except the rumba, so several judges also considered her in contention. In fact, all couples from 3rd to 7th finished in the same position in all dances. 4th Wanwisa Jainongbua w/ David Estrada; 5th Julio Morales w/ Giovanna Velazquez; 6th Chrsitian Jimenez w/ Melanie Sandvig; 7th Jill Winters-Bogard w/ Grigol Kranz. It was good to see 2 men in this A division.

In the Open B we saw a much clearer decision from the judges. Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev won all 5 dances and had the majority of 1st places in all. This event began with a semifinal and returned a final of 6. The runner-up took 2nd in all dances and this was Mariana Lvoff w/ Vlad Kosarev. Mariana’s best scored dances were swing and bolero where she took 3 first places in each. 3,3,4,3,3 gave Jennifer Kacey Warren w/ Jean Michelle Erole an overall 3rd place finish. 4th Laura Paoletti w/ Roman Drobotv 4,5,3,4,4; 5th Irene Wong w/ Jonathan Campbell 5,4,5,5,6; 6th Marisol Martinez w/ Vard Margaryan 7,6,6,6,5; 7th Cindy Wang w/ Steve Vasco 6,7,7,7,7.

The Open C also gave us a clear winner from the judges’ perspective and this was Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov and Lynn won all 5 dances with the majority of 1st places in each. Her best scored dance, and best scored in either the A, B, or C divisions, was the bolero where she received 9 of the 11 first place marks. Congratulations!. Runner-up spot went to Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandr Vukosavljevic 2,2,2,2,2. Janice did take some 1st places from the judges in all dances except bolero. 3rd in all dances fell to Kim Burney w/ Vard Margaryan and 4th in all to Gail Komar w/ Serhiy Komar. Interestingly, apart from the winner, Gail was the only finalists to take at least 1 first place mark in every dance. Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez was 5th in all dances; 6th Michelle Loeb w/ Aleko Khutsidze 6,6,7,7,6; 7th Scott Magnesen w/ Zhyvkov.

The Emerald Ball also offered Open Scholarships in the Senior, Senior II and Senior III divisions and these produced some great events.

The Open Senior 4-dance was won by Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme. Joan won all dances and had the majority of 1st places in all but rumba. Lois Fein w/ Aleksandr Vukosavljevic was the runner-up placing 2,3,2,4. The judges struggled a bit with this division and some of the scores were quite wide-ranging. 3rd spot went to Luna Viva w/ Kristjian Burazar 3,2,3,6; 4th Kelly Akol w/ Jeremy Pilling 5,4,4,2; 5th Evelyn Lamden w/ Daniel Vasco 6,7,5,3; 6th Janet Brutall w/ Dmitriy Zavialov 4,5,7,7; 7th Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy 7,6,6,5.

Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian won all dances in the S2-4 dance and achieved perfect scores in bolero and rumba and lost only 1 first place mark in each of the other 2 dances. The highest placed gentleman competitor of the night’s open scholarships took 2nd, Buck Lindsay w/ Yuliya Besarab 2,2,2,2. Taking 3rd was Nati Ross w/ Eddie Rivera 4,3,6,3. This was an 8-couple final.

The S2 3-dance went to Shiela Tuck w/ Tommy Radon who won all dances. 2nd Bray w/ Micheal Petr 3,3,2; 3rd Dunstan w/ Eddie Rivera 4,2,3.

Stay tuned for more exciting competition from Emerald Ball – today Open Pro-Am Smooth Scholarships and tonight professional rising star!

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