Twin Cities Open 2019

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American Style Rocks the Twin Cities!

The American style continued to be a great feature at the Twin Cities Open Championships, with great attendance and very good couples.

The Smooth in particular was excellent where they asked for the judges to call back seven couples and 8 were called back.

The presumed winners of the Smooth, Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson won all dances with perfect scores from all judges, this was their home territory and so the audience was really pulling for them but it was not needed, they were by far the best on the floor in clarity as well as choreography. Second went to Jason Rivers & Jennifer Davis but here things were not as clear. They did win with a majority of seconds, but at times the work seems to overpower their knowledge and expectations. For us and for some of the judges, Martin Pickering & Natalie Botes could have been an easy choice for this position as well and they did take a number of seconds from Jason & Jennifer on the judges’ scorecards. They also were a favorite couple, you could hear the audience cheering for them when called.

From fourth place down things got a little murkier in this Smooth competition. For us it was a competition between Nick Hacklin & Sarah Ford and Jay Morth & Samantha Trinidad; and yes Nick & Sarah did place fourth but on their scorecard we saw a variety of marks, from second to sixth placed and even a seventh in their foxtrot from Edward Simon. The same basically you could see in Jay & Samantha’s column with a few more sevenths in a number of dances.

We must also point out that Nick Hacklin & Sarah Ford also entered the professional Cabaret later and they took second place in this venture to Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich who did a terrific Cabaret routine with a number of difficult maneuvers. It is almost a shame that these two competed with one another because Nick & Sarah do a terrific Showdance routine with few if any lifts, while Zahcary & Ariel do more lift work, so it is almost comparing apples and oranges. We must point out now that Zachary & Ariel won nearly with perfect scores with only one judge, Edward Simon, awarding them a second place in this style.

The further we got from the top three the more variations in marks we got from the judges in this open professional Smooth as you will see by the final tally of the scores. Christopher Wayne & Mallory Evan took sixth with this marks 6,6,7,6; Antonio Nunez & Ksenia Kaskina were seventh 7,7,6,7 and eighth place in all dances was awarded to Dustin Donelan & Georgiatta Anderson.

In the Professional Rhythm the judges were asked to call back 7 couples and this time they were on the money. Here also the presumed winners, Andre & Natalie Parmonov, won three dances with a majority of firsts from the judges and had perfect scores in the bolero. There was only a handfull of judges that awarded them less than first, Didio Barrera who awarded them 2,1,3,1,3, Larinda McRaven who awarded them a second in the rumba and a second in the swing, and Donald Johnson who also awarded them a second in the swing, and David Nyemchek who followed suit.

Second in all dances was awarded to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin who took nearly all firsts missing in the Paramonovs’ column, and we have to say that their performance was excellent. Dmitry & Olena usually have a performance full of power and energy, but on this outing we have to agree with the judges that awarded them some of the first places, there seemed to be a slightly different approach, one that had a lot more soul than energy and sweat. We must also point out, Ilya Velednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko, who also put on a good performance, especially in the swing where we for sure thought they might win this dance. Unfortunately for them, they were only able to steal one first in this dance from the Paramonovs awarded to them by Mr. Barrera, but they did mange to get a few more seconds away from the Nikishkins.

Another couples that had a great evening was Toshko Kondov & Kristen Dobson who placed fourth in all dances. We thought their performance was very correct, with great body isolation from both in all dances. Fifth was awarded to Senzo Makhaye & Agnieska Strojek in all dances, Antonio Nunes & Ksenia Kashkina placed sixth, and seventh in all went to Nicolas Rodriguez & Paulina Struk.

The Open Professional Ballroom was a repeat from the night before in the Rising Stars - Aleksei Minaev & Elena Minaeva placed first in all dances with perfect scores in all dances. Second in every dance and also from every judge went to Jason Rivers & Jennifer Davis, and third in all was awarded to Michael Hughes & Keely Brown. The Professional Latin was also a repeat and here Oleksandr Kozhukhar & Rachel Sayotovich were first in all dances and the Minaevs were 2nd.

The theme of this last night at the Twin Cities Open was Rock Stars and Music. All couples that won were asked to do an honor dance and they did. We also saw some interesting modern dance numbers from a couple of groups and the judges got the chance to “Rock it Out” and wear an outfit from their favorite rock band or figure. Some were quite interesting to say the least, but all in great fun.

Our congratulations to Scott and Amy Anderson for putting on such a terrific competition for us to enjoy.

A Tale of Two Cities!

The Twin Cities Open Championships are here once again and last night was all about the Professional Rising Stars.

The most populated and exciting categories were the American Styles where full semifinal rounds were run. The Smooth was won by Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson and the Rhythm by Senzo Makhayen & Agnieszkay Strojek.

For those that follow the Smooth and Rhythm categories around the USA, second in the Professional Rising Star Smooth were Jason Rivers & Jennifer Davis and they took second in all dances. Third was Martin Pickering & Natalie Botes and they took third in all.

In the Rhythm Rising Star second was awarded to Antonio Nunez & Ksenia Kashkina who took all seconds and third was awarded to Slash Sharan w/ Rebecca Vincitore who took all thirds.

In the Professional Rising Stars Ballroom the winners were Aleksei Minaev & Elena Minaeva and in the Rising Star Latin the win wen to Oleksandr Kozhukhar & Rachel Sayotovich.

Tonight the Open events will be held and we will bring it all to you tomorrow. The venue here at the Twin Cities Open Championships is excellent with a great convention center space below the Hyatt Regency giving the competitors access to many of the ammenities in this excellent venue.


  • Twin Cities Open 2016

    Purple Rain!

    The Twin Cities Open Ballroom Championships concluded last night with a tribute to “Prince,” a native of Minneapolis who as most of us know became a world mega star.

  • Star Rhythm Tour - 2nd leg TCO

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    Star Rhythm Tour Second Leg

    (sponsored by City Lights Ball)

    The second leg of the tour in Minneapolis, Minnesota was a model of just how exciting the Star Tours can be. The couples competed to a full house and thrilled the audience and even the judges as they took to the floor to present their solo performances one couple at a time starting with the audience’s pick (The Wildcard).

    ThSRT2-slashe audience’s favorite tonight and their pick from the semifinalists at this Star Rhythm Tour stop were Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson from Brookfield, Wisconsin.  Slash & Meghan probably had an advantage here as this is their hometown, but funnily enough when it came to their solo performance the audience pulled away from them leaving them with only 3% of the votes from the audience adding only 1.5 points to their cumulative score. Slash & Megan went out of the box when it came to their solo they did an “I love Lucy” routine with a hint of comedy but very up beat.   However, the judges were also not behind them, they scored the lowest of all the scores a 79.29 overall from the judges. We must also mention that Slash & Megan came with a disadvantage because they did not earn any points in the group competition, they did not make the group final, and so received only 3 points total going into the solos for being the audience favorite.  Their grand total was 83.79 on this second leg of the tour.

    SSRT2-Aaronixth in this leg of the tour was awarded to Aaron & Iryna DeSoto who gave us also an uplifting routine that was well received by the audience and by the judges who awarded them 85.43 points making it the fourth best score the judges gave for the solos in this leg. Unlike Slash & Megan they did make the impressive group competition final and here they earned 5 points total - they placed sixth in every dance and so they picked up a point per dance. They were also the audience fourth favorite in the solos.  They received 9% of the audience vote earning them 4.5 points toward this leg total and placing them in sixth position at this event with a 94.93. Aaron & Iryna participated on the first leg and so to see were Aaron & Iryna stand overall after the second leg, see the cumulative totals here on Dance Beat.  (Star Dance Tours Rules and Results).

    Fifth in this leg wSRT2-mykytaas awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka.  The judges awarded them 85.29 points for their solo routine.  This was quite a good score but the audience failed them.  They only received 2% of the popular vote giving them only 1 point extra towards their final score.  However, they did dance in the group competition and they took 3 fifths and 2 fourths and this gave them 12 points towards their final tally of 98.29 points total. Mykyta & Anna are new to the tour and you can also see where they stand in the Rhythm Tour cumulative scores here on Dance Beat.

    FSRT2-Ilya1ourth overall on this second stop went to Ilya Velednitskiy & Mariya Ilchenko. They too are new to this tour.  Their solo performance was not placed as well as Mykyta & Anna’s by the judges, but the difference was not great.  The judges scored them 84.86. Ilya & Mariya danced in the group competition final and here they earned one point more than Mykyta & Anna, 13 points total by placing 4,4,5,4,5. In the audience’s eyes they were like Mykyta & Anna, they shared in 2% of the vote and so only 1 point was added to them from the audience. Their total scores for this leg of the Star Rhythm Tour was 98.86.

    ThingsSRT2-paramonov really heat up when it came to the top three places.  Third in this exciting second stop of the tour was awarded to Andre & Natalie Paramonov who received the second best score from the judges awarded in the solo portion of the tour, it was a whamming 96.29 points. This couple also danced in this exciting group final and here they placed third in all five dances earning them a total of 20 points. However, the fans helped but not enough to push them over the top.  They received 18% of the audience’s vote giving them 9 points extra but that was not enough to place first or second. In the end their overall score was of 125.29 points, good enough to stay afloat but they are going to have to work hard on popularity to stay comfortably where they currently stand, second place in the overall race.

    SecSRT2-Nazarond on this stop were Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova.  They participated in the first leg of the tour at the Colorado Star ball and overall they are currently the front-runners of this Star Rhythm Tour.  However, they won Colorado but here they placed second overall. When it came to their solo performance the judges placed them below Andre & Natalie with 96.14 points (a very small difference). They also placed second in every dance in the group competition earning them a few more points freezing the Parmonovs with 25 points. But their biggest strength on this leg of the tour was the audience who loved this couple.  They earned the best audience score of this leg with 39% of the popular vote, earning them 19.5 points and placing them second overall on this leg of the tour with 140.64 points total.

    The winners of SRT2-Emmanuelthis leg of the tour were Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who, if you remember, were knocked down to last place at Colorado for breaking the time rule of the tour. However, this is a very resilient couple that came back stronger than ever.  This time without breaking any rules, they earned the highest score from the judges for their solo performance, a 97.86. They won all dances in the group competition taking perfect scores in this section of the tour and that was 30 points total. They too were prepared and did a good job mobilizing their fans around the country.  They received the second most amount of points after Nazar & Irina, 13.5 points coming from 27% of the audience vote total.

    For us and for everyone participating and watching at home this was a nail-biting experience.  The couples’ performances were all beautiful and exquisite to watch. The tension builds as we move on to leg three of the Star Rhythm Tour in Nashville, Tennessee that will finish at the home of the tours, the City Lights Ball. We want to thank all the couples for their effort and for their participation.  You can see that when we all push together we can move mountains and we are moving mountains and setting new standards for dancing and compensation for professional dancing in America.


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