Last night at the Trump National Doral Hotel, we witnessed the end of an era as 10-times World Champions Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko of USA formally announced their retirement from competition dancing.
It was serendipity that their final world championship would come in their home country and it was so great to see them retire in the country that they have represented so well over so many years. Somewhat unusually, their proposed retirement was an “open secret” and many in the packed ballroom were there specifically to see it for themselves. The crowd was noticeably partisan, as was to be expected, and the US Champions and defending World Champions received a standing ovation almost from the moment they walked on the floor in the first round, an ovation that continued throughout the competition until the emotional finale.
Following the announcement of the results, there was a prepared video presentation of thanks from Riccardo & Yulia and a farewell performance of rumba to “A Mi Manera” (My Way) by the legendary Argentinian ballad singer, Maria Marta Serra Lima – a signature part of their show performances over the past year.
Riccardo & Yulia – Dance Beat salutes you for your unique achievements! And you can read an interview with Riccardo & Yulia in the current edition of Dance Beat and online very soon.
But wait!! Wasn’t there a World Latin Championship on? Yes! and it was a good one! In reality 3 potential finalists were missing and while this was disappointing to some it opened the door to 3 new finalists. As you already know Riccardo & Yulia were the winners and they in fact won all dances with 1st places from all judges – 55 in total. But the good news continued for the USA as Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova were the runners-up placing 3,3,2,2,2. With 2,2,3,3,3, Dorin Frecautanu & Marina Sergeeva of Moldova were 3rd. Troels & Ina had the majority of 2nd places from the judges in the last 3 dances, Dorin & Marina had the majority in cha cha and took the samba on “3rd or better” scores. One wonders whether, had Stefano DiFillipo & Daria Chesnokova attended, the USA could have had a clean sweep of the top 3 places as they did at Blackpool this year.
With 2nd and 3rd pretty clearly decided, the remaining fight was for 4th, 5th and 6th between the 3 newer couples. Pavel Zvychaynyy & Oxana Lebedew (Germany) took 4th in all dances. They were certainly the favorites to move into an open space in this final and they had the majority of 4th places in 4 dances. Only in paso doble did they struggle a little more, but still took the 4th spot. For 5th and 6th it was a 3/2 split on the dances in the favor of Massimo Arcolin & Laura Zmajkovicova (Italy) 5,5,5,6,6 over Morten Loewe & Roselina Doneva (Denmark) 6,6,6,5,5.
These 6 couples were well clear and no other semifinalist really showed any great challenge for the final. 2 North American couples were noteworthy for changing their country of allegiance. Kamil Studenny & Anna Kaplii who formerly represented Canada switched to Poland and placed in the semifinal. Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir, who formerly represented USA, switched to England. They placed in the quarter-final.
Watch for a full report on this edition by Carolyn Smith.
This WDC World Championship was organized by Peter & Cassandra Schneider as part of their Grand National Dance Championships and attendance was definitely up this year. As “supporting events” for the World Championship there were some other quality professional divisions in Rhythm, Smooth and Ballroom (no Grand Nationals Latin Championship this year) and National Champions and finalists turned out for all 3 divisions.
Andre & Natalie Paramonov, current US National Rhythm Champions, won their event here and had the majority of 1st places in all dances. Some judges did not quite agree with this, however, most notably Victor Kanevsky who placed them 3,1,3,1,3 and Mark Nocera 2,2,2,2,3. Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin were 2nd in all dances and took most of the 1st places not given to the Paramonovs. 3rd and 4th spots were closer than perhaps anticipated with a 2/3 split on the dances. Shane & Shannon Jensen were 3rd 4,3,3,3,4 and Kevin Ubillus & Milargros Lareto were 4th 3,4,4,4,3. Anton Tregubov & Ashley Sanchez were 5th in all dances and Jang & Adele Don were 6th.
Alexander & Veronica Voskalchuk won all dances in the Open Ballroom. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances and a perfect score of 11 first places in foxtrot. Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were 2nd in all dances and picked up all the 1st places not given to the Voskalchuks. Their best scored dance was quickstep where they received 4 firsts. Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova were 3rd 3,3,3,3,4; Yuriy Nartov & Enxhi Fundo were 4th 4,4,4,4,3; 5th Marcus Lin & Bella Lee 5,6,5,5,6; 6th Brad Montagnese & Tania Trigili 6,5,6,6,5.
With 3 US finalists competing, the Open Smooth was the strongest of the supporting events. Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova won all dances with a majority of 1st places. Their best scored dance as usual, was the tango. Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina were 2nd in all dances and they received their best scores in the other 3 dances, waltz, foxtrot and VW. Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab were 3rd in all dances and Jang & Adele Don were 4th in all. 5th and 6th places resulted in a tiebreak decision that went to Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir 5,6,5,6 over Artem Merenkov & Tatiana Voilokova 6,5,6,5.
Our congratulations to Peter & Cassandra who completed the stressful task of not only running a competition, but also a World Championship. No easy task! And they barely broke a sweat!