The highlight of the night was undoubtedly the Professional Cabaret, with several of the USA’s leading contenders vying for first place before an appreciative audience.
Clear winners on the night were Shane & Shannon Jensen with 11 of the possible 13 first places from the judges. They performed their “Footprints in the Sand” routine with near perfection all on all of the difficult aerial choreography.
2nd and 3rd spots were quite close between Travis & Jaimee Tuft and Mykhailo Azerov & Tetyana Makarenko, both of whom presented new routines. The result by 7 “2nd or better” placements to 6, gave the Tufts the runner-up position and Mykhailo & Tetyana 3rd. Each couple received 1 first place, Diana McDonald awarded first to Travis & Jaimee and Danny Villavicencio gave the competition to Mykhailo & Tetyana.
Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova were 4th with a highly dramatic and well-costumed tango. Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley took 5th with the “Sounds of Silence” number that won them the US National Showdance Championship. 6th were Leo Mora & Christina Garced and 7th, Joel Thomas & Samantha Barakat.
The other attraction of the night was the NDCA World Salsa Championship. 3 couples entered this year and the winners were Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker, who had won the Rhythm the night before. Antonio Nunez & Ksenia Kashkina were 2nd and Donovan Kirrane & Olga Goncharova were 3rd.
An interesting addition to this year’s daytime Saturday session was a large group of “single” junior competitions. They began with a quarter final in the under 12 and over 12 categories. All come from the same local San Juan studio and are trained by Stephen Dunne. Their presentation and behavior was outstanding and drew compliments from everyone present.
Last night after the competition the El San Juan Hotel lobby was filled almost to capacity with dancers and local enthusiasts as the famous and traditional salsa orchestra Sonora Poncena energized everyone for some spectacular salsa dancing.
Today the “La Vida Loca” package holders are enjoying the sunny weather aboard the annual catamaran trip and tonight the final swansong is dinner and dancing at Fogo de Chao overlooking Condado.
More Than A Competition!
Caribbean Dancesport Classic is more than a dance competition it is a weekend of fun and vacation.
But last night, as in many previous years, it once again can pull out the big guns from its “fort” when it comes to incredible dancing. The Pro Smooth competition was amazing with fantastic couples down to the full semifinal round, and in the Rhythm and Ballroom it also pulled its weight in quality, if not quantity.
The Smooth was very exciting from the very start with 11 exceptional couples in the semifinal round but in the end only six could come back. Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova stole the show with what many around the floor thought to be a dramatic performance, only a few judges awarded them second or less in every dance, the huge majority awarded them first. Their worst marks came from Tomasz Meilnicki who awarded them a third in the foxtrot, along with Gary McDonald who awarded them second place. There was also a second in the Viennese from Gary McDonald, and a second in the tango from Katia Kuznetsova. The only dance where they got two second place marks was the slow waltz and those two marks came from Gary and Katia.
Second in every dance was awarded to Travis & Jaimiee Tuft and this couple was also the recipients of the 6 first place marks that Max & Tatiana lost. The very tough call for the judges we think in this heat was the contest between third and fourth place, both couples had wonderful evenings and on paper it was certainly also very close. Third and fourth place was a contest between Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab and Nikolai Pilipenchuk & Sarika Hudson, and in the end it was a hairline decision particularly in the waltz. The third and fourth place marks had to be decided in the waltz by “fifth or better” marks, basically they could not apply a “rule ten” on fourth or better marks because both couples had an equal amount of 30 points on this fourth or better marks. So they then went down to “fifth or better” marks and Nikolai & Sarika got one point more, 13, to the 12 that Yuliya & Sergiy had. In the end Nikolai & Sarika placed third with these marks 3,3,4,3, and Yuliya & Sergiy placed fourth, 4,4,3,4, but had they won the waltz by one mark the competition would have been completely tied and all rules would have been applied to find the third place winner.
Fifth place in this excellent Smooth heat went to Aleksandr Vukosavjevic & Nevena Urosevic fifth in all dances, and sixth place was awarded to Ilya Abdullin & Anastasija Jerjomina.
The Professional Ballroom competition was also a very close but this time the fight was between Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk and Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya. In this competition the irregularity was in the foxtrot, a dance in the past few events that Alexander & Veronika have placed ahead of Rudy & Katya here in the USA. This time it went to Rudy & Katia. Alexander & Veronika won the waltz easily with 10 first places out of 13 judges, the tango got a little closer with Rudy & Katia taking 8 first to the 5 Alexander & Veronika were awarded. The Viennese Waltz went to Alexander & Veronika 7 to 5 and one first was taken by Stefano Di Brino & Bianka Zubrowska, and that first place mark came from Urs Geisenhainer. Stefano & Bianka also got a first in the foxtrot from Urs, but this dance went to Rudy & Katia with 7 first place marks, five to Alexander & Veronika. The quickstep was an easy dance for Rudy & Katia who won it 9 first places to 4. In the end Rudy & Katia took first overall 2,1,2,1,1, Alexander & Veronika were second 1,2,1,2,2, Stefano & Bianka placed third in all dances and Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley were fourth.
The Professional Rhythm for us was a very close call between first and second place, however, when looking at the marks on paper it was a clear sweep of first in all dances for Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker who won all dances with a majority of firsts. Second in all dances were Alberto Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones who we thought also danced extremely well and could have easily taken a dance or two, but it was not on the cards, the judges thought differently. We do have to point out that as a couple Andrew & Amy had the audience in a “cheer” ful mode, everywhere they went throughout the event they got “ahs and “ohhhhs.”
Third place in this Open Professional Rhythm went to Ilya Abdullin & Anastasija Jerjomina and they were third in all dances. Fourth in all was awarded to Kristian Sese & Mae Losada, fifth overall was awarded to Senzo Makhayen & Agniezka Strojek-Maguiry 5,5,5,5,6, sixth went to Antonio Nunes & Ksenia Kashkina 6,6,6,6,5, leaving seventh place to Donovan Kirrane & Olga Goncharova who placed seventh in all dances.
So far Caribbean Dancesport Classic has totally delivered as the Dance/Vacation competition of the year, as many of you have seen the pool area is in full swing daily and the outings have always been terrific with dancing and great food at all stops.
Tonight we are looking forward to the Professional Cabaret division and from the lineup of things it seems to be quite a terrific contest as well. Stay tune for more on the Caribbean Dancesport Classic.