This was the 10th anniversary of the Platinum Dancesport under the helm of Igor & Polina Pilipenchuk and ith over 6,000 entries it was their largest to date.
Florida is one of the few states that is allowing indoor gatherings currently so with its Miami location, Platinum was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the dancers’ desperation to dance. All divisions, professional, pro-am, junior and amateur saw large increases over previous years.
The venue was once again the Miami Airport Hilton and the hotel tried very hard to be “Covid Compliant.” Buffets were served from behind glass by hotel personnel and for the Saturday evening banquet in the ballroom, tables were limited to 10 guests. These facts, together with frequent reminders for people to wear their masks, made us feel as safe as is possible in these times. Masks were not required while actually competing, but many dancers sensibly elected to wear one anyway.
The open professional divisions on Saturday night were the best we have seen since early 2020 and bot the Latin and Rhythm has quarterfinals.
The Latin was won by Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldatdottir and a very convincing win it was. They won all 5 dances and lost only 1 first place in each of samba and jive and 2 in paso doble. The rumba was the closer dance but Andrei & Asta still had 8 firsts out of 13. This pair seem to have really made use of their “covid time” and are stronger than ever. Runners-up were Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova and they were 2nd in all 5 dancers and had the clear majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances. 3rd in all dances were Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler. These top 3 couples were really in a class of their own in this final and although Artur & Anastasia and Pasha & Gabriella did pick up a few lower placements here and there, the top three took the vast majority of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd scores from the judges. The next 3 positions were much more closely contested as can be clearly seen just from the final placements. In 4th were Lukas & Simona Alisauskas 6,4,4,5,5; 5th Ivan Kudashev & Kshusha 4,5,6,6,4; 6th Daniel Husiuc & Jessica Li 5,6,5,4,6. We can certainly understand the judges’ hesitancy with these 3 couples as each danced well on this night but have very different styles. We especially liked Daniel & Jessica who were perhaps somewhat disappointed on this evening since they placed ahead of Lukas and Simona just the week before at Texas Challenge. 7th in this final went to the RS winners from the night before, Andriy & Amanda Besyedin.
US Champions (2019) Andre & Natalie Paramonov won the Rhythm and again they won all dances taking most of the judges’ winning scores in all. We have seen this duo dance for many years and yet tonight they seemed bright and fresh in their performances and musical interpretations. Congratulations to them on keeping it fresh! The runners-up were Danus Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi. They were clearly second in all dances taking strong majorities of “2nd or better” scores in all, but in the judges’ eyes they did not challenge the Paramonovs strongly on this night. In fact, they took no 1st placements in either swing or bolero. In contrast, Shane and Shannon Jensen, who placed 3rd in all dances, did pick up more 1st placements than the runners-up in all dances except mambo. But most judges placed them 3rd and so they did not challenge Danas & Yuki for the runners-up spot. As in the Latin, the remaining finalist positions were more closely contested. With 4th in all dances, Shandor Shetefil & Evgeniia Elcoro, the RS winners, took the next placement but had the majority of “4th or better” scores in only bolero and mambo. Jang & Adele Don were 5th in all dances, 6th were Dymytrii Goncharov & Veronika Shapov 6,7,6,6,7 and 7th Senzho Machaye & Agnieszka Strojek 7,6,7,7,6.
The Ballroom began with a semifinal. The result gave us clear choices for 1st and 2nd. Ruddy Homm & Katya Kanevskaya were easy winners taking most of the judges’ 1st place scores in all dances including a perfect 13 firsts in quickstep. Similarly, Gianni Caliandro & Ariana Esposito took the vast majority of the judges’ 2nd place scores and a handful of firsts. Once again the next positions were more hotly contested. With 3,3,3,3,4, Evgeni Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya were 3rd but had the majority of “3rd or better” scores in only the VW. With 5,4,4,4,3, Aleksandr & Aida Skriptsov took 4th; 5th were Casey & Kayci Treu 4,5,5,4,5 and 6th Alexander Elsbury & Grace Gallagher 6,6,6,6,6.
The Smooth also began with a semifinal. We offer our congratulations to the winners, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina who scored the only “perfect” win - 13 first placements in every dance. It was a great performance in Miami from a Miami couple! The first three couples, in fact, were all from Florida. Jang & Adele Don moved up to the runners-up spot in the Smooth, always their stronger style. They were 2nd in all dances. The RS winners, Volodymyr Barabash & Yulia Rudenco, took 3rd in all dances. Their best scored dance was VW where they received 5 second places to the 6 for Jang & Adele. Peter Minkov & Yuliia Sorokata took 4th 4,4,4,5. This relatively new partnership shows great potential and Peter’s “Ballroom” experience certainly shows in the quality of movement. However, the partnership still looks a little shaky when put under pressure on the floor. 5th were Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir 5,6,6,4 and 6th were Mykhail Azarov & Anastasia 6,5,5,6.
Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman easily won the Open Amateur Latin winning all dances and losing a total of only 3 first place marks in total. The Runners up were Yevgeni Orlov & Ikah 2,2,2,2,3. 3rd Miroslav Randelovic & Dakota Pizzi 4,3,3,3,4; 4th Kristers Smitts & Shelley Umansky 3,4,4,4,2; 5th Arsen Havryschuk & Stella Zilberberg 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Marc Zhadan & Savanna Filip 6,6,6,6,6.
There were some interesting pro-am scholarship divisions. The ones of special note to us began with the Open C Smooth Scholarship. Charlene Proctor w/ Mikhail Zarinov was the winner 1,1,1,1. 2nd went to Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez 3,2,2,2 and 3rd to Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandr Vukosavljevic 2,3,3,3. Charlene also won the C Open Ballroom Scholarship, this time with Andrew Begunov. The Open C Rhythm Scholarship was also a good division. Elizabeth Q w/ Shandor Shtefil took the event with 1,2,1,1,2. Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandr Vukosavljevic was the runner up 2,1,2,2,1 and 3rd went to Valeria Kenefick w/ Rotislav Liduch 3,3,3,3,3. We really enjoyed the Open A Latin Scholarship. The winner was Panin w/ Artur Tarnavskyy 1,1,1,1,1; 2nd Pi w/ Pasha Stepanchuk 2,3,3,3,2; 3rd Celine Parragh w/ Joseph Parragh 5,2,2,2,3.
Nikolai Pilipenchuk & Sarika Hudson performed during the Saturday night banquet and also announced their engagement to be married. Congrats!
Watch out for individual reports from Rauno Ilo, Taliat Tarsinov, Amy Anderson and Katya Kuznetsova.