Manhattan Dance Championships 2021

(3 votes)

The House is Re-Fashioning!

The house of Ballroom Dancing seems to be re-fashioning itself in all the styles and categories.

This is usually more common in pro/am dancing but in professional and amateur, changes are very rare. Last night the judges here at the Manhattan Dance Championship delivered some very interesting results and in fact a change in the Open Amateur Latin once again took place within a week.

We must first mention that here at the Manhattan Dance Championships there is always a high standard of dancing and that nearly every “who is who” of ballroom dancing participates, and last night was no different.

In the Professional Ballroom we had some amazing dancing with some of the top couples in the United States participating, but even here “re-fashioning” was in the air. Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei from California perhaps the highest ranked players of today, danced as usual but this time not without challenge. On this evening they were strongly challenged by Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya who took two dances from them - the tango and the foxtrot. However, the Bielieis still managed to have a majority of firsts in the dances they won - 10 in the waltz, 12 in the quickstep and just scraping in a majority in the Viennese waltz with 8 firsts. For us as always Iaroslav & Liliia showed great technical skills with smooth effortless action but for some, perhaps, very little emotion. On the other hand, Rudy & Katia pour their souls into every dance and were rewarded in two dances.

The rest of the final was as up and down as a “yoyo!” Third was awarded to Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova with these marks 4,4,3,3,4. It was fascinating to see this couple fly around the floor, especially in the quickstep, with lots of ease and hardly ever getting in a muddle with other couples. Terrific floor craft we should say! Fourth went to one of our favorites, Andres & Veronika End, who as usual were quite skillful in this style, but as you will see from the marks were also part of this yoyo 3,3,5,5,3. As you see those three 3rd place marks were not enough to withstand the 5th they got in the Viennese and foxtrot. Andres & Veronica have tools necessary for this skill including the height making them noticable from every corner of the floor. However, this was apparently not good enough yesterday for the discriminating taste of this panel.

Another favorite of ours now is a new import who now reside in Arizona, Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil. We first noticed Maksym & Polina at the Millennium Championships. This new import has only been in the USA for about a month or two, but are skillful enough to be reaching our US finals. Once again we find them to have lots of skill but lacking perhaps a little in the musicality department. In last night’s performance they placed fifth overall with these marks: 5,5,4,4,5. Also dancing in this final were the new partnership of Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova. As a partnership it’s looking quite promising, but overall it is still a little green to come any higher, here we have to agree with the judgement 6,6,6,6,6.

While we are still talking about the ballroom we must congratulate Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova for their retirement from the competition dance floor. For us, this was completely unexpected and it made us all stand for them on their last dance as competitors. It was great to see so many friends and so many people be there for them, we always say that there is a time and a place for everything and this was the perfect time and the perfect place to exit. This was a very memorable retirement and one we will always remember!

There was very little re-fashioning in the Professional Rhythm. The current United States Champions, Andre & Natalie Paramonov, continue to maintain their title by winning all dances with a majority of firsts in every dance. What separates this couple from the rest, we think, is their musicality. Andre & Natalie may do the same routines every round but they always look different, their awareness of the music is amazing, their characterization and musicality in every dance changes with every song they hear and it is a pleasure to see a couple listening to the music and joining together as one.

The fight here in this category was for second place between Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker and Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin. Here are two very talented couples, both very different in their interpretation and approach. Dmitry & Olena for us have the speed and powerful approach to the game, while Andrew & Amy have a softer, more artistic approach to what they do. This makes this two very difficult to judge because in all rights they are about equal. On this night Dmirty & Olena won second place easily with a majority of seconds in every dance, leaving third position to Andrew & Amy also in every dance. We must also point out that both couples took away some firsts in different dances from the champions on top.

Ilia Abdullin & Anastasija Jerjomina had also a terrific night with some well executed dances capturing fourth in every dance from the judges. We must say that Ilia & Anastasia’s choice in color and outfits were terrific for this floor - you could not miss them on the floor, and their energy in every dance solidified their placement. We cannot really say the same for the couple that placed fifth Shandor Shtefil & Evgeniia Elcoro. On this night they were not easy to find and once you looked a little closer they seemed a little disorganized. This look is rare for this couple who usually look in top form in every way and who have been placing quite well around the circuit. We hope they get over this hump are back in top form as is more usual.

Last but not least, in sixth place were Kristian Sese & Mae Lozada who took sixth in every dance. We are not sure what is happening to Kristian who looks a little preoccupied or should we say running scared? On this weekend of competition their worst performance was in the rising star where he was, in our opinion, a little disheveled. Last night the performance was a lot better from Kristian but still lacked the clarity of movement, isolation and basically standing up necessary to withstand the impact the other newer couples are having on the floor. We think perhaps a little mental training might also be necessary here to understand that they still have what it takes and to never give up as long as you are competing.

The Professional Theater Arts & Cabaret was also a feature yesterday at the Manhattan Dance Championships and here there was quite a mix of performances making this a difficult task for the judges. First overall went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, taking the majority of firsts from the judges - 7 firsts out of 11 judges. Although this was perhaps not Travis & Jaimee’s best performance to date, we have to agree with the majority - the routine still deserved a first place mark overall. Second in this competition went to Zachary Pohl & Aeriel Freilich who took two firsts away from the champions. Their routine was clean and well executed but at times it all looked a little bit like hard work. Third went to Igor Puzhevich & Tetyana Makarenko who only stole one first place mark and that came from Frantsiska Yordanova. Their routine was also well executed but it seemed to us that they were not as secure on the harder elements of their choreograph, so perhaps a good placement for this couple at this point. From here down the judges’ marks were all over the place. Andrey Kitsun & Zoya Altmark took fourth overall, Nikita Zhukovsky & Angelina Boiko placed fifth and Valerii Golubev & Margarita Goulubeva placed sixth. We must compliment Nikita & Angelina for they chose a comedy style and this is always harder to pull off and yet they incorporated some very hard elements that were well danced. Perhaps they could have placed higher?

There was a major re-fashioning in the Amateur Latin where Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman won their standing back from Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grihanina. As all of you must have seen last week at the Millennium Dancesport Championships Tall & Iliana lost to Alexander & Arina, but not for long, on this weekend Tall & Ilana won it back by winning all dances with a majority of firsts in every dance. Alexander & Arina fought quite hard and did take a number of first places away from Tall & Ilana, however, not enough to continue to hold on to their crown. On this night for us, Tall & Iliana were the better dancers although it was a struggle to find them many times in the round, once we found them we could appreciate the quality of their work, but we must remember you are here to be noticed by the judges and not vice-versa. On the other hand, Alexander & Arina were always noticeable from the start, perhaps they might have pushed it a little too hard this time, and the man’s bun and costuming was not for us the best choice of the night. However, with a little more finesse and almost the amount of energy, they might have captured more firsts in their bag. It is refreshing to see the couples also re-fashioning their approach to their game and the judges rewarding them for it.

Third in this game went to Max Firesteine & Nicole Mitchedlidze who took third in every dance and when you looked at their scorecard you will see the judges did not know where to go with this talented couple, they got every mark from first to sixth place. We must say that we too were as puzzled as the judges. This very talented couple can go from looking like the very top of the field, to sometimes a pre-champ level of dancing. Perhaps more consistency of work and attitude is needed to maintain a good performance all the way through.

Daniil Tymoshenko & Vladyslava Vursalova took fourth in all dances. This couple really turned it on in the final and our eyes kept going right to them at all times. Had they kept this from the first round I think they might have solidified some higher marks from the judges. Ron Garber & Klaudia Petriti were fifth but not in all dances 5,5,6,5,6. What we like about Ron & Kaludia is the consistency of work from start to finish, they always have great energy and they never seem to miss a step. Last place in this final went to Tagir Mansurov & Liza Lakositsky with these marks 6,6,5,6,5. This was a very deserving position for this newly formed couple at this time. Tagir & Liza are a very talented, each with lots of experience but on this night they were not able to show it as a couple. It seemed that Tagir was leaving most of the work to Liza and the partnership was not yet balanced. We have seen Tagir in the past and he really went for it – today he didn’t seem to break a sweat. It seemed also that they were disappointed with sixth place and showed this during the award ceremony.

The Pro-Am Open Latin Scholarships were all at a pretty high level. Winning the Open A quite comfortably was Ran Xu w/ Daniel Hustiuc. Ran won all dances with a majority of first places. The Runner-up, also in all dances, was Anvelyn Pi w/ Pasha Stepanchuk. 3,3,4,3,3 gave Abigail De Francisco w/ Ivan Mulyavka 3rd spot. 4th Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson 4,4,3,4,4; 5th Patricia Vinokurov w/ Igor Zabrodin 7,5,5,5,5; 6th Sara Rose Magley w/ Andrey Kitsun 5,6,6,6,6; 7th Tina Alania w/ Nikita Malakhov 6,7,7,7,7.

Maria Rigopoulos w/ Ilya Ivanov won the Open B, placing 1,1,1,1,2. From there down the judges seemed totally undecided in this division as you will see from the placements of the competitors. 4,2,4,6,1 gave Donie Burch w/ Ilias Vinikovskiy 2nd place. It is very unusual to see a competitor place 1st in one dance and 6th in another in the same final. Irma Wang w/ Daniel Hustiuc was 3rd overall with placements of 6,5,2,2,3.Deborah Altizio w/ Nikita Malakhov was 4th 2,3,6,3,5 and Liliana Bolshunova w/ Ilya Kutsenko was 5th 3,4,5,4,4. If you add up those placements you will notice that only 4 points departed these 4 final placements. 6th in this really close final went to Michele Stefani w/ Dmitry Barov 5,6,3,5,6.

Deborah Wright w/ Nikolay Voronovich scored a strong win once again in the Open C, easily winning all 5 dances. The 2 next spots were also clear with Lorraine Peoples w/ Genya Bartashevich placing 2nd in all 5 dances and Marina Svyatets w/ Delyan Terziev taking all 3rds. From here down it got tighter. Alexandra Petryaeva w/ Evgeny Kuznetsov was 4th scoring 5,6,4T,4,5; 5th Robyn Shreiber w/ Viktor Shumylo 6,4,6,6,4; 6th Lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov 4,7,4T,5,6; 7th Amy Jay w/ Artem Zhychuk 7,5,7,7,7.

In the Open S1 we saw four strong contenders. The win went to Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme 1,1,1,2. Winning the jive and placing 2nd in the other 3 dances was Doreen Dressel w/ Genya Bartashevich. Fifi Wang w/ Delyan Terziev was 3rd in all dances and Diana Knight w/ Nikolai Shpakov was 4th in all.

The Open S2 was also a strong division. We had a clear winner in Susan Miller w/ Ricky Bentzen who won all dances, but the other finalists seemed to cause the judges some nightmare decisions. The runner-up was Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta whose placements were 2,3,5,2; 3rd Diana Knight w/ Nikolai Shpakov 3,5,3,3. 4th and 5th places were decided by a tiebreak with 4th going to Vy Wappel w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 5,4,2,4 and 5th to Margie Juanillo w/ Matt Hauer 4,2,4,5.

We want to congratulate Diana McDonald and Gary McDonald for putting on such a fantastic event for us in this the first July weekend and we want to tip our hats to all the people participating in such a competition. You all make the Manhattan Dance Championships a competition worth coming to New York for!

The Finish Line!

Last night was the finish line for three very exciting events here at the Manhattan Dance Championships - The Open Professional Latin & Smooth and the Open Amateur Ballroom.

During the day it was a full day of Ballroom dancing for the pro/am competitors and some of the categories as usual were very challenging with some terrific amateur ladies and gentleman.

It was also another challenging moment in the Professional Smooth as two of our top Professional Smooth competitors hit the finish line and once again Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina crossed the finish line first, but this time wining all dances. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorilja, current US Smooth Professional Champions, once again placed second but this time in all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances to Roman & Galina. At the Millennium last week Nick & Viktorilja managed to hold the attack by winning the waltz, and being quite close in Viennese Waltz where they placed second, this time they lost the waltz 5 to 10 first place marks, tango 1 to 14, foxtrot 4 to 10, and Viennese waltz 5 to 10. They were a few judges, unlike at the Millennium, who awarded these couples an occasional fourth or third place, we honestly don’t see how you can go lower than third for either of these two couples, who were totally on this evening. Alexander Bylin awarded Nick & Victorilja three 4th place marks in the tango, foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz. For us both couples were brilliant and managed to “floorcraft” their intricate routines with few issues. But, we did see a few times where Nick & Vicktoriya had to even go down against the line of dance to avoid a cluster of couples, and a few time they also got a little cornered, this and the fact that to many of us they seem not to have changed their routines at all, perhaps contributed to their losing streak. Roman & Galina seemed to look a little fresher, when it comes to material and confidence. This for sure will be an uphill road for these two very talented couples on the way to the United States Championships where it will be decided who takes the number one place in the country for 2021.

Third in this mix and in all dances went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who also gave us an excellent performance, perhaps we would have loved to have seen a more of heartfelt performance so that we could have been drawn to them a little more, but this was a perfect performance with no fault in their routines or floorcraft issues that we could notice. We did notice that they did manage to score a sixth place from one of the judges and that was in the foxtrot from Larinda McRavan, who was perhaps not as confident of their secure third place as so many of the judges were, Larinda also gave them a 5th place in their tango.

Fourth place went to Nikolai & Sarika Pilipenchuck who took fourth in all dances and to many of the onlookers, Sarika sported a very unique dress that complemented their performance and they looked to an observer quite stunning. Speaking of looks, Aleksander Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova took fifth overall with these marks 5,6,5,5, and to begin with they looked very dashing, him with his military ball white outfit and his “La Mancha” goatee. However, by the end of the final his outfit looked like a “Picaso” painting with all the body makeup from her and possibly him on his suit jacket. In our opinion for the judges this could be a little distracting and would take away from their great quality performance. He did change for the awards. Last in this final were Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Anastasiia Zhuchenko 6,5,6,6. This couple had a clear performance, the talent is there perhaps but just needs to be developed and this is possibly why they placed sixth overall. The only thing that perhaps might have also affected their result was the slip in their solo presentation, it was a very good catch by Olkesiy who steadied Anastasiia on her feet because we thought she might end up splat on the floor.

The Open Professional Latin was also a very memorable event with some fantastic couples in this final. Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova had nearly a perfect performance with nearly perfect scores in all dances. However, judge Marat Gimaev did not agree with the rest of the judges, he was the only one to award them a third place mark in the C,S,R and a second in the paso doble. Linda Wakefield also awarded them a 2nd in jive. All other judges agreed that they were the number one couple on the floor on this night. For us this was the easy task of this heat, they were clearly the winners by far on this occasion.

From here down things got a little murkier, Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaddottirtokk second overall but not on all dances 3,2,2,2,2, we totally agreed with the judges that they did get better as they went on, particularly in the paso and in the jive. In the other three dances, things could have gone in the third place couple’s direction - Mikhailo Bilopukhov & Anastassia Shchypilina who placed third overall 2,3,3,3,3. For us Andrei & Asta were clearly the winners in the paso and jive, especially the jive where they could almost have given competition to the winners. In the earlier dances cha cha and rumba we thought they were almost walking it, but perhaps this is all a matter of taste. Speaking to a few onlookers at the end of the evening and to some of them it was about Andrei & Asta’s look. To some they seemed a little “disheveled” Andrei in particular, who sported a comb in his hair but them half glued his hair back, as well as a half grown beard and some did not care much for it. Trying a new look is always tricky – we’re sure others liked the more modern presentation. We think that commentary by the fans after the fact is great as it means that people really paid attention.Mikahilo & Anastasia were perhaps the opposite to Andrei & Asta, here tradition ruled, their cha cha for sure rocked with a contagious rhythmic action and playful connection to each other. Unfortunately, they seemed to get lost after the rumba, that intoxicated rhythm seemed to lose its power, so we totally understand the third place overall in the paso and jive.

It was great to see Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilove come back from their life in the sun, and be back to the energetic performance we have been used to. We have seen Artur & Anastasiya perform once or twice in the Sunshine State and have been slightly disappointed with the quality of their work. It was a little different this time, they seemed to have upped their rounds and are back in pro competitive business. In this competition Artur & Anastasiya placed fourth in all dances. Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maiduck took fifth overall but there was full mixed bag of third to sixth places on their score card from the judges. In the end these were their scores - 5,5,5,5,6. To us it was also a mixed bag of on and off. Sometimes they really made you look, then the next time you looked they seemed unconnected and at times a little frantic to tell the truth. The clearest example we can give is their solo intro where they performed a 30 second samba, they were fully on an at the end he missed catching her after a move leaving her in a precarious position and having to really fend for herself, if not she would for sure have hit the floor and not in a good way. She also showcased her displeasure very clearly to him and us, not sure that helped to promote their case but we understand her displeasure. When couples compete at this level you expect your partner to be there to secure your every move and he was not.

It was great to see Pasha Stephanchuk & Gabriella Sabler make this very prominent final and in our opinion they could have easily placed fifth overall, and they did but only in one dance - the jive. In the rest of the dances Pasha & Gabriella placed sixth. This was a fantastic accomplishment for any couple to be a part of such elite final, and although Pasha & Gabriella still looked a little green, their contagious movement and enthusiasm and talent could rival many at the top on future outings.

The Open Amateur Ballroom also was one of the featured events on this excellent night of ballroom dancing. In the end seven couples were brought back to the final and it was between two very accomplished couples for the two top spots in this crowded final - Nikita Druzhynin & Virginia Primeau from Canada and Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova from the USA. In the end Oleksandr & Olena won all dances with a majority of firsts. We think what perhaps put this couple over the top is the attention to detail in their work, when looking quickly you might be drawn quite easily to both these couples but when really observing them, Oleksandr & Olena from head to toe have a clarity of work that is very hard to come by and dispute. Second went to our neighbors from Canada, Virginia & Nikita. We mentioned that they were easy to spot but at times got a little tangled among some of the other couples making this tall couple apply a little too much effort to get out of the difficulties. However, we must say that we do not envy the judges that had to make this decision.

Third in this final went to Erick Linder & Shelly Linder with these marks 4,3,3,4,4, as you can see from here down it was much harder for the judges to make a clear decision. Fourth place went to Jaren Hopkin & Vashti Smith 5,4,4,3,3; fifth was awarded to Robert & Jenna McShinski 3,5,5,5,7; sixth were Mathew Matusovskiy & Nicole Klavansky placing sixth in all dances and seventh overall were Jonathan Liu & Oleksandra Basko 7,7,7,7,5.

We have to say that this was a very memorable evening one that we will always remember. The couples were first class the atmosphere was fantastic, but best of all the judges marked their minds and this is a healthy thing for the industry. It would be nice to see couples changing placements all the time, not be awarded the placement for life as we often see. I know it is hard to sometimes mark against to the current trend, but it would make our industry more welcoming to more people and perhaps even attract bigger sponsorship money like tennis, football, or some of the other activities where people compete. I also want to congratulate the audience who were wonderful and encouraging to the couples until as we say the bitter end and to the organizers’ credit, you left us wanting more and we left the ballroom just after 11PM at night.

The Open Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships took place at the end of the Friday afternoon session.

Only 2 couples contested the Open A Ballroom Scholarship and the winner in all dances was Jacob Blank w/ Victoria Buravenko. 2nd was Lulu Zhang w/ Derek Walker.

The Open B Scholarship was a very strong and well-contested division. The winner was Sabrina Zagolin w/ Yuriy Kravets 2,1,2,2,1. Also winning 2 dances but ending 2nd overall was Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 3,2,1,1,3. Also winning a dance, but placing 3rd overall was Patricia Schneider w/ Oreste Alitto 1,3,3,3,4. A very close race at the top!! 4th Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano 4,4,4,4,2; 5th Amanda Parton w/ Igor Gayenko 6,5,5,5,5; 6th Sara Trudeau w/ Sergey Izyumov 5,6,6,6,6.

The Open C Division was won fairly easily by Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano 1,1,1,1,1. All the 2’s went to Patricia Schneider w/ Oreste Alito and all the 3’s went to Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan. 4th Charlene Proctor w/ Andrey Begunov 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Sabrina Kirkpatrick w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 6,6,5,5,5; 6th Patricia Chai w/ Sergey Bolotnikov 5,5,6,6,7; 7th Ann Haeussler w/ Yuri Nartov 7,7,7,7,6.

In the S1 Open Ballroom the winner in all dances was Llewelyn Nielsen w/ Oreste Alitto. With 2,3,2,2, Linda Gill w/ Luca Ballestra was the runner-up and Linda Dillman w/ Igor Gayenko was 3rd 3,2,3,3. 4th Susan Cruickshank w/ Alexandr Skriptsov 5,4,4,4; 5th Laura Soloman w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 4,5,5,5; 6th Laura Nagi w/ Aleksei Minaev 6,6,6,6.

The Open S2 was won by Sheila Abraham w/ Sergey Vasilyev 2,1,2,1. It was great to see this lady again, as many will remember her as the super successful lady in the Senior Latin division with her husband Gerald. They were the Blackpool Senior Latin Champions Champions, the best result for a US senior couple to this day! The Runner-up in tiebreak situation was Vicki Sato w/ Nazar Batih 1,2,1,2. 3rd Krista Stewart w/ Oleksiy Buravenko 3,3,3,4; 4th Dexter Wang w/ Liene Apale 6,4,5,3; 5th Fifi Wang w/ Andrey Klinchuk 4,5,4,5; 6th Vy Wappel w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 5,6,6,6.

Tradition!

The Manhattan Dance Championships is all about “tradition” and a good old fashioned Ballroom Dance competition.

And as Mr. Gary McDonald, the Co-Organizer says, “here you get no extra rides, frills, thrills, or smoke and mirrors, Manhattan is just about a good old fashioned dance competition.”

So far Manhattan has delivered with some exciting dancing in the afternoon and evening sessions. For the past two days Manhattan has featured the Rhythm and Smooth styles of dancing in the Pro/Am divisions, and we have also seen the Professional Rising Stars competitions in all four styles. You will see some of the highlights below.

So far, all competitions have been fierce with some excellent matches between couples. But this is just the beginning - tonight the open professional categories will start and from the program it promises to be a nail-biting experience. Will the US Professional Smooth Champions, Nick Cheremukhin & Vicktoriya avenge their loss to Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina? As most of you know, last week Roman & Galina overtook Nick & Vicktorija in the Open Professional Smooth and they are both on the program to compete here again, who will win this time around? No one knows, the chase continues and there is almost a completely different panel here at the Manhattan Dance Championships. We also saw some new partnerships and new faces with incredible talent, will any of our finalists drop or move up; we shall see starting tonight how it will all unravel on the road to the United States Championships 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

The competition kicked into gear on Wednesday with the Pro-Am Rhythm divisions. These were danced throughout the day and in the evening the Scholarship divisions took place.

Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev was the victor in the Open B Scholarship, winning all 5 dances with the majority of first places from the judges. Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan took 2nd in all dances for the runner-up placement. Polina Khazina w/ Eugene Graev was 3rd in all dances and Tolga Bakircioglu w/Esther Frances was 4th in all.

The Open C Scholarship was won by Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 1,1,2,2,1. Angela Morrison w/ Evgeny Dyachenko was the runner-up placing 3,2,1,1,2. 3rd went to lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov 2,4,3,3,3; 4th Christina Rosetti w/ Francesco Arietta 4,3,4,4,4; 5th Susan Volpicella-Levy w/ Bogdan Tabaka 5,5,5,5,5.

The Open S1 Scholarship went to Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme who won all dances taking every first place from the judges. 2nd was Thuan Nguyen w/Amanda Reyzin and 3rd Cindy Lindsay w/ Sergiy Samchynskyy.

In the S2 Open Scholarship, Patricia Mooney w/ Slawek Roszak was the winner in all 4 dances. This was a fairly contested heat from 1st place down. Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta was the eventual runner-up, although her placements were 3,3,3,2. 3rd went to Julia Wang w/ Andrew Escolme 2,4T,2,3; 4th Buck Lindsay w/ Yuliya Besarab 4,2,5,5; 5th Marjie Juanillo w/ Matt Hauer 5,4T,4,4. Some very interesting results in this close-fought division.

Thursday daytime was dedicated to the Pro-Am Smooth competitions, ending with the Open Scholarships in the late afternoon.

The Open A Scholarship went to Kailee Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson and she won all 4 dances. The runner-up in a close finish was Aurora Ghorab w/ Travis Tuft 2,2,3,3 over Sean Nepvue w/ Denise Sobiewski 3,3,2,2. 4th Samantha Ferris w/ Roman Doroshenko 5,4,4,4; 5th Molly Madigan w/ Michael Odikadze 4,5,5,5.

In the Open B division, Olivia Whiteside w/ Sergey Barsukov won her second major scholarship in a week, taking all dances here, as she had done at Millennium Dancesport last week. Also mirroring last week’s Millennium result, Patricia Schneider with Salwek Souchaki was the runner-up, once again in all dances. 3rd today was Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft 4,3,4,3; 4th Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev 3,5,3,5; 5th Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan 5,4,5,4; 6th Bo Chang w/ Paulo DiLorenzo 6,6,6,6.

Another repeat winner from last week’s Millennium was Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa who won all dances in the Open C Scholarship. As she was in the B, Patricia Schneider w/ Salwek Souchaki was the runner-up here with 2nd place in all dances. Lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov was 3rd in all dances. 4th Amy Brewer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 4,5,4,4; 5th Charlene Proctor w/ Mikhail Zharinov 5,6,6,5; 6th Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 6,4,7,6; 7th Angela Morrison w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 7,7,5,7.

Linda Gill w/ Roman Malkhasyan was the delighted winner of the S1 Scholarship, placing 1,3,1,1. Llewelyn Nielsen w/ Slawek Sochacki took 2nd 3,2,2,2. The winner of the tango took 3rd ovevrall and that was Helena Kostik w/ Nikolai Pilenchuk 2,1,3,3. Robin Kencel w/ Mayo Alanen was 4th in all dances. Probably Robin was somewhat disappointed with this placement as she had won the Championship of this division earlier in the afternoon. 5th Susan Casano w/ Randy Dias 5,5,5,5; 6th Sherry Tucker w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 6,6,6,6; 7th Linda Katz w/ Travis Tuft 7,7,7,7.

Matching her win here in the Open Rhythm S2, Patricia Mooney w/ Slawek Roszak won the S2 Smooth 1,1,2,2, beating Pat Luthy w/ Vladimir Popov in a tiebreak. Pat scored 2,2,1,1. All the 3’s went to Mark Eberle w/ Veronica End. 4th Joan Page w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 4,5,4,4; 5th Buck Lindsay w/ Yuliya Besarab 6,4,5,5; 6th Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 5,6,6,6; 7th Jacquelyn Mengel w/ Mazen Hamza 7,7,7,7; 8th Ran Holladay w/ Sarika Pilipenchuk 8,8,8,8.

All 4 of the RS Pro divisions took place on Thursday night with some very impressive entries – quarter-finals in all but the Ballroom division. The top three in each division were as follows:

Rhythm – 1. Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina 1,4,2,1,1; 2. Dymytrii Goncharov & Veronika Shapar 3,1,1,2,4; 3. Kristian Sese & Mae Lozado 4,2,4,4,3.
Ballroom – 1. Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Riccardo Conte & Eleonora Filippi 2,2,3,4,2; 3. Aleksei Minaev & Elena Minaeva 3,3,4,3,3.
Latin - Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Besyedin 1,1,1,1,2; 2. Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan 3. Kostiantyn Samarskyi & Anna Oblakova 3,3,4,3,3.
Smooth – 1. Volodymyr Barabash/Yulia Rudenco 1,1,1,1; 2. Vladyslav Nalyvaychuk/Brianna Nalyvaychuk 2,3,2,2; 3. Ilya Abdullin/Anastasija Jerjomina 3,2,3,4.

On a personal note it was nice to finally relax after the competition with many of our colleagues after the competition was over, something that we have not been completely able to do for fear of COVID-19, with a huge number of dancers vaccinated it was great to finally get to see many of them and share some of our experiences during this very dramatic time for us all. We are also happy to be back to the “big apple” where the magic of the theater, shopping, and eating is just one step away.

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