35 Years in the Making!
This year was the 35th anniversary of the San Francisco Open, and to celebrate many of the finalists and winners performed in a 2-part show last night. This on top of two high quality open professional competitions.
The Open Smooth really brought out an interesting group. US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu were entered and they had little trouble winning all dances, each one with a large majority of 1st place marks. The runners-up, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija were equally clear in 2nd place. Judge Beth Knoll awarded them 1st place in all dances. 3rd spot, again in all dances, fell to Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan, who looked more relaxed and in control tonight as they continue to gain experience together. 4th in all dances went to Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow who always give a light and bright performance. Back on the scene here in the USA after some time away were Mark & Melanie Perkovich from Australia and they took 5th in all dances. Closing the final were Drew Miller & Krista Humphrey.
Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova were clear winners in the Open Latin from the judges’ perspective and from the audience’s. They had clear majorities in 4 dances and won the paso doble, also with a majority of 6 firsts to 4 from the runners-up. The runners-up were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who scored 2,2,3,2,2. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova took 2nd in the rumba and 3rd in the other 4 dances. Pavel Balykin & Meagen Mendoza were 5th, 5,5,5,6,5 and Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova were 6th, 6,6,6,5,6.
For the pro-ams it was a day of Ballroom and the Open Scholarships were some of the best of the weekend. The largest open scholarship this year was the Open Senior Ballroom with 12 entries. The winner was Gail Sherman w/ Slava Stefanov. Another good event was the Open B Ballroom and here the winner in all dances was Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev.
The Pros Come Out!
Last night we saw the first of the Open Pro divisions here at SFO. The Rhythm and the Ballroom both began with semifinals.
With a 2014 US finalist couple in both divisions, the result seemed pretty sewn up going in and indeed, both couples won their respective division by winning all dances.
Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova had the majority of 1st places in all 5 dances although there were a few loose firsts floating around. Runners-up, Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi received at least 1 first in all dances as did 4th placed Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti. We felt Nazar & Irina were pretty clear. One judge, Aira Bubnelyte did not see it this way placing them 4,4,4,4,4 and Colin James also placed them 3rd overall.
Danus & Yuki, recently returned to the floor, received 2nd in all dances and had a very appealing presence on the floor. All energy, Andri Abrashin & Mariia Gavrylova were 3rd in all dances, but did not receive any 1st place marks from the judges. Riccardo & Sabrina were 4th in all dances and as we said, had their supporters on the judging panel, receiving 1st places in all dances. Ivan Dishliev & Marietta Nedyalkova were 5th in all dances and Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman were 6th.
Mikhail & Olga were easy winners in the Ballroom losing very few 1st place marks and with a perfect 11 firsts in Viennese Waltz. Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti took 2nd in all dances. They did have the majority of 2nd or better in 3 dances but also had scores all over the final. We thought they were certainly the best choice for runners-up. For here down the results became much less clear. With 3,3,3,4,3, Stefano DiBrino & Briana Zubrowska were 3rd and are rising very fast here in the west coast competitions. They were also the rising star winners. Another newer couple to the pro floor, Christian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko, took 4th with 5,4,5,3,4. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija were 5th 4,6,45,6. This was not quite as good a result as they achieved in the RS. Closing the final were Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova with 4,5,6,6,5.
It was left to the amateurs to provide us with the closest finish of the night and that was in the Amateur Latin. The winners, by 3 dances to 2, were Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrschaft. They placed 1,2,2,1,1. This young couple seem to improve from comp to comp and already looked stronger than in Provo 2 weeks ago. Runners-up were Kiril Kulish & Orsolya Horvath who won the other 2 dances but placed 2nd in cha cha and 3rd in paso and jive. Going in we felt this would be the winning couple and they certainly have great floor presence. But the energy level and consistency was not there tonight in the final. With 3,3,3,2,2, Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Krylenko were 3rd. Daniel Rubashevsky & Anastasia Vysotska were 4th in all dances. 6,5,5,6,5, gave Hai Tran & Stacey Chuang 5th place and with 5,6,6,5,6, Maksim Kalmanovich & Danielle Rayzberg were 6th. This was an all California final.
The pro-ams danced both Smooth and Latin today and we thought the Open B Latin Scholarship was the best of the day. This was won by Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev and she won all dances. 2nd in all was Li Liu w/ Andrey Tarasov and 3rd in all Michelle Peng w/ Nikolai Voronovich.
This is the 35th anniversary of the SFO and we know there are some special events planned for tonight.
Sunny & HOT!
San Francisco Friday
Sparking sunshine over San Francisco Bay greeted dancers as they arrived at the Marriott Hotel for the San Francisco Open’s first day.
And if it was warm outside, things got hot in the ballroom last night, with the heat coming from the Amateur Ballroom Scholarship that pitted many of the USA’s top couples against the Canadian Champions and one of the world’s top six from Poland.
Andrez Sadecki & Karina Nawrot from Poland have finished in the top six in international events and were 4th at the UK Open this January. So we certainly considered them the favorites to take the event last night here in San Fran. But it was not to be. The victory went to US (NDCA) Amateur Champions, Andres & Veronica End who won all dances. However, the Ends did not have the majority of 1st places in any dance. The judges seemed uncertain tonight and the 1st places were spread amongst several couples. The worst scores for the winners came from Mark Weiss who placed them 6,4,4,4,3.
Andrez & Karina must certainly have been disappointed with their result. They actually placed 2,2,2,2,3. So what happened? To us, they appeared the best on the floor at least in most dances, but did they really stand out – perhaps not. We saw them get hung up in corners a number of times, for example. Their worst scores came from Irina Suvurov who scored them 6,5,5,5,6.
3rd spot went to USA again. Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody 3,3,3,3,2. As tall as the winners, it is great to see this couple back on the floor following a long hiatus. We just wish they seemed happier to be there – always a very serious demeanor from Oskar! Anton Belyaev & Antoanetta Popova from Canada took all the 4’s. We have not seen them dance in some time and felt they showed considerable improvement in this style (they are 10-dancers). Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Savenko were 5th 5,5,5,5,6 and Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova were 6th 6,6,6,6,5. Altogether this was a very impressive competition.
We also saw all 4 styles of the professional rising star divisions and they were reasonably strong although only the Rhythm had a semifinal round. The most successful couple of the night were Stephen Smyth & Viktorya Kleyman who won the Rhythm and placed 2nd in the Smooth.
Their scores in the Rhythm were 1,1,1,1,2. Runners-up were a strong couple from Canada that we had not seen before, Dmytro Gurkov & Alexandra Efremova who scored 2,2,3,2,1. 3rd spot fell to Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman with 3,3,2,3,3.
In the Smooth Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow were the comfortable winners we thought and they won all dances. Stephen & Viktoriya were 2nd in all and Brandon & Kirsten Perpich were 3rd in all.
The RS Ballroom turned into quite a tight race. The win went to the quickly rising Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska who placed 1,1,2,1,2. Smooth stars, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktoriya were the runners-up with 2,2,1,2,4 and 3rd went to Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko, 4,4,3,3,1. We were once again impressed with Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who were 4th tonight placing 3,3,4,4,3.
Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova were comfortable winners in the Latin, taking all dances. 2nd went to Artjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina again in all dances and 3rd to Zsolt Katona & Timea Potyz also in all dances.
For the pro-ams it was Rhythm all day.