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Great Night at Millennium!

Last night was an incredible night, it took us a little to get this to you because we needed to detox from the overwhelming amount of fantastic dancing and emotional rollercoaster of feelings that this night brought to us.


The show was twice as good as the night before with a fiery BYU and incredible transitions from the team to the ballroom stars who were also in incredible mode.  Everything was picture perfect from the video screens to the team and lead dancers’ performances.  The crowd was as always happy to be there and if you got a vacant seat you were lucky.

Mil-WakefiledThe Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 to Lee and Linda Wakefield was deserving and very moving.  We believe they were actually surprised! When they were called they stood by one side and they had to be coaxed on to the seats where they watched their life achievements on video. It was a perfect moment, the team had just finished performing a fabulous show and were still on the floor with the stars in the middle and this night they took no prisoners they left everyone wanting more and more.

Earlier in Mil-Janthe evening the Millennium Hall of Fame inductees for 2014 were US National Professional Rhythm & Smooth Champions from the 1980’s Joe Lozano & Jan Mattingly.

The two featured finals that started way after midnight kept many of the attendees  glued to their seats and it was worth the wait. Both the Rhythm and the Ballroom were excellent finals with boundless attendance and top of the line couples.

Mil-MaratMarat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk were the winners of the Ballroom and they took first in all dances with a huge majority of firsts. However, not all judges felt the same way some awarded them sixth and we will point them out to you in the full article here soon. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva were not far behind and they were awarded second in all dances and Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova were third, and as you will see this job became harder for the judges as they placed 3,5,3,2,5T.  We’re sure the judges were sweating bullets. Fourth in this excellent parade of ballroom dancers went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova (6,4,5,3,4), fifth was awarded to Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch (5,3,4,6,5T), and last but not least in sixth position were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa (4,6,6,5,3).


Watch out for Loraine Barry’s full report in Dance Beat soon.


The Professional Rhythm also had huge attendance and here Andrey & Natalie Paramonov won the night, they took first in all dances but the mambo where they placed third. But here clearly the audience were divided on the results. Just prior to the Parmonovs’ crowning, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were called for second place and the audience clearly were not pleased many of them stood and screamed for them showing what was clearly some displeasure with the judges’ decision.  Andre & Natalie had a different group of supporters also. Nazar & Irina got these marks from the judges - 2,3,2,3,1. In this mix of firsts, seconds and thirds were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu who too got a great reception from the audience. Here are their marks -2,3,2,3,1. The audience were very undecided with these two last couples mentioned and so were the judges as you can see by the marks.

From foruth place down it was a little more routine.  Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were fourth in all dances. Shane & Shannon Jensen were fifth, Ilya & Mandy Velednitsky were sixth and Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone were seventh.

Watch out for Bob Powers’ opinions on this division.

As Mil-Jensenyou can already tell this was a fully packed evening and the Professional Cabaret took quite abut of time with seven couples called to the final. The title went to Shane & Shannon Jensen with a huge majority of firsts. However, for us it was Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva who placed second who got us moving today.  Their unconventional routine made us look more than once especially when she is flying through the air with her head between her legs being “possessed”.  Their routine is based on The Exorcist. We were really in doubt here as to what the judges were going to do especially when Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed third were also looking in excellent form.

Clyde Harris & Summer Black captured fourth overall, Jamie Black & Robin Ray were fifth, Igor Alferov & Alexandra Akimova were sixth and seventh wen to Martin Cardoso & Noelia Guerrero.

Watch for Tommye Giachinno’s report.

Mil-AmLatThe Amateur Open Latin was also an excellent heat and here Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina were the clear winner in all dances.  Pasha Pahskov & Daniella Karagach were second and Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts (Slovenia) were third.  Ilia Ifraimov will have a full report.

In the Pro-Am Latin Scholarship categories some of our results were totally off compared to the judges’ decisions. Our worst prediction came in the “C” where we had Janet Colleran w/Alex Nashev placing first and she took sixth. Mil-PinardThe winner here was Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitus, 2nd was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn and 3rd Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov.

In the A CMil-Cheyenneheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov was the easy winner both for us and the judges.  2nd went Vera Xu w/ Jacub Zeglin and 3rd to Callie Chan w/ Dmitri Mikulich.

The Mil-CLatB was won by Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov from Russia.  2nd went to Johanna Komacki w/ Andrei Gavriline and 3rd to Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev.       

The Elements Plus!

The Elements finally came together last night at the Millennium Dancesport in an interesting and varied show by BYU, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, Emanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova and Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite.


It was choMil-Angelreographed by Lee Wakefield from BYU and Rufus Dustin from Miami Beach, Florida. A fifth element was introduced, a ballet dancer from American Ballet Theatre, he wore angel wings and portrayed “Sky.”  Choreographically he chained all the elements together making the show run smoothly top to bottom!

The ShowMil-Sponsor was sponsored by Debra Fontaine.

On the competition floor it was a smooth night with excellent couples fighting it out to become the Millennium Smooth Champions. From the very start we knew it would be a tough competition, especially for the judges who would have to make up their mind of only six couples for the final. We are sure it was a tough job but in the end the judges did their job, leaving a number of excellent couples out of the final.


The final was a terrific mix giving us great variety to watch and from the judges’ perspective, a great variety to chose from. Mil-PerzhuPeter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges.  However, they did get a number of thirds and seconds but not enough to affect their standing. Mazan Hamza & Izabella Jundzill placed second in every dance and took a number of the firsts from the Parzhus and the majority of seconds. Third in every dance was awarded to Mikhail & Galina Zharinov who also took a few firsts as well as a huge variety from 6th up. For us it was an excellent competition the top couples were all in great shape for the task.  However, from earlier rounds it almost looked clear to us that Perzhus would take the Millennium trophy home.  Second and third were less clear to us but we were ready for what ever decision the judges handed down.

The rest of the final was excellent but from looking at the marks and at the competition itself, it was clear that these top six were divided in two divisions, the second part of this final was lead on paper by Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed fourth in every dance. Travis & Jaimee did get a majority of fourths but also shared in some 5th and 6th. New to the scene, Mikolaj Czarnecki & Victoria Malko placed fifth in every dance and sixth in every dance went to Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft. If is some consolation, we have to say, that this must have really bean a total quick impression for the judges with so much talent and different styles.  It must have been hard to compartmentalize and divide these 6 excellent couples. Congratulations to all six of you, you were all terrific!


The Latin was also quite unique, from what we understand there were a few couples that entered on the day and this made for a probable competition rescheduling. However, using a past-used NDCA rule, they were able to go from a 15 semifinal, run in two heats, to what ended up to be an 8-couple final. This seemed fare enough for everyone including the audience who would have had to spend at least another ? hour more in the ballroom and would have taken us to a very late finish. Congratulations to the Chairman of Judges for the efficiency and quick thinking.

LMil-Kustkyyike the Smooth the 8-Couple final was excellent.  Roman Kutskyy & Ana Kovalova won every dance with a huge majority of firsts from the judges. From second on it was a completely mixed bag.  We are so lucky to have computers because with such variety of marks from 19 judges we would still be there tabulating who got what. Second overall wen to Andrey Tarasov & Julia Kuznetsova and they placed (3,2,2,2,2), This couple were awarded firsts, seconds and on down to a seventh place in every dance but the paso. Third went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from Ukraine (2,3,3,3,3), and they too were awarded from first down, but this time to 8th place. Manuel & Natalie from Ukraine were the only couple noticeably shocked and by their result, it took them quite a pregnant moment to recuperate but that they did and they accepted their award with a big smile. Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte were fourth in every dance, they did not got any firsts but they did get a number of seconds with other marks down to 8th.

Fifth in this marathon of Latin couples wen to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova but here as you will see the mix is almost liquified they got (5,6,5,5,7). Sixth were Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova (6,5,6,7,5).  Seventh went to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets (8,8,8,6,6) and eighth was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova (7,7,7,8,8). As you can see the four elements were not the only ones being brought together at this Millennium Championships, great couples from all over were drawn together here and the competition was fierce.


The Amateur Ballroom also had a terrific entry and here before the final Oscar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody had to pull out for medical reasons due to a foot injury (we believe), we wish her a quick recovery. This left the first place easily open for another couple to take and it went to Lucas Balestra & Krizia Balestra (1,1,1,2,1). Second was awarded to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kacmarski (2,2,3,1,2) and third went to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Bakhtiarova (3,3,2,4,3).

The Pro/Am Ballroom was run during the afternoon session and here there was also terrific competition in the Open Scholarships with huge entries and excellent dancing.

In the “A” Mil-DeniseBallroom Denis Evans w/Artem Plakhotnyi was first overall but not in every dance (1,4,1,2,2).  Second went to Melonie Krumer w/Max Sinitsa (2,2,2,1,3), and third was awarded to Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov (3,3,3,3,4).

In the “B” Celia ChouMil-Celia w/Erminio Stefano was the crowned champion placing first in every dance and leaving second place open for Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev who took all second places.  Third overall was awarded to Lisa Berry w/Rauno Ilo (3,3,4,3,3).

The “C” wMil-Tammyent to Tammy Knight w/Artem Plakhotnyi (1,2,1,1,1).  Second was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva (2,1,2,2,2) and third went to Leilani Viney w/Kamil Urbaniak (3,3,4,3,3).

Tonight the fourth element would come together once more for another show and we will see the competition heat up in the professional Rhythm and Ballroom as well as the Amateur Latin witch has a huge entry.      


“It’s the first annual ………”

Pro-Am Team Match – at Millennium!

The brand new addition to the 2014 Millennium was the Pro-Am Team Match held last night at the start of the evening session. 


Mil-USA4 international teams competed over the 4 styles totaling 16 dances.  The teams were from USA, Canada, Russia and the Republic of ROW (Rest of World)!  The ladies from each team entered wearing “wings” in their country’s color.  We thought this was a great way to make the teams cohesive in a relatively simple fashion and without the necessity of everyone wearing the same style/color dress.

The winning Mil-Marianneteam was USA, captained by Marianne Nicole.

We saw the first two professional events of this year’s Millennium last night – the RS Latin and Smooth.  Both began with quarter-final rounds and the standard in both was good.

The Smooth was a tight race for first place, but it was won by Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidjnova 1,2,1,1 over Kyle & Allie Spinder 2,1,2,2.  But to see how close it was you have to look at the judges’ individual placements.  Sergey & MMil-Sergeyaria won the waltz by 9 first places to 7, the foxtrot by 9 to 8 and the Viennese by 9 to 8.  Mil-SmoothRSKyle & Allie took the tango, 10 to 7.  For those with a keen eye for maths, that remaining 1st place in the waltz went to 3rd placed Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who were 3rd in all dances.  4th in all dances were Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini, 5th were Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 6,5,5,5 and 6th, Marc Short & Alissa Kark 5,6,6,6.

The RS Latin also had a fairly close race for 1st place, but it went to Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova 2,1,1,2,1 over Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 1,2,2,1,2.    The remaining placements were very mixed. All the way from China, Ray Zhang & Ren Yi Mil-RSLattook 3rd 6,3,3,4,7.  From England, Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 4th, 3,6,6,3,5; Pavel Balykin & Meagan Mendoza were 5th 7,4,4,5,4; Ryan Lewis & Tessa Maria were 6th 5,5,5,6,3 and closing the final Felipe Gonzalez & Kathleen Ilo 4,7,7,7,6.

For the pro-ams it was Smooth day.  The semifinals and finals of the 3 Open Scholarships were run in the evening with qualifying rounds in the afternoon session.  All produced great finals.


The A was won by Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa and Melonie won all dances.  We felt she was the best overall dancer in the final who produces a lot of power.  The only challenge to Melonie came from Brianna Yadgir w/ Chris Germain who has greatly improved in this style and took 2nd in all dances.  Brianna was also the winner of the Open Scholarship in 9-Dance and won all 9 dances.  Congratulations!  3rd here in the A Smooth went to Christine Diaz w/ Kris Suakjian and she was also 3rd in all dances.  In fact all places in all dances were the same for every competitor.  4th went to the only gentleman in any of the finals, Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer, 5th to Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki and 6th to Melissa Dipietro w/ Randy Dias.


In tMil-Berryhe B we saw an upset to the expected form as Joanne Smith w/ Sharone Levit (Canada) who has won most events in this division lately, lost to Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo.  Lisa placed 1,2,1,1 to Joanne’s 2,1,2,2.  So was this upset expected?  You can find out our opinion in the members’ section of Dance Beat coming up soon.  The remaining couples placed in the same position in every dance.  Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu was  3rd , Melissa Rodriguez w/ Mayo Alanen took 4th, Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian 5th, Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto 6th and Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki 7th.


It Mil-Suewas a return to glory for Sue Eldred as she took 1st in the C division 1,1,1,2.  Now dancing with Artem Plakhotnyi, Sue had been a US Champion before taking a break.  This was her first major win since returning.  2nd fell to Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza 3,3,2,1 and 3rd to Lynn Murrel w/ Peter Perzhu 2,2,6,3.  As you can see, not too much consensus from the judges on these placements!  Monica Broch, in her 2nd final of the night, once again placed 4th, 4,4,3,4.  Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean was 5th 5,5,4,5;  Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 6th 6,6,5,6 and Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Max Sinista was 7th.

Stay tuned for the first of the major professional and amateur divisions all happening tonight, plus the Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships and part 1 of the Millennium “Show of Shows” that features the BYU Formation Team, Emanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, Victor Fung & Ananstasia Muravyeva and Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidailaite.


Millennium!  It’s “Element-ary!”

Millennium’s theme this year is the 4 Elements and it is “elementary” that Millennium Dancesport remains the “best dressed” competition on the circuit.  This year the stage is filled with enormous LED displays that constantly change to reflect the theme or what is happening on the floor.  It is stunning!  This is only enhanced by the superb lighting and sound that Millennium always provides.

The first 2 days were devoted almost entirely to pro-am Rhythm and the culmination of this was the Open Scholarships run last night.  All had good attendance and the level of dancing was high.


The Mil-Sashawinner of the A was Sasha Woshczn w/ Ilya Reyzin.  Sasha won all dances and was a clear winner to us watching from the sidelines.  2nd and 3rd placements appeared closer to us but in the final analysis Briana Yadgir w/ Aaron DeSoto was 2nd in all dances and Chastity w/ Eddie Ares was 3rd in all.  Julie Korsog w/ Misha Vlasov, who competed and made the final in the B division also, was 4th (4,4,4,5,4);  Laurel Skaggs w/ Ben Ermis was 5th (5,5,5,4,5) and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was 6th.

The B and C divisions were very close-fought.  Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Mil-ElenaTorres won the B (1,2,1,1,1) and we loved her feel for the music.  Beatriz Higuery w/ Vlad Kosarev took 2nd (3,1,3,4,2) and she had a great look on the floor.  3rd went to Coleen Peac w/ Ben Ermis (2,3,2,3,4) and this was another very talented lady, new to us.  4th was Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantinov (4,5,4,5,3);  5th Julie Korsog w/ Misha Vlasov (5,4,5,2,5) and 6th Regina Ruff w/ Eddie Ares was 6th (6,6,6,6,6).

The C was if anything, even closer.  The winner and obviously thrilled, was Dianna Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov (3,1,1,2,1) – this was probably her Mil-Elenabest result to date.  Congratulations!  2nd went Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu (2,3,3,1,4) who gave her usual consistent performance and had a great look on the floor.  3rd fell to a lady we really liked tonight, Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitis (1,2,5,4,3) – those were some mixed scores!  Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Rezin took 4th (4,4,2,3,2) and in a surprise result, Joan Goddard w/ Chris Johnston, a former winner of this event many times, dropped to 5th (5,5,4,5,5).  Marcy Garson w/ Mazen Hamza was 6th (7,6,6,6,7) and Quin Bommeljie w/ Misha Vlasov was 7th (6,7,7,7,6).


Today begins the pro-am Smooth divisions and we look forward to a new International Pro-Am Team Match tonight.  Check back tomorrow for the latest scoop!

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Smooth or Latin?

The last day at the Colorado Star Ball Championships was a combination of  Ballroom and Latin during the day but the best professional event of the week for us was the Smooth Open Championship. As is customary here in Colorado the Open Professional Latin final was interchanged between the Smooth dances, but there was no competition here for us, the Smooth was the best hands down.

CO-ProSmooth lineup

Three very exciting couples for us made the Open Professional Smooth nail biting: Nick Cheremukhim & Viktorija, Mikolaj Czarneki & Vicktoria Malko and Kyle & Allie Spinder, all three with very different styles and very capable and ready for the task.CO-Nick In the end all four dances went to Nick & Viktorija, who were in our opinion and those around me, fabulous. Their musicality and artistic interpretation of each dance left you breathless and on this performance they really stole our heart. Second in all dances went to Mikolaj & Victoria, a very promising partnership with huge talent but on this outing we felt they could not challenge. Unlike Nick & Viktorija their dancing still looked a little green in places, but we are sure they will be challenging soon once their material has ripened a bit. Third in all dances went to perhaps the most picture perfect performance, that of Kyle & Allie. They sported a very free spirit look and went out on the floor with a take no prisoners attitude. In the first round we felt they might have a chance for the top but once in the final for us their performance lacked innovation. With a little more experimenting and finding their style this couple could easily find themselves on the very top of the list, their competitive skills are terrific.

The rest of the final was not as eye catching but all three couples were very capable and worth a mention, Fourth place overall wen to Marko Urosevic & Asley Mokris (4,4,4,5), fifth were Christopher & April Muller (5,5,5,4) and in sixth place was Kyle & Christina Campbell  who placed sixth in every dance.

CO-ProLatinlineupThe Pro Latin had three entries and for us and we believe the judges it was clear cut. First went to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova and they placed first in all dances, second was Sergiy Kvashyn & Olga Ginzburg and third place was awarded to Gene & Elena Bersten, we will tell you how we saw them in the full article of the Colorado Star Ball here very soon.

The Professional Showdance was also run this evening and this went to Kyle & Allie Spinder, second was awarded to Michas Belfer & Julie Garczynki leaving third position to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova.

CO-ProSmooth lineup

Out of the two styles run this day of Pro/Am competitions the best scholarships for us were in the Ballroom category. The “B” Ballroom had the most entries and here we missed Beverly Moore who pulled out of the competition due to injury, this left top placement fully open and this placement wen to Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev they took all firsts. Second went to Michaelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeev (3,2,2,2,2) and third was awarded to Nadia Tippet w/Yuriy Kravets (4,3,4,3,3).


The “A” division was also excellent with five couples competing for top position. In the end Sabine Blyth w/Giacomo Agrello took all firsts, Sabrina Zagolin w/Yuriy Kravets placed second (3,2,2,2,2) and Grace Wang w/Mikhail Avdeev was third (2,3,3,3,3).

TCO-Pro-AmBallroomChere were four couples in the “C” and this went to Nadia Tippet w/Yuriy Kravets with all firsts. Samantha Sheer w/Jari Muller took all seconds and Susan Lowe w/David Aanestad was third.

The Pro/Am Open Latin Scholarships were all very small.  In the “B” three couples competed and here Liz Rocco w/Eric Hudson took first in all dances, Dawn Mersich w/Brad Ackerman was second and Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar placed third. The “A” and “C” had two couples. In the “C” Michael Roybar w/Kristina Poole placed first by wining three dances and placing second in the rest, Patricia Duran w/Ross Pearce were second and they won these two dances. The “A” was won by Dawn Mersich w/Brad Ackerman first in all dances and Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar were second. 

It’s a Smoothie!

It was a Smoothie day at the Colorado Star Ball Championships and it went without a hitch. The day was concluded, as the day before, with scholarships in all levels for the Smooth style and in the Professional events the Open Professional Rhythm and Ballroom Colorado Champions were selected.

CO-IvanAs in the professional Rising Stars the night before the Rhythm categories had the most entries with a healthy semifinal round, and most of the couples that competed with the exception of one or two couples were the same also, but this time the overall winner of this Rhythm Championship was Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyakova and they won every dance. For us Ivan & Marieta were the clear winners with no other couple challenging their first place position. Second went to the Rising Stars winners Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov who if, in our opinion, had danced more like the night before, could have challenged a little more, but in this performance we agreed with the judges, they were clearly second. Third position wen to Matthias Kruchel & Christina Schlegel who were awarded third in every dance.


ICO-Iaroslavn the professional Ballroom there was also a few new entries and they were Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk who for us were the best couple from the start. However, the judges felt a little differently. They awarded them second in the waltz and they tied for first in the foxtrot. First in the waltz went to the second new entry and that was Michael Towlizew & Tiffany Fung who also tied for first with Iaroslav & Olga on the foxtrot, but to our surprise placed third in the VW and quickstep? The second places on those dances went to the third place overall finishers, Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovkaya (3,3,2,3,2). This was a small but very interesting competition with a very interesting result.


In the Pro/Am Open American Smooth Scholarships the “C” division had the most participation and this event wen to Beverly Moore w/Alain Doucet from Canada who won all dances. Second place was awarded to Dana Voigt w/Randy Wilson and they placed second in every dance and third was awarded to Elisabeth Cramer w/Robert Nardozza. In the “B” Liz Rocco w/Eric Hudson took the trophy home and second in all dances went to Dawn Mersich w/Gary Holmes, leaving third to Kitty Sang w/Matthias Kruschel (3,4,3,3). There were only four couples in the “A” division and the winner was Dawn Mersich w/Youriy Pavlov (1,2,1,1).  Second went to Kelly Morikawa w/Jonathan Atkinson and in third place was Emma Rosenblum w/Michel Kibel and they were third in all dances.

After all competitions were over for the day the audience were treated to a Latin show by Roman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova.

Colorado has Rhythm!

For the last two days we have concentrated on the Rhythm style here at the Colorado Star Ball Championships and it concluded with some excellent scholarships. To go with the scholarships we had the Rising Star Ballroom and Rhythm events.  As always for the entire two days from morning to night time all couples in all levels received the wonderful Denver Colorado welcome we have gotten used to.

CO-DenovanNot surprisingly, the largest attendance of the two professional events last night  was in the Rising Star Rhythm category. The couples in this division were all very close in level and style and so we presume the judges had their work cut out.  In the end Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov won every dance and took the title. Mathias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel were second in every dance and Jesse Dickson & Lannie Sullivan were third (5,3,3,3,3).

The Ballroom Rising Star was a lot easier with four couples entered, here Evganiy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya won all dances, Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydrough took all seconds and Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo placed third.


In the pro/am Scholarships the “A” category was won by Dawn Mersich w/Hugh Rowe they took first in all five dances, Michelle Young & Scott Koogle took second and Emma Rosenblum w/Toby Munroe was third.  


The “B” category went to Dawn Mersich w/Hugh Rowe again. They won four dances and placed second in the swing.  Second overall was awarded to Eileeen Arcilla w/Golden Parker and they won the swing but placed second in the other four dances and third went to Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar (3,3,4,3,3).


CO-Pro-AmCThe “C” was a two couple final and Dana Voigt w/Randy Wilson won all dances leaving second to Barbara Willis w/Rainier Rics.

After hours the talk is all about people staying to hike and people that have already hiked around the beautiful mountains of Denver Colorado.  It all sounded so beautiful I wish I could have come a day earlier, but perhaps next time.

Today we are on to the Smooth divisions, so stay tuned for more results and stories from this event.

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Ballroom & Rhythm are the Stars at Yankee

Saturday night was a dancing extravaganza at Yankee Classic that started with a “bang!”  For us the best professional events events of the night were the first two – Ballroom and Rhythm.


YC-PeterThe Rhythm was first up and right away it developed into an obvious duel between Florida powerhouses, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova.  On the last meeting between these two that we witnessed, at Emerald Ball, Nazar & YC-NazarIrina came out on top.  Here the decision was reversed and Peter & Alexandra took it by 3 dances to 2 by winning cha cha, rumba and bolero.  Nazar & Irina took the other 2 dances.  All were won with a majority (not large) of 1st place scores.  These are 2 great couples – pay your money and take your choice!!  They are very different both in appearance and styling.

3rd today went to Azamat Evgamukov & Katerina Angelone (3,3,4,3,3).  In the semifinal round we were concerned that this pair was not on form, but in the final they stepped it up and we thought deserved their final placing overall.  Physical conditioning has once again become an issue here.  Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov continued to impress the judges taking 4th spot 4,4,3,4,4.  They are an engaging couple but need a more personalized style perhaps.  We liked 5th placed Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt, especially in cha cha and mambo.  6th went to Srahija Lackovic & Irina Fedsova (6,6,6,6,6) and 7th to Sasha & Tara Barakov (7,7,7,7,7).  Watch out for Jennifer Foster’s report on this division.


Equally good was the Ballroom, although it had something of a shakeup in the form result.  No surprises in the winners – Alexandre Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova were superb and won all dances with large majorities of 1st place scores.  Alexandre’s twin brother (just kidding, but don’t they look alike?) Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova easily took 2nd in all dances and looked very energized to us today.  YC-Nazar-MarikoThe surprise tonight came in the 3rd place finish of Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley (3,3,4,3,3).  This was a great result for them (they even picked up a few 1st places) and certainly moves them ahead.  Let’s see if they can maintain the momentum over this busy summer.  Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Roshchina were probably disappointed with their 4th place (4,5,3,4,4).  5th went to Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena (6,4,5,5,5) and 6th to Ronen Zinshtein & Maryam Izmalova (5,6,6,6,6).  This was a World Masters Title.  Christiane Primeau will have the report on this division in Dance Beat soon.

Unfortunately the Smooth and Latin failed to live up to the first two divisions.  The Smooth was easily won by Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.  We were extremely surprised to see Nick & Viktoriya pick up a few scores below 2nd place!!  The only challenge to the winners came from Vlad & Vera Kosarev who gave a good performance tonight, much stronger then the recent one at Atlanta Open.  They scored some 1st places in all dances except VW.  3rd tonight went to Jan Ondrias & Vivian Lessa 3,3,3,3;  4th to Enzo Zappia & Laura Galmaceda 4,4,4,4;  5th to Matt Fortuna & Tania Nunez 5,5,5,5;  6th Jared Vigneault & Sara Zirolla.


Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Svetts were easy winners of the Latin World Masters taking all dances with large majorities including a perfect score in cha cha.  Taking 2nd in all dances, but getting some scores in the lower half of the final were Jean Paul & Lara Rossi.  The RS winners, Vincenzo Mineri & Rosaria Vivone, continued their strong form taking 3rd 3,4,4,3,3. With 4,3,3,4,4, Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko were 4th.  We liked ???? who were 5th with 6,5,5,5,5.  6th went to #212, 5,6,6,6,6 and 7th to Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada.


The World Masters Amateur Latin was an excellent event with a strong semifinal round – it was a tough final to make.  The winners in all dances were Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova and they had the majority of 1st places in all dances except rumba where the 1st ‘s were spread around.  We also really liked Artur Tarnavsky & Gabriella Sabler who were 2nd in all dances and picked up 1st places in all dances.  With 3,4,4,3,3, Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova were 3rd.  4,3,3,5,4, gave Ron Garber & Liza the 4th spot and they looked much more “high-energy” than usual.  5th went to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova (5,5,5,4,5) and 6th to #345.


For the pro-ams it was Ballroom day.  Both the Open Scholarships and the New England Championships were excellent, although there were some reversals of placement between the divisions.  YC-PABallThe C Scholarship was won by Mike Brown w/ Anna Oblakova with 2nd going to Susan Walker w/ Samuele Pacchini.  This was reversed in the New England Championship.  Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein won the B Open Scholarship over Carole Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet.  Audrey did not compete in the New England, so Carole had a clear field and took the event.  Jennifer Lee w/ Serghei Pogonet took the Open A Scholarship.

The World Masters Pro-Am Title winners were Scott Bergendahl (9-Dance A);  Elizabeth Canis (9-Dance B);  Hope Huber (9-dance C);  Rosemary Lynch (10-Dance B);  YC-JaniceJanice Stanton (10-Dance C).

The featured performers here at Yankee Classic were Victor Fung & Anastasia who delighted the crowd with their new (to us) ballroom show that moved along quickly and had excellent music chYC-Kathyoices.  Interspersed were 2 wheelchair performances from Roll Call that were very moving.

The night ended with the now traditional Legal Seafood professional party sponsored once again by Kathy Kenney.

World Masters to Taras & Tatiana

The maYC-Tarasin feature of  Friday night at Yankee was the World Masters Amateur Ballroom Championship and congratulations to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova for winning this title – a great addition to any dancer’s resume.

The event attracted a semifinal and the final was the last event danced last night.  The field was strong we thought.  Taras & Tatiana won the event by 3 dances to 2 over Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova.  Tara & Tatiana won tango, Viennese and quickstep, but only tango and Viennese with a majority of 1st places.  Marek & Liana won the other 2 dances but not with a majority.  Although these 2 couples shared the majority of 1st and 2nd places, both had a few marks in the lower half of the final with Taras YC-Marek& Tatiana picking up more of these stray 4’s and 5’s.  The two couples have very different styles, find out what we thought and why some judges did not favor the winners in an upcoming edition of Dance Beat.

3rd tonight were youth competitors Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova (4,5,3,3,3) who gave a strong showing tonight we thought.  This was a close race with Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili taking 4th (3,3,4,5,4).  We didn't really understand the 5th placement in foxtrot.  5th were Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe (5,4,5,4,5) and 6th Ben Moss & Esther Rheinbay.


All 4 Pro RS Star divisions took place this same night and all but the Ballroom had a semifinal round.  From the perspective of the Dance Beat Team, there were many couples in all styles we had not seen before.

YC-VincenzoThe winners of the Latin were the new partnership of Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Vivone (1,2,1,1,1).  We’re not sure if this was in fact their first competition together. They make a super-attractive pair and should do well in this style.  2nd were the always impressive Dmyto & Nina Kovalenko (2,1,2,2,2) and 3rd, Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada (3,3,3,3,3).

The Smooth went to the consistent team of Serge & Yana Nelyubov (1,1,1,2).  2nd fell to Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth (2,2,2,1) and 3rd to Jan Ondrias & Vivian Lessa (3,3,3,3,3).


In the Rhythm, Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were the winners in al dances – clearly to us.  2nd went to Sahsa & Tara Barakov (3,2,2,2,2) and 3rd to the new partnership of Kosta Trifunic & Domante Padleckaite (2,3,3,3,3).


OscaYC-RSBallr Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova won the Ballroom (2,1,1,1,1) with 2nd going to Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold (1,2,2,2,2).  We thought the runners-up were close to the winners in this one.  3rd were Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina (3,3,3,3,3).

Friday was a long day with the pro-ams dancing 2 styles – Smooth and Latin.  The Smooth was up first and the B and C divisions were the larger.

Lynn ShanahaYC-Lynnn w/ Darius Mosteika took the B (1,1,1,2).  This lady has really come on strongly recently.  2nd fell to Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen (3,2,3,1) and 3rd to Aviva Adler w/ Victor Russu (2,3,2,3).

Elaine Sheresky Lewis w/ Victor Russu took all dances in the C, great to see her back on the floor and looking good!  2nd went to Nancy Sachs w/ Sergey Vasiliev (2,2,3,3) and 3rd to Hope Huber w/ Troy Baeten (3,3,2,2).

Only 2 couples contested the  A division and it went to Brittany Falconer w/ Peter Walker in all dances over Scott Bergendahl w/ Maria Huard.

The New England Championships were also run in the Smooth and these went to Lynn Shanahan (B), Aviva Adler (C) and Scott Bergendahl (A).

In the Latin, once again the B and C divisions were the larger.  Maria Sergaou w/ Dmitrios Damalas won all dances in the B,  2nd in all was Loraine Peoples w/ Andrei Gavriline and 3rd was Vanessa Dicicco w/ Vlad Astafiev (3,3,3,3,4).


The most closely contested was the C and this fell to Deborah Wagman w/ Matthew Hauer (1,2,2,1,2).  Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips took 2nd (3,1,3,2,1) and Bernie McCool w/ Thomas Shiloshvili was 3rd (2,3,1,3,3).


Nicolas Nguyen w/ Helle Rusholt won the A (1,1,1,1,1).  It was good to see him back on the floor.  2nd went to Chastity w/ Eddie Ares (2,2,2,2,2) and 3rd to Patricia Mui w/ Alex Samusevich (3,3,3,3,3).

Feeling the Rhythm in Boston

Yankee Classic got under way yesterday in a very sunny Cambridge, MA, and from the Marriott Hotel there were fine views across the Charles River of Downtown Boston glimmering in the sunshine.


The Yankee Classic also incorporates the New England Championships and some World Masters Championships.  Yesterday was all about pro-am Rhythm and in the evening we saw the culmination with Open Scholarships and also Open New England Championships.

The entries and results were very similar between the Open Scholarships and New England Championships and once again is was FADS NY Westside featuring on the winners rostrum as Jolanta Mosteika and her boys swept the field.  Giovanni Fortezza won the B division in Open Scholarship and New England Championship as did Phillip Widlanski in the C division.


Giovanni won all 5 dances in both divisions.  The runner-up in both, with 2nd in all dances both times, was Faye Diamantoudi w/ Tony Santana from Montreal and all the 3rd ‘s in both events went to Elizabeth Canis w/ Robert Foster.  Valerie Letelier w/ Jason Barrera took 4th in the New England Championship but was 5th in the Open behind Elizabeth Woo w/ Chris Uy.

Phillip placed 1,1,1,2,1 in the Open and 1,1,1,1T,1 in the New England and 2nd both times went to Hope Huber who took the 1st in bolero in the Open and tied it in the New England.  Amy Pollinger w/ Slava Sergiev was 3rd in both with 4,3,3,3,5 in the Open and 3,3,3,3,5 in the New England.  Carol Silverstein w/ Jean Michel Erole took 4th in the Open (3,4,5,4,4) but dropped to 6th in the New England (6,6,6,6,3).  Deborah Liguori w/ Rodrigue Edouard was 5th both times (5,5,4,5,3 and 5,5,5,5,4).  David Pollinger w/ Irina Sarukhanyan took 6th in the Open.  Catherine Zambos w/ Peter Perzhu was 4th in the New England (4,4,4,4,6) but did not compete in the Open.


YC-ARhythThe A division saw the smallest entries and was different between the two categories.  Chastity w/ Eddie Ares won all dances in the Open.  Sami Gendreau w/ Matt Fortuna was 2nd (2,2,2,3,2).  Neither of these ladies took part in the New England.  Jennifer Coutney w/ Istvan Cserven was 3rd in the Open (3,3,3,2,3) but won the New England (2,1,1,1,1).  Scott Bergendahl w/ Maria Huard was 2nd in the New England.

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7th Time for Arunas in Vilnius 2014 was the 7th annual Vilnius Dance Festival, organized by US and World WDC Ballroom Champion, Arunas Bizokas, in his native Lithuania.  Amazingly this event starts just one day after Blackpool finishes and of course, Arunas & Katusha won the Professional Ballroom at Blackpool again this year. The thought of organizing an event just 1 day after such an amazingly stressful competition is daunting, but just as in his dancing, Arunas seems to take it all in stride.  Not only is he the organizer he and Katusha also are the featured performers.
This year we saw competitors in WDC AL Amateur divisions, pro-am competitions, and hobby divisions with competitors from far afield – Australia, Canada, USA, Lebanon, Israel and a host of European countries.  Judges hailed from Asia, Europe and North America.
The competition takes place in the Radisson Blue Hotel, right on the river in the charming and historical city of Vilnius.  The after party in the spectacular Space Bar atop the hotel with panoramic windows is always a treat. Watch out for a full report and photos in the members’ section soon.  And there will be some surprises - (eg. Katusha Demidova competed in the pro-am!)

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Black-ArunasIt’s 1 & 2 Again! Once again USA took both winners and runners-up positions at the Blackpool Dance Festival – Open British Ballroom Championship.  Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova won all 4 dances (no VW in Blackpool) and Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were 2nd in all 4.  As always the atmosphere for the final was terrific and the ending was a prolonged Black-Ar-Vicstanding ovation. Representing England Andrea & Sara Ghigiarelli took 3rd in all 4 dances and it was a great night for Slovenian Reps, Domen Krapez & Monica Nigro who finished ahead of all their closest rivals to take 4th in all 4 dances.  With placements of 5,5,5,6, (order of dances in Blackpool is WFTQ) Valerio Colantoni & Yulia Spesivtseva had to be content with 5th place.  And in 6th were the popular Chinese team, Chao Yang & Yiling Tan placing 6,-,6,5.  As you all know, professional divisions are judged by dance from the quarter-final onwards at Blackpool.  Sascha & Natasha Karebey (Germany) placed 6th in the foxtrot. The USA continued to show great form down through the ranks of this competition.  Marat Black-MaratGimaev & Alina Basyuk made all 4 semifinals, cementing their ranking in both the USA and the world.  But also making dances into the semifinals were Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva (W);  Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa (F);  Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova (F);  Andrea Zaramella & Kristi Simmonds (T). As Black-Marka side note,  Australian photographer and Dance Beat contributor, Mark Gadsden, became something of a local hero when he dived into the chilly Irish Sea during the afternoon to save a boy from drowning.  I’m sure the temperature was a little lower than his native land – but at least there were no sharks! Don’t forget to join the members’ section of Dance Beat to read the full Blackpool report and special commentary from Barbara Nagrode Ambroz, Giampiero Giannico, Eugene Katsevman and Lindsey Hillier-Tate.

Poland Rules! Wow!  4 of the six finalists of the Amateur Ballroom at Blackpool, including the winners, were from Poland.  And there was another Polish couple in the semifinal.  Some in the audience felt it was a very even final and they loved all the couples – “Any one of them could have won!” Somebody told us.
Black-MarekThe winners, retaining their title, were Marek Kosaty & Paulina Glazik and they won all dances.  The remaining couples in the final were shuffled a bit since last year.  Moving up were Chong He & Jing Shan (ChinaBlack-Chong) and also moving up were Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Makar (Poland).  Poland also took 4th and 6th, Andrzej Sadecki & Karina Nawrot and Lukasz Tomczak & Aleksandra Jurczak;  splitting them in 5th place were Dusan Dragovic & Greta Laurinaityte (England).

"I don't have attitude, I'm just REALLY good!" US aspirations ended in the quarter-final with two couples making this round – Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody were 14th and Andres & Veronika End were 17th. Black-exhibThe USA had 4 entries in the Invitational Exhibition, but the winners were previous winners, Craig Smith & Micheline from South Africa who gave a near faultless performance.  They received a standing ovation from the audience.  Also receiving a standing ovation and the runner-up spot were Shane & Shannon Jensen from the USA.  Our Dance Beat award for “most improved” went to the 3rd place recipients, Carlos Zapata & Dora Pashkova (Canada).  4th went to South Africa, Gerhard Van Roohen & Amor Krucer;  5th to Justine Guilmette & Kimerlee Piedad (USA);  6th Ethan & Nikki White (USA);  7th Travis & Jaimee Tuft (USA);  8th Igor Alferov & Alexandra Akimova (Russia).  Margaret Burns from the USA was a judge of the division. ThBlack-pro-amis also marked the 2nd year for pro-am dancing in Blackpool.  Once again this year, there was a pro-am exhibition.  8 performances were split into two groups.  There were six performances from Russia and 2 from China.

Stay On the Floor! It was the same couples in all dances for the Professional Latin at the British Open, but we were really taken aback when after the competition was over, Mr. Marcus Hilton MBE asked the couples once again to “stay on the floor,” but this time it was to read the retirement letter of Sergey Surkov & Melia.

"It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance."


It was a touching moment for all, Sergey & Melia have been a fixture of the Empress Ballroom for a long time, and we were really surprised when Mr. Hilton asked them to perform an honor dance. Now that World War II has been over for a while, are we developing a soft heart on this side of the pond?  Never, since we can remember or any other English person of our age can remember, has an honor dance been executed by retiring competitors here at Blackool.  (Can anyone else help us here, has this been done before?) Congratulations to Sergey & Melia on their retirement and we wish them the best in their future goals and accomplishments. ABlack-Malitowskis the norm Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis from England won the overall competition by takig three dances the C, R, P, leaving the left over dances S, J to current WDC World Professional Latin Champions & USA Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko from the USA. Third place went to Sergey & Melia but it was not a clear sweep. Canada’s Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite took two third places from the outgoing couple, but still were placed fourth overall. Fifth went to another fixture and that was Andrej Skufca & Melinda Torokgyorgy from Slovenia they placed fifth in every dance but the jive, this dance went to USA’s Stefano Di Filippo & Dariya who were sixth overall. I know there is total confusion as to who represents who and on some

"Dance for yourself. If someone understands, good. if not, no matter. go righr on doing what interests you, and do it until it stops interesting you."Black-Riccardowebsites they have Stefano & Dariya dancing for Italy but as far as we know they continue to represent the USA, they possibly do most of their studies and rehearsing and competing in Alaska and Wyoming but they do represent the USA.
In the Semifinal Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina made two dances In the 24 Sarunas Greblikas & Viktoria Horeva made all five from the USA and Canada had one couple Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko who also made all five dances.

"Let us dance in the sum, wearing wild flowers in our hair..." England’s most promising couple Neil & Ekaterina Jones dropped out of the competition due to a foot injury. From the vendors report:  they seem to be happy!  They think there are more competitors than last year but attendance as a “fan” or viewer is down from last year. In looking around we do find it a little thinner on the ground, but not enough to cause alarm.  The British Open continues to be as healthy as always but we do feel bad for the vendors who have no place to go and are now spread like butter all over the Winter Gardens!  Rumors have it that by next year the space occupied this year by many of the vendors will be turned into a Blackpool Museum.

Black-TroelsTroels & Ina Repeat in Amateur Latin Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark) won the first of the “big 4” at Blackpool last night, the Amateur Latin.  This was a repeat of their win last year.  Last night they won all 5 dances, although, from the sidelines, we felt they have danced better on other occasions, but the judges clearly did not feel this to be the case. 

TBlack-Kirillaking 2nd in 4 dances, but dropping to 3rd in jive were Kirill Belorukov & Elvira Skrylnikova (Russia).  We liked their showing tonight, they seemed to have the most energy and attacked their dancing more than the rest of the final.  The most improved result went to another Russian team, Nikita Brovko & Olga Urumova (3,3,3,3,2). Leading the US charge weBlack-Ferdiandore Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina and they placed 4th (4,4,5,4,4).  We are sure they were hoping for a little better.  One of our favorite couples of the competition took 5th, Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva (Denmark) 5,5,4,5,5 and 6th were Klemen Prasnikar & Alexandra Averkieva (Slovenia). Pasha PBlack-Pashaashkov & Danniella Karagach from New York placed in the top 12, a great result for them mirroring their result of 2012 and USA also had 3 couples in the top 24, Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina, Ruslan Aydaev & Valeriya Kozharinova and Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman – so this was a strong showing for USA.

"Our biological rhythms are the symphony of the cosmos, music embedded within us to which we dance, even when we can't name the tune." The other event of the night was the Youth (U/21) ballroom and in their first adult Blackpool New York’s Patrick Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski took 4th. Black-Patrick Many in the audience felt they could have been even higher.  The Black-Briancompetition was very close through the whole final and Patrick & Anna actually won the foxtrot.  Their full placements were 3,4,1,3.  The winners (by a Rule 10) were Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko (England).  They placed 1,3,4,1.  The other half of the Rule 10 were Aleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova (Ukraine) with 2,2,3,2. It was great to see NDCA President, Brian McDonald, on the evening panel here at Blackpool, one of very few non-British judges to have ever had that honor.

USA Has 1/2 the Pro RS Ballroom Semi!

Photos by Andrew Miller

USA had 6 couples in the semifinal of the Open British Rising Star Professional Ballroom last night in Blackpool – and 2 couples went all the way to the final.  Placing 2nd were Andrea Zaramella & Kristie Simmonds and 3rd were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa. Our semifinalists were:  Egor Abashkin & Katya Kanevskaya, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina, Nikita Novikov & Dovile Sutaite and Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova.
The day before (Sunday) saw the conclusion of the Amateur Rising Star divisions.  USA’s best results came in the Latin where Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman were 2nd – a great result for them.  There were also 2 US couples and 2 Canadians in the semifinal.  For the USA – Austin Joson & Alexandria Kondrashova and Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasiya Danilova and for Canada Nurian Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowski and Adam Hathazi & Morgan Lakatos-Hayward. Also members go to our photos page to see photos of the North American Dinner - coming soon.

"If you look at a dancer in silence, his or her body will be the music, If you turn the music on, that body will become an extension of what you're hearing."

Team Americas Wins Team Match Again
Once again, Team Americas won the International Teams Match at the Blackpool Dance Festival.  Congratulations to Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite and Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk – our team members. 

Blackpool-teamWe were a little saddened not to see US #2 and world ranked #2 team, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva not part of the team (especially since Victor, unlike so many of us North American inports, was actually born there).  Our team captain was Meryem Pearson of Canada. North American also had some success in the U/21 Latin Championships.  Austin Joson & Alexandra Kondrashova (USA) were 4th and Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward (Canada) were 5th.  Additionally Nurian Gallymov & Jessica Swietonioeski (Canada) and Ron Garber & Lisa Lakovistky (USA) were in the semifinal.

Blackpool U-21-Lat

Great Start to USA’s Blackpool
BPool-wrightQuest! What better way to start Blackpool week than with a win for the USA.  David & Liva Wright placed first in the Open British Senior Ballroom Championship last night in the Winter Gardens’ Empress Ballroom. Almost as good, Sarunas Greblikas & Viktoria Horeva, also representing the USA, took 2nd in the Professional Rising Star Latin.  Canadians Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko were 6th in this same event. North American also had semifinalists in these competitions.  In the senior, Xingmin & Katerina Lu and Andreas & Jodi Meijer and in the RS Latin, Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova from USA and Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc from Canada

"The problem is not making up the steps but deciding which ones to keep."


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The Crown Jewell of Dancesport

The Crown Jewel of the Triple Crown series of competitions was going on this weekend at the Turnberry Isle Hotel and Resort in Aventura Florida.  Gorgeous location, first class service,  like all Triple Crown events.  I will tell you more at length later, but want to catch you up on the highlights of the comp.
CJ-NorovOpen Rhythm winners were Nazar Norrov & Irina Kudryashova, it was an easy victory for them, first in all dances.  No more ruffled skirt for Irina,  she was  wearing a new style dress which looked beautiful on her.  Also sporting a new look was second place couple, Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman.  Viktoriya wore her hair down and looked very free.  3rd place to Sandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov. Open Theater Arts went to a newer couple fron NY,  Daniel Enskat & Ahoy Wonpat-Borja.  Ahoy is a lovely dancer full of grace and lovely to watch, Daniel lifts her very easily but could use some help with movement. Open Showdance was awarded to Kyle & Allie Spinder who have been climbing up lately and very deservedly.  They have strong technical skills in Ballroom, a lost art these days, and a clean presentation.  They also won the Open Smooth, but came in 2nd in the RS to Sergy Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova.  I'll tell you more in this as well later. CJ-MartinezThe RS Rhythm winners were Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy they won all dances and 2nd place went to Shador Shtefil & Alexandra Barsukov. A fun event took place in the ballroom Saturday night as part of the "Expect the Unexpected" theme of Triple Crown events.  A mixed Pro comp where dancers have to try on a new partner and do not know which dance they will be performing.  We have seen quite a few interestings partnerships and moves over the past year but last night was a lot of fun watching Sergy Barsukov and Vladmir Kosarev taking turns leading in Bolero and Mambo to go on and win $1,000!  You can watch for yourselves ... Always a great weekend with Larry and Dianne Dean, their next competition is Florida State in Sarasota July 29- August 3rd, I won't miss it!

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Great Finish At American!
Watch video from SuperShag!
American Star Ball had a terrific finish with a full show that included children, comedy and some wonderful dancing. New choreographer sensation and DJ extraordinaire, Brent Mills, choreographed the ? hour show called the “Rat Pack.”


ASB-Show2The show included a few group numbers, including a woman’s number that brought the house down, featuring a group of excellent women dancers lead by Larinda McRaven and if you can believe it, Tibor Kerekes! There was lost of laughter heard down to the lobby, but there was not one drt eye when Beata took to the floor to mambo with the “Three-Legged Men” played by Brent Mills and Mark Brock. Laughter was not the only feature in this excellent show of shows, a singer was the link between each act and he was fantastic.  We have not herd lately a singer be this good with such a difficult repertoires from the original “Rat Pack.” There were a number of dances performed while he sang, some by well-accomplished children and some by some of our ballroom’s best, Shane & Shannon Jensen doing a breathtaking Cabaret performance, Mazen Hamza and Izabella and Travis & Jamie Tuft to name a few of the “who’s who” in these special shows. On a sASB-Bandpecial note I want to tip my hat to Brent Mills who has proven himself to be not only an excellent DJ who did a terrific job this weekend of dance, but a diamond in the rough when it comes to choreographing and putting a show together. The show was well linked and thought out from beginning to end in other words, not as we often say, “just a list!” The show was not the only feature this final night of competition, the dinner party held before the evening session began that included a band, was also an event talked about during and after the competition. The flower arrangements rivaled an exclusive wedding.  This sit down meal was out of the ordinary, and once again the singer was fantastic.
ASB-Rhythm Lineup
Speaking of out of this world the professional events this night were also great with some interesting surprises. In the Rhythm, Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubava from NY, who earlier in the year we saw win a number of events seemed to be going up and down.  In last night’s performance they took third overall (3,4,3,3,4). Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova gave an energized and clean performance, rewarding them with first in all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges. Showdance sensations, Shane & Shannon Jensen, took second overall (2,2,2,2,3). As you can see the top three alone made it all worth it.  The disappointment for us is these heat was the performance of Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt who placed fourth overall (4,3,4,4,2).  We were really excited about their progress the last time we saw their performance.  However, in this event we can only call it a “walkover” performance and we will explain in the coming issue here if you care. Fifth in all dances were Sasha & Tara Barakov and sixth went to Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profitilova.
ASB-BegunovThe Ballroom competition was also interesting.  Here too we have mixed feelings, we felt that Andrei Begunov & Anna Demidova had stepped it up an inch separating themselves from the rest and it paid off, they placed first in all dances. We still think their Tango & Quickstep need a bit of a push but we were happy to see work is being done and they are once again on the move! Second in this heat were Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena (2,2,3,3,2).  Here we were a little disappointed with this couple’s performance, they are usually full of energy but last night was the opposite we felt as if they were just going through the motions getting it done, for us they were far away from the mark, hope they get moving again. Third position wen to Ruslan & Katusha Wilder (3,3,2,2,3), here we had a well-studied performance but perhaps too studied and not enough soul.  We will give our take on these talented couples here soon in the full overall article. Fourth went to Anton Domansky & Anna Chaldysheva (4,4,5,4,4,), fifth was awarded to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina (5,5,4,5,5) and all sixth places in all dances wen to Michael & Diana Malek. The Amateur Latin was also a terrific event and this wen to Nikita Malakhov & Nedezda Vlasova who won all five dances, second wen to Austin Joson & Sasha Kondrashova (3,2,2,2,3) and third was awarded to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova (4,4,3,3,2). The Pro/Am “B” and “C” Smooth were also excellent events here at the American Star Ball. The “C” division was taken by Alla Neyshtadt w/Erik Pali (1,2,1,1), second went to Helena Kostik w/Mazen Hamza (2,1,2,2), and third was Charlene Proctor w/Mikolay Czarnecki (4,3,4,3). In the “B” division there were 8 couples in the final and top place went to Sue Gershowitz w/Mazen Hamza (2,2,1,1) in a rule 11 decision, second was awarded to Susan Cassano w/Randy Dias (1,1,2,2) and third in all dances was awarded to Angela Morrison & Peter Santiago. We want to congratulate Ilya and Amanda Reyzin for putting together such a terrific weekend of dance, we normally would have been a bit miserable being shipped to another hotel and not being able to be closer to the action 24/7, however, we are thrilled by the fact they were sold out twice.  This is great payback for the hard labor these two put out to make sure everyone is happy and to make sure their event goes as seamlessly as possible. Congratulations once a gain to a great addition to the world of organizers, Ilya & Amanda Reyzin!  Doubling Up!
The American Star Ball in Atlantic City that, taken over by Ilya & Amanda Reyzin last year, has doubled up this year in entries and in attendance, to the point where most of the officials had to be shipped over to the Harrahs Hotel across the street (sold out!). This we are sure is  fantastic news for this gracious couple! The two feature events last night on their menu was the Open Professional Smooth and the Open Professional Latin, both well attended with strong semifinal rounds. ASB-Perzhu-HamzaOut of the two the one with the most prestigious couples in attendance was the Smooth with three US finalists in it. The fight for first place was between Mazen Hamza & Izabella and Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, it was in our opinion very close between them but at the end on paper Peter & Alexandra took the victory walk and became the American Star Ball Smooth winners by tying in the waltz for first place with Mazen & Izabella being placed second in the tango and winning the other two dances. So losing two out of four dances Mazen & Izabella placed second overall. In this year of change in the Smooth this is an important clue as to how it might come out later in the year at our US National Championships. Third in this mix on every dance went to Travis & Jaimeee Tuft. The new partnership of Mikloay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko took fourth in all dances.  The partnership looks very interesting to say the least and very promising, we were surprised to see that only a few judges awarded them higher marks but we are sure it will only be a matter of time before they can challenge for higher ground. Serge & Yanina Nelyubov were fifth and Leo Mora & Christina Garced took all sixths.
ASB-BalsanyanThe Latin was a very difficult heat for the judges even though we had a favorite it was not clear.  First to sixth place made you look from dance to dance.  It is times like this where the skill as a judge is really needed. In the end by winning three out of the five dances Hayk Balasanyan & Emilia Poghosyan won the Professional Latin Open division (1,2,1,2,1), Jean Paul & Lana Rossi took second overall (2,1,2,1,2).  We are sure this was a disappointing result for this couple but in all honesty they too were in these difficult mix of placements. Third was awarded to Dmyto & Nina Kovaletko (3,3,4,3,3). Fourth went to Vencenzo Minieri & Rosaria Vovone (4,4,3,4,4), fifth in all dances was Serge & Yanina Nelyubo, and sixth was awarded to Werner Figar & Shimkiri. ASB-ShowdanceThe Open Professional Showdance went easily to Shane & Shannon Jensen and second was Travis & Jaimee Tuft. The Amateur Ballroom was also quite exciting with a healthy semifinal round as well and some excellent dancing.  First was awarded to Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody and they placed first in every dance and from our opinion there was no challenge against them. Second overall was Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seleverstova (3,2,2,2,2) from our point of view it was much closer between them and the third place Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova (2,3,3,3,3). Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova took fourth (5,4,4,4,4), fifth was Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorp (4,5,5,5,5) and in sixth place was Sam Brandt & Sabrina Yakubovich who took sixth in all dances. In the pro/am divisions the “B” and “C” Ballroom had the most entries and they were excellent events the “B” was won by Carol Simmons w/Serhgei Pogonet (1,3,2,1,1), second was Kako Matsumoto w/Erik Pali  (3,1,1,2T,2) and third went to Elena Lee w/Emanuele Pappacena (2,2,3,2T,2). The “C” Ballroom division was taken by Elena Lee w/Emanuel Pappacena and they won every dance, second was awarded to Sue Gershowitz w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk (2,2,2,2,2) and third was Judy Marx w/Ihor Kravets (5,3,3,3,3). Tonight we will see the professional Open Rhythm and Ballroom and we are expectating a fabulous show by the Rat Pack - Ilya Rezin, Mark Brock, Brent Miles and Gary McDonald.  We called it the (Meat Rack) lol We are looking forward to this interesting happening.         

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“And the Judges were (almost) Unanimous!”
Atlanta Saturday!        

Well not exactly :)  But close.

In a rare occurrence, the winners of all 4 professional divisions won almost every dance of their respective categories with the majority of 1st places.  So congratulations to Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaiyte (Latin), Travis & Jaimee Tuft (Smooth), Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab (Ballroom) and Andre & Natlalie Paramonov (Rhythm).  The only exception was the Ballroom where Sergey & Yuliya lost the waltz to runners-up, Martin & Liene Reinbold.  Sergey & Yuliya still had more 1st places in that dance, but not the majority and strangely, to us, they had some 6th placements in this dance.
AO-IvanRunners up in the Latin, all dances, were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets.  Their closest dance to the winners was jive, where they had 6 first places to Ivan & Loreta’s 8.  Sergey & Yuliya were 3rd in all dances and we thought this was some of the best Latin work we have seen from this consummate 10-Dance couple.  With 4,4,4,5,5, SergeyKorshunov & Michelle Hafle took 4th, 4,4,4,5,5, Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 5th, 5,5,5,4,4 and Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti were 6th.

"It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance." Travis & Jaimee were well clear in the Smooth, based on the judges’ scores.  The runners-up were Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova and they certainly had their supporters in the room with their powerful style of Smooth dancing.  Valdimir & Vera Kosarev were 3rd in all dances and their scores from the judges ran the gamut of 1st to 6th in all dances.  Stephen Smyth & Viktorija Kleyman took 4th in all dances and in a reverse of the RS results, Ben & Cheryl Seifert moved ahead of Dennis Woods & Amber Reich although the two couples tied in the waltz.

AO-AndreAndre & Natalie had strong majorities in all dances.  The closest race came in the mambo, but they still had 9 first places to the 4 of the runners-up, Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakhova who were 2nd in all dances.  We found the remaining places a little hard to call, but here is how it worked out.  Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova (4,4,3,3,3);  Shane & Shannon Jensen (3,3,4,4,4); Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth (5,5,5,5,5);  Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov (6,7,6,6,6);  Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman (7,6,7,7,7). Despite losing the waltz on ‘2nd or better’ scores, Sergey & Yulia came back strongly and had large majorities in the other 4 dances.  We agree with the judges that Martin & Liene’s best dance is the waltz and for us they were clearly unchallenged as the runners-up.  The judges’ scores were very mixed for the remainder of the couples who finished in the following order:  Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina (4,3,4,3,3);  Gabor Seres & Mariya Vysotskaya (3,5,3,4,5);  Vladimir Triazin & Alicia Gruttadauria (5,4,5,5,4);  Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriele Sevillano (6,6,6,6,6).
Watch out for reports by Mark Brock (Rhythm), Shirley Johnson (Latin) and Pat Traymore (Smooth) all coming soon to Dance Beat.

"People have asked me why I chose to be a dancer. I did not choose. I was chosen to be a dancer, and with that, you live all your life." AO-CabThe last event of the competition was the Pro Showdance and Shane & Shannon Jensen wowed the crowd and the judges to take this division with 11 first places out of the fifteen.  Andre & Natalie Paramonov took 2nd and Travis & Jaimee Tuft, 3rd. During the day it was international day for the pro-ams.  In the ballroom, the B was the largest division and Jill Bradford w/ Gert Roslender won all 5 dances.  2nd went to Brynda Insely w/ Martin Reinbold again in all dances, and 3rd in all was Noriko Keirman w/ Eric Pali.  Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia won all dances in tAO-PABallhe C, followed by Rick Brooks w/ Shalene Archer (2,3,2,3,4) and Jennifer Donnell w/ Martin Reinbold (4,2,3,4,2).  There were only 2 contestants in the A and it went to Galina Livitina w/ Jari Muller (1,2,1,1,1) over Lauren Klaus w/ Ben Ermis (2,1,2,2,2).  Galina won the Best of the Best Challenge. In the Latin Open Scholarships it was a good day for teacher, Clement Joly whose students took 2 of the divisions – AO-ALatDasha Hemrick (A) and Mirra Blinova (B).  Both ladies won all dances and were both very impressive.  2nd in the A was Maria Seragou w/ Dimitrios Damalas and 3rd, Madeline Geiger w/ Enzo Zappia.  In the B Melanie Gold w/ Shandor Shtefil was 2nd and Peter See w/ Olga Kormanovskaya was 3rd.  Suzanne Saperstein w/ Ricky Bentzen took the C division (1,1,2,1,1).  Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia as 2nd, and Barbara Willis w/ Rainier Rics was 3rd. A Hot Night of Rising Stars All 4 styles of Pro Rising Stars were contested last night at Atlanta Open and all gave the judges some tough choices.

"You are unique, and if that is not fultilled, then something has been lost."
The largest and first division on the floor was the Rhythm that began with a semifinal.  This resulted in a fairly comfortable win for Max Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth in all dances.  They had the clear majority of 1st places in all dances except mambo.  The runners-up were last week’s winners from Emerald Ball, Standor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov.  They were 2nd in all dances but received an equal amout of 1st places in the mambo.  Third place went to
AO-RSBallRomney Reyes & Brooke O’Donnell, 3,4,3,3,3.   All three of these couples are from Florida. Next up was the Ballroom and here there were only 3 couples and apparently a very confused judging panel.  All three couples received 1st places in all dances.  The only dance won with a majority was the tango.  The final places were, 1st, Gabor Seres & Mariya Vysotskaya (1T,1,1,2,2T);  2nd, Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukkina AO-RSSmooth(1T,2,2,1,2T);  3rd, Dmitry Sololmakhia & Gabriela Seviliano (3,3,3,3,1). Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova were easy winners of the RS Smooth.  They lost a total of only 3 first place marks.  Fairly secure and with 2nd in all dances were Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman and 3rd in all were Dennis Woods & Amber Reich. The Latin was a strong event and in this Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were the easy winners of all dances.  With the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances, Riccado Papi & Sabrina Moretti were the runners-up and taking 3rd in all dances it was Gene & Elena Bersten.
AO-NatalieThe pro-ams danced Rhythm today.  The Open Scholarships were smaller than in the Smooth the day before, but nevertheless, the standard of dance was very high.  The A divisions especially was very strong, bringing out some of the nation’s best.  Taking the top spot was Natalie Crandell w/ Decho Kraev and Natalie won all dances.  2nd in all today was Maria Papakonstantinou w/ John King and 3rd in all, Kia Malone w/ Eddie Rivera.



"To learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing, the principles are the same."


The B had only 2 contestants, but again they were two of the best.  Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika won all dances and 2nd went to Donna Sprano w/ Evgeny Dyachecnko. The C was the largest group and in this Evgeny moved to 1st place with his student, Cathy Fulham (1,1,1,3,1).  2nd spot fell to Quin Bommelje w/ Michael Neil (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd to Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu (3,3,3,1,2).
AO-GiovanniGiovanni &
AO-MarianneJolanta won the Best of the Best Challenge. The evening ended with a celebration for Marianne Nicole who turns the grand 60 next week.




AO-DowntownDOWNtown but Upbeat
Atlanta Open 2014 The Atalnta Open got under way yesterday in the beautiful Hyatt Regncy.  This is a great competition venue, situated in the heart of downtown Atlanta and with a wonderful, large ballroom and comfortable accommodations.

"When you do dance, I wish you A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do Nothing but that." Yesterday was Smooth day and it was pro-am Smooth heats all day long.  All three of the Open Scholarships were strong events.  The A was won by Maria Papakonstantinou w/ John King (1,1,1,2).  This lady is relatively new to this style and is certainly improving every time.   We would like to see a little more floor coverage as there is  a lot of stationary material.  2nd today was a former World Pro-Am Champion in this division, Laurie Meer, now dancing with Ian Folker (2,2,2,1).  We could have seen Laurie a little closer in the scoring.  Pamela Bolling w/ Ben Ermis took 3rd (4,3,3,3);  Galina Livitina w/ Jari Muller was 4th (3,4,4,4) and Anita Fong w/ Jorge Morales was 5th.
Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika won all dances in the B overtaking Wende Stambaugh w/ Ben Ermis who placed 2,2,3,3 and Donna Sparano w/ Evgeny Dyachenko (3,3,2,2).  In the single dances earlier in the day, the results between these three ladies were more mixed.  Jennifer Donnell w/ Rainier Rics was 4th.
The C was the largest of the 3 open scholarships and in this Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu was the winner in all dances.  Taking all the 2nds was Carolyn Woodruff w/ Alosha Anatoliy.  With 3,3,3T,4, Amy Hardy w/ Valery Ganiev was 3rd and close behind with 4,4,3T,3, Debra Hendrikson w/ Christian Lange.  Barbara Harris w/ Rainier Rics was 5th (5,5,5,6);  Pat Biggers w/ Timmy Merz was 6th (6,6,7,5) and Radhika Unnithan w/ Yusemi Cruz was 7th (7,7,6,7).
AO-LynnThe Scholarship divisions were used to select the contenders for the Best of The Best Challenges and in the Open division the winners of the B, Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was the overall winner and will represent Atlanta Open in this division at the Ohio Star Ball, Best of the Best finale.

"Wherever a dancer stands is holy ground."

Page 23 of 26

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