Dance Beat Team
Can-Am Closes on a Golden Note!
The 2015 Can-Am Dancesport Gala came to a close Saturday on a golden note. Well known dancer, competitor and main character documentary feature films “Mad Hot Ballroom,” and “Dancing in Jaffa” Pierre Dulaine was presented with the Can-Am’s Lifetime Achievement Award. It was very emotional for the organizers and everyone came to their feet as he was introduced. Pierre was very gracious and soon after the competition was finished and the show was over he stayed and took pictures with many of the fans.
The feature events Saturday night were the Professional Smooth that started with a semifinal and the Professional Latin. Both competitions were excellent and entertaining to us and the audience who stayed in their seats until the very end. The Professional Smooth went to Kyle & Allie Spindler from the USA who won all dances and far out danced everyone else. Kyle & Allie also won the Cabaret competition the same evening. Second in every dance went to Canada’s Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko, this couple was totally worthy of this position and a surprise to a number of judges who wondered why they do not compete more often in the USA. Adrian & Hanna Dydynski were third in all dances, we are sure a few attendees and even possibly Adrian & Hanna were a little surprised to have a Canadian couple get ahead of them.
Fourth in every dance went to Viktor & Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina, fifth in every dance was awarded to Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite and sixth went to Christopher & Jenny Sochnacki.
The Latin was a five couple final and here the top three couples were top of the line. The winners in every dance were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. Second overall were Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko who tied for second in the cha cha with Jean Philippe Milot & Lorance Bolduc, placed third in the jive and second in the other three dances. Jean Philippe & Lorance were third overall and placed third in three dances, second in the jive and tied for second in the cha cha. In fourth place were Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier and fifth went to Steve Forrest & Bianca Izzo.
The Amateur Ballroom event was also excellent with two very high quality couples fighting for the top spot, James Cutler & Virginia Primeau and Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor. In the end every dance went to James & Virginia leaving all seconds to Florin & Natalia. To us both couples were excellent but it was also clear to the trained eye that James & Virginia looked a little more experienced and their skill easier to read and understand. Third overall were Brenton Michell & Alexandra Sevastianova.
The Junior Latin event was only a three couple run but the couples were all of a good level with huge potential. Danny Zhelasko & Emma Gladubakh placed first in four dances and second in the cha cha. First in this dance and second on the other four dances went to Samuel Hakobian & Sabrina Le. Third in all dances were Ryan Tzanko & Nicole Lerman.
The evening ended with a show “Dancing Beyond the Stars” featuring both amateur and professional dancers. Our favorite number tonight was by James Cutler & Virginia Primeau who danced a clever routine to “Me and my Shadow.” The show was produced by Wendy Johnson and as always featured those of the judges with the “gumption” to also perform at the end.
Rhythm Semifinal for First Time!
Last night we saw the first professional semifinal ever in the Pro Rhythm at Can Am Gala. Perhaps this is a sign that the USA is finally taking note of this elegant competition north of the border in Toronto!
As expected USA dominated this event. Winners tonight were Aaron & Iryna DeSoto and they won all dances with their action-packed dancing. 2nd in all dances were Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt. We thought this was a closer race than the scores indicated. 3rd went to Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova, 3,3,4,3,4. We felt they were also very much in the mix with the top 2. The only Canadian couple to make the final placed 4th, Boris Vdovine & Patricia Esty 5,4,3,4,3. 5th were Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina 6,5,5,5,6 and 6th Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padlekaite 4,6,6,6,5.
Canada got their revenge in the Open Ballroom with 4 of the 5 finalists. Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshch won all dances ahead of fellow Ontarinans, Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen who were 2nd in all. All the way from Germany, Volker Schmidt & Ellen Jonas took 3rd in all dances. 2 couples from Quebec closed the final, Steve Forrest & Bianca Izzo 4,4,4,4,4 and Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin 5,5,5,5,5.
6 couples entered the Professional Showdance (Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva had to withdraw). The winners were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who performed a showy samba. 2nd went to the Rhythm Champs, Aaron & Iryna with their disco/hip hop cha cha. Kyle & Allie Spinder were 3rd.
There was also an upbeat Open Amateur Latin but sadly it attracted no entries from the USA. Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward were in great form and took all dances. Christopher Navas & Alina Totska, a new partnership we believe) were 2nd in all. All couples finished in the same position in all dances. 3rd Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru, 4th Sandu Babira & Alisa Dombrovsky, 5th Simeon & Dimitrina Vassilev, 6th Joey De Angelis & Elise Magliocchetti.
The weather this year in Toronto is perfect! The downtoen location, Westin Harbour Castle, is delightful as it sits right on the bank of the Lake with nice walks past the boats and plenty of activity.
Stay tuned for more from Can Am tomorrow!
Volunteer State launches TV World Network!
The Volunteer State Championship, organized by David Medeiros, was the location for the launch of the Dance Network. The Dance Network is going to be a television cable channel dedicated to dance and what we all love the most, ballroom dancing, this network will feature ballroom competitions as well as dance movies from Fred Astaire to Dirty Dancing, etc. and even their own programing will be featured there.
With a television studio the size of a football field, the Dance Network will be able to create their own programing, featuring all the different styles of dancing, tap, jazz, flamenco you name it. This multi-million dollar investment is the creation of David Medeiros, the organizer, and Julie Stadler who is a Pro/Am Ballroom fan and competitor. From their presentation we can see that this venture will be competing with networks such as the History Channel, Animal Planet and the Food Network. Finally we will have a Network that will cater to all dancing, and especially to ballroom Dancing. This is an incredible undertaking and one that we as a group should be proud. We should all stand behind it. As in everything viewership is everything and it is important that when it airs we watch and we stay tuned in.
Talking of viewership, the Professional “Star Rhythm Tour” was also a major success here at the Volunteer State. This was the third stop for the rhythm couples to accumulate points and win dollars to the tune of over $50,000.00. Each leg has been a little different and as the tour moves on the tension on all front mounts with anticipation as to who will take the $25,000.00 purse for first place. When it came to internet viewership this tour had the most so far with hundreds of devices being used and tracked. Viewership as I mentioned is the name of the game and on this leg of this tour we had a huge increase of people viewing the competition at home on their computers.
The winner of the tour will be determined by a combination of 3 different scores - or points given for the 3 different challenges. Firstly the group competition, secondly the solo exhibition and lastly the audience participation vote. On this leg the overall competition went to Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryshova who earned a total of 138.64 points. In the group competition they were second best overall. The judges’ scores on each dance were 2,3,2,2,2. This earned them a total of 24 points for their group effort. In their solo presentation they received the third best score of the evening from the judges, a 94.14 total. What put this couple above the rest in this third leg of the tour was the audience. They were the audience’s favorite when it came to the solo with 41% of their vote they managed to accumulate a total of 20.5 points towards their final tally, giving them an overall score of 138.64 points and so they won the Volunteer State leg.
Second on this leg was awarded to Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova. They of course were the favorite to win the group competition and this they certainly did, first in every dance from the group judging panel. This was a great push towards the finish line and the most you can earn on the group dances, 30 points or a perfect score. In the solo section of the competition they also shone with the best score of the night 95.43. However, their weakest this time was motivating their fans to vote. In the scheme of things they were third best with the audience but a sad finish that was only 5% of the popular vote, this was not good enough to push them to the top at this leg with only 2.5 points added for this effort. Overall they received 127.93 points total towards the tour, a difference of 8.71 between them and the leading couple on this leg. Most effort needs to be applied in awakening the interest of their fans to vote. We must also point out that the Star Tours are not a walk in the park. The different variables make it very interesting for us the viewers, something that we need in this industry (more fans and people watching) but this makes it a challenge for the couples that are new to this and do not always end in the position they are accustomed to. Emanuel & Liana are the perfect example, they placed last on the first leg in Colorado due to a time rule penalty, first in Twins Cities and now second on this third leg.
Third in this leg of the tour went to Andre & Natalie Paramonov. They placed third in four of the five dances of the group competition and second in the rumba, this effort gave them 21 points towards their tally. Andre & Natalie were the second best after Emanuel & Liana in their solo performance with 94.57 points awarded to them by the judges. In the popular vote they were fourth in this effort with only 3% of the vote, giving them 1.5 extra points. In the end their overall score for this leg of the tour came to 117.07.
We acknowledge a glitch that occurred immediately following the solo presentation. About 8 minutes following the solo Star Tour Challenge it was brought to our attention that on the TV screen in the ballroom the couple that was number 108, Andre & Natalie, appear as number 103. This was confirmed and changed right away. Although the error was on the screen, there were cards on the tables with their correct names and numbers. Also, the announcer read the correct name and number for each couple. For viewers voting on a computer device everything was correct.
To insure the integrity of the vote, every vote had to be looked at closely as to who voted, how it was voted and at what time. As we looked into this matter, we realized that at this competition the majority of the votes for all couples came from people at a computer looking at the show and not from texting on cellular phones. We were then able to look at a spreadsheet as to who got the text votes. In comparison with the other events the numbers were all very consistent. After looking over every vote for the past two days, we find that this glitch did not have any impact or consequence for the couples involved and is not significant to the final tally.
Fourth was awarded to Aaron & Irina Desoto. They placed fourth in all their group dances obtaining 15 points towards their final score. They were the fourth best solo with a score 90.29, their audience score was higher than Emanuel & Liana’s and Andre & Natalie with an 8% of the vote picking up 4 extra points for this, giving them the final tally of 109.29.
The second favorite couple of the audience was Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Kinney, they came into the solo as the audience wildcard, getting only 3 points for this before the solos began. Daniel & Taylor have always been the favorite of the audience at every stop where they have competed and this time they almost did it again. They lost the audience favorite position to Nazar & Irina by 1 point with 40% of the audience vote. They might have lost the popularity contest by one vote but they still were awarded 20 points for this towards their final score. The judges were also not thrilled with Daniel & Taylor’s “Lion King” performance. Their routine was scored only 65.00 points awarded by the judges. Their overall score was of 88.00 putting them in fifth position on this the 3rd leg of the Star Rhythm Tour.
Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova placed sixth overall on this leg of the tour. They made the final and placed 6th in every dance. They got a point per dance and so 5 points were awarded for their effort in the group final. Their solo was not marked in the nineties, but their score was not the lowest they got 81.14 towards the run. When it came to the audience their popularity was not as strong. They picked up 3% of the vote and got 1.5 extra points as did the Paramonovs. In the end adding these points up, their overall score was of 87.64. This score was good enough to keep them in play but not to go further than 6th position at this third leg of the tour.
Seventh position overall on the tour was awarded to Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson. They placed fifth in every dance in the group competition. This effort gained them 10 points towards the final tally. Their solo performance was the lowest marked, perhaps due to the fact that they did not have a prepared routine. The judges awarded them 63.86. Their popularity with the audience totally fell with 0% awarded to them by the audience and so no points were awarded to them by the audience. Their final tally was the lowest of this leg of the Star Ballroom Tour a 73.86 total, putting them in seventh position.
Overall this leg of the City Lights Star Rhythm Tour was a fantastic success the amount of people watching on their computer monitors at home and away from the competition was amazing. We tabulated that close to 1,000 people or devices, 98% being computers, were in use, with I’m sure the majority or all watching the Star Rhythm Tour. With every stop the tour continues to engage more fans and more people. This is great for the industry since this will be what will get more sponsorship money for professional dancing in America for future endeavors. The City Lights Star Tours want to once again thank all the couples that are supporting this venture. And finally we want to remind the couples that you most attend and compete at the City Lights Ball in order to collect what is owed to you. Congratulations to all, and you can see the final tallies and where you stand after this leg at www.dancebeat.com.
Sunday A Good Finish For IGB
Sunday night was a good finish for the IGB. 2 good open pro divisions and some interesting U/21 divisions, one of which produced a different result to the Youth division.
Of the two open pro divisions the Smooth was larger and began with a semifinal. Basically two couples were far ahead of the field and these were the eventual winners, Yegor Novikov & Alexandria Smirnova and the runners-up, Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan. Yegor & Alexandria won all dances with the majority of 1st places. They produce wonderful, elongated lines and seem to get more settled each time we see them. Evgeny & Anna have a more dramatic style and this was the best performance we have seen from them so far. They were 2nd in all dances. 3rd went to Peter Hahn & Jude Coraldi, 4,3,3,3. This duo also continues to improve. It was good to see Eric Koptke & Chelsea Farrah back on the floor after an extended layoff. They were 4th with 3,4,4,4. Kyle & Christina Campbell were 5th in all and Jonathan Atkinson & Lrena Bravo were 6th in all.
The Open Latin finished as a straight final after a couple of cancelations. The winners in all dances were Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova. They put in a strong showing and were the audience favorites, but they had to give up some 1st places in all dances to the Rising Star Winners, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina. The closest fought dance was the cha cha that Andrey & Yulia won by 7 first places to 4. Comfortably 3rd in all dances were Maxim Kapitanikov & Natalia Fridmanovich. 4th Artjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Vasily Anokhin & Kristina Androshenko 4,4,5,5,5; 6th Kiril Nikitin & Jenya Kanchukova 6,6,6,6,6.
The U/21 Ballroom was interesting because the 1st and 2nd places were reversed from the same style of the Youth. Tonight Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky were the winners 1,2,1,1,2 over Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu 2,1,2,2,1. Both couples are great additions to this style and we did think that Justin & Sasha danced the best and most consistently that we have ever seen from them. 3rd were Jacob Tsai & Cara Loo.
The U/21 Latin was an 8-couple final and the winners were Giulio Ferrante & Lidia Martinez Espinosa 1,1,3,3,1. All couples were at a high level in the final and the results were anything but clear. 2nd were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets 2,2,1,2,2 and 3rd, Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky 3,3,2,1,3. These 3 couples are all from the Bay Area. 4th, from MA were Steven Varshavsky & Karolina Loutnikov 4,4,4,4,5 and also from MA Murat Medzhidor & Valerie Dubinsky were 5th 6,5,5,5,4. Lance Yasinsky & Annabelle Vinckur were 6th 5,7,7,6,6; Zika Trajovic & Scarlett Liafer were 7th 8,6,6,7,7 and Adrian Grobeiny & Tanya Smith were 8th 7,8,8,8,8.
There was also a fun youth and junior team match that the audience seemed to very much enjoy.
At the end of the evening we celebrated the 84th birthday of the incredible Mr. Ken Sloan.
Avdeev/Blinova Take 2nd leg of Star Ballroom Tour
Last night marked leg 2 of the Star Ballroom Tour sponsored by City Lights here at IGB. It resulted in a win for Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. They swept the board tonight winning the Freestyle, the Showdance and the Audience Vote. Following the first leg at Yankee Classic they were in 4th place and this win moves them up to 2nd. The overall leaders after 2 legs are Alexander Voscalchuk & Veronica Egorova who were the runners-up here tonight, again in all 3 categories. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova remain in 3rd place overall. The full results from the Star Tours will soon be available here. Check the rankings. Look out also for an analysis by Keith Todd and video commentary by Stephen Cullip on the Freestyle section and Michael Mead & Toni Redpath on the Showdances. All coming soon!
Michael Towslizew & Tiffany Fung were the 7th couple to dance a solo as they were the audience's "wildcard" selection from the semifinalists.
The 5-Dace Open Pro Ballroom was extremely tight tonight. Mikhail & Olga won the division but it was a Rule 11 tie between them and Alexander & Veronika. Mikhail & Olga placed 1,2,2,1,1T and Alex & Veronica 2,1,1,2,1T. There is very little light between these two couples and we are all looking forward to more exciting duels. Things were also tight between 3rd and 4th but by two points Andre Begunov & Anna Demidova took it, placing 4,3,3,4,3 and in their first competition back on the floor, Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa were 4th, 3,4,4,3,5. And in the 3rd of the tight races Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti were the winners taking 5th spot with 6,5,5,6,4 over Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 5,6,6,5,6.
The other Open Pro event of the night was Rhythm and this was comfortably won by Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd with 2,2,2,2,3 were Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti. 3rd were Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman 3,3,3,4,4 and with the widest range of scores, 5,4,4,5,2, Jeremy Babgay & Carolyn Barreno took 4th. 5th fell to David Moon & Sydney Petersen 4,5,5,3,5 and 6th to Richard & Marianne Myers.
The Open Amateur Latin was a very strong event with competitors from both coasts. Taking all dances and giving a totally “in command” performance were Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler who easily won all dances. Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrschaft were the runners-up scoring 2,2,2,2,3. The second of the East Coast couples in the final, Allen Rudman & Svetlana Lisnaya were 3rd 3,4,3,3,2. Giulio Ferrante & Lidia Maria Espinosa were 4th 6,3,4,4,4. Two youth couples closed the final, Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Kletts in 5th 4,5,5,5,6 and Mike Monokandilios & Sophia Brodsky 6th 5,6,6,6,5.
Ilya Rezin will have a report on this division.
It was a great night for Junior II competitors Eric Linder & Rickie Taylor who won both the Ballroom and Latin divisions taking all dances in both divisions. Tyler Li & Angelica Lowe were the runners-up in both and also were 2nd in all dances. Continuing the tradition, Jared Alley & Sabrina Bezzant were 3rd in both. These were scholarship divisions sponsored by the CBZ Foundation.
The Youth Latin was an excellent 8-couple final that was a nightmare for the judges. We thought it was a great race for 1st between the top two couples. Winning by 3 dances to 2 tonight were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Kletts 1,1,2,2,1 over fellow Bay Area competitors, Mike Monokandilios & Sophia Brodsky 2,2,1,1,2. We thought thesetwo couples were well clear, but the rest of this excellent final was up for grabs. Erik & Rickie moved up from the J2 division to take 3rd 3,3,3,4,4. Lance Yasinsky & Annabelle Vinckur were 4th 6,5,4,3,6; Murat Medzhidor & Valerie Dubinsky 5th 4,6,7,6,3; Tyler Adler & Makayla Bezzant 6th 7,7,5,5,5; Daniel Bernecker & Charity Anderson 7th 5,4,6,7,7; Zika Trajkovic & Scarlett Liaifer 8th 8,8,8,8,8.
Youth & Amateur Ballroom Headline at IGB
For us the flavor of the night was Ballroom and that means the Open Amateur and Youth divisions. Both semifinals and both filled with quality dancing.
The Youth was first on and we saw the great dancing in this division that the Bay area has, plus a few good “outsiders.” The winners were Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu 1,1,1,2,1. This is Mr. & Ms. Perfect – rarely do we see them out of position or sometimes it seems even breaking a sweat. This is their strength and their weakness we believe. Winning foxtrot and placing 2nd in the other dances were Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky from MA. These are rather the antithesis of the winners. They dance with much passion but sometimes get stuck in some awkward positions. We loved their waltz & foxtrot. 3rd in all dances were Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky. Another great SF team, they sometimes seem a little tight to us, but move beautifully. MA took the next position also Murat Medzhidor & Valerie Dubinsky 5,4,4,4,5. A new partnership that exhibits great, free flowing movement and should be strong contenders soon. Jacob Tsai & Cara Loo were 5th with 6,6,5,5,4. They too show great promise once some positional problems are addressed. We were also impressed with the clean performance of 6th placed Daniel Bernecker & Charity Anderson from UT 4,5,6,6,6. Perhaps they need to let go a bit more.
Comfortable winners of the Open Amateur were Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtierova who won all dances deservedly in our view. From our perspective it was a little closer for 2nd but the Runners-up Ferando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili were 2nd in all dances and 3rd placed Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor were 3rd in all. These are two couples with very different appearances and styles. Mike & Sophia also danced in this division and were 4th 5,4,4,4,5. 5th went to Daniel Rubahevsky & Anastasiya Vysotska 4,5,6,5,4 and 6th to Christian Solares & Whittney Myers 6,6,5,6,6.
All 4 styles in the Pro Rising Star were also held – all straight finals. The best we thought was the Latin. This was a showcase for Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina who have made such an impression recently. They won all dances. 2nd in all went to Maksim Kapitanikov & Natalia Shchypilina and 3rd in all were Artjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina.
Kyle & Christina Campbell won the RS Smooth – all dances, Jonathan Atkinson & Loreno Bravo were 2nd in all and Kelton & Jessica Johnson were 3rd in all.
Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno won the RS Rhythm 1,2,2,1,1. David Moon & Sydney Petersen were 2nd 2,1,1,2,2 and Alejandro & Lucelia Falcon were 3rd in all dances.
Stay tuned for tonight’s results that include the 2nd leg of the Star Rhyhtm Tour.
Star Rhythm Tour Second Leg
(sponsored by City Lights Ball)
The second leg of the tour in Minneapolis, Minnesota was a model of just how exciting the Star Tours can be. The couples competed to a full house and thrilled the audience and even the judges as they took to the floor to present their solo performances one couple at a time starting with the audience’s pick (The Wildcard).
The audience’s favorite tonight and their pick from the semifinalists at this Star Rhythm Tour stop were Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson from Brookfield, Wisconsin. Slash & Meghan probably had an advantage here as this is their hometown, but funnily enough when it came to their solo performance the audience pulled away from them leaving them with only 3% of the votes from the audience adding only 1.5 points to their cumulative score. Slash & Megan went out of the box when it came to their solo they did an “I love Lucy” routine with a hint of comedy but very up beat. However, the judges were also not behind them, they scored the lowest of all the scores a 79.29 overall from the judges. We must also mention that Slash & Megan came with a disadvantage because they did not earn any points in the group competition, they did not make the group final, and so received only 3 points total going into the solos for being the audience favorite. Their grand total was 83.79 on this second leg of the tour.
Sixth in this leg of the tour was awarded to Aaron & Iryna DeSoto who gave us also an uplifting routine that was well received by the audience and by the judges who awarded them 85.43 points making it the fourth best score the judges gave for the solos in this leg. Unlike Slash & Megan they did make the impressive group competition final and here they earned 5 points total - they placed sixth in every dance and so they picked up a point per dance. They were also the audience fourth favorite in the solos. They received 9% of the audience vote earning them 4.5 points toward this leg total and placing them in sixth position at this event with a 94.93. Aaron & Iryna participated on the first leg and so to see were Aaron & Iryna stand overall after the second leg, see the cumulative totals here on Dance Beat. (Star Dance Tours Rules and Results).
Fifth in this leg was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka. The judges awarded them 85.29 points for their solo routine. This was quite a good score but the audience failed them. They only received 2% of the popular vote giving them only 1 point extra towards their final score. However, they did dance in the group competition and they took 3 fifths and 2 fourths and this gave them 12 points towards their final tally of 98.29 points total. Mykyta & Anna are new to the tour and you can also see where they stand in the Rhythm Tour cumulative scores here on Dance Beat.
Fourth overall on this second stop went to Ilya Velednitskiy & Mariya Ilchenko. They too are new to this tour. Their solo performance was not placed as well as Mykyta & Anna’s by the judges, but the difference was not great. The judges scored them 84.86. Ilya & Mariya danced in the group competition final and here they earned one point more than Mykyta & Anna, 13 points total by placing 4,4,5,4,5. In the audience’s eyes they were like Mykyta & Anna, they shared in 2% of the vote and so only 1 point was added to them from the audience. Their total scores for this leg of the Star Rhythm Tour was 98.86.
Things really heat up when it came to the top three places. Third in this exciting second stop of the tour was awarded to Andre & Natalie Paramonov who received the second best score from the judges awarded in the solo portion of the tour, it was a whamming 96.29 points. This couple also danced in this exciting group final and here they placed third in all five dances earning them a total of 20 points. However, the fans helped but not enough to push them over the top. They received 18% of the audience’s vote giving them 9 points extra but that was not enough to place first or second. In the end their overall score was of 125.29 points, good enough to stay afloat but they are going to have to work hard on popularity to stay comfortably where they currently stand, second place in the overall race.
Second on this stop were Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. They participated in the first leg of the tour at the Colorado Star ball and overall they are currently the front-runners of this Star Rhythm Tour. However, they won Colorado but here they placed second overall. When it came to their solo performance the judges placed them below Andre & Natalie with 96.14 points (a very small difference). They also placed second in every dance in the group competition earning them a few more points freezing the Parmonovs with 25 points. But their biggest strength on this leg of the tour was the audience who loved this couple. They earned the best audience score of this leg with 39% of the popular vote, earning them 19.5 points and placing them second overall on this leg of the tour with 140.64 points total.
The winners of this leg of the tour were Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who, if you remember, were knocked down to last place at Colorado for breaking the time rule of the tour. However, this is a very resilient couple that came back stronger than ever. This time without breaking any rules, they earned the highest score from the judges for their solo performance, a 97.86. They won all dances in the group competition taking perfect scores in this section of the tour and that was 30 points total. They too were prepared and did a good job mobilizing their fans around the country. They received the second most amount of points after Nazar & Irina, 13.5 points coming from 27% of the audience vote total.
For us and for everyone participating and watching at home this was a nail-biting experience. The couples’ performances were all beautiful and exquisite to watch. The tension builds as we move on to leg three of the Star Rhythm Tour in Nashville, Tennessee that will finish at the home of the tours, the City Lights Ball. We want to thank all the couples for their effort and for their participation. You can see that when we all push together we can move mountains and we are moving mountains and setting new standards for dancing and compensation for professional dancing in America.
Saturday at Manhattan
Click here for video from SuperShag
With so much good dancing here at Manhattan yesterday everyone was picking their favorites – both the judges and the audience we assume! While all 3 of the feature events last night, Open Pro Ballroom, Open Pro Rhythm & Open Amateur Latin, had clear winners, there was so much to look at every event was interesting.
Starting with the Pro Ballroom, WDC World Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova notched up a perfect score receiving every available 1st place from the judges. We thought they were in great form too and did we even see some new styling from them in places?
Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk also had clear majorities of 2nd places to easily take the runners-up spot. A couple of ladies on the judging panel, Maria Johnson and Iveta Lukosute, had them lower in all dances and they were joined by Mireille Veilleux, Jonathan Wilkins and Colin Hillary in some random dances. The battle for 3rd – 6th was much tighter with the judges scoring the couples all over the place. Even the final summary shows this. With 3,3,4,4,3 Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva got the best of it but they did not have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ in any dance. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 4th with 5,6,3,3,4. They did have a slim majority of ‘3rd or better’ in the foxtrot. Canada sneaked in among the USA couple as Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh took 5th with 4,5,5,6,5 and Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova were 6th with 6,4,6,5,6. This was a splendid competition all the way from the 1st round.
Charlotte Jorgensen will report on this division for Dance Beat soon.
US Champions, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, were the easy winners in the Rhythm. They had almost all 1st place marks with a smattering of 2nd’s and only one lower score, a 4th in swing from judge Mark Weiss. We liked Liana’s new, sophisticated look!
Similarly, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were easily 2nd with strong majorities of 2nd places and very few scores lower than a 3rd. They also received a 4th place, this time in rumba from judge Aigers Stolcers. 3,3,4,3,4 gave Andre & Natalie Paramonov a 3 to 2 scores over Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova with 4,4,3,4,3. A tighter race than recently seen from these two although the Paramonovs did have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ scores in the 3 dances they placed 3rd. However, we also thought that this was a very strong performance from Mikhail & Vanda. Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone were 5th with 5,5,5,6,5 and Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haragouchi were 6th 6,6,6,5,6.
Wendy Johnson will have the report on this division.
The Amateur Latin for us was the most interesting event of the night and an almost impossible choice for the judges at every round. Some great couples fell by the wayside early in the competition and to them we would only say, “don’t be discouraged” this was a tremendous event from round 1 and the choices the judges were faced with were miniscule in their differences.
The event did have easy winners and this was Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva from Denmark who won all dances with clear majorities of 1st places. The only really low score they received was a 5th in cha cha from judge, Mark Weiss.
2nd in all dances went to Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach. They had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances except samba. Interestingly they received only one 1st place and that was from judge Keith Todd in rumba, but they had a number of judges placing them either 5th or 6th also. The great success of the night was 3rd placed Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina who scored 5,3,3,4,6. Those final placements give you a sense of how tight this final was. Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler were 4th with 4,4,5,5,3 and for us this couple showed the greatest improvement of the night. Gabriella especially was on fire tonight in the faster rhythm dances. Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina were 5th scoring 3,6,4,6,4. They have a more serious demeanor than some of the other couples. We felt their best dance was paso doble, although the majority of judges did not seem to agree. Closing this final were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman with 6,5,6,3,5.
Next into this final were Austin Josen & Nino Dzedneladze and we felt they did an outstanding job. We were also impressed with the improvement in Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova.
Nadia Eftedal will report on this division for Dance Beat.
Travis & Jaimee Tuft won the 4-couple Professional Cabaret and gave what we considered a faultless performance of their style of cabaret performance. It was great to see June Mavor, a pioneer of this style of dancing in the audience. June and husband Roy, were the early directors of dance at BYU and great cabaret champions. Travis & Jaimee are both alumni of BYU.
The daytime session was filled with pro-am Latin and what great Open Scholarships we saw. Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) won all dance in the A division. This young lady has improved so much over the last year. Great job! Sabrine won all dances. The whole final was strong today. 2nd in all dances fell to Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinado and 3rd in all was Joanna Wa w/ Plamen Danailov. These two ladies are also both excellent but have very different styles and personalities. Maria Ceva w/ Lyubomir Asenov was 4th 6,4,4,4,5; Mona Xia w/ Andrew Phillips 5th 5,5,5,5,4; Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi 6th 4,6,6,6,6.
The B division went to Russia in a tight race. Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov won the event 2,1,1,1,2, three dances to two over Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev 1,2,2,2,1. Two great ladies in a great duel. 3rd went to Canada, Marialisa De Gasperis w/ Kamil Studenny who placed 3,3,4,3,3. Maria Seragou w/ Dimitrios Damalas was 4th 4,4,3,6,5; Jelana Sevaljevic w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) was 5th 5,6,5,4,4 and Netsuyo Lipschutz w/ Nikolai Shpakov was 6th 6,5,6,5,6.
USA took the C Division. Lorraine Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline won the event 1,3,1,1,1, repeating her win from Millennium last week. Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was 2nd 2,2,2,2,3 and Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was 3rd 3,1,3,3,2. As you can see this was quite a close race. 4th in all was Tasha Romero w/ Evgeny Likachev; 5th in all Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov and 6th in all Fifi Wang w/ Delyan Terziev.
Today is junior day here at Manhattan Dancesport. We’re ready for the madness!
It was a night of spectacular dancing at Manhattan Dancesport last night and the winners of the two open professional divisions were “almost” perfect – at least according to the judges.
World WDC Latin Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko won all dances in the Open Pro Latin and had perfect scores of 15 first places from the judges in all dances – well almost. They received two 2nd places from judge Shirley Ballas, one in rumba and one in paso doble.
Shirley’s two 1st places went to the runners up, Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark). Their perfection of 15 second place marks in all dances was also spoiled by one judge, Chris Johnston awarded them 3rd in 3 dances, cha cha, samba and jive.
Competition for 3rd place was tough and was decided by 3 dances to 2. With 3,3,3,4,4, the 3rd spot went to Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir. This was their first time back on the floor after a lengthy sabbatical. They did not receive a majority of 3rd or better scores in any of the dances. Always one of our favorite teams it was good to see them back on the floor – were they fully up to speed? Let’s see how the reviews go in Dance Beat soon. The other half of this tussle were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina with 4,4,4,3,3. Nikolai & Maria did receive the majority of 3rd or better scores in paso doble.
Two Canadian couples battled for 5th and 6th place but Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko came out clearly on top with majorities of 5th or better in all dances. 6th spot went to Jean-Philippe Milot & Larence Bulduc who we thought had a great semifinal round but faded a little in the final.
We also liked the winners of the RS, Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina, and indeed they were 7th well clear of the remaining semifinalists.
Klaus Kongsdal will have the full report in Dance Beat soon.
In the Open Pro Ballroom, the winners, US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu also won by a large majority of 1st places in all dances, but there were a few judges spoiling their “perfection” also. Most noticeable was Mireille Veilleux who scored them 6th in all dances. They also picked up a 4th in foxtrot from John Nyemchek. The rest of the panel placed them 1st with a couple of 2nds thrown in.
There were 2 couples fighting for 2nd and it was decided by 3 dances to 2 in the favor of Mikhail & Galina Zharinov 2,3,2,2 over Mazen Hamza & Izabela Jundzill 3,2,3,3. Neither couple had the majority of 2nd or better scores in any dance. They are very different in appearance and style – pay your money and take your choice! 4th and 5th was a split decision. The result went to Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija 4,4,5,5 over Travis & Jaimee Tuft 5,5,4,4. This marked a return to form for Travis & Jaimee who have received some lackluster results of late. New to the division and now finalists at their 2nd major championship in two weeks were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova with 6th in all dances. This was a 7-couple final and Kyle & allie Spinder were 7th in all dances, perhaps disappointing for them as they have beaten both Novikov/Smirnova and the Tufts in recent competitions.
Larinda McRaven will report for Dance Beat soon.
“Close to” perfection continued into the Open Amateur Ballroom. ABC U.S. Champions, Andres & Veronica End won all dances with large majorities of 1st place marks. The lowest score they received was one 5th from John Nyemchek in VW. 2nd place was a USA/Canada battle that went to USA. Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova placed 2,2,2,2,3 to take the runners up spot. James Cutler & Virginie Primeau were 2nd 3,3,3,3,2. This was a reverse of form from last week at Millennium where James & Virginie won all 5 dances. 4th tonight were Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra 5,4,5,4,4 who we thought had a very good night. 5th were Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko 4,5,4,5,5 and 6th were Nicholas Kharlamov & Rochelle Kharlamov. Interestingly there were 2 brother/sister teams in this final.
Pierre Allaire will comment on this division for Dance Beat soon.
For the pro-ams it was a huge day of Ballroom that culminated with the best Open Scholarships so far. The Open C began with a 1st round of 3 heats, returning for a quarter-final. It was quite close for 1st place, but the winner was Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano Stefano and she placed 2,1,1,2,1. This was the first time we had seen this pairing. The winner of this division at both Emerald Ball and Millennium, Hye-Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva took 2nd here 1,2,2,1,2. All dances except waltz were won with a majority of 1st places. With 3,4,3,5,3, Rhonda Fisher w/ Gianni Caliandro was 3rd. 4th went to Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 4,3,5,3,5; 5th Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini 5,6,4,4,4; 6th Annie Chan w/ Denis Kutepov 6,5,6,6,6 and 7th to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 7,7,7,7,7.
It was a good day for the Stefano brothers as Andrea’s brother, Erminio, won the Open B with his student, Celia Chou. Celia won all dances with the majority of 1st places and perfect scores in the quickstep. 2nd in all dances, a marked improvement from last week’s scores at Millennium, was Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada). 3rd in all Leilani Veiney w/ Kamil Urbaniak. With 4,6,6,4,4, Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold took 4th. 5th was Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein 5,4,4,6,6 and 6th was Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico 6,5,5,5,5.
The winner of the Open A was Julia Shen w/ Alexander Voskalchuk who had the majority of 1st places in all dances except the quickstep. Runner-up today was Fuki Uekusa w/ Andrey Begunov. Fuki was 2nd in all dances. Canadian, Michelle Yeh w/ Anton Lebedev took 3rd, again in all dances. Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) was 4th 4,4,5,4; Lin Meng w/ Kamil Urbaniak was 5th 5,5,4,5,6 and Lisa Liao w/ Denis Kutepov was 6th 6,6,6,6,4.
We must compliment the organizers, Gary & Diana McDonald, on an excellent schedule that saw us out of the ballroom well before midnight. Gary shared with us that they had turned down late entries to preserve a comfortable schedule.
From All Quarters!
Thursday at Manhattan
The majority of the Thursday evening was dedicated to the professional rising star divisions – all four took place and all began with a quarter final except the ever shy Ballroom with only a semi.
In actuality the Ballroom gave us the tightest race with the winners, Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova, taking it by 3 dances to 2. Vlad & Ekaterina won W,VW, F. Their runners up were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 2,1,2,2,1. These two couples have been facing off all over the country recently in this division and both are improving on every outing. Congratulations guys! Another one of our favorite up and coming couples in this style, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson took 3rd, 4,3,3,3,4. Close behind them another couple whose quiet style is often overlooked, Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya 3,4,5,4,3. Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Katsukhina took 5th 6,5,4,5,6 and Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were 6th 5,6,6,6,5.
In two of the RS divisions the winners were 1st in all dances beginning with the Rhythm won by Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov. They have a light and engaging style on the floor that makes it very hard not to smile when watching them. 2nd and 3rd positions were also filled by very strong new couples. 2nd were Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 2,2,2,3,2 and 3rd, Ilya Abdulin & Tara Barakova 3,3,3,2,3. The scores for the last 3 positions were tight. Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite 6,4,5,4,4 were 4th; Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay were 5th 4T,5,4,5,5; Eddie Rivera & Megham McNash were 6th 4T,6,6,6,6.
Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina won all dances in the Latin. This couple is taking the Latin division by storm lately and we can see why. They have a very unique presentation and exude confidence. 2nd went to Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo and they scored 2,3,2,2,2. Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser were also strong in 3rd place with 3,2,3,3,3. Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 4th in all dances, Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie were 5th in all and Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao were 6th in all.
The Smooth division offered a very mixed bag of styles and the adjudicators were not consistent in their placements – understandably. The winners were Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and they placed 2,1,1,1. They have made great progress since switching to this style. We would like to see some attention to use of feet in a more “ballroom” manner. 2nd was another one of our favorite couples, Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 1,2,2,2. With 4,4,3,3, Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth were 3rd and they dance what we would call a more traditional style of Smooth. Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobeiewski were 4th 3,3,5,5. We found them the least consistent – at times in winning form and at others seemingly a little lost. We would like to see softer arm and hand lines from Radek. Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow took 5th 5,6,4,4; Morten Jensen & Anastasia were 6th 6,5,6,6 and John Campbell & Jaki Brokman were 7th in this very strong and interesting final.
Run concurrently with these Rising Star divisions were some amateur events. The U/21 Ballroom and Latin were both very strong divisions with couples from Canada & USA. Nazariy Blagy & Michelle Kurpas won the Latin 1,1,2,2,2, Yevgenii Orlov & Maryna Yerina were 2nd 2,2,1,1,3 and Ryan Raffloer & Hanna Sverdlov were 3rd 3,3,3,3,1. As you can see a very close finish at the top.
Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarkski were the comfortable winners in the U/21 Ballroom. Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka were 2nd in all and Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky were 3rd in all.
We also saw the Senior II and Senior III Ballroom. Thomas Yu & Yuko Nauluani Yu won the II and Thomas & Renee Malinowski won the III.
For the pro-ams it was Smooth day and in the Open Scholarships it proved to be a good day for professional Mayo Alanen whose students won two of the divisions. Anna Derevyanchenko won the A with mayo, taking all dances. A former professional partner of Mayo/s Michelle Officer, took 2nd with her student Stefan Tuomanen 2,3,2,2. Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan was 3rd 3,2,3,3; Samanta Rico w/ Morten Jensen was 4th 4,4,4,5; Sarah Gladish w/ Ilya Reyzin was 5th 5,5,5,6 and Kailee Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson was 6th 6,6,6,4.
Aiyesah Dey w/ Mayo was the winner of the B, again in all dances repeating her win from Emerald Ball last month. Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson took 2nd in all dances and Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen took all the 3rd’s. Daniella Koren w/ Greg Fidurski was 4th 5,4,4,4; Mary Lemmer w/ Tomas Mielnicki was 5th 4,5,5,5 and Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago was 6th in all dances.
Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was back on top in the C division overtaking last week’s winner at Millennium, Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Waitrowski by 3 dance to 1. Beverly placed 1,1,1,2 to Lisa’s 2,2,2,1. What a great competition between thesetwo very accomplished ladies! Keep up the good work! Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was 3rd in all dances and the winner of the Rhythm, Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin was 4th 4,4,5,4. Alla Neyshtadt w/ Eric Pali was 5th 5,5,4,5 and Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza was 6th, 6,6,6,6.
The Dance Beat Team took advantage of a short break to "Walk the Bridge." Brooklyn Bridge, the oldest in NYC, offers a fantastic view of Manhattan and is only 2 blocks from the Marriott hotel!
Stay tuned for the first of the open professional and open amateur events pus the pr-am ballroom divisions!
“Everything Old Is New Again!”
Manhattan Dancesport 2015
Here we are back at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge for the Manhattan Dancesport – but wait where are we? The Marriott has undergone a serious transformation since we were here last year. The lobby and bar areas have a contemporary style rather than the “woody” gentleman’s club atmosphere of before. Lets see how the dancers react to these changes in their R & R area.
One thing that never changes at Manhattan Dancesport is the quality of the dancing – you’ll always see the best in all levels at this event and we certainly got off to a good start with the pro-am Rhythm divisions yesterday.
The most interesting result came in the Open C Scholarship. Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski has been unbeaten in this division of late, recently winning at Emerald Ball and just last week at Millennium. But here Lisa had to be content with the runner-up position as Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilia Reyzin won the event by 3 dances to 2 – 1,2,1,2,1. Lisa won the rumba and bolero. So a good competition from two very strong ladies. (PS we liked Sophia’s New York skyline dress!) 3rd went to Jennifer Marre w/ Plamen Danailov 3,3,4,4,3; 4th Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert 4,5,3,3,4; 5th Donna Sparano w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 5,4,5,5,5; 6th Natalie Kerr w/ Misha Konstantinov; 7th Heather Petros w/ Fonzie Zapata.
There was a clearer result in the B with Heidy Kellison w/ Sean Tamashiro winning all dances. The runner-up was Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantinov 2,3,2,2,2 and Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago was 3rd 3,2,3,3,3. Deb Muzio w/ Evan Wellemeyer was 4th 4,4,4,6,4; Ingrid Pessa w/ Jean Michel Erole was 5th 5T,5,5,4,5; Rick Shaw w/ Tina Meyer was 6th 5T,6,6,5,6.
There were only 3 contestants in the Open A and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was the winner in all 5 dances. 2nd in all was Veronica Maoli w/ Hayk Balasanyan and 3rd Sara Sharpe w/ Gunnar Sverrisson.
Today competition continues with the pro-am Smooth and various amateur and professional events at night. Stay tuned!
Can the Candyman?
Click here for a tiny foretaste of the Millennium Show of Shows. Check your local listings for air dates on ASN network
Yes siree! The Candyman can, and did! For two nights in a row Mr. Michael Chapman, organizer and producer, of the Millennium Dancesport Championships, was able to deliver a show to be remembered. Coca Cola was the main theme featuring the trapese artists, men on stilts, a formation team, all a part of an opening act for Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, World Latin Champions, who enthralled the audience to “Coca Cola,” that now very popular cha cha.
The Coca Cola formation and act could only be equaled by possibly the best performance we have seen from Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, US Professional Smooth Champions, who performed a dramatic waltz also to be remembered for time to come. The legendary team of Andrew Sinkinson & Charlotte Jorgensen also presented a waltz to "The Impossible Dream." The show was slightly shorter than the night before leaving us, unusually, wanting more, something that we usually crave but we never get. Our congratulations to Mr. Chapman for making it a perfect show of shows for us.
The evening would not have been complete without the usual lifetime achievement award and this time it went to a neighbor and a woman that we have all come to admire and respect for her contribution to ballroom dancing in Canada, Meryem Pearson. Meryem has taught many well-respected and established personalities in North American, such as Christiane Primeau, Stephan Champagne and Alain Doucet, who were all present and all Canadian Champions plus Pierre Allaire & Mireille Veilleur who made a surprise appearance. These dancers and others also became well known throughout the world and Alain Doucet & anik Jolicoeur became World Champions. We ourselves were very touched personally by this presentation, since Meryem also had a strong hand and influence in shaping both the editor, Keith Todd and the feature’s editor Didio Barrera’s careers. Meryem continues to contribute to the world of ballroom dance by running perhaps what began as the most significant competition in North America, La Classique du Quebec.
Last night was not only about world class performances and awards it also featured three major professional events, Cabaret, Rhythm and Ballroom. The Ballroom was a name-dropping event. Victor Fung & Anastasia, second in the world of professional Ballroom dancing, won all five dances with perfect scores from all judges, a somewhat rare occurence. Second overall went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk who took the majority of seconds in all dances. However, there were a few who dissented. The most noteworthy was Amy Anderson who awarded them all sevenths. In defence of Amy’s position we too, the Dance Beat Team, thought this not to be Marat & Alina’s best performance. Third overall was awarded to Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva who also placed third in every dance. Fourth went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova and they took fourth in every dance. Fifth were Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova placing fifth in every dance and sixth went to Iarolsalv Bieliei & Lilia Gladiuk. They placed sixth in four dances and seventh in the quickstep. The quickstep sixth position went to the seventh couple overall and that was Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova.
The Professional Rhythm was also an excellent event with great eye candy. Here it was an easy win for Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who took first in all dances by a landslide of first place marks. Only a few judges awarded them less, the most prominent judge here was Shorena Gachechiladze who awarded them three thirds, a fourth in the swing and a second in the cha cha. Second in all dances went to Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova, however, they did get a few thirds and some firsts, but the most shocking marks came from Melanie LaPatin who awarded them a 6th in the cha, a fifth in the swing, a fourth in the bolero, and second in the other two dances.
Third was awarded to Andre & Natalie Paramonov and they also took third overall in every dance, however unlike Nazar & Irina, Andre & Natalie were only able to steal a small amount of first place marks, one in the cha cha and one in the swing from Dan Rutherford, and one in the mambo from Tony Meredith.
Fourth place in this excellent Rhythm competition went to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova placing fourth in every dance. Fifth was awarded to Vard Margaryan & Mandy Carlisle but here they were fifth in every dance but the bolero where they took sixth. Sixth position in this heat went to Shane & Shannon Jensen and they took fifth in the bolero but sixth in the other four dances.
The Cabaret was also another feature in this year’s Millennium. 12 couples competed and a semifinal had to be run earlier in the day but in the end the first place award went to Shane & Shannon Jensen who were in our opinion perfection at work. They received 14 of the 17 first places. Second in this fantastic Cabaret was awarded to another couple who are very capable in this department and that was Travis & Jaimee Tuft. However, we totally agreed with the judges’ decision today. When comparing these two great exhibition couples, we have to feel that Shane & Shannon take a few more ricks in the work and are able to keep you in suspense through the entire routine. Perhaps Travis & Jaimee just have to go a little more on the edge to close the gap between them and overtake them. Whatever it is, we are so lucky in the USA to have such incredible Cabaret talent all here live and well.
Third in this fantastic Cabaret competition went to Michael Azarov & Tanya Makarenko, fourth were Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez, fifth were Jamie Black & Robin Ray, sixth were Clyde Harris & Summer Black Elkin, and last but not least in seventh position were Daniel Enskat & Ahtoy Won Pat-Borja.
The Amateur Latin was a tough job for the judges and you can appreciate more when you look into their marks. The winners overall were Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina taking first in four dances and second in the paso doble. However, we must point out that in not one dance were they able to capture a majority of firsts from the judges. The closest they came to taking the majority was in the cha, where they took eight first place marks out of 17. From this dance on they got less first place marks. Their worst marks came from Meryem Pearson who awarded them 5 sixth place marks, and Shirley Ballas who awarded them 4 sixth places and a fifth. The marks got even more interesting when it came to second placed, Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladee. They placed second overall but not in all dances. They took third in the paso and fourth in the jive. When looking at Austin & Nino’s marks we can see how difficult of a decision it must have been for the judges. They got a variety of marks from first to sixth place in almost every dance. For us it was a little more clear, with the exception of what looked like Nina’s black robe, we were enthralled by this young lady’s talent and ability to Latin dance. Had we been judging I think we might have placed this couple higher in one or two dances at least. Third overall went to Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman and they were the recipient of that elusive first place mark missing from the winning couple 3,3,3,1,3. Fourth were Danils Kutuzovs & Maria Shalvarova 4,4,4,4,2, fifth was awarded to Artur Tarnasskky & Anastasia Danilova 5,5,5,6,6 and sixth were Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova.
The Amateur Junior II Latin event was sponsored by the CBZ foundation, here many of the juniors got scholarships (money) presented by Maria Kordit, director of the CBZ Foundation. The winning overall couple of this event was Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor they won all dances as they had the day before in Ballroom. Second in all dances was awarded to Max Firestein & Nicole Mychedlidze and third were Denis Smotrov & Karina Mirochnik who took third in four dances and fourth in the cha cha. Fourth went to Dennis Matveev & Danielle Goldman 5,4,4,4,4, fifth were Matthew Lavitman & Olivia Agranovich 3,5,5,5,5, and sixth in all dances were Jackson Bayhi & Ashley Mattingly.
The Amateur Youth Latin was also a good event and here the winner was Clinton Cade Corder & Alexandra Gutkovich 2,1,1,1,1, second were Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze 1,2,2,2,3, and third were Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich 3,3,4,3,2.
Pro/am was the biggest part for the Millennium this year, the impressive 5 day event. The Latin day was also packed with great dancing starting at 7AM but the Open Scholarships were late afternoon.
The winner of the A was Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada and they won every dance. Second in this category was Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglen, however, her marks were more varied 3,2,2,3,2 and third went to Emily Tang w/ Delyan Terziev 6,3,3,2,4. Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi was 4th, 2,4,5,4,3; 5th Joanna Wu w/ Plamen Danailov 4,6,4,6,5; 6th Yulia Rudenco w/ Andrey Rudenco 7,5,6,5,6; 7th Maria Seva w/ Lubo Asenov 5,7,7,7,7.
In the B division the winners were Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas 1,1,1,2,4. Second overall was Mirra Blinova w/Clement Joly 2,4,2,1,1, and third was awarded to Jacqueline Soccodato w/Delyan Terziev 3,2,4,3,3. 4th Jelena Sevaljevic w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) 4,3,3,4,2; 5th Suzanne Petersen w/ Damir Karaman 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Colette Marotto w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 7,7,7,7,7.
It was an 8 couple final in the C division and first was awarded to Lorraine Peoples w/Andrei Gavriline 1,1,2,1,1. Second this time went to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 2,2,1,2,3, and third went to former World pro/am Champion Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet from Canada 3,3,3,3,2. 4th Lynn Magnusen w/ Vard Margaryan 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Tasha Romero w/ Evgeny Likachev 6,4,5,5,5; 6th Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov 4,6,6,6,6; 7th Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 7,7,7,8,8; 8th Sharon Iannacone w/ Genya Bartashevich 8,8,8,7,7.
Last night organizer, producer, Michael Chapman unwrapped his “Candy” and delivered another show of a lifetime! The “Debra Fontaine Show of Shows” was nearly out of this world “literally”, with trapeze artists hanging from the ceilings performing life-threatening maneuvers with no safety net and a cast of what seemed to be 60 people performing bellow, a potpourri of candy surprises.
The featured acts Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, American Smooth Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko World Professional Latin Champions, and Andrew Sinkinson & Charlotte Jorgensen were delivered to us all by the fabulous cast, who intermingled with them to make the show flow seamlessly for about 30 minutes. Our favorite number because of the way it was presented by the cast and feature performers was the Perzhu’s opening number “The Candy Man Can” an American style foxtrot, that opened all our senses for what was about to unfold.
Both Peter & Alexandra and Riccardo & Yulia were in top form as expected, giving us great quality and bringing the audience to a number of standing ovations. The “retro, vintage” performance by World Professional finalists and World Ballroom Amateur Champions Andrew & Charlotte gave the show a touch of history that we all loved, our minds all went to the time when these two, separately and together, brought hundreds of houses to a standing ovation and their simple but beautiful basic movements to “Over the Rainbow” sung by our own US National Smooth Champion, Michelle Officer and accompanied on the Piano by DJ extraordinaire, Brent Mills, was touching, moving some to drop a tear and the crowd to their feet at the end of the performance.
You would have thought this was all that was going on this night but no! This was just a treat for the audience served between rounds of the well-attended and very disputed competitions going on this evening.
The 2 feature events tonight were the Open Professional divisions in Smooth and Latin and both were cracking events, the Latin beginning with 36 couples. In no doubt at all were the winners, Canadian Champions, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite who received every 1st place from every judge in all dances. Almost equally clear in the judges’ minds were the runners-up, Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who had large majorities of 2nd places in all dances.
But from there down the couples were jockeying for positions. The big gain came for the 3rd place couple, Mykhalio Bilipukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina who scored 5,4,5,3,3 for their overall 3rd position. This was a big gain from one night before when they placed 2nd in the RS. We can understand this gain! This is a really talented and unique couple, a great recent gain to the US dance scene from, we believe, Ukraine. 3rd tonight, but obviously very close, were Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin who scored 3,3,6,6,4. 5th went to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova 4,6,3,4,5T and 6th to the RS winners, Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo 6,5,4,5,5T. A quick bit of arithmetic will show you how close it was from 3rd to 6th places and how the luck of the draw (and the Skating System) meant that Sasha & Cheyenne placed 6th overall but actually placed 6th in only 1 dance.
Unfortunately Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina had to withdraw after the first round. Their presence would have been enjoyable in the final we are sure.
Gocha Chertkoev & Shorena Gachichiladze will have the report in Dance Beat soon.
The Smooth brought out all the nation’s best (with the exception of the Perzhus who were performing in the show). Mikhail & Galina Zharinov won all 3 dances, 2 with the majority of 1st places (waltz and foxtrot). Runners-up, Mazen Hamza & Izabella won the tango and were 2nd in the other 3 dances. Both couples were on form tonight. This was perhaps one of the best performances we have seen from Mikhail & Galina. The only point of interest when looking at the judges’ scores was that whilst Mikhail & Galina were fairly clear in their win, they did receive a few 6th places whereas the lowest score received by Mazen & Izabella were some 4th places.
3rd in all dances were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who continue to impress us with their beautiful dance action, particularly in waltz. Today VW was their best scored dance. Travis & Jaimee Tuft had a strong result with 4th in all dances and they picked up at least one 1st place in all dances. Kyle & Allie Spinder were 5th in all and we also noted great basic dance actions from this duo. The newcomers to the final were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smimova who were 6th in all dances. Two judges really favored this duo, who we also found very impressive choreographically and physically and this was Nicole Caroll who placed them 2nd in all dances and Igor Litvinov who scored them 2,2,2,1.
Amy Anderson will report on this event in Dance Beat soon.
Although a straight final, the Amateur Ballroom was also of a high standard. It resulted in another win for Canada, as Jamie Cuttler & Virginie Primeau won all 5 dances. We were expecting an easy win for this couple but although they won all dances, they had the majority of 1st places in only foxtrot. Splitting the remaining 1st places were the two couples immediately behind them. Runners-up were Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova 3,3,2,2,2 and third, Lucca & Krizia Balestra 2,2,3,3,3. These are two couples of similar talent but very differing styles. 4th were Daniel Vesnovsiy & Emily Thorpe 5,4,4,4,4; 5th Brandon Buchthal & Natasha Barrera 4,5,5,5,5; 6th Jacob Tsai & Cara Yun Loo 6,6,7,7,6; 7th Danya Rubashevsky & Anastasiya Vysotska 8,7,6,6,7; 8th Yates 7,8,8,8,8.
Max Sinitsa will have a report on this division.
For the pro-ams it was a day of Ballroom and the Open Scholarships were as strong as you would expect in a competition of this size. The A division was won by Natalie Rezal w/ Sergey Kiselev 1,1,2,1,1, this is certainly one of the strongest ladies in this field currently. Receiving her 2nd nod as runner-up, Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa placed 2,2,1,2,5. Vinie Miller w/ Denis Kutepov took all the 3’s and Yulia Rudenko w/ Andrei Rudenco was 4th with 4,4,4,4,2. For us she could certainly have won the QS. Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci was 5th 5,5,5,6,5; Kelly Long w/ Yevgeny Klyukin was 6th 7,6,6,5,6; Elena Kravchenko w/ Ivan Tarkhanov (Russia) was 7th 6,7,7,7,7 and Eliza Cheney w/ Yuriy Nartov was 8th.
It was in the B that we strayed most from form results. The winner remained constant – Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano placed 1st in all dances. 2nd in all was Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov. We thought she had a good day and certainly challenged the winner. Also in great form today was Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold who was 3rd in all dances. Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson was 4th 5T,5,4,4,5. Elka Hristova w/ Artem Plakhotnyi was 5th 5T,6,5,5,4. We also liked this lady’s easy style and personality. Surprising us was the 6th place finish of a past winner in this division, Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet 4,4,6,6,6. We didn’t quite see any major problems here that would warrant this drop, but perhaps we were not standing where the judges were? Closing this final was Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico in 7th place.
The always relaxed Hye-Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva was a good winner in the C division, taking all dances. Also strong in 2nd was Leilani Viney w/ Kamil Urbaniak 3,3,2,3,2 and another one of our favorites, Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini was 3rd 5,6,3,2,3. We don’t quite understand the 5th and 6th placements. Betty Yeh w/ Enzo Zappia was 4th 4,2,5,4,5; Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi was 5th 2,4,4,6,6; Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico was 6th 6,5,6,5,4 and Annie Chen w/ Denis Kutepov closed the final.
In this busy day there were also 2 professional RS divisions danced. It was a good day for Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who won the very strong Rhythm category with 3,2,1,1,1. We also liked the runners-up, Igor Ustymovich & Briana Santiago 1,1,2,2,3. 3rd tonight were Aaron & Iryna DeSotto 2,3,3,3,2.
In the corresponding Ballroom RS, Vladislav Shakov & Ekaterina Popova were the winners placing 1,1,1,1,2. Winning that QS and 2nd in the other dances were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska. 3rd in all were Youriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson.
The kids were also out in force last night at least in quality if not quantity. CBZ Foundation sponsored the Junior II Ballrom and the easy winners here in all dances were Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Soektor. 2nd went to Denis Smotrov & Karina Mirochnik 3,2,3,2,2 and 3rd to Dennis Mateev & Danielle Goldman 2,3,2,3,3.
The JI Ballroom was won by Leroy Shaigorodsky & Sonya Elkin, the Preteen I by Daniel Novikov & Natalina Chen and the Youth Ballroom by Jacob Tsai & Cara Yun Loo.
The Millennium traditionally awards their Hall of Fame on this night and tonight the honoree was none other than the “Goumada” – Marianne Nicole, famed coach and adjudicator. The preceding accolades were read by Marianne’s former professional partner, Rufus Dustin and for the award she was joined on the floor by husband, John DePalma who is a presenter for the ASN TV show.
In the end just when you thought it was over and it was time to take the elevator to your room, the seductive Hawaiian dancers were directing you into a fabulous after party with food, dancing and show. The free mai tais and chi chi’s were flowing but this time compliments of the Hawai'i Star Ball a competition hundreds of miles away in the Pacific where life is beautiful and people hang lose.
The Sweetness Continues!
Thursday was just as sweet at Millennium as we moved into the Pro-Am Smooth divisions and a very full day it was, beginning at 7:00 AM. The Open Scholarships were great – all danced at night and with TV coverage.
It was another win for Briana Yadgir, this time dancing with Chris Germain, in the the Open A Scholarship Smooth. She was the winner in the A Rhythm. This divisions was closer. Briana placed 2,2,1,1. Her runner-up, Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa placed 1,1,2,3. Overall we favored Melonie by just a little – but that’s why they have so many judges! Congrats to Briana. Taking 2nd in foxtrot but 3rd overall was Kat Wagner w/ Sergey Barsukov. Another really strong young lady, Yulia Rudenko w/ Andrei Rudenko was 4th in all dances. With 5,5,6,5, Natalie Rezai w/ Slawek Souchaki was 5th. 6th was the only gentleman in the final, Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer 7,6,5,6. 7th, Olivia Zettergren w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 6,7,8,8. 8th Ran Wei w/ Mikolay Czarnecki 8,8,7,7. As you can see, an excellent and close fought final!
The clear winner of the B division for us, and for the judges was Joann Smith w/ Sharon Levit (Canada) and she won all dances. Second in all was Aiyesha Dey w/ Mayo Alanen and 3rd in all was Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson. These top three seemed fairly clear in the judges’ eyes. 4th place tonight went to Shiela Davis w/ Vlasislav Shakov 4,4,5,5, 5th was Carolin Woodruff w/ Alosha Anatoliy 6,6,4,4; 6th Nikki Kennedy w/ Igor Afonkin 5,7,6,6; 7th Marcy Garson w/ Mazen Hamza 7,5,7,7 and 8th Kelli Moll w/ Eugene Graev.
The C Smooth is always a great division and we were not disappointed tonight. The winner, another double champion, was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski and she won all 4 dances. This was something of an upset as the runner up was World Champion in this division, Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) 2,2,2,2. Obviously these are two great lady competitors. We still favored Beverly slightly tonight. Lisa was a little hard to see find where we were sitting, perhaps the dark green dress did not help. 3rd was another really strong competitor, Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,3,3,4. Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Rezin took 4th spot, 4,4,4,3. 5th Gracelyn Tuotti w/ Andrei Abrashin 5,5,5,5; 6th Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto 6,7,7,6; 7th Sharon Sanchez w/ Sergey Barsukov 7,6,6,7.
Following these scholarship divisions there was a high-energy and lavishly costumed Pro-Am Team match featuring 4 teams – USA East, USA West, Canada and Rest of World. The result was an unbreakable tie between the two USA teams.
The night (early morning) ended with the first two professional events of Millennium 2015 – RS Latin and RS Smooth. Both were quarter-final events.
The Latin was won by Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murrillo 1,2,1,1,2. Obviously this was a close event and no couple received a majority of 1st places in any dance. We liked Sasha & Cheyenne. They do everything right. We did think it looked a bit like an “exercise” last night. We actually thought runners-up. Myhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina had an edge on the night. They placed 4,3,2,2,1. We really liked their casual but energetic approach. Also picking up a lot of 1st places from the judges were Stanislav Savich & Nicole prosser in 3rd place. Their scores, 2,1,4,3,4. Also in the mix, and taking more 1st places than anyone except the winners, were 4th placed Sergey & Dasha Chyslov. Overall they scored 3,4,3,4,3. 5th went to Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva 6,5,5,5,5 and 6th, Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina 5,6,6,6,6.
The Smooth was a more settled result. The winners, Jean Paul & Lana Rossi won all dances with a majority of 1st places. Also clear, Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 2nd in all dances. The remaining couples were much closer. 4,3,5,3 gave Andrei & Elena Rudenko 3rd place; 4th Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski 3,4,3,5; 5th Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini 6,6,4,4; 6th Morten Jensen & Anastasia 5,5,6,6.
An interesting experiment, probably for TV benefit, was that all the semifinalists were called on to the stage and then the 6 finalists were called out in randem order to come to the floor leaving the unsuccessful couples standing on the stage. More drama? Hey! It’s a competition! Some win, some lose!
Stay tuned for today’s exciting events!
Something good to suck on!
Candyland at Millennium 2015
“Candyland” is this year’s theme at the Millennium and as we all come to expect, the set is lavish and extravagant and reflects the style of organizer, Michael Chapman.
Plus…… this event seems to be limitless. Over 15,000 entries this year make it the busiest Millennium to date, and the largest competition in the USA. The schedule is longer too, beginning on Tuesday morning and continuing through Saturday night. Plus…… TV is making an appearance this year. American Sports Network will film pro-am open scholarships, amateur and professional events – check back for air times.
The first 2 days were all about the beat – rhythm pro-am filled 2 full days of competition and concluded quite late last night with the Open Scholarships in A, B and C categories. All had great quality.
Brianna Yadgir w/ Evgenii Grytsak won all dances in the A. Brianna is a former US Champion in this category, but this is the first time we have seen her with her new professional partner. We felt she was the deserving winner. From there it was a tighter race. Chastity w/ Eddie Ares took the runners-up spot placing 3,2,2,2,4. She always has a great look on the floor and appeared in contention tonight. She could be a little more aggressive and forceful. Tatiana DaCruz w/ Nazar Norov took 3rd, 2,3,3,3,2. A new lady to us with great potential. A little quiet in the final, but again, always in contention. Isabelle Libertore w/ Charles Cunningham took 4th 5,4,4,4,3. Our perception was totally different to the judges’. We really liked her cha cha and felt she could have won that dance. We found her later dances a little disorganized. Nathalie Young w/ Volvik Edouard (Canada) wqas 5th, 4,5,5,5,5; Lauren Watkins w/ Michael Neil was 6th in all dances. Veronica Maoli w/ Hayk Balasanyan took 7th 8,7,7,8,7. We felt that this lady could have placed higher in some dances. Closing the final and also showing great improvement, we thought was Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer.
Surprisingly the B was the smallest division today, with a straight final of 7 couples. The winner was Kia Malone w/ Eddie rivera 1,1,1,2,1. Worthy of this placement in our view today. 2nd went to Sheila Davis w/ Vladislav Shakov 2,2,2,1,2. This is a new pro-am pairing and shows great promise. 3rd in all dances was Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres. Although placing 3rd in all dances, we felt she was always a strong contender tonight and certainly could have placed higher in some dances. 4th went to Heather Radke w/ Kiril Arsov 5T,4,4,4,4; 5th Micko Okumura w/ Zeki Maviyildiz 5T,7,5,6,5; 6th Chris Wilson w/ Emilia Goldberg 7,6,6,5,6; 7th Faye Diamantoudi w/ Tony Santana (Canada) 4,5,7,7,7.
The C was a great contest between some of the best in the land in this division. Winning comfortably in our view was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Waitrowski – the judges also awarded her all dances. The remaining places were close fought. Taking 2nd was Lynn Magnesen w/ Vard Margaryan 2,2,3,3,3. This followed on from her success at Emerald Ball. 3rd, also continuing to place well was Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin 3,5,2,2,5. Jennifer Marre w/ Plamen Danailov was 4th 4,3,4,4,4. Quin Bommeljie w/ Misha Vlasov took 5th 5,4,5,5,2. We thought this lady could have placed higher. Sharon Sanchez w/ Sergey Barsukov was 6th 6,7,6,6,7 and Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 7th 7,6,7,7,6.
Today we move on to the pro-am smooth and of course anticipation runs high for the Friday and Saturday highlights still to come.
Rising at Yankee!
Last night at the Yankee Classic it was Rising Star time for all professionals, four styles were run and it was a packed night of entertainment running late into the night. Surprisingly enough the judges might have been a little worn but the couples were in very top form from beginning to end in all styles.
The Rising Star Rhythm had the biggest entry with a huge quarter final round. Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite took first in all dances and we think they were the easy winners. A few adjudicators thought otherwise the most prominent was Allan Tornsberg who awarded them 6,6,5,6,4. Second overall went to Ilya Abdullin & Tara Baracov 2,2,3,2,2, and third was awarded to Jhondar Lopez & Amber Osborn 3,3,2,3,4.
The Rising Star American Smooth was also excellent. Here, top prize went to Jean Paul & Lana Rosi who won all dances and truly looked excellent. Second place was awarded to Morten Jensen & Anastasia and they took all seconds leaving third for David Hannigan & Maggie Toth. All three of these couples were great, it was almost as if we were watching an open event.
The Rising Star Latin was also a fun competition with a full semifinal round. The winners of every dance were Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser, second were Vlad Astafiev & Jenya Didenko 3,2,3,3,2, and third were Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao 4,5,2,2,5.
The smallest of all the Rising Star events was the Ballroom with only 5 couples entered. Here Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were the obvious winners with the majority of firsts in all dances. Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were second 2,2,2,3,3 and Anatolli Repliuk & Rusland Mamaysur were third 3,3,3,2,2.
The pro/am Open Latin was also a great competition and here the winners were Nicolas Nguyen w/Helle Rusholt-Yi, they won four dances and placed second in the Paso. Second went to Shelly Meshkausk w/Thomas Shiloshvili 2,2,2,1,3, leaving third to Zoe Antoniou w/Andre’ Strinadko 3,3,3,3,2. This competition also started with a healthy semifinal round in both quality and quantity.
The night was a little long, however, the couples were in such great shape and ready to go as if they were dancing on a lovely afternoon, inspiring all of us old judges to stay attentive and even a large percentage of the attendees stayed until the end. Congratulations couples!!
Smooth Leads It in Denver
Photos by Charles Ryder Photography
The Pro Smooth was the leader at Colorado Star Ball last night with some great dancing in all rounds leading to a superb final. The clear winners with large majorities for 1st places in all dances were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija. They only picked up a couple of 2nd places in each dance and one 3rd from Forrest Vance in foxtrot.
The race for 2nd was much closer. Kyle & Allie Spinder were actually 2nd in all dances but the margin from the judges was a slim majority of “2nd or better” scores in each dance. The 3rd place couple were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova and they were just below Kyle & Allie in all dances. However, both couples also picked up some scores in the lower half of the final. 4th in all dances were Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan and they received a significant number of 3rd places in all dances. Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 5th 5,5,6,5 and Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft were 6th 6,6,5,6.
Kyle & Allie were also the winners of the Showdance.
The other Open Pro event of the night was the Latin, but this attracted only 3 entries. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova lost a total of only 4 first places from 55 and so were easy winners. 2nd in all were Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie Murphy and 3rd were Giorgi Khmiadashvili & Christina DuPuy.
There was a strong entry in the Rising Star Rhythm (ahead of tonight’s Star Rhythm Tour). Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago won all dances, each with a majority of 1st places. 2nd in all dances went to David Moon & Sydney Petersen and 3rd were Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova 4,3,3,4,3.
The final RS event was the Ballroom and this was won by Stephano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 1,1,1,2,1. The winners of the foxtrot were Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko and they placed 2nd overall 3,2,2,1,2. 3rd were Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina 2,3,3,3,3.
Tonight we gear up for the Professional Star Rhythm Tour – the first leg of this series. Many of the top names are here. Be sure to tune into the live feed and vote for your favorites! Click here to watch it live!
Getting (a mile) High in Denver
We’re here in Denver, Colorado, the mile-high city, for the 19th Colorado Star Ball – just one more reason to get high in Colorado.
As usual organizers, Richard & Jennifer Booth, have everything running perfectly and the Westin Hotel in Westminster is attractive and accommodating with a spacious ballroom. We particularly liked the change of set from daytime to evening.
Yesterday was mostly dedicated to pro-am Smooth heats and the more advanced and scholarship heats took place at night. The Colorado Star Ball is a member of the Global Series and last night hosted the Global Closed Bronze and Silver Scholarships in Smooth. These were well attended. Define Dinler w/ Yuriy Kravets won the Bronze 1,1,1,1. MaCall Berger w/ Volodia Ishchenko was 2nd, 2,2,2,2 and Sherri Hansen was 3rd, 3,4,4,3. In the Silver Jessica Mancini w/ Golden Parker won all 4 dances. 2nd in all was Darcy Adamczky w/ Gary Dahl and 3rd was Catherine Gallo w/ David Arnold 6,3,3,3.
The pro-am divisions concluded with the Open Scholarships. The B & C divisions were well attended. Dawn Mersich w/ Youriy Pavlov was the big winner of the night taking both the A & B divisions. In the B she placed 1,1,1,2. 2nd went to Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto 2,2,2,1 and 3rd to Kitty Sang w/ Mathias Kruschel 3,3,3,3.
Sandra Abruzzo w/ Jim Maranto won the C, taking all dances. Elizabeth Cramer w/ Robert Nardozza was 2nd in all and David Tippet w/ Harmony Monroe was 3rd, 4,3,3,3.
The night concluded with 2 Pro Rising Star divisions, both straight finals. John Campbell w/ Jacki Brockman won all dances in the Smooth. 2nd in all were Misha Belfer & Julie Garczynski and 3rd were Scott Koogle & Faith Wailes 4,3,3,3.
Only 2 couples contested the Latin and the win in all dances went to Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie Murphy. 2nd were Giorgi Khmiadashvili & Christina DuPuy.