Zharinovs Romp to Victory at SFO In what was the best professional event of the weekend, Mikhail & Galina Zharinov easily won the Professional Smooth as SFO last night, winning all dances with the clear majority of 1st places.
Only 2 judges placed them lower than first with one other judge tieing them for first. From the sidelines we thought it could be a little closer, but the runners-up, Nick Cheremukhim & Victorija, although clearly 2nd in all dances, took few 1st places. Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft had a good night and were rewarded with 3rd (3,4,3,4), one of their best results of late. We were impressed with Sergey Shapoval & Ania Tarnowska who were 4th and seemed to have added some interesting new choreography to their programs. They placed 6,3,5,3. As you can see from these scores, this final was contested all the way through. David & Natalie Shulz finished 5th, ahead of Kyle & Allie Spinder, who were 6th. David & Natalie scored 4,5,4,5 to Kyle & Allie’s 5,6,6,6. This was a 7-couple final and the classy duo of Alexander Aillon & Jessi Reynolds took 7th.
The Professional Latin ran against this event and it too was very exciting, although none of the nation’s leading teams were present. Comfortable winners were the dynamic and energetic Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who comfortably won all dances. Evgeniy Likachev & Mariya Levina, who won the RS in this style were also a clear second in all dances. Pavel Balykin & Meagan Mendoza were 3rd in all dances. We felt they were a little off in the semifinal round, but really poured it on in the final. Their best-scored dance was jive. Although all the remaining finalists had also been finalists in the RS, the results were not the same. Benefiting the most from this shake up were Simeon & Kora Stoynov who took 4th tonight (5,4,5,4,5). Finishing 5th today, although runners-up in the RS, were Illie Bardahan & Katya Gorokhovsky. We also agreed that they did not perform as well today as they did in the RS, appearing to lose their way. Closing this final were Maksym Kapitanchuk & Elena Krifuks (6,6,6,5,4). We did not feel that their form declined between the two competitions, but such are the vagaries of competition dancing. Watch out for Daniele Gozzi’s report on this division in Dance Beat soon.
The U/21 Latin also showed the inconsistencies in results and performances with many of the couples we had been watching over the weekend switching positions. Today’s winners were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Rian Baldwin (1,1,1,1,2). As is often the case in Youth events, the judges’ scores were very mixed. Bumchin & Rian ad the majority of 1st place marks in only rumba and won the paso and cha cha with only 1 first place score in each. 2nd tonight, although they had more individual 1st place marks than the winners were Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo (2,2,2,2,1). 3rd were Umar Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya (3,3,4,3,4). The Open Pro-Am B Ballroom Scholarship was perhaps the best pro-am event of the weekend, beginning with a semifinal. The winner was Lily Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev (1,1,3,1,2). 2nd went to Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev (3,3,1,2,1) and 3rd to Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (2,2,2,3,3). As you can see it was a close finish.
Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov won the Open A Ballroom, winning all dances. Jenica Kalish w/ Raffaelo Sabato took 2nd in all and Yingying Chen w/ Simeon Stoynov was 3rd (3,4,3,3,3). Etsuko Amagassa w/ Dariusz Michalski won the Senior Scholarship.
2 of California’s Best Shine at SFO Although it was the smaller of the pro heats last night, the Ballroom thrilled the sell-out audience with the appearance of two of California’s and the nation’s best partnerships – Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova and Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa.
Although both were on form, Mikhail & Olga won all dances with the majority of 1st places, although the VW was close (5 to 4). We loved the superb slow leg timing of Denis & Lesya in the QS, but obviously the judges did not agree, because Mikhail & Olga received all 9 first places in that dance. 10-dancers, Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti took all the 3rd’s and did take a handful of 2nd places from Denis & Lesya. (we were a little surprised by the 5th placement of Igor & Roxanne the day before in the RS Latin, we had them pegged higher). 4th in today’s ballroom went to Simeon & Kora Stoynov (4,4,4,4,4); 5th to Evgeniy Mayotrov & Olga Lisovskaya (5,5,5,5,5); 6th to Slava & Lara Kostiansets (6,6,6,6,6) and 7th, Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydroug. Watch out for a full report from Tomas Atkesovicious in a future edition of Dance Beat.
"If I can not dance, I shall die!"
By contrast, the Rhythm, although beginning with a semifinal did not have a lot of punch. For us the winner was clear – Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova and they did win all dances with only 1 judge dissenting. 2nd today went to Renzo Zegarra & Chante Platt 2,3,3,2,2. They were certainly the cleanest and most consistent of the remaining couples and Renzo had what many of the other gentlemen did not – body rhythm! 3rd today were the RS Winners, Jim Clark & Tania Chegini (3,2,2,4,3); 4th Michael Foncannon & Meghan McNash 4,4,4,3,5; 5th Jessie Dickson & Lannie Sullivan 5,5,5,5,4 and 6th Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno who won the crowd tonight, if not the judges.
4 couples contested the Showdance and the winners were Sergiy Shapoval & Annia Tarnowska who are developing quite a following for their evocative showdance pieces. But today they were challenged strongly by Kyle & Allie Spinder with the result actually 5 to 4 in favor of Sergei & Annia. 3rd were Michael Koptke & Chelsea Farrah and 4th Adam Hernandez & Stacy Breedon.
"Great dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion."
As reported in yesterday’s blog, the amateur Championships here mark the US debut of new Canadian team, Alon Gillin & Anna-Nina Kus. Yesterday they had a fairly comfortable win in the Ballroom and I’m sure they were hoping for a repeat tonight in the Latin – usually Alon’s stronger style. But it was not to be. In a very tight final they placed 2nd to Phillip Kudryatsov & Ashley Goldman. Phillip & Ashley won all dances but it was very close in each one. Only in jive did they have the majority of 1st places. In fact it was closely fought all the way down the list. Alon & Anna-Nina were 2nd in all dances but in all dances other couples took some 1st places from the top 2. In fact in paso doble 3rd placed overall, Teleric Ianakiev & Natella Devitskaya had 3 1st places, the same as Phillip & Ashley and Alon & Anna-Nina. Teleric & Natella are a small package of dynamite. They took 3rd in all dances. 4th in all dances tonight, but also picking up some 1st placements were Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo. We thought they also had a great night. 5th, from Canada, were Gary Vaiman-Askarov & Estie Spivakov (5,6,5,6,5) and 6th, Rhett Grant & Anastasia Kurakina (6,5,6,5,6).
“That was a great kids’ comp!” Those were the words of judge, Eugene Katsevman when he came off the floor following the semifinal of the Junior II Latin – and he was right. All the couples were beautifully prepared and presented. The winners were Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu. They won all dances but lost some 1st placements in each dance to the relatively new partnership of Mike Monokandilos & Michelle Klets. 3rd were Jacob Murillo & Sydney Tormey. Erik Linder & Richelle Taylor won the Junior I Latin a little earlier and were also in the final of the Junior II.
"No artist is ahead of his time. He is time; the others are just behind the times."
There was a slight turnabout in form in the Senior I Ballroom. The winners today were Dan Manea & Mia Hu who overtook Angus Sinclair & Dara Campbell. 3rd went to Turtle Brennen & Regina Pareigis.
For the pro-ams it was a busy day with dancing over 2 styles – Smooth and Latin. Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was the winner in both the Open B Latin and the Open C Smooth. She was pushed hard in the Latin by Connie Buckley w/ Leonid Proskurov who took 3 of the 7 first places in 4 dances. In the Smooth Cynthia Wolfsohn w/ Alex Zagrean was the runner up. Winner of the B Smooth was Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki (1,1,2,1). But this was a close fought competition. 2nd went to Janice Smith w/ David Weise (4,2,4,2) and 3rd to Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean (2,3,3,4). The Open A Latin was won by Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglin. The runner-up was from Canada, Faye Diamantoudi w/ Stephane Champagne.
New Canadian Partnership Takes Amateur Ballroom A new pairing of two top-ranked Canadian Amateurs cruised to victory in the Amateur Ballroom last night at the San Fransisco Open. Alon Gillin & Anna-Nina Kus, both from Toronto, won all dances in their first foray into the USA.
They received perfect scores in the waltz and tango, lost 1 first in the VW and 3 each in the foxtrot and quickstep. It is an interesting partnership and that will have to negotiate a height difference in this style, but these are two talented and experienced dancers. We look forward to seeing the Latin tonight.
Easily 2nd were Alex & Grace Wang (CA) who scored those 1st places not given to Alon & Anna-Nina and were 2nd in all dances. They seem to improve every time we see them. The next 3 places were taken by couples we normally see in the Senior I division. Andreas & Jody-Frease Meijer were 3rd in all, Angus Sinclair & Dara Campbell were 4th (5,4,5,5,5) and Dan Manea & Mia Hu took 5th, (6,5,6,4,4). Closing the final were Christian Solares & Whitney Myers (4,6,4,6,6).
All 4 Pro Rising Star divisions were held last night. We thought the best o them was the Smooth that began with a semifinal. This went to Kyle & Allie Spinder who received all 36 first places. Placements for the other finalists were mixed. Coming in 2nd were Slava & Lora Kostianets with 2,3,2,4. 3rd were Alexander Aillon & Jessie Reynolds (4,2,4,2). Of interest and placing 4th was the new partnership of Radek Wiatrowski & Sonia Ragan (FL). We believe this was their first competition together. They placed 3,4,3,3. Only 2 points separated 2nd, 3rd and 4th places.
Evgeniy Likachev & Mariya Levina had a comfortable win in the Latin with the majority of 1st places in all dances. Another new partnership, Illie Bardahan & Katya Gorokhovsky took 2nd, 2,2,3,2,4. They seem to be taking advantage of their natural physiques to promote a “stillness” in their dancing. Could be interesting! 3rd spot fell to Maksym Kapitanchuk & Elena Krifucs (3,3,2,4,2). We thought jive was definitely their strongest dance. This event also began with a semifinal.
"I don't want dancers who want to dance. I want dancers who have to dance."
The Ballroom was a straight final. The winners in all dances were Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya (NV). We thought they were clear winners tonight. Runners up again were Slava & Lora Kostianets - 2nd in all dances and 3rd were Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydroug (3,3,3,3,3). The Rhythm really seemed to have the judges guessing with scores falling all over the board. Placing 1,2,1,1,1, the win went to Jim Clark & Tania Cegini. They had the majority of 1st paces in only cha cha. 2nd place with 2,1,2,2,2, went to Michael Foncannon & Meghan McNash. Theu had the majority of 1st places in their rumba. 3rd were Jessie Dickson & Lannie Sullivan (4,3,3,3,3). Fresh from their finalist position in the WDSF World Junior II Championship in Moscow, Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu won all dances in the Youth Latin, taking the majority of 1st places in the last 3. Their dancing has certainly matured since we last saw them. Runners-up were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Rian Baldwin (3,2,2,2,2) and 3rd were Eric Rosenberg & Yelena Vayn (2,3,3,3,3). In the Senior II Ballroom, Hans & Ans Stork once again came out on top. David Getchell & Allison Gonzalez were 2nd and Winston & Lilly Chow were 3rd. For the pro-ams it was a long day of Rhythm, beginning at 7:00 AM. SFO has over 5,300 entries this year. Winners in the open scholarships, held in the evening, were: Alison Allan w/ David Alvarez (Senior); Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian (B) and Kia Malone w/ Eddie Rivera (A).
It’s Number 16 for Nels & Theresa Nels Petersen & Theresa Kimler (MN) won their 16th USA Dance National Title last night in Adult American Smooth. This marked their 7th Smooth title – added to their 9 Rhythm titles won between 1994 and 2002 (Nels also won the Rhythm in 1992/93 but with a different partner).
This is quite a record. Last night they won 3 dances and placed 2nd in tango. They did not have the majority of 1st places in any dance, however and the judges were fairly divided. Last year’s champions, Paul Frietas & Kelly Glasheen (CT) won the tango but placed 2nd in waltz and foxtrot and 3rd in VW. Another past champion in this division, Jonathan Medlin dancing now with Malin Allert took 3rd (3,3,3,2). 4th in all dances were Damian Pataluna & Irina Morozova (KY); 5th in all, Zachary Lapidus & Emi Terasawa (NY) and 6th Jason Seabury & Nonie Shiverick (CT).
"It is not a cuestion of who dances but of who or what does not dance."
The trio of WDSF Open World Ranking U/21 divisions concluded with the Latin – a 7-couple final. The winners were Steven Varshavsky & Karolina Loukhnikov (MA) who placed 1,1,2,1,1. They never had the majority of 1st places but defeated their nearest rivals because no judges scored they received only 1 placements lower than 3rd in the whole competition. The 2nd placed couple, Mitchell Itkin & Natasha Shevchenko had a significant amount of 1st places but also had judges placing them in the lower half of the final. Overall they placed 4,2,1,2,2. We must say that 4th place in samba was a mystery to us! With 3,4,3,3,3 TJ Stanton & Dasha Goykhman were 3rd. TJ & Dasha had to be the busiest couple at the competition. They competed in standard. Latin and 10-Dance in the WDSF and national divisions and they seemed to get better and better as the competition progressed. Our Ecuadorian couples were also back tonight and Jose Maria & Adriana Carolina once again impressed the audience and took 4th (2,3,4,4,4). We must say that Carolina was a little lucky not to be penalized for costume violations. WDSF has strict rules governing costuming and we do not feel that her dress fell within those guidelines. Larry Tokar & Juliana Hoff (NY) took 5th in all dances; Mitchell Leyzerzon & Anna Cernova (PA) were 6th in all dances and Esteban & Milena from Ecuador were 7th.
"I love songs that people can dance to and enjoy at the same time."
The showcase event of the night was the Adult 10-Dance but the result was never really in doubt. Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Selivertsova, having won the Standard and placed 3rd in the Latin were never really in doubt. They danced with supreme confidence and produced the best dancing we have ever seen from them. They received perfect scores in the Latin and lost only a total of 4 first places in the Standard. The fight was really for 2nd and that went today to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili who were 2nd in 6 dances and 3rd in samba, cha cha, rumba and jive. Although stronger in the Standard, we felt their Latin was stronger today than in the U/21 10-Dance the day before. 3rd place went to Mircea & Ana-Maria Cernev (PA) who were 4th in all the standard, 3rd in paso doble and 2nd in the remaining 4 Latin dances. The ubiquitous TJ & Dasha took 4th with 3rd in all Standard and 4th in all Latin. Andrew Sim & Emily Cobb-Hines were 5th and Denis Kojinov & Jeanette Chevalier were 6th. Ina Brayer will have a report on this division in the Members’ section soon. The last final of the whole competition was the Youth Standard and it was a good one. Patrick Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski who won all dances and lost just a handful of 1st places from the judges. The surprise placement was the runner-up spot to Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky (MA) who were 2nd in all dances. They produced the performance of their careers to this point showing beautiful, free-flowing dancing that never lost track of the music. They managed to get the majority of “2nd or better’ scores in all dances but tango. We felt it was a tough choice for the judges between them and 3rd placed Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova who were also strong but with a very different style. Two great new young couples! 4th in all dances went to William Stansbury & Jenny Sokolsky (CA); 5th in all Kamil Falkowski & Alexis Turko (NJ) and 6th, Christian Yeung & Samanta Filip (NY). In a battle royal, the tables were turned in the Senior II Standard. The first 2 places were a reverse of the Senior III. This time Vencent & Irina Feingold took the event 2,1,1,1,1 from Hans & Ans Stork 1,2,2,2,2. Both couples were outstanding for this division and should have a good shot at the World Title if they chose (or are eligible) to compete. Taking 3rd, as they did in the Senior II were Glen Okasaki & Ann Ho. They were 3rd in all dances. 4th went to Andrew & Janie Nordberg (4,4,5,5,6); 5th Thomas & Yuko Yu (5,5,4,6,5; 6th Gene Brokert & Jill Bradford (6,6,6,4,4). The U/21 10-Dance was the closest race of all the National Championships this year with only 2 point separating the top 3 couples. The winners were Stanislav Pavlov & Michelle Kurpas. They won all the Latin dances and were 3rd in all Standard for a total of 20 points. With 21 points Samuel Hacke & Katrina Hermanova were 2nd. Their scores, listing Latin first, were 4,2,2,2,2,2,2,1,2,2. With 22 points, 3rd place fell to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili. Their scores were 2,4,4,3,3,1,1,2,1,1. This was an incredibly close finish and all 3 couples should be congratulated! 4th went to none other than – TJ & Dasha; 5th to Lawrence Shulman & Dakota Pizzi and 6th and 7th places were separated by a ‘Rule 11”. Andrew Sim & Emily Cobb-Hines were 6th and Scott Nicholson & Evgeniya Gorobets were 7th. We were very disappointed to see only 1 entry in the Junior I Latin. Maxim Vassilenko & Liza Shlimovich from California. Where were all the Junior I competitors? Other National Champions decided today were Senior III Rhythm, Daniel Fugazzotto & Janis Merluzzo; Senior I Rhythm, Carmine Rucco & Maria Bolyard; Senior II Latin, Roger Korsiak & Holli Hornlien; Senior I Smooth, Jonathan Medlin & Malin Allert.
New Faces in Adult Standard There were many fresh faces in the Adult Standard at USA Dance Nationals last night, but the winners were last year’s 10-Dance Champions, Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova (NJ).
Most judges warmed up to them over the course of the event as their placements were 3,1,1,1,1. We felt they were worthy winners and have upped their game in this style. Still some judges placed them in the lower half of the final and they had the majority of 1st places in only VW. 2nd place went to another of our favorites, the lyrical Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko (WA). Their placements were 1,3,2,2,2. The judges were also divided on them with some giving 1st while others gave 5th. Taking the event by storm this year and placing 3rd here, new to us, were Florin Vlad & Natalia O’Connor (Maine). Their scores were 2,2,3,3,4. They had the most “sport-like” approach of all the finalists although some onlookers complained about their floorcraft. Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvilli (MA) were 4th with 4,5,5,4,3. We thought tango and quickstep were their strongest dances and were surprised with the 5th placements in tango. Two couples from Utah closed the final – both tall and elegant. Brandon Perry & Vashti Reed 5,4,4,5,5 and Tyler Wilson & Annie Seeley 6,6,6,6,6. Watch out for Igor Pillipenchuk’s report on this division in the Members’ Section soon. Once again we had a WDSF World Ranking event in the U/21 category – this time the 10-Dance and once again it was a straight final. This time only 6 competitors. The winners were TJ Stanton & Dasha Goykhman who won 8 of the dances and placed 3rd in samba and 2nd in cha cha. The runners-up were Nathaniel Tsiperfal & Sophia Brodsky. Their scores were fairly even. They were 2nd in 8 dances, 1st in rumba and 3rd in jive. We felt their Latin was their stronger style. Once again the division included the 2 couple from Ecuador. Jose Marie Zuquilanda & Adriana Carolina Chavez-Mosquera were a hit with the audience in the Latin style and placed 3rd overall. They placed 3rd in 6 dances, tied for 3rd in VW & PD, 1st in cha cha and 4th in jive. Several judges awarded them 1st places in the Latin dances. 4th overall were Andrew Sim & Emily Cobb-Hines, 5th Scott Nicholson & Evgeniya Gorobets and 6th Esteban Acosta & Milena Robero (Ecuador). The Youth Latin was also a good event danced over 3 rounds. Winning again as they did in the U/21 were Briant Leytman & Nino Dzneladze. They easily won all 5 dances and seem unstoppable in this division lately. 2nd in all were Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski. They were clearly 2nd based on the majority of judges, but we were surprised to see some lower placements from some judges. 3rd were Eric Rozenburg & Yelana Vayn (3,4,3,4,3). We liked them in this division for this placement. 4th went to Bumchin Tegshjargal & Rian Baldwin (4,3,5,3,4); 5th Samuel Hacke & Katrina Hermanova (6,5,4,5,5,) and 6th Christian Yeung & Samnatha Filip (5,6,6,6,6).
"I see dance being used as comunication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words."
The National Adult Rhythm was the strongest we think we ever saw in this division, beginning with a semifinal. The winners were Allan Granzberg & Milana Lazareva who placed 2,2,1,1,1. 2nd Craig & Samantha Abaya-Campos, 1,1,2,2,2. Following a costume rule infraction James Repetti & Alexandra Kopelovich were dropped a placement in each dance so placed 4th with adjusted scores of 5,5,5,5,4. This left 3rd place to Matthew Shimizu & Jennifer Crown with scores of 4,4,4,4,4. 5th spot went to Marc Fenger & Rachel Dugan (5,5,5,6,6 and 6th to Damien Pataluna & Irina Morozova 6,6,6,5,5.
The National U/21 Standard went to Florin & Natalia who won all dances but with the majority only in VW and foxtrot. 2nd went to Fernando & Nicole 3,2,2,2,2. Willaim Stansbury & Jenny Sokolsky were 3rd 2,3,3,3,3; Stanislav Pavlov & Michelle Kurpas were 4th in all; TJ & Dasha took 5th in all; Larence Shulman & Dakota Pizzi were 6th 7,6,7,6,6; Scott & Evgeniya were 7th 6,7,6,7,7 and 8th were Nicholas Kane & Sabrina Hargis. Other national titles decided today were: Senior I Smooth, Jonathan Medlin & Malin Allert (NC); Senior III Latin, Edwin & Charlotte Bugarin (HI); Senior II Smooth, Andrew & Janie Nordberg (MN); Senior III Smooth, Roger & Amy Greenawalt (IN); Senior I Latin Irsan & Cami Tisabudi (TX).
Seniors Top Bill Friday in Baltimore The Senior I Standard was really the division that stole the show last night in Maryland, in our opinion. This was perhaps the best senior competition we have seen in the USA.
Over 3 rounds, the couples – all in top form physically – contested the division leading to a strong final of 6 couples from across the country. David & Liva Wright maintained their foot on the winner’s rostrum taking all 5 dances with the majority of 1st places. Xingmin & Katerina Lu were equally secure in 2nd spot with the majority of ‘2nd or better’ in all dances. Really moving up the ladder were Thomas Yim & Kelly Cheng who placed 3rd in all dances and really gave a personal best performance. We were not surprised to see them take some 1st placements in all dances. Fellow Californians, Angus Sinclair & Dara Campbell took 4th (4,4,5,4,4); Dan Manea & Mia Hu were 5th (5,5,4,5,6) and Tulga & Ilkin Ersal were 6th (6,6,6,6,5). We thought there were excellent couples left in the semifinal too. All in all an excellent division.
"The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs." The highlight of the night was the Adult Open Latin and this produced a good event over 3 rounds, but it must be noted that many of the nation’s strongest competitors were not present. The easy winner in our view and the new USA Dance National Champions are Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasiya Danilova who won all dances with strong majorities. We have long been a fan of this passionate couple and were pleased to see them rewarded. Also clear in 2nd spot were Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova (2,2,2,2,2). They had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances except the rumba. We thought their best dance was jive. The tightest race was for 3rd, in our opinion between Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova and Kiki Nyemchek & Magda Fialek, but in the end Taras & Tatiana managed to edge out Kiki & Magda in all dances. 5th went to youth competitors, Vladislav Kvartin & Amanda Herrschaft 5,5,5,6,5 and 6th to Stas Engeldardt & Tatiyana Vasilieva 6,6,6,5,6. Watch out for a full report on this division by Andrew Phillips in he members’ section of Dance Beat.
Hey. Nikita! There's nothing like a "selfie"
For the first time USA Dance Nationals is hosting world-ranking WDSF Open divisions – all in the youth categories. Last night it was the Standard. We were a little surprised that this produced only a straight final of 7 couples – 5 from USA and 2 from Ecuador. Since these divisions count towards world ranking we could have expected far more entries from the USA and perhaps some from Canada. Placing 1,2,1,1,2, the winners were Vlad Florin & Natalia O’Connor who are from Maine and are a new couple to us. They certainly have much potential and the right look. They had the majority of 1st places in only the 2 waltzes. With 2,1,2,2,1 Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvilli were 2nd and they had the majority of 1st places in the dances they won. 3rd in all dances went to TJ Stanton & Dasha Goykhman. We thought the top 3 were well clear of the remaining field. 4th in all dances were Brandon Buchthal & Ilana Kotiliar. With 5,5,5,6,6, Scott Nicholson & Evgeniya Palgashvili were 5th. The two couples from Ecuador placed 6th and 7th although we felt 6th placed Jose Marie Zuquilanda & Adriana Carolona Chavez were a little unlucky with 5,5,5,6,6. 7th were Estoban Acosta & Milena Romero-Pichincha.
"Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart."
There was also a national youth and u/21 title decided tonight and both were good events. Repeating their win from Provo earlier this month, Briant Leytman & Nino Dzneladze won 4 dances with the majority of 1st places – samba was the closest in the u/21 Latin. This young lady is a real powerhouse! 2nd were Vladislav & Amanda and they comfortably took 2nd in all dances. With 3rd in all, Stanislav Pavlov & Michelle Kurpas took that place comfortably. Bumchin Tegshjargal & Rian Baldwin were 4th (4,4,5,5,4); Eric Rosenberg & Yelena Vayn were 5th (5,5,4,4,6); Steven Varshavsky & Karolina Loukhinikov were 6th (6,6,6,6,7) and Lawrence Shulman & Dakota Pizzi were 7th.
"The body is your instrument in dance, but your art is outside that creature, the body."
In the Youth 10-Dance Mr. & Miss Perfect – Patrick Plozaj & Anna Kaczmarski were the winners and won all dances losing very few 1st places. They are so consistent they are very hard to beat over 10 dances. With 2nd in all 10, Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova were the runner-sp. They are very strong in the standard, but I was also impressed with their Latin today. The remaining finalists showed differing strengths over the 10 dances. 3rd were Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky who scored much better in the Standard (3,3,3,3,3) than in the Latin (6,6,5,5,6). Christian Yeung & Samanta Filip took 4th with fairly even scores of 5,5,5,5,53,4,4,4,4. 5th fell to Jaryd Farcon & Kyla Dzhaniashvilli – stronger in Latin than Standard (6,6,6,6,6,4,3,3,3,3.) 6th in this strong final were Kamil Falkowski & Alexis Turko (4,4,4,4,4,5,5,6,6,5).
In the afternoon Hans & Ans Stork won a strong Senior III Standard placing 1,1,1,1,2. Vincent & Irina Feingold picked up that 1st in quickstep and were 2nd in the other 4 dances. 3rd in all were Glen Okasaki & Ann Ho. Other national title winners were Carmine Rucco & Maria Bolyard in Senior II Rhythm and Damian Pataluna & Irina Morozova in Adult 9-dance. The National Championships here in Baltimore are used to select the US Representatives in WDSF World Championships. Watch out for full reports on the Junior & Youth divisions in our Happy Feet section.
On the Road!
Since its inception, The Music City Classic, organized by Lawrence & Daniel Elkin, (and Milly Elkin), has been held in Nashville. But this year, hotel pressures forced a move to Louisville, KY. The venue was the beautiful and elegant hotel, the Sellbach Hilton – a landmark hotel in Kentucky.
It has been some years since I visited Louisville. In fact as I discussed with Chairman of Judges, Gary Pierce, on the first night, it has actually been close to 30 years since we were last there, attending what was then the largest event in the USA, the MUST (Mid United States Tournament). Louisville has changed a bit, and 4th Street, where the hotel is located, is now a party street, filled with clubs and restaurants.
"Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart." The competition attracts mostly local (i.e. Nashville) studios and has always been an event with one of the most enthusiastic audiences in the country. This was certainly still true this weekend and Travis & Jaimee Tuft delighted the vocal crowd with their theatrically styled Smooth show. They received numerous standing ovations. There were professional divisions in newcomer and pre-champ levels as well as Open Rhythm and Open Smooth, plus a 9-couple cabaret – anything goes – division that was quite strong. The winners of the Cabaret were Clyde Harris & Summer Elkin in a closely fought contest with runners-up, Jaime Black & Robin Ray. Darian & Tiffany Chancellor won the Open Smooth and Tim Polascheck & Katherine Hutchinson won the Open Rhythm. Another great feature of the Music City is the Studio Formation competition. This year 4 studios competed and the inventiveness and talent on display was very impressive and varied.
"Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can't talk and dance at the same time."
Keep watching Dance Beat for a more in depth review. Coming soon to the members’ section.
The Duke Comes to NYDF
Well! His orchestra anyway!
Last night between 6 and 8 PM the Duke Ellingnton Orchestra played for a splendid TAP (The Alzheimers Project) benefit dinner and silent auction in a second beautiful ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel. It was a fabulous affair with a banquet dinner and entertainment. The judges were one of the attractions as they were all given drums to show how drumming is used to treat Alzheimer’s patients. Eddie Torres and his son also performed an “old-style” salsa to the live music (which they reprised later the same night at the competition). "The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance" But back to the competition – last night it was the turn of the Smooth and Latin professionals. We thought the Smooth offered the most entertainment with a full semifinal to start. Travis & Jaimee Tuft won all dances but it was a tough fight with runners-up, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija. The Tufts took the waltz by 8 first places to 7, the tango by 8 to 6, the foxtrot was a 7 to 7 tie and the Viennese again by 8 to 7. An excellent duel indeed! Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova took all the 3rds, Michael Koptke & Chelsea Farrah were 4th (5,5,4,4); Morten Jensen and Tonja Martin took 5th (4,4,5,5) and Serge & Yana Nelyubov were 6th.
Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets had an easier time in the Latin, which was a 7-couple final, taking all dances with a large majority of 1st places. 2nd in all went to Hayk Balasanyan & Emila Poghosyan and 3rd in all to Riccardo Papi & Sabina Moretti. Dmytry & Nina Vovalnko were 4th in all dances. These 4 were well clear we thought. 5th went to Srdjan Mikuljian & Carolina Avila 5,5,5,5,6; 6th to Jungie Xamora & Sheena Daminar 7,6,7,6,5; 7th to Anton Grigoryev & Yuliya Guseva 6,7,6,7,7. We felt the Amateur Latin was a close race between the 1st 2 couples, but the winners did take all dances. They were Vladislav Kvartin & Amanda Herrschaft. Taking all the 2nds were Jason Dai & Anna Tabolina, a new partnership we believe. 3rd place went to Adria Barinaga & Edyta Kwasna (4,3,3,3,3); 4th to Malachi Osai & Annabella Waszkiewicz (3,4,4,4,4); 5th Ivan Angelovskiy & Teresa Garcia (5,5,5,5,7); 6th Filipp Akopyan & Uliana Shunevich (6,7,6,6,5); 7th Guy Platt & Freda Chen (7,6,7,7,6).
"Work like you don't need the money. Love like yu've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching"
In the Amateur Smooth an anonymous sponsor offered to pay the way of the top 2 couples to the NDCA Amateur Championships in Provo. Mayo Alanen & Michelle Officer, who also sponsored the Pro Smooth, increased that to include the 3rd couple. The lucky three were winners Paul Ferris & Kelly Glasheen, 2nd placed Jason Seabury & Nonie Shiverick and 3rd placed Zachary Lapidus & Emi Terasawa.
The pro-ams danced Smooth all day and the Open Scholarship was won by Melissa DiPietro w/ Randy Dias (1,2,1,1). Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips was 2nd (2,1,3,3) and Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin took 3rd (3,3,2,4).
Hollywood screen star Marge Champion was in the audience and Edward Simon presented her with a special achievement award after Gary Pierce had introduced her and we all saw two of her famous dance routines with husband Gower. Edward also awarded an “Unsung Hero” award to scrutineer extraordinaire, Marie Fantini.
Barking Up the Right Tree!
Last night at the New York Dance Festival there were two foundations that benefited from some exposure.
One of them was Ballroom Barks a foundation set up to rescue abused and abandoned dogs. It was a dance competition but all done with humor and theme most of the participants wore dog costumes and even the judges got into the act by barking up a storm. Yvonne Marceau, cabaret great from yesteryear was also in the house to introduce some children from the Dancing Classrooms project that has introduced ballroom dancing to state schools nationwide."Life is the dancer and you are the dance."
But the main features were the Professional Ballroom, Professional Rhythm and Cabaret gaving the New York, dance-savvy audience something to enjoy. All three events were excellent, filled with great talent and major expectations. The Professional Ballroom had a brilliant final with many of the couples fighting for first place. Unfortunately only one couple could take the top spot and that was Egor Abashkin & Katia Kanevskaya who overall won all dances. Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashikina placed second in all dances and Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena took the thirds. From here on it was very evenly contested. Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were fourth but as you will read did not take all the fourths (5,4,5,4,4) and Samuel Pacchini with his new partner Anna Oblakova were fifth (4,5,4,5,5). This new young lady was the talk of many in the audience who were thrilled with her responsive and pliable performance. Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley were sixth (7,7,6,6,6) and Ruslan & Katusha Wilder placed seventh (6,6,7,7,7).
The Rhythm category was heated up the duel for supremacy in this field between US heirs-apparent, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. On paper Emmanuel & Liana won the event with huge majorities of firsts in many of their dances. However, when you spoke to the educated audience present, many would have been equally happy to see Nazar & Irina in that top spot. The fantastic thrill for us is that this category has now more excitement that we have seen in the past 6 years and it is great for the fans and even for us who are used to the game. Moving up the tree to 3rd were Vard Margaryan & Sofya Fil, 3,3,5,3,3. This put them ahead of Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone 4,4,3,4,4. Strangely Azamat & Kateryna had more "3rd or better" scores than Vard & Sofya but often 1 short of the majority of 9 needed for 3rd place. Shane & Shannon Jensen were 5th 5,5,4,5,5 and Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were 6th.
The Cabaret ended with a prolonged standing ovation for the winners, Shane & Shannon Jensen who received 14 of the 15 first places from the judges. We have seen them perform this routine a little better as Shane almost tripped at one point, but it still a very impressive number. 2nd were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who also get stronger and stronger in this style. 3rd spot, performing a Latin showdance, were Hayk Balasanyan & Emila Poghosyan; 4th Vincent Antonelli & Stephanie Falciano and 5th Igor Gayenko & Sarika Hudson. The Amateur Ballroom was a straight 5-couple final and the easy winners wereYuriy Nartov & Yuliya Blagova. They took most of the judges’ first places and won all dances. The remaining couples shared the judges’ score without much consensus. Taking 2nd were Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova 2,3,2,2,2. Samuel & Katarina also won the Youth Ballroom earlier in the evening. 3rd were Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky 3,2,3,3,3; 4th, Alec Zhiwei-Zhang & Klaudia Khuzinski and 5th Cezary Dryda & Jennifer Chin. For the pro-ams is was a full day of Rhythm heats. The well-contested open scholarship began with a 16-couple semifinal. The winners, in all dances, were Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres. Taking 2nd was Phillip Widlanski w/ Jolanta Mosteika (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd was Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin (3,3,4,3,2).
Having A Ball in NY – F Eddie Simon’s New York Festival is ongoing in the heart of Manhattan, NY, at the historic Roosevelt Hotel, near Grand Central Terminal (not Station). Even the weather warmed up! The first day of competition was about international style in the pro-am divisions. Both styles took place yesterday. Both Open Scholarships gave us some good competition. In the evening it was Rising Star night with all 4 divisions showing last night. This resulted in 3 straight finals with a semifinal in the Smooth. Kyle & Allie Spinder (CA) were the sinners of this Smooth division. They won all dances, but waltz and Viennese Waltz were close with the runners-up, Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova (FL) who were 2nd in all dances. 3rd in all were Serge & Yana Nelyubov (NY).
In the Rhythm we saw a reversal of form from 2 weeks ago in Maryland. This time Shane & Shannon Jensen (CT) were the winners over Andrey Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova (NY). Shane & Shannon won all dances. 3rd tonight were Romney Reyed & Brooke O’Donnell (FL) 3,3,4,3,4.
Riccardo Pappi & Sabrina Moretti were the winners in the RS Latin, taking all dances with the majority of 1st places in all dances. Dmytry & Nina Kovalenko were 2nd in all. After that it was much more mixed, but taking 3rd were Srdjan Mikuljan & Carolina Avila 5,4,3,4,3.
The smallest of the divisions was the Ballroom with only 4 entrants. Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova (NY) won all dances. 2nd were Igor Gayenko & Sarika Hudson (NY) 3,2,2,2,3 and 3rd were Anton Domansky & Anna Chaldysheva (NY) 2,3,3,3,2. We thought the best pro-am divisions of the day was the Open Latin Schoarship. The judges were VERY divided on their scores but the winner was Maria Ceva w/ Lyubomir Arsenov 1,1,1,1,2. 2nd went to Meg Nakamura w/ Nikolai Shpakov 2,2,2,2,1 and 3rd was Khuong Pham w/ Jessie Mineau 3,4,3,3,3.
In the Ballroom Open Scholarship Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano was the winner. She placed 2,2,1,2,2. Celia had the majority of 1st place marks in the 4 dances she won, including a perfect 7 1st places in quickstep. 2nd, but winning the VW was Brinda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 3,2,1,2,2 and 3rd was Carrie Steinmetz w/ Ruslan Wilder 2,3,3,4,4.
Ballroom Outshines Rhythm at CA Open Saturday
The Open Pro Ballroom was the much stronger of the 2 pro divisions last night at CA Open. "There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them"
In the final, it was a two-way race for 1st between two of the nation’s best, Artem Palkhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva and Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. Today the race was more one-sided than it has been in the past and Artem & Inna won all dances, each with the majority of 1st places. The closest was the waltz that they won by 9 firsts to 6. No other couple took any first places except the top 2. So were Artem & Inna really in tip top form or was it Mikhail & Olga who were not at their best? You’ll have to wait for the full coverage in print or online to get our opinion. 3rd today went to Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa and we thought they also had a very strong showing. They were 3rd in all dances. We were also impressed with the style and fluidity of 4th placed Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti and they were 4th in all dances. Taking all the 5’s were Robert Nemiro & Olga Tsikalyuk and 6th in this strong final went to Michael Towliszew & Tiffany Fung. The Rhythm did not rise to the challenge. We enjoyed the performance of Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova who won all dances, but felt they were strongly challenged by the runners-up, Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messenger. 3rd were Dustin Donelan & Kristen McCloskey, 4th Pierro Della Santini & Allesandra Gonzalez, 5th Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty and 6th C.J & Jenny Lynn Gomez. Giocomo Steccaglia & Melissa Dexter will offer their comments in Dance Beat soon. Just before the Rhythm division began it was time to say a fond farewell to the much loved team of Jason & Sveta Daly, former US Pro Rhythm Finalists who chose to make their retirement official in front of their home crowd here at the California Open. They danced a beautiful bolero and thanked their many friends and supporters. (The full letter will appear in Dance Beat soon)."Never give a sword to a man who can't dance." The evening began with 3 rounds of the Amateur Latin, with some skillful couples and others who had much enthusiasm but little experience. The winners won all dances and they were Denys Samson & Yuliya Nikitebko representing England. They are tall and elegant and certainly were the most eye-catching couple in the competition. We were particularly impressed with the runners-up, Phillip Kudryatsev & Ashley Goldman who have improved tremendously since their move to California. 3rd tonight were Trey & Hope Jackson who are technically strong but lack characterization at this point. 4th fell to Umar Diallo & Natalya Devitskaya, 5th to Teleryck Ianakiev & Natella Devitskaya and 6th to Parker Lynn & Kristina Tieken. For the pro-ams it was Latin day ans we felt these were the strongest of the open scholarships. The A was an especially strong final. Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov won all dances and was clearly ahead in our view. 2nd in all was Brittni Gonzalez w/ Radomir Pashev and 3rd was Natalia Zhukova w/ Kiril Nitkin from Russia. Look for a full report on this division in Dance Beat – with perhaps some views that differed from the final results. The Open B winner was Svetlana Van Tessel w/ Andrey Tarasov and she won all dances. 2nd fell to Kimberly Bolourtchi w/ Alex Borodko 5,2,3,3,2 and 3rd to Cindy Hwang w/ Nikolai Voronovich 3,3,2,4,3. Connie Buckley w/ Leonid Proskurov won all dances in the Open C. 2nd in all was Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann and 3rd was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksil Lytvyn 3,3,3,4,3. Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova were on hand to perform their electrifying and fast-paced show that received several standing ovations from the appreciative audience.
Not As You Might Expect!
Friday night at CA Open Last night we saw the first of the Open Pro events and although one roughly as we expected, the other one did not.
The surprise for us came in the Open Latin. Debuting tonight was former US Finalist, Yegor Novikov with new partner, Tetyana Olynyk. The question was, what would the judges decide. Well, there certainly wasn’t much doubt about the winners – Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir received the vast majority of the first places and easily won all dances. But it was not to be Yegor & Tetyana’s night to be second. While they did receive a number of 2nd placements in each dance, it was never enough and the majority of judges placed them lower. Finally their placements were 4,4,4,4,4 – obviously placing them 4th overall. Was this too low? You’ll have to read Dance Beat soon to find out what we thought and Martin Lamb will also give his thoughts on this division. But let’s not write off the other 5 couples in this great final. They were all great and it was a nightmare for the judges. The rapidly rising Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova took 2nd overall 2,3,3,2,2. We thought this was a close race with 3rd placed, Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova 3,2,2,3,3. Evgeniy Likachev & Mariya Levina took all the 5th placements, Oleg Astakhov & Olivia Wesolowska were 6th 6,6,7,7,6 and Simeon & Kora Stoynov closed the final, 7,7,6,6,7.
As we said, the other pro event, the Open Smooth was a little more predictable. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija won all dances tonight. We did think the runners-up, Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft put up a good fight and have improved in basic technique a lot, but they had to be content with 2nd in all dances. The closest race was for 3rd and that required a Rule 11 tiebreak that fell to David & Natalie Shulz 4,3,4,3 over Kyle & Allie Spinder 3,4,3,4. Sergiy Smolin & Anna Tomasini were 5th 6,5,5,5 and Alex & Jessi Allion were 6th 5,6,6,6. Beth Knoll will give her thoughts on this division in Dance Beat soon. The largest event of the night was the Amateur Ballroom, much swelled by the inclusion of many couples from BYU. It was a strong final with the win going to the tall and stately Andrei & Veronika Ends – they won all dances. We really enjoyed the dancing of the runners-up, Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Ksenia Sovenko who were 2nd in 4 dances and tied 2nd in the quickstep. The other half of that tie was 3rd placed, Jordan Quintana & Grace Wang 3,3,3,3,2T – a fiery partnership that we also enjoyed. 4th in all were Tyler Wilson & Annie Seeley, 5th Dan Manea & Mia Hu (5,6,5,5,6), 6th Casey Treu & Kayci Kirkham (6,5,6,6,5). Big congratulations to Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo who won both the Under 21 and the Youth Latin divisions – both massive events. Of the Open Pro-Am Scholarships, danced in the late afternoon, the largest was the C and this went to Deborah Errico w/ Dariusz Michalski and she won all dances. 2nd went to Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia 2,2,3,2,2 and 3rd to Alex Hu w/ Olga Tsikalyuk 3,4,2,4,3T. Melonie Krumer scored her second Open win of the weekend taking the Open A with Max Sinitsa and winning all dances. 2nd was Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Feraci, again in all dances and Machiko Fuji w/ Alex Muradasilov was 3rd. Alexandra Michel w/ Victor Veyrasset won the Open B, placing 1,2,1,2,1. It was a close race and taking 2nd was Lily Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev, 2,1,2,1,2T. 3rd went to Ling Ma w/ Edgar Gasjuns 3,3,3,3,2T.
Stars Rising at CA Open
The first of the professional events were held yesterday at CA Open – Rising Star divisions in Smooth, Ballroom and Latin.
Kyle & Allie Spinder ran away with the Smooth taking all 9 first places from the judges in every dance. After them it was definitely tighter. Slava & Lara Kostianets, a tall, elegant couple from CA, new to us, took 2nd with 2,3,2,2. 3rd, but with the odd placements of 5,5,3,3 were Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini.
We felt the Latin was perhaps the most exciting division of the night, with several truly rising stars contesting the final. The winners were Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova, but they did not have everything their own way. They placed 1,2,1,1,1 with Evgeny Likachev & Mariya Levina taking 2nd with 2,1,2,2,2. Vitalii & Evgenia’s best marked dance was the cha cha, where they took 6 of the 9 1st places. 3rd, placing 5,3,3,3,3 were Oleg Astakov & Olivia Wesolowska.
The Ballroom was also quite a close race, but the win went to another new couple to us, Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya from Nevada who won 4 dances and placed 2nd in quickstep. Taking quickstep were Simeon & Kora Stoynov. They were 2nd in the remaining dances. The judges were fairly evenly split between these 2 couples. Slava & Lora added a 3rd place here to the 2nd they received in the Smooth (3,3,3,3). The Pro-Ams competed in Rhythm today and many of the heats were highly contested. Unfortunately, the Open Scholarship did not attract huge numbers, but the quality of the dancing was high. The largest of the divisions was the Open C. Hope Huber w/ Troy Baeton won all dances and we thought definitely showed improvement in this style. 2nd went to Penelope Rostad w/ Nikolai Karchev (3,2,2,2,3) and 3rd to Philip Widlanski w/ Jolanta Mosteika (2,4,3,3,1). We were a little surprised to see Philip this low in the ranking. Natalie Crandall won the Open A (1,1,1,1,1). Nadiya Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco was 2nd (2,2,2,2,2) and Tiffany Sulliva w/ Dustin Donelan was 3rd. Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika won the B taking all dances over Victoria Romm w/ Daniel Vasco. Darlene Bloom w/ Jason Daly was the winners of the Open Senior.
CA Open Starts Smoothly, despite winter storms! The CA Open started smoothly yesterday despite the winter storms that were disrupting travel nationwide. Even your intrepid reporter was delayed a day, due to airport closures. But it’s a balmy 80 here in Orange County!
The CA Open is in a new home this year, the Costa Mesa Hilton, and so far everything seems great here. It was also a “smooth” day in the ballroom with the pro-ams completing all of their Smooth heats. We thought the best event of the day was the Open C smooth Scholarship that had three rounds. The winner was Hope Huber w/ Troy Baeton (1,2,1,1) who gave a very impressive performance. We were also very impressed with the runner-up, David Schmidt w/ Michelle Hudson (2,1,2,2). David actually came out on top in the Dancesport Series qualifier, but lost out on the money here. 3rd in all dances was another good competitor, Penelope Rostad w/ Nikolai Karchev. Penelope also won all dances in the Senior Open Smooth. 2nd in this was another good gentleman student, Norio Yamamoto w/ Anna Shabazyan (2,2,2,3). 3rd was Judy Brown w/ Marcin Tomaszzewski (3,3,3,2). The A & B Open Scholarships were both straight finals. Melonie Kumer w/ Max Sintisa won all dances in the A. 2nd in all was Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin and 3rd in all Kelly Morikawa w/ Jonathan Atkinson. Max Sinitsa’s student also won the Open B and this was Sirinda Sincharoen (1,1,1,1). 2nd was Karence Chan w/ Paul Cloud (2,3,2,2) and 3rd, Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian (3,2,3,3). Stay tuned for the Rhythm divisions tomorrow.
Reverse Turn at Platinum! It was a reverse turn at Platinum Dancesport last night in the Pro Ballroom. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova were the clear winners taking almost all the judges’ first places. (Although they did receive one 4th place and two 3rd places from one judge). The reverse came in the 2nd and 3rd placements. Last week in Maryland, Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito defeated fellow Italians Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena by 3 dances to 2. Here it was the reverse, with Emanuele & Francesca placing 2,2,2,3,3 over Gianni & Arianna, 3,3,3,2,2. Sergey Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab were 4th in all dances and Vladimir Triazin & Alicia Gruttadauria were 5th.
It was a great beginning for Maksym Lototsky & Sarah Haworth who won all dances in the Rhythm on their first outing together. They won all dances, but had the majority of 1st places in only the cha cha and rumba. Overall the judges’ scores were quite divided in this event. Another new partnership, Sandor Stefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were 2nd, 2,3,2,3,4. With 4,2,4,2,3, the experienced Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman took 3rd. Tamas Kardos & Mariya Khristina Shurupova were 4th, 3,4,3,4,2; Romney Reyes & Brooke O’Donnell were 5th in all dances and Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova were 6th.
4 diverse couples contested the Showdance and the winners were Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez performing to “At Last” in a classical style. The more whimsical James Brann & Sayra Vazquez took 2nd with a jazzy west coast swing. Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva were 3rd and Paolo & Liene DiLorenzo were 4th.
The audience were thrilled with the closing show performed by Canadian Pro Latin Champions and World Finalists, Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidalaite. Next year Platinum is returning to its Downtown Miami home. Stay tuned to the Dance Beat Subscriber site for more about this year’s event.
Pro Smooth Gives Surprise Ending at Platinum
The Pro Smooth was the feature event of Friday at Platinum Dancesport and it yielded a surprise finish.
Not too much surprise in the winners, however, as Mikhail & Galina Zharinov won all dances losing only 3 1st places out of 36. The surprise came with the ascendance of a new partnership, Chris Germain & Olga Chekhova to the runners-up position, besting the established partnership of Vlad & Vera Kosarev by 3 dances to 1. Vlad & Vera placed 2,3,3,3 to Chris & Olga’s 3,2,2,2. It was a split panel of judges between the 2 couples, but the majority favored the newbies in 3 dances. You’ll have to wait until the next edition of Dance Beat (or become a web subscriber) to hear our opinion. This event began with a semifinal. The remaining places in the final were: Stephen Smyth & Viktorija Kleyman (4,4,4,4); Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova (5,5,5,5) and William Proper & Jennifer Caminas (6,6,6,6). It was also a pleasure to watch the children from the local studio, Dance Town, who performed most of the night in the various junior and youth divisions. For the pro-ams it was a full day of Rhythm and Ballroom, with some strong dancing especially in the Ballroom divisions.
On the first night of Platinum (Thursday) it was all celebration as a cast of dance stars performed for the TAP Benefit Gala.
2 Interesting Duels at Maryland, Saturday
Maryland ended yesterday nights with all the Open Pro divisions. Two of them provided interesting duels.
The first was the Ballroom that pitted two Italian imports against each other – Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito and Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena. Today it was Gianni & Arianna who came out on top winning 3 of the dances. Emanuele & Francesca won waltz and quickstep. Each of the dances were won with the majority of 1st places. Both couples are free-moving and exciting and for us it was a close call. Find out more in the full article coming soon to Dance Beat. The remainder of the placements mirrored the Rising Star division. Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina (3,3,3,3,3); She-Young & Adele Jang Don (4,4,4,4,4) and Janis Kukanis & Milda Gecaite (5,5,5,5,5).
The second of the interesting divisions was the Rhythm. This was won by Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova 1,1,2,1,1. We thought they had a great night, showing great confidence and a lot of soul. They won their 4 dances with a slim majority of 1st places. 2nd and winning the swing, were Shane & Shannon Jensen (2,2,1,2,2). They offer a cleaner look than the winners, but for us didn’t really get into the mood tonight. The remainder of the couples finished in the same position in all dances. 3rd, Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman; 4th Romney Reyes & Brooke O’Donnell; 5th Jonathan Green & Carol Ann Miller; 6th Don Beedle & Jenn Christophel.
The Latin also proved and interesting duel between two very different couples. The winners were the energetic and passionate Dmitry Nikishkin & Oleana Shvets. They won 4 of the dances, all with the majority of 1st places. Winning the rumba and taking 2nd in the other 4 were the tall and elegant Rangel Spirov & Veronika Chernyavska. Very different to the winners both in appearance and style. 10-Dancers Sey-Young & Adele were 3rd in all dances. A new couple to us, Vladimir Velev & Lily Kolman were 4th in all. Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were 5th (5,5,6,6,5) and Denis & Amanda Satonin were 6th.
The most clear cut from the judges’ standpoint was the Smooth. This went to Kostadin Bidjourov & Erin Marie who easily won all dances. We also liked the strong movement from runners-up, Morten Jensen & Tonya Martin (3,3,3,3). In 3rd place was a brand new partnership of two experienced dancers – Chris Germain & Olga Chekhova. We’re not sure if this was their first competition together, but there is certainly potential here. They were 3rd in all dances. 4th were 9-Dancers Stephen & Viktoriya (5,5,4,4) and 5th Serge & Yana Nelyubov (4,4,5,5). Jeffrey Golitiao & Katt were 6th.
The evening ended with an entertaining pro show produced by JT Thomas. It had a Valentine’s theme and was entitled “Sweet Treats.” All the numbers had “candy” themed music. In a great “role reversal” it was the lady adjudicators who ended the show (lately it has always been the men). Rita Algarra, Polina Pilipenchuk, Amanda Reyzin and Lydia Petrigova strutted their stuff to the enjoyment of all.
It was a really long day of pro-am dancing. All of the Ballroom and much of the Latin was held today including both sets of Open Scholarships. In both styles the B offered the best competition. Yanina Kisler w/ Peter Walker comfortably won the Ballroom B, winning all dances. 2nd in all was Tomoko Shimizu w/ Emanuele Papacena and 3rd in all Kelley Weld w/ Slava Sergiev. The C fell to Krista Stewart w/ Igor Pilipechuk who also won all dances. 2nd went to Sue Gershowitz w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd was Julia Wang w/ Peter Walker (4,3T,4,3,2). Jennifer Fales w/ Slava Sergiev won all dances in the A. 2nd went to Lisa Dodd w/ Garry Gekhman (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd to Chris Nunes w/ Lisa Vegas (3,3,3,3,2).
Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich won all dances in the B Latin. 2nd went to Kelley Ward w/ Slava Sergiev (3,2,2,2,2) and 3rd to Erica Triscan w/ Sergey Izyumov (2,4T,4,4,3). Ann Morsili w/ Tibor Kerekes won the C, taking all dances. 2nd was Sue Gershowitz w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk (2,3,2,2,2) and 3rd Laura Stolman w. Genya Bartashevitch (3,2,4,3,3). A good duel in the A resulted in a win for Sarah Gladish w/ Ilya Reyzin (1,1,1,2,1) over Joanna Wa w/ Anton Tregubov (2,2,1,2,2). 3rd was Lauren Lapointe w/ Louis Bar.
Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips won the Best of the Best 10-Dance Challenge.
Pro-Am Smooth Strong At Maryland!
Yesterday the pro-am smooth topped the bill and the Open Scholarships were strong.
After Thursday’s triple win for the men, Chris Nunes w/ Lisa Vegas kept up the tradition winning all dances to take the Open A. Nicole Vass w/ Scott Ruddick was 2nd 2,3,2,2 and Lauren LaPointe w/ Louis Bar took 3rd 3,2,3,3.
Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza took all dances in the B and showed a lot of improvement. Also challenging, we thought, was Chris w/ Lisa once again. He was 2nd in all dances. Anna Boyd with Kirill Gorjatsev was 3rd in all dances.
Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto was on form and won the C quite easily we thought and she did win all dances. Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Rezin was a strong 2nd in all dances. 3rd went to Amy Pollinger w/ Slava Sergiev, again in all dances. Darla w/ Jim also won the Best of the Best 9-Dance Challenge.
The evening finished with two rising star events. The largest was the Rhythm. Shane & Shannon Jensen were the easy winners here, taking all dances. Also winning all dances in the Ballroom were Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina.
“Let’s Hear It For The Boys!”
It was guys’ night out last night at Maryland Dancesport in the Open Rhythm Scholarships. Gentlemen students won all 3!
Xavier Paol Aria w/ Mariangeles Moussou won all dances in the A, Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika won all danes in the B and Philip Widlanski w/ Jolanta Mosteika won the C 2,1,1,1T,1. We felt the C was actually the strongest division and this started with a semifinal. 2nd went to Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto 1,2,2,1T,3 and 3rd to Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Reyzin 3,3,3,3,2. 2nd in all dances in the B was Angela Morisson w/ Peter Santiago and 3rd in all, Blaire Miller w/ Clive Phillips. Lauren LaPointe w/ Louis Bar was 2nd in the A, 2,3,2,2,2 and Nicole Vass w/ Scott Ruddick was 3rd, 3,2,3,3,3.
There were 2 straight finals in professional rising star divisions. Sey-Young & Adele Jang Don won all dances in the Latin and Jeffrey Goltiao w/ Katt won all in the Smooth.
Joining the organizational team of Glenis Dee and Andrea Ringold this year here at Maryland Dancesport is Blake Kish.