The last night at the Embassy Dance Championships was electrifying!
The Open Professional Latin was out of this world as were many of the events surrounding this magnificent night of dancing.
USA’s Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova won all dances, and unlike many of the winners on this weekend of dance, they won two dances with perfect scores from the judges - the cha cha and the rumba. The other three dances Troels & Ina won with the majority of firsts losing just a couple to Kirill Belorukov & Valeriya Aidaeva who placed second overall 2,3,2,3,2, one in the jive, one in the paso and two first place marks in the samba.
Troels & Ina as usual did not disappoint even when the pressure mounted in the final where Kirill & Valeriya gave an outstanding performance. Watching these two couples was like watching a tennis match at the US Open, both had incredible quality and intoxicating charisma. The only occurrence overshadowing this fabulous night of Latin American dancing, was the reminder that among all the happiness and excitement this night, a war continues to rage in the east. The Ukrainian born couples came out at the end of the semifinal with Ukrainian flags in hand, reminding all that there is a real issue that hunts their country and ours here in the USA - the conflict between, Russia and Ukraine. This was later accented by two of the finalists, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina who placed fourth and Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk who took fifth, both couples came to the awards ceremony wrapped in their Ukrainian flag.
We are not sure this demonstration of solidarity towards their country of birth was truly necessary in this magnificent dance contest. However, we do believe we should all be able to express our feelings as one wishes and if this brought any comfort to them and their fans, then it was all completely worth it.
As far as the dancing is concerned. third place was awarded to Pavel Zvychaynyy & Polina Teleshova who also gave an amazing performance 3,2,3,2,3. Fourth as we mentioned before went to Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina, and here we must say they did not hold back when it came to the level of performance of the greats up on top. For us this couple was totally in the mix, we honestly would have not been surprised if they placed third. Mykhailo & Anastasiia placed fourth in all dances and they were totally on fire as we have never seen them dance before.
Fifth in all dances went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk who continue to grow in strength and performance, and sixth was awarded to Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova who seem to be getting a stronger hold on the style and are beginning to give us more of the element that put them where they are in the first place, a unique charisma and interesting interpretation of all five dances.
The Under 21 Latin and Ballroom also took place on this great sweet and short evening of dancing and we have to say they were both great. The Under 21 Latin started with a semifinal round and all the couples were terrific, the easy winner of this championship was Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton who won all dances with a huge majority of firsts from the judges. Second were Kevin Filipczak & Sophia Marriott who placed second in all dances and third overall went to Ervinas Valskys & Alexa Sosna and they were placed 3,3,4,3,3. Vladyslav Pohorilyi & Ceilidh McSeveney were fourth overall 4,5,3,4,4, Artem Pukhalskyi & Veronika Rich placed fifth 5,4,5,5,5, and sixth in all dances were Arsenii Moroz & Amelia Kreczman.
The Under 21 Ballroom also started with a full semifinal and here the winners in all dances were Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina. Second went to Nathan Zaytsev & Alice Bankova and that was also in all dances. Third overall were Zorik Moldavsky & Vickanat Govorun with these marks 3,6,3,4,3. Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley were fourth 6,4,4,3,4; fifth were Ilya Ignatyev & Daria Korzh 4,5,5,5,5, and sixth went to Vitalii Demianenko/Melaniia Sivkavych 5,3,6,6,6.
The final event of the evening was the Professional Rising Star Smooth and this was won by Igor Dogoter & Natalia Gorshkova.
Outdance and Outshine!
It was a fabulous night here at the Embassy Dance Championships, it was full of fantastic dancing and talent and fierce competition.
The awaited World Professional Rhythm Championship took place and it did not disappoint, if we had nights like this at every competition we would be filled with sponsorships from major corporations and prize money problems would disappear. We would be cashing in like the US Open Tennis Championships, or many other sports where the prize money can literally set a Champion financially free for life.
There is lots to talk about but let’s begin with the World Professional Rhythm Championship where what we think a “duel” took place, between the current United States Champions Andre & Natalie Paramonov and Francesco Arietta & Jessa Briones who just lately were able to make a huge push to unseat the US Champions at “The DBDC.” In the end last night they tried one more time but there was “No Cigar.” Andre & Natalie were able to defend their title and their position successfully here at the World Professional Rhythm Championship and continue to be the reigning Champions, by winning all dances, 3 dances with a majority of firsts. In cha cha and mambo they had to rely on “seconds of better” to win the dance.
It all sound quite easy but it was not, in fact on paper it was quite close. In the cha cha, Parmonovs got 8 first place marks, Francesco & Jessa got 7 first places but nearly every first Parmonov’s lost to Francesco & Jessa they replaced with a second place. This was not true for Francesco & Jessa - when they lost a first, third took its place on many occasions, and even a few fourth places from the judges. In the rumba, Parmonov’s got 9 first places Francesco & Jessa Francesco got 8 and here they got a few more second place marks for every first they lost but not enough to help, since Parmonovs got the majority of firsts. In the swing Paramonov got 11 first place marks Francesco & Jessa got 4, in the bolero Parmonovs got 9 and Francesco & Jessa got 8, and in the mambo Parmonovs got 7, Francesco & Jessa got 8 (not quite the majority) but as we mentioned before, what hurt them on this dance is the amount of thirds Francesco & Jessa received in this dance, enough that even with the most firsts they still could not win because of the other low marks. So here one can say that it was close but when you look at all the judges’ marks individually, in seconds alone Parmonovs would have won. In conclusion even though it was close in first places, sometimes just by one first, was it that close really when you count the second and third place marks on each couple’s scorecard? You be the judge?
For us on the stands it was also a clear win for Andre & Natalie Paramonov, who danced as we have not seen them dance as of late. A colleague and judge even said, "this probably brought new life into the career of Andre & Natalie, they could possibly stay another year competing and win with that kind of performance." We are truly fans of Francesco & Jessa and we're sure they will be ready to take on the challenge again this coming week. We are thrilled to have such amazing talent filling the spots and making the Rhythm style progress to better and greener pastures. We the industry are the winner for this and we should be thankful for both couples’ contribution to Rhythm dancing. In the end as you just read Andre & Natalie Paramonov, continue to be the World Professional Rhythm Champions and Francesco Arietta & Jessa Briones the runners-up.
We also cannot discount the contribution that Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets-Nikishkin have also brought to the floor. On this night they placed third overall but you cannot discount the few firsts and seconds they stole from the top two couples. In the cha cha 2 first place marks, in the the swing 2, and in the mambo 2. Dmitry & Olena placed third in all dances here at the Professional World Championships. Dancing fabulously and looking as if they are positioning themselves to within striking distance from the couples above are Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Anastasiia Zhuchenko who took fourth in all dances and who looked amazing in both the Rhythm and the Smooth style of dancing.
Fifth in all dances was awarded to Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova, and in sixth position were Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman who seem to be losing their direction at the moment. This is talented partnership that can do better than what we saw last night.
With the US Championship just next week it will be very interesting to see how this saga plays out. It will be a different floor and a very different judging panel. Also the many Fred Astaire couples and their supporters, missing last night, will be there in full force.
The Professional Ballroom was also an amazing competition of talent, placement and floor craft. The winners of this excellent heat were Valerio Colantoni & Anna Demidova who showcased their new partnership in the USA once again, after winning Blackpool (The British Open). Valerio & Anna won all dances with the majority of firsts in all dances. For us the first two dances were a little dicey for them, because they were not able to get around much in these first two dances. We found them cornered at every step and it was hard for them to dance. Yes, beautiful lines and beautiful hold, but between the other couples getting in their way and Anna’s purple feathers getting in his face, it was hard to appreciate their quality of movement in these two dances in the final. This was one time we were glad we did not have to put anything down on paper but these words, but it would have been hard to mark them high in these two dances because we hardly saw them dance.
Valerio & Anna truly made it up in their Viennese, foxtrot and quickstep, where we could see why they were such a wonderful choice to win this championship. Their quality of work is not only brilliant but the musicality is out of this world or should we just say just world class. This might not be the right thing to say, but for this couple perhaps this floor might have been a little too small, had they had a larger floor, I don’t think we would have seen this struggle in the first two dances. We also have to say that we are not quite fair in the tango, since we were able to take a good peak at their fabulous tango earlier on their dance-on. In conclusion, we truly love the partnership and what we saw, we just wish we would have seen more of it in the final, and not just relied on the earlier rounds.
Second overall was awarded to Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya 2,2,3,2,3, who most have been thrilled with this result. Second position was quite hard-fought at this competition between Rudy & Katia and the current US Champions, Iaroslav & Liliia Bielie, both couples got a mixture of marks from second to sixth place, but in the end Rudy & Katia took second leaving Iaroslav & Liliia holding third overall 3,3,2,3,2. Fourth overall went to Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil 5,4,4,4,4; fifth were Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 4,6,5,5,5 and sixth overall was awarded to Andriy Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova 6,5,6,6,6.
Immediately prior to the final of this Professional Ballroom, Organizer, Brian McDonald, took the microphone to announce the retirement from judging of Mr. Ken Sloan. Ken, a former All Ireland and US Champion, has decided he will no longer officiate at competitions. He told some anecdotes of his early days in dancing and of his love for his wife and dance partner, Sheila. One thing he said his first teacher told him and that still applies to dancers today – “remember, every foot has a heel and a toe!” We hope to continue seeing the iconic figure of Ken Sloan at competitions – but now as a spectator.
In the Amateur Open Latin, Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina, showed us why they are champions - what an amazing couple this is! Their musicality is out of the world and their movement very contagious. We were quite surprised to see that they did not win any of the dances with perfect scores. Second in this heat and in all dances went to Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze who always give a high-energy performance and in a surprising result for us at least, Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets placed third overall 3,3,3,3,4. We say we were quite surprised by this result because from their performance we felt that they might be edging Alexander & Arina and how wrong we were, they ended up in third place overall. We must also say we were very impressed with the improvement of Michelle who is now quite a beautifully developed Latin dancer. Fourth place was awarded to Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton 4,4,4,4,3; Nikita Grygorchuk & Naomi Spektor got fifth in every dance. In sixth position were Nikolas Constantine & Kateryna Osminina who took sixth in every dance.
We also saw an upset in the Open Amateur American Smooth. Here the current US Champions, Sawyer Stolle & Serena Keck, were defeated by Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley. Sawyer & Serena started well by winning the waltz, 7 firsts to 6, but from here on Parley & Natalie stole the show winning the next 3 dances with the majority of first places in all. We must say that Natalie is a joy to watch in this style. Ilya Ignatyev & Jacqueline Pop placed 3rd in all dances and also were definitely in contention. 4th Tanner Cole & Jacie Yardley 4,4,5,4; 5th Shanden Hoffman & Sabrina Hoffman 5,5,6,5; 6th Mason Simkins & Yuuka Fujii 6,6,4,6.
Travis & Jaimee Tuft won the Professional Cabaret, although there were only 3 entrants.
The pro-am Latin divisions were spectacular all day long and this applied equally to the Open World Championships. Once again the finals were danced at night.
Ariel Xu w/ Daniel Hustiuc from NY continued her successful run of competitions by winning the Open A World Scholarship 1,1,1,2,1. The runner-up was Irene Caredis w/ Francesco Bertini 2,2,3,1,2. This was a new lady to us, but she was certainly full of fire and another very strong lady, Anna Brown w/ Andrey Tarasov placed 3rd 3,3,2,3,3. 4th Anvelyn Pi w/ Pasha Stepanchuk 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Olga Onischuk w/ Gunnar Gunnarsson (UK) 5,6,5,5,5; 6th Meera Mehta w/ Kristijan Burazer 6,5,6,6,6.
Christina Lyon w/ Evgeny Nazarov from CA won all dances in the Open B World Scholarship and was a deserving winner we thought. However, on paper Christina did not have things all her own way winning only the rumba and paso with a majority of 1st places. Lindsey Keatley w/ Vladislav Robatsenko was the runner-up 2,2,3,2,3 and Jacqueline Tarr w/ Allen Genkin was 3rd 3,3,2,3,2. Between them, these 3 top ladies took all but 1 of the available 1st placements from the judges. 4th Irma Wang w/ Daniel Hustiuc 4,4,4,4,4 (incidentally, Irma took that one missing first place mark); 5th Zhihai Li w/ Kirill Nikitin 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Peggy Fang w/ Nikolai Tarasov 8,6,6,7,7; 7th Maria Shtabskaya w/ Nikita Brovko 7,7,7,8,6; 8th Irina Slonim w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 6,8,8,6,8.
The Open C World Scholarship pitched three of the top ladies in this field against each other, 2 of whom had won other divisions earlier in the week. But it was Deborah Wright w/ Nikolay Voronovich from CA who won the day winning all 5 dances, all but the samba with the majority of first places. We felt this was a well-deserved placement. Sophia D’Angelo w/ Vitalii Proskurin was the runner-up 2,2,2,2,2, once again in all dances. (Sophia won the World C Smooth with Max Sinitsa). In third place was Lynn Magnesen w/ Thomasz Lewandowski 3,3,3,3,3. (Lyn was the winner of the World C Rhythm). 4th Christiana Boath w/ Krystof Grzelak 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Rhonda Lynch w/ Andrey Tarasov 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Peggy Fang w/ Nikolai Tarasov 6,6,6,6,6.
The only “double open champion” of this year was Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme from MA who won the Open S1 Scholarship today having won the same title in the Rhythm earlier in the week. Joan placed 2,1,1,1,2. The runner-up was Robyn Shreiber w/ Viktor Shumylo 1,2,2,2,1. Robyn shows much improvement in this style. Iris Chiang w/ Vitalii Proskurin was third 3,3,3,4,3. 4th Jennifer Kay w/ Evgeny Nazarov 4,4,4,3,4; 5th Luna Viva w/ Kristijan Burazer 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Anna Chiu w/ Troels Bager 6,6,7,7,7; 7th Diane Retallack w/ Yegor Novikov 7,7,8,6,6; 8th Windy Yu w/ Roman Italyankin 8,8,6,8,8.
The only title to go outside the USA in the Latin was in the Open S2 Scholarship. Kate Arnott w/ Laurence Moldavsky from Australia was the winner in all dances. Kate had the majority of 1st places in all dances. The runner-up was also from outside the USA, this time from Austria and this was Susanne Binder w/ Peppe Incatasciato and she placed 2,3,2,2,4. Vita Hanley w/ Marcus Johnson was close behind in third place with scores of 4,2,3,3,3. 4th Vy Wappel w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 3,4,4,4,2; 5th Diana Knight w/ Nikolai Shpakov 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Rathna Rao w/ Andrey Tarasov 7,8,6,6,6; 7th Penelope Parmes w/ Mikal Watkins 6,6,8,7,7; 8th Maria Ybarra w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 8,7,7,8,8.
Tonight the competition continues with the Professional Latin and this is promising to be another fabulous night of Ballroom dance competition.
“The Rough and the Smooth”
Last night at the Embassy Dance Championships the first World Professional American Championship took place and that was in the “Smooth” division.
The competition started with a quarterfinal of some of the finest Smooth couples in the world, and as we expected six of the best were called back for this very special final. In the final tally some were “rougher” than others, but they were all up to the task, making this evening an unforgettable one.
After all the dances were done and danced the winners of the 2022 World Professional Smooth Championship were Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina from Florida, who won every dance with a majority of firsts. The waltz was the dance where Roman & Galina lost the most firsts and that was a total of six first place marks out of thirteen judges. For us they were the clear winners on this night, especially in the final where they seemed to smoothly pull away from the group making it easy for the judges and us to see why they are the current US Professional Smooth Champions.
Second in this world class competition was awarded to the former US & World Professional Champions, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija, who placed second in every dance and were able to steal the most first places of any couple in the final, especially in the slow waltz where as we mentioned before six out of thirteen judges awarded them first. For the us Nick & Viktorija started with a bang and stayed on top of their game in the first round of the competition, but as the night progressed we felt that perhaps the pressure increased and they lost ground. For our team by the end of the final, the runners up position could have easily gone to Travis Tuft & Jaimee Tuft who placed third in every dance. Going by the quarter, we felt that Nick & Viktorija were going to put the heat on the top couple even though their routines from before the pandemic seemed to have stayed the same, they just have more impact, in particular the tango where their signature Vicktorija laying on the floor as she landed could be heard from the stands.
It was a perhaps the best night we’ve seen for Travis Tuft & Jaimee Tuft, who from the beginning stayed focused and not only did they have their usual precision in all steps, but some extra effort in their musicality and interpretation was noted. This effort kept our attention and made us watch them over and over from dance to dance. We have to say that the duel between Roman & Galina and the previews winners Nick & Viktorija might have hampered the chances of Travis & Jaimee stealing more than one dance and collecting a couple of seconds. But with only a minute and half it is quite hard for the judges to spend more than a few seconds on every couple, so this third place result was a little expected from our part.
Another couple that had a wonderful night in this World Smooth final were Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Anastasiia Zhuchenko, who we thought also gave it their best from beginning to end. Oleksiy & Anastasiia are two very talented dancers, but in a couple of recent outings we felt they were just taking it a little bit easy to challenge. Not on this night! As we sometimes say, “they were not about to take any prisoners.” Oleksiy & Anastasiia were there to win it or make an impact, they certainly did for us and some of the judges who not only awarded them a number of second place marks but one first in the foxtrot.
Fifth in all dances went to Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov who are becoming a permanent feature at nearly every final around the country. We are not sure about the loose hair on Yana, as well as her malfunctioning gown (One of her floats on her dress, seemed to have detached creating a hazard for her as she danced with every step she took), that created a distraction for them as well as for us. Fortunately, Yana handled both with great precision making us and Tykhon forget and for him to dance and not just watch the bloody float. Sixth in all dances was awarded to Volodymyr Barabash & Yulia Rudenco, who keep getting better and better each time we see them. Volodymyr is perhaps one of the best men out on this Smooth field and Yulia’s early beginnings in dance here in the USA, gives them great hope for their future in this American Smooth. We look forward to seeing them fully developed in this, one of our favorite styles.
The World Professional Smooth Championships was not the only featured event here at the Embassy Ball last night, a huge Amateur Ballroom event was held and it ran side by side to the Smooth Championship. We have to say that this event, like the Smooth, did not disappoint, the top three couples were amazing and the bottom four were also very impressive in their own right. Yes, seven couples were called back to this final and the overall winners, by placing first in four dances and second in the tango were Danylo Dobrovolskyi & Anastasiia Malovana from Arizona, who gave an excellent performance.
Danylo & Anastasiia were for us the best of this wonderful bunch of talent, they brough to the floor all the qualities you want to see in the Ballroom style - excellent top line, musicality and fun, great floor craft and terrific technical merit. The waltzes seem to be their strongest of all five dances, the majority of judges awarded them first in this both the slow and the fast waltz. In the other three dances they had to rely on seconds or better to win.
Canada’s Champions, Nikita Druzhynin & Virginie Primeau won the tango and placed second in the other four dances. Nikita & Virginie were perhaps the most experienced couple on the floor, they have danced now for quite some time and their confidence was always present in all the rounds and all their dances. However, these wonderful qualities was not enough to surpass the energy and playfulness of Danylo & Anastassia who got the judges’ approval last. Perhaps a trip out of the box might be necessary here for Nikita & Virginie who are supper talented but the time they have put on the floor might be making the judges look somewhere else for new inspirations.
Third in this seven-couple final went to Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina. Here is another couple with super potential and ability, but unlike Danylo & Anastassia, this energy and talent can sometimes take over their performance and make their technical merit faulter at times - dropping their sides and getting into trouble for the sake of energy and emotion. A medium has to be found and then they would certainly challenge the very top of this pyramid of talent.
If you take a look at the final placements of the couples from 4 to 6, you will see how undecided the judges were in this final.
Fourth was awarded to Aleksandr Riabtsev & Mariia Oblakova 4,6,5,5,4; fifth position went to possibly the youngest cast members in this final, Nathan Zaytsev & Alice Bankova, who placed 7,5,4,4,7. This was a wonderful surprise for us on this final, such a young couple but with such huge potential, we suspected they might make it but one never knows, with such a young couple. We are sure we will see great things from Nathan & Alice on future outings.
Sixth place was awarded to Artur Nabok & Tais Zhukova 6,4,6,7,5, and in a very disappointing placement, seventh position went to Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova who not to long ago placed ahead of Nikita Druzhynin & Virginie Primeau from Canada in another competition. We have also seen this couple dance from early years and although they are one of our favorites we have to agree with the judges on this one. Last night their performance lacked the impact and quality we saw in previous performances from this couple. This is a rare occurrence, we are sure that Samuel & Katarina will be back and stronger and better than ever.
For the pro-am competitors it was Ballroom day. The finals of the 5 Open World Scholarships were danced at the beginning of the night session.
Courtney Veyrasset w/ Marek Klepadlo from CA was the winner of the Open A World Scholarship. She won all 5 dances, 3 of them with the majority of first places. Courtney is the daughter of famous dance parents, Victor Veyrasset and Heather Smith. Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev scored second in all dances to take the runner-up position and did pick up some first places in all dances. Kennidy McOmber w/ Oskar Wojciechowski was third with 4,4,3,3,3. Kennedy also had first places in all dances as did 4th placed Jenny Sokolsky w/ Ikaika Dowsett 3,3,5,6,6. 5th and 6th positions were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 5th Julia Shen w/ Rudy Homm 6,5,4,5,5; 6th Agne Naujokas w/ Martin Reinbold 5,6,6,4,4.
The Open B World Scholarship was perhaps the most competitive of the day, although the final placements do not really show this. The Champion was Natasha Janey w/ Iaroslav Bieliei from CA and we agreed with this result. Natasha had the majority of first places in the last 3 dances. The runner-up position fell to Laura Shooks w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 2,3,2,2,2 and 3rd was Vinie Miller w/ Stefano Di Brino 3,2,3,3,3. Both of these ladies picked up first places from some judges in all dances. Dana Miller w/ Oreste Alitto was 4th in all dances and took 4th overall. Dana was the only other lady in this final to receive some first place marks. 5th Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Colette Marotto & Maksym Savytskyi 6,6,6,6,6.
The Open C and Open S1 divisions were the largest, both starting with quarter-final rounds.
Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano from OH was the clear winner of the Open C World Scholarship. Jill won all 5 dances, losing very few first place marks. The remaining finalists were closer in reality than the final placements show. The runner-up was Agnes Mah w/ Stefano Di Brino who was second in all dances. Her best scored dances were tango and foxtrot. 3rd went to Annie Chan w/ Cristian Radvan 4,3,3,3,4. 4th Patricia Schneider w/ Oreste Alitto 3,4,4,4,3; 5th Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci 5T,5,5,5,5; 6th Sheila Zou w/ Valeriu Ursache 5T,6,6,6,6.
The Open S1 World Scholarship turned out to be a very tightly scored division. The Champion was Llewelyn Nielsen w/ Oreste Alitto from CA who won all 5 dances, but had the majority of first places only in the foxtrot. Paige Riffle w/ Iaroslav Bieliei won the close battle for second spot 3,3,2,2,2 over Kathy Stetler w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 2,2,4,3,3T. 4th Linda Gill w/ Luca Balestra 4,4,3,4,3T; 5th Shirley Chan & Evgeniy Mayorov 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Patty Yu w/ Valeriu Ursache 6,6,6,6,6.
One of only 2 gentlemen finalists of the day was also the winner of the Open S2 Scholarship, Peter Chou w/ Xenia Cletova from CA. Peter placed 2,1,1,1,1 but did not have the majority of first places in any dance. With 1,2,3,3,3, Susan Jen w/ Oreste Alitto was the runner-up. With 2nd place in 3 dances, Jan Duffy w/ Tadas Jonyla was a little unlucky to finish 3rd 3,4,2,2,2. 4th Vy Wappel w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy 4,3,4,4,4; 5th Margaret Wang w/ Igor Colac 5,5,6,5,6; 6th Yohsuke Fukami w/ Liana Bakhtiarova 6,6,5,6,5.
Daniil Tymoshenko & Vladyslava Vursalova won all dances in the Professional Rising Star Latin. We believe this couple have only recently moved to the professional ranks from the amateur division.
A tradition at the Embassy Ball is the presentation of the Marguerite Hanlon & John Ford Award for excellence in the service of dance. This year’s worthy winner was Dan Messenger.
On Top Of The World!
You can feel “on top of the world” in closed and open divisions here at the Embassy Ballroom Championships, especially if you’re a Pro/Am Competitor competing in the World Pro-Am Open and Closed Championships.
It has been two days of amazing ballroom dance competition with many of the major events filled to capacity. Wednesday the competition began early morning with the “Rhythm” divisions, Thursday the “Smooth” categories continued and today as we write, the Pro/Am “Ballroom competition goes on in the main ballroom of the Hilton Orange County Costa Mesa.
On the first day of competition the Pro-Am Rhythm divisions were held. These culminated with the Open Pro-Am World Scholarship Championships – 2 of which began with semifinals.
The World A Scholarship fell to Chastity Smith w/ Eddie Ares. Only 4 couples contested this division but the level was high. By winning swing, bolero & mambo, Chastity Smith w/ Eddie Ares from GA was the winner. Chastity was 2nd in the other 2 dances. The division was very tightly scored. The runner up was Pooja Himovich w/ Kristijan Burazer who scored 1,3,2,2,2. Veronika Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco won the rumba and placed 3rd in the other dances for an overall 3rd place finish. Anjel Ortega w/ Oxana Kashkina took the 4th spot.
Chastity came close to pulling off a double but ended up placing 2nd in the World B Scholarship. The winner was Michael Butler w/ Oxana Kashkina from CA who placed 2,1,1,3,1. He was the only male student to win a World Championship today. Chastity won the cha cha, but was second in the other dances, not enough to outscore Michael. Mila Pavlichenko w/ Dmytro Gurkov from Canada placed 3rd 4,4,3,1,4. 4th Pooja Himovich w/ Kristijan Burazer 3,3,4,4,3; 5th Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Leanna Wenderoth w/ Kirill Gorjatsev 6,6,6,6,6; 7th Rebecca Klinger w/ Gage Clark 8,7,7,7,7; 8th Suanne Summers w/ Daniel Vasco 7,8,8,8,8.
The Open C world Scholarship was the largest division in this category beginning with a semifinal. With the majority of first places in all dances from the judges, Lynn Magnesen w/ Thomas Lewandowski from CA was the comfortable winner. With 3,2,2,2,2, Louise Shah w/ Andrew Escolme was the runner-up. Mambo was her best scored dance where she took 4 first places to Lynn’s 6. Amy Law w/ Eddie Stutts was 3rd 2,3,3,3,3. 4th Angela Morrison w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 4,4,5,4,4; 5th Ana Capo w/ Luis Loez 5,5,4,5,5; 6th Kathy Myers w/ Marcus Johnson 6,6,6,6,6.
The Open S1 World Scholarship also began with a semifinal round and here the win went to Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme from MA. Joan won all dances with a majority of first places from the judges. Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan was the runner-up and was also second in all dances. Luna Viva w/ Kristijan Burazer was 3rd, scoring 3,3,3T,3,3. 4th Karen McDougall w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 4,4,3T,4,4; 5th Kathy Myers w/ Marcus Johnson 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Debbie Clyne w/ Jeremy Gatlin 6,6,6,6,6.
Only 2 ladies entered the Open S2 World Scholarship, but they were both of a very high level. The winner, in all dances, was Leslie McLeod w/ Melbin De La Cruz from GA. The runner-up was Evelyn Lamden w/ Daniel Vasco.
The only World Title to go outside the USA went to Canada in the person of Linda Miller w/ Carlos Zapata who won the World Pro-Am Cabaret Scholarship Championship.
On Friday the style switched to Smooth for the pro-am competitors and we must say that throughout the whole day, the level of dance was extremely high. Congratulations to all the students and teachers! The Open World Scholarships reflected this quality.
The Open A World Scholarship went to Morgan Wissel w/ Igor Dogoter from NV. This lady won all dances with a majority of first places from the judges and although she was quite new to us here at Dance Beat, she certainly caught our attention. 2nd and 3rd places were decided by Rule 11. From Canada, Mila Pavlichenko w/ Dmytro Gurkov got the nod, placing 3,2,2,3. With the reverse placements, 2,3,3,2, Elizabeth Cuevas w/ Mayo Alanen ended in 3rd spot. 4th Veronika Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco 4,4,4,4; 5th Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan 5,5,5,5; 6th Crystal Jackson w/ Vartan Zakhariants 6,6,6,6; 7th Ronald Fulgencio w/ Elisa McCann 7,7,7,7.
The Open B World Scholarship was an extremely tight race once the final 6 took to the floor. However, there was little doubt in the judges’ minds over the winners. Celia Chow w/ Erminio Stefano from NY won all dances with the majority of first places. The first of two Rule 11 ties was for 2nd and 3rd places. Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft got the better of it, placing 2,2,3,3 and the runner-up spot overall. Losing the tiebreak was Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochacki whose 3,3,2,2 placements earned her 3rd overall. There was a second Rule 11 for 4th place and once again Mila Pavlichenko w/ Dmytro Gurkov came out on top. Her 4,5,5,4, gave her 4th overall with 5th going to Sirinda Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa 5,4,4,5. In sixth was Monica Broch w/ Stephen McCann 6,6,6,6.
As in the Rhythm, the Open C World Scholarship was the largest, this time beginning with a quarter-final. With 1,1,2,1, Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa from CA was this year’s Champion. Sophia had the majority of first places in the 3 dances she won. Winning the foxtrot and placing second in the other 3 dances, the runner-up was Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochaki. Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiyy Pigotskyy was 3rd with 3,3,3,4. 4th and 5th places were decided by yet another Rule 11 tiebreak (that’s what happens with an even number of dances!). The scores this time, however, were more interesting. Karence Chan w/ Paul Cloud took 4th place with scores of 4,7,5,3. 5th went to Amy Law w/ Eddie Stutts 5,4,4,6. Lynn Magnesen w/ Tomasz Lewandowski was 6th 6,5,6,5 and Gail Komar w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk was 7th 7,6,7,7.
Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiyy Pigotskyy from AZ moved up 2 places to win the Open S1 World Scholarship placing 2,1,1,1. The division was fairly closely scored, but Sue had the majority of 1st places in the last 2 dances. Llewelyn Nielsen w/ Slawek Sochacki was the runner-up, 1,2,2,2. 3rd Helena Kostik w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 3,3,4,3; 4th Kristi Nadvornik w/ Mayo Alanen 4,4,3,4; 5th Michael Chang w/ Viktorija 6,5,5,5; 6th Audria Hill-Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu 5,6,6,6.
Cynthia Wolfsohn & Alex Zagrean from CA scored a pretty comfortable win in the Open S2 World Scholarship winning all 4 dances with a majority of 1st places. The highest placed gentleman of the day, Mark Eberle w/ Veronika End was the runner-up and took 2nd in all dances. With 3rd in all dances, that spot went to Keiko Fukami w/ Roman Zotov. One more Rule 11 gave Tom Grebel w/ Tetyana Kuts 4th spot 4,5,5,4, while Emily Eberle w/ Sergey Kiselev took 5th 5,4,4,5. 6th Kazue Niikura w/ Max Sinitsa 6,6,6,6; 7th Stephen Williamson & Katerina Michtchenko 7,7,7,7.
Yesterday also saw the conclusion of the World 9-Dance Scholarships. In the A division Canada scored a second win of the championships so far. Mila Pavlichenko w/ Dmytro Gurkov was the Champion. Mila won all the Rhythm dances and placed 2,1,2,1 in the Smooth. The runner-up was Veronika Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco who was 2nd in all the Rhythm and placed 2,1,2,1 in Smooth. 3rd was Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan.
The World 9-Dance B Scholarship went to Amy Law w/ Eddie Stutts from TX. Amy won every dance except rumba where she was 3rd. The runner-up was Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez. Ana was the winner of the rumba. 3rd Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan; 4th Leanna Wenderoth w/ Kirill Gorjatsev; 5th Susan LeCoq w/ Clement Joly; 6th Rebecca Klinger w/ Gage Clark; 7th Laura Waters w/ Seth Coons.
The first 2 Professional divisions were also held on this night. The Rising Star Rhythm went to the new partnership of Ilie Bardahan & Oxana Kashkina and the Rising Ballroom to Mirko Spano & Pamela Romano.