Dance Beat Team
Their First World’s!
Last night at Embassy Ball, one couple had the satisfaction of winning their 1st World Title.
Peter & Alexandra Perzhu of Florida won the NDCA World Professional Smooth Championship taking over from last year’s champions, Slawek Souchaki & Marzena Stachura, who have retired. The win was not unexpected as Peter & Alexandra have won their last few competitions and they were comfortable winners today with the majority of 1st places in all dances.
Runners-up were Mazen Hamza & Izabellla who had some 1st places in all dances but never enough to threaten the Perzhus. In fact they had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in only tango needing to rely on “3rd or better” to place 2nd in all 4 dances. The couple moving up the ladder today were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who benefited from a Rule 11 tie breaker to take 3rd with 4,3,3,4 over Travis & Jaimee Tuft who were 4th with 3,4,4,3. We thought Nick & Viktorija had a sensational night and were not at all surprised with their improvement in position. In fact we were not surprised either by the 2 first places awarded to them by judge, Toni Redpath. 5th spot went to Mickolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko 5,5,5,5, who are another couple that must surely be close to a breakthrough result. Closing this truly great final were David & Natalie Shulz 6,6,6,6. This was a strong placement for David & Natalie as this 6th place in the final was hotly contested. Among others we noted in the semifinal were Nikolai Pillipenchuk & Natalia Skorikova, Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft and Sergey Shapoval & Ania Tarnowska. The stage is certainly set for quite a showdown at the US Championships this week.
Bob Long will have the full report on this championship in Dance Beat soon.
Although not a world championship, the Pro Latin was a WDC World Ranking event, as was the Ballroom the day before and it certainly attracted some of the world’s best including the current WDC World Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko from New York. Riccardo & Yulia had little trouble taking this event losing only 2 first place marks from a total of 75. During the first round Riccardo aggravated and injury to his leg and left the floor during the paso doble, the audience let out a gasp, but they were back for the jive and danced the rest of the competition apparently without problems.
Both of those 1st places not awarded to the winners were given to the runners-up, Stefano DiFillipo & Dasha (USA). Sammy Stopford placed them 1st in rumba and Richard Porter in jive. Stefano & Dasha easily secured 2nd place in all 5 dances and we at Dance Beat really enjoyed their performance today. 3rd in all dances went to Mirko Rissi & Maria Ermatchkova (England). Since turning professional this duo seem to have acquired a new lease on life – for us their performance level and zest have quadrupled. They had the majority of “3rd or better” scores in all dances except the paso doble. Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina took 4th in all dances. In paso doble they had 7 third place marks (1 less than the majority) so were unlucky not to place 3rd in that dance. 5th in all dances fell to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk (Ukraine). They received mostly 4th, 5th and 6th places marks but did receive 5 second places from judge, Donnie Burns MBE. Kamil Studenny & Anna Pellypenko (Canada) took 6th place 6,6,6,6,6. This was a terrific competition although a few of the USA’s leading contenders were not present – perhaps saving their strength for the upcoming US National Championship. Sergey Ryupin will comment on this division for Dance Beat soon.
The two supporting events tonight were both in the ballroom style. The under 21 and over 35 – I guess if you were aged 21 to 34 you just had to sit down tonight! England took the U/21 in a close contest. Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko won the event 1,2,1,1,2. 2nd went to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski (NY) 2,1,2,2,1 and 3rd to William Stansbury & Jenny Sokolsky (CA) 3,3,3,3,3.
In the O/35 Zingmin & Katerina Lu (NY) were the winners.
Embassy at Work!
The Embassy Ballroom Championships continues to be at work this weekend hosting and conducting some of the best international events in the USA today.
Last night in the Open Amateur Latin more than half the final was from outside the USA, there were also some couples in the professional Ballrooms and of course we had the NDCA Professional World Rhythm Championship.
The Professional Ballroom and the Open Amateur Latin had the most attendance. The Ballroom was excellent with what we will discribe as a fantastic, unconventional performance by Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva. At first we thought that it was Victor’s home turf (California) causing all the audience to keep cheering them on, but as we got drawn to their performance we realized that it was the content of their performance that was making people rise out of their seats. We must tip our hats to this world renowned couple - their artistry last night along with their “out of nowhere,” unconventional maneuvers will keep us motivated for a very long time and yes, for those questioning our opinion at the moment - Ballroom can be astronomically fun. Victor & Anastasia took second in all dances but did manage to grab a few first places in a few dances. (2 firsts in the tango and the quickstep from Toni Readpath, and one first in the quickstep from Alan Dixon.) Their worst mark was a third in the waltz and this came from Massimo Giorgianni from Italy.
The unmistakably winners from the judges’ perspective in this event, gave us what we can only describe as their trademark perfection from beginning to end, earning them perfect scores from all the judges in both the waltzes, and the majority of first from all the judges in the rest of the dances. The Embassy Ballroom Champions continue to be the incomparable Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova’s with first in all dances. It was such a pleasure to see this two great couples of the Ballroom style go head to head in a Ballroom arena, the Californian audience and we who were there are so lucky to witness this wonderful encounter.
From what we just mentioned you would have thought that only these two couples made a splash at the Embassy, but this is not the case the rest of the final was perhaps one of the best the world can offer. Third in this spectacular heat went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk who were the only other couple other than Victor & Anastasia to take a first place mark away from Arunas & Katusha - in the foxtrot. Marat & Alina were third in every dance.
Fourth in this excellent final went to Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva and as you will see the judges were not quite so sure from here down 6,4,6,5,4. And in a “rule 11” decision fifth place went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova 4,6,4,6,5. Last in this parade of stars was awarded to Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. It is important to note that Mikhail & Olga were placed sixth only in the quickstep the rest of the dances they placed fifth or better 5,5,5,4,6, here again this placement was sorted by a “rule 10” and for those that want to know what rules 10 and 11 are, as Mr. John DePalma says, “read the manual.”
We thought that there were some excellent couples left out of this final but they were good enough to be there and with a little more confidence they could easily challenge.
The Professional Ballroom was not the only international professional event here at the Embassy last night, the NDCA World Professional Rhythm Championship was also a feature event here last night. The panel of judges was filled with world-renowned adjudicators, we counted at least seven judges from outside the USA out of 15. It was unfortunate that some of our best Rhythm couples were not present. It is quite a rare occasion to have such a distinguish panel of foreign judges added to the equation, you would have thought this to be a great opportunity for advancement. Nevertheless, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, second in command at last year’s USDC but the defending World Champoions, won every dance with a majority of firsts from the judges. There were some odd marks for Emmanuel & Liana - a number of fourths and thirds were awarded to them. Their worst judge was Richard Porter from England who awarded them 3 fourths, and he was joined by another English legend, Hazel Fletcher who awarded them 2 third place marks and a second.
Second in this NDCA World Rhythm event wen to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and they placed second in four dances and third in the mambo. Alexandra sported a beautiful tight fitting black short dress for the final and her loose hair gave her a carefree appearance, totally sexy! We are not sure about the loose hair though. Maybe it was Alexandra’s loose flowing hair but they too shared in some of those interesting marks from the judges. Here Donnie Burns MBE, President of the WDC, awarded them four sixth place marks and one fifth, not far behind Richard Porter awarded them four 5th place marks and a fourth, they also manage to take a number of firsts from Emmanuel & Liane, two in the rumba, two in the swing and three in the bolero.
Third place in this World Rhythm went to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova, here they placed third in every dance but the mambo where they took second overall. This was Richard Porter’s favorite couple he awarded them first in every dance but in the cha cha were he place them 2nd. Fourth wen to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov and they placed fifth in the cha cha and fourth in the other four dances. New on the Rhythm scene Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti were fifth overall 4,5,5,6,6 and sixth was awarded to Sergei Shapoval & Ania Tarnowska who we had a hard time recognizing in the earlier rounds. They sported and outfit that was quite busy and made them both unrecognizable till the final, once here they placed sixth in three dances and fifth in the bolero and mambo. In case anyone is wondering or questioning, the US National Anthem was played at the start of the competition with all couples on the floor as all couples were from USA.
The Amateur Latin was a fantastic addition to this night of shining stars. WDC World Amateur Latin Champions, Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova from Denmark placed first in every dance and took the Embassy trophy home. Troels & Ina won with a huge majority of firsts from the diverse judging panel, but here it was time for the US Judges to hit back. Ronald Montez delivered the hardest punch awarding them three sixth place marks and a fifth in the cha cha and fourth in the samba. They got also some seconds, these came mainly from our Canadian neighbor, Aigars Stolcers who gave them second in every dance. Their worst dance according to the judges was the jive where even Shirley Ballas awarded them a third. Second in all dances was awarded to Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina from USA, who were Aigars’s favorite, he awarded them all firsts but in the samba where he placed them third. Third was also taken by Demark, but this time by Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva and here they placed third in every dance.
Slovenia’s Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts took the fourth overall and fifth in the rumba. Yes, there were many US couples in this heat and two more in the final. Pasha Pashkov & Daniela Karagach who took that fourth place mark in the rumba from Denmark and who placed overall fifth was one of them. The sixth place in this heat also went to the USA this time to Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina and they took sixth in every dance. To our neighbors up north wondering if there were any Canadian couples in this excellent heat, yes plenty but none made the final.
As we mentioned earlier, the US National Anthem was played a number of times in the late afternoon fro the NDCA World Pro/Am Latin Championships. One of those times for the “A” division and Cheyenne Murillo dancing with Sasha Altukhov. They won the “A” by placing first in all dances. Cheyenne won with the majority of firsts in all dances, but here too some of the judges had the “low mark fever.” On this occasion Robert Long awarded her a 6th in the samba. Second in the “A” went to Vera Xu w/Jakub Zeglen 6,2,2,2,2, and you can see how indecisive the panel was by the sixth in the cha. Third was Michael Roberts w/Milana Pliner 3,4,3,3,4. Fourth in this excellent final wen to Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada 2,5,5,5,3, fifth was Emily Takhtarov w/Evgeny Dyachenko 4,3,4,6,5, and sixth in this heat went to Grace Kuan w/Evgeny likhachev 5,6,6,4,6.
The “B” NDCA World Pro/Am Latin for us was very strong in numbers and in quality. The final was quite hard-fought but in the end it all went to Russia and to Svetlanta Mukhametshina dancing with Alexander Chesnokov. Here they placed first in four dances and second on the jive. We must point out that Svetlanta only won two dances with the majority of firsts, the cha cha and the samba, in the other three dances she only managed to capture 3 out of 7. Second overall went to Tina Broccole w/Delian Terziev. She won the jive and placed second in the C,S,P but an unlucky third in the rumba sealed her fate. Robert Long was her worst judge awarding her three fifth place marks. Third went to Rhonda Lee w/Daniel Gozzi 3,3,2,4,3, fourth was awarded to Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas 4,4,4,5,5, fifth was Sabrina Strasser from Canada who also competed in the “A” with Stanishlav Kochergin 5,5,5,3,4, this most have been a tough venture for Sabrina doing this competition with so many heats you have to really be in top shape and for us she is. Sixth in the “B” division went to Loan Lam w/Nikolay Voronovich and they placed sixth in every dance.
The “C” NDCA World Pro/Am Champion was Arlene Yu dancing with Nikolai Shpakov she took first in three dances, second in the jive and third in the cha cha. We must mention that Arlene only managed to win the rumba with the majority of firsts from the judges. Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski placed second overall. She won the jive, placed second on the cha cha, samba and third in the other two dances. Lisa tied for third in the rumba not with the Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen who was third but with Rhonda Lynch w/Stephen McCann who was fourth overall. Suzanne’s marks for her third place finish were 1,3,2,2,4 and Rhonda’s marks were 4,5,3T,5,3. As you can appreciate the judges were all over the place on this one, even in the fifth place finish that was awarded to Tammy Knight w/Oleksii Lytvyn it was a bit crazy 5,4,5,4,6. Sixth was Joan Goddard w/Chris Johnston and they placed sixth in every dance but the jive where they placed fifth.
The Senior Pro/Am World Latin was also an excellent heat, here Teryl Anderson w/Marcus Johnston was first but not in every dance, in the jive they took second. Susan Sosin w/Roberto Cavallo was second in three dances and third in the jive. As you can see the Senior was a four dance Championship without the paso doble. Third was delivered to Michaela Puno w/Slava Sergiev 3,3,3,1, as you can appreciate Michaela won the jive. From here down the judges taste for marking up and down settled a bit and fourth went to Penelope Parmes w/Mikail Watkins and they took fourth in every dance, fifth in every dance was Jane Carrus w/Edgar Osorio, sixth wen to Katie Braun w/Alexander Andreev 6,7,6,6, and seventh was awarded to Ilona Abraham w/Vadim Lyubushkin 7,6,7,7.
World Championships were also held in the pro-am junior categories and attracted strong entries. THe winners were: Daniel Novikov w/ Alla Novikova (PT); Ashley Mattingly w/ Cristiano Calegari (J); Sam Burekovich w/ Natia Kuprava (Y).
The NDCA World Amateur Smooth Title was awarded for the first time this year and it was won by Charlie Roberts & Emily Kapral
The Embassy Ball hosts the US National Formation Championships in Ballroom and Latin and this year the BYU Team won both titles as they have done for as long as the event has been run. At the conclusion of the awards it was announced that Lee & Linda Wakefield will be stepping down this year as trainers of the team. What a run they have had!
Also this evening long time sponsor of dancesport throughout the USA, Josie Lee was inducted into the NDCA Hall of Fame. The presentation was made by Brian McDonald, President of the NDCA.
As you can see it, was a busy and hard tasking day for the Embassy Ballroom Championships, but as always they continue to deliver great quality to the ballroom world.
An International Flair at Embassy
As the Ballroom section of the NDCA Pro-Am World Championships brought a more international flair to the proceedings with several competitors from overseas contributing to the mix.
In the final tally, the 4 winners in the open categories came from 3 countries, USA, Canada and Italy.
Beginning with the A division. The winners was Elisa Dalia Vecchia w/ Ruedeger Homm representing Italy. Elisa placed 1,2,1,1,1. In the dances she won, Elisa had the majority of 1st place scores and we felt she offered the best overall package of the final. Taking 2nd but winning the tango (also with a majority of 1st places) was Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa. You will note that these two ladies were also 1st and 2nd in the Smooth, but the result was reversed. With 4,3,4,3,3, Jenny Kalish w/ Rafael Sabato. We liked her dancing and judge, Taliat Tarsinov awarded were 2 first placements. 4th spot fell Jacob Tsai w/ Iveta Pauryte-Faraci 3,4,3,4,4; 5th to Vinnie Miller w/ Anton Koukareko 5,5,5,5,6; 6th to Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Faraci 6,6,6,6,5.
Celai Chou w/ Erminio Stefano (USA) won the highly contested B division. Celia received the majority of 1st places in all dances except the VW, although she received all 7 first place marks in QS. Runner-up today went to Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet. Beverly was easily 2nd in all dances, but surprisingly to us, she did not receive many 1st place scores. Taking all the 3’s was Lilly Chang w/ Sergei Kiselev. The judges were split on Lilly’s performance with some marking her in the bottom half of the final, but the majority placing her in the top 3. We agreed with the majority! 5,5,4,4,4 gave Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev the 4th place. 5th fell to Lengzi Gao w/ Kamil Urbanik 6,4,5,5,5. This is lady we were certainly considering for a top 3 placement! 6th was Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein 4,6,6,6,6 and 7th went to Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo.
The C was the largest of the divisions with 35 entries, the event danced over 4 rounds. The winner of this marathon was Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk (USA) who placed 1,2,1,1,1. The scoring in this final was very erratic – the judges were quite at odds. Lynn fared the best but did not have the majority of 1st places in any dance. In fact she won the foxtrot without receiving a 1st place from any judge. Nevertheless, this lady has made great improvement in this style – congratulations! 2nd place went to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski who was 2nd in 4 dances and won tango. Lisa has also made al lot of progress in this style. With 3,3,4,5,4 Connie Edmonds w/ Emanuele Pacchini took 3rd. 4th went to Jill Bradford w/ Gert Roslender 4,4,5,4,3. That left 2 couples, both of which we felt could have placed in the top half of the final. 5th went to Hye Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva 5,5,3,3,5 and 6th to Hans Stork w/ Inna Berlizyeva 6,6,6,6,6. Both of these unlucky couples received some 1st places.
Canada took the Open Senior - Margaret Loo w/ Joel Marasigan placed 2,1,1,1,1. The runner-up today was Susan Walter w/ Emanuele Pacchini 3,2,2,2. The winner of the waltz placed 3rd overall 1,3,3,4, and that was Yumiko Nakagawa w/ Robert Nemiro. 4th was Takako Trenholm w/ Valdas Padriezas; 5th Noriko Ide w/ Dariusz Michalski and 6th Gail Sherman w/ Slava Stefanov.
There was some good competition in the pro-am junior and youth divisions. Lisa Dubinsky w/ Ronen Zinshtein won the Junior and Jacob Tsai w/ Iveta Pauryte-Faraci won the Youth
The pro-am world championship divisions closed the afternoon session. The main event of the evening was the Open Amateur Ballroom Championship, danced over 4 rounds. Andres & Veronika End continued their US victory tour with an easy win here taking all dances with a huge majority of 1st places. 2nd went to Canada, the new partnership of James Cutler & Virginie Primeau placed 2,2,2,5,2. From 2nd to 7th the couples had rather mixed scores from the judges. 3rd place fell to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhitarova 3,3,3,2,3; 4th to Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko (England) 4,5,4,3,4; 5th Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Savenko 5,6,5,6,5; 6th Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov 6,4,7,4,7; 7th Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova 7,7,6,7,6. Watch out for Igor Litvinov’s report in Dance Beat soon.
Two strong Pro Rising Star events were also featured. The winners of the Smooth were Kyle & Allie Spinder 1,1,1,1. 2nd went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 2,2,2,2 and 3rd to Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 3,4,3,3.
Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova won all dances in the RS Latin. Jake Davies & Alyona Kalenina (England) were 2nd 2,4,3,2,2 and Pavel Balykin & Meagen Mendoza were 3rd 4,2,4,4,3.
Only 2 couples contested the Pro Cabaret. Travis & Jamie Tuft were the winners over Ivan Berkovic & Dena Anne Weiner.
One other feature event was the U/21 Latin. Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakotos-Hayward (Canada) won all dances. Taking 2nd, and from the Ukraine, were Maksym Bodnar & Yelzaveta Vnuchkova, 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd were Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo 3,3,3,5,3.
Two achievement awards are customarily presented at Embassy Ball. This year the John Ford & Marguerite Hanlon Award was presented to Michael Chapman. Michael was unable to attend, so the award was accepted on his behalf by Rufus Dustin. The Bill & Bobbie Irvine Award was given this year to Sammy Stopford.
A North American Draw!
Last night along with 2 renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner,” we also heard “Oh Canada” playing twice during the NDCA Pro-Am World Championships.
All the divisions were excellent so let’s look at them in order. Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa won all dances in the A division and for us this lady is unchallenged in this category at the present time. However, even though Melonie won all dances with a majority of 1st places she did have some judges not as impressed, most notably Hazel Fletcher who placed her 5,2,4,5. 2nd in all dances was Elisa Dalia Vecchia w/ Ruedeger Homm, but she had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in only waltz and in a vagary of the Skating System, Elisa received only one 2nd in foxtrot while still taking 2nd in that dance. With 4,3,3,3, Christina Diaz w/ Kris Suakjian was 3rd, judge Hazel Fletcher awarded her all 1st places. Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin was 4th 3,4,4,4, Liora Paniz w/ Leonid Burlo 5th in all dances, Elena Eroshin w/ Daniel Vasco 6th in all and Joel Jimenez w/ Lisa Cristiani Brown 7th.
The first of the Canadian victories came in the B Division as Joanne Smith w/ Sharon Levit took the competition 1,2,1,1, but it was a tight race with no competitor receiving the majority of 1st places in any dance and several sharing the 1st places. 2nd with 2,1,2,2 was Susan Sidman w/ Gleb Makarov and 3rd, Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo 4,3,3,3. The whole final was closely scored by the judges. Sheila Davis w/ Sergey Barsukov was 4th 3,4,4,4; Kako Matumoto w/ Dave Hannigan took 5th 6,5,6,5 and Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki was 6th 5,6,5,6.
Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet was back on top in the C Division to score Canada’s 2nd victory of the night, but it wasn’t a clean sweep, Beverly placed 2,2,1,1, with the majority of 1st places in the VW. Lisa Lowery took the runner’s up spot w/ Radek Wiatrowski. Her scores were 4,1,2,2. Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean was 3rd today with 3,4,3,3. Taking 1st in the waltz, but 3,5,4 in the other dances, Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu was 4th, Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian was 5th 5,6,4,6 and Alla Neyshtadt w/ Erik Pali was 6th 6,5,6,5.
The second US victory was in the Senior division where Michaela Puno w/ Slava Sergiev took the title with 4,2,1,1. This division was the most diversely scored by the judges with almost all couples taking a 1st place in each dance. 2nd went to Doreen Marchack w/ Youriy Pavlov 1,1,2,6; 3rd to Yiru Sethavanish w/ Kris Suakjian 2,4,4,2; 4th to Norio Yamamato w/ Anna Shabazyan 3,3,3,5; 5th to Kathy Boyle w/ Alexander Novikov 5,6,5,3; 6th to Sarah Spindler w/ Eddie Stutts 6,5,6,4; 7th Cher Cunningham w/ Daniel Vasco.
There were two strong Pro Rising Star events danced tonight also. The Ballroom was headed by two new partnerships. The win fell to Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikaliuk 2,1,1,1,1, over Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova 1,2,2,2,2. Oscar Pedreinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took all the 3rds. Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were 4th 4,5,4,4,6; Simeon & Kora Stoynov were 5th 5,4,6,6,4 and Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina were 6th 6,6,5,5,5.
The RS Rhythm was also a strong division, we thought it was close between the top 4 couples, but agreed with the judges that Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov got the better of it. They won all dances in the end. 2nd spot went to recent Rhythm converts Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti, although they scores 2,3,3,3,3. Taking two of those elusive 2nd places were 3rd placed Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov 3,2,2,4,4 and the other 2nds went to 4th placed Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova 4,4,4,2,2. All the 5ths went to Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty; 6th fell to Richard & Marianne Myers 6,6,6,6T,7 and 7th to Martin Barthold & Natalya Bychkova 7,7,7,6T,6.
An upset in form gave the Amateur Masters (+50) Ballroom to John Chen & Jenny Du over Hans & Ans Stork. It was a Rule 11 tie that broke in John & Jenny’s favor.
Last night at the Embassy Ballroom Championships the Star Spangled Banner was played 4 times during the award ceremony for the NDCA World Pro/Am Rhythm Championships. Four US contenders took the honors home.
This was not an unexpected occurrence, the majority of the competitors were from the USA, and right out of hand we only spotted less than a handful from outside the USA. One of the unusual countries participating was Australia, we are sure to get other countries as the weekend continues and the international style categories draw more participation.
Out of the 4 main Rhythm NDCA Pro/Am World Championships, the C, B, and senior were the most populated with a semifinal round in each. The “A” was nearly nonexistant with only two couples participating. As you can see although there were no major rounds to these championships the competitions were still of good caliber and the competitors had a good fight for top placement.
In the “C” category Lisa Lowery partnered by Radek Wiatrowski won all five dances but not all with the majority of firsts. Lisa had a majority of firsts in the cha and rumba, but in the other three dances she only manage to get 4 out of the nine firsts that could be awarded by the judges. When looking at the marks Lisa was given quite a collection of marks down to even a sixth in the mambo from Aigars Stolcers from Canada who was perhaps her worst judge on this panel.
Joan Goddard w/Chris Johnston took second in every dance overall and did manage a number of firsts including three in the rumba and three in the swing. Joan too managed to acquire a few sixes but for her they came from Ronald Montez and Toni Redpath who both awarded her two sixes each. From second down as you will see things got a little murkier Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu were third overall but not in every dance 5,4,3,3,3. Quin Bommelje w/Misha Vlasov took fourth 3,3,4,4,5. Renee Kuwahara w/Ilya Reyzin placed overall fifth 4,6,5,5,4, and to show you how varied this panel of judges were in their marks, Renee was the recipient of three first place marks form Aigars Stolcers from Canada. Last but not least in sixth position was Sally Bard w/Steve Vasco 6,5,6,6,6.
The “B” was also an excellent event and here Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov became the NDCA World Rhythm “B” Champion by winning four dances out of five. Susan took three dances with a majority of firsts, and in the swing she took four out of nine firsts and won. However, in the bolero although Susan took the same amount of firsts (4) she was still second because Shelia Davis dancing with Sergey Barsukov managed to get the majority of firsts in this dance. Overall Shelia Davis placed second and in all dances but the bolero were as we said she had the majority of firsts and was first.
Third in this NDCA Worlds was awarded to Jacqueline Bequette w/Daniel Lee Tran 3,3,3,4,5. Fourth went to Cindy Wang w/Steve Vasco 4,4,5,3,6. In fifth position was Donna Sparano w/Evgeny Dyachenko 5,6,4,5,4, and in sixth place was M’Balia Tagoe w/Mariusz Zakrzewski 6,5,6,6,3.
Out of such wonderful talent we have seen all year around at Manhattan, Wisconsin State, Empire and even NV Ball, it was a little sad to only have two couples entered the NDCA World Pro/Am Rhythm “A” category, however although this was a small heat it was still a mighty competition with two excellent ladies going head to head. Nadia Kireyko who has turned from a junior to an incredible, highly skilled and talented lady won the category but not every dance. Nadia placed second in the cha partnered by her teacher, Daniel Vasco. Well knownn competitor Chasity dancing with renowned Rhythm dancer Eddie Ares took first in the cha cha and second in the other four dancing giving them second overall.
The NDCA World Pro/Am Senior division was also well attended with excellent ladies and certainly worth a mention. Quin Bommelje who placed fourth in the “C” division now won the Senior by placing first in all dances. Yiru Sethavanish w/Kris Suakjian placed second overall 2,2,3,2,3, and Sarah Spindler w/Eddie Stutts was third 4,3,2,3,2. The last three ladies in this final were also terrific and they were Cher Cunningham dancing with Daniel Vasco who placed fourth 3,4,4,4,4, Penelope Parmes w/Mikal Watkins took fifth in all dances and sixth was awarded to Ruby Yap w/Felipe Telona Jr.
As rumors had it, the now “Hotel Irvine” (formerly the Hyatt Regency) has ongoing renovations but arrangements have been made so that you can still enjoy a good meal as well as a fun time at the bar, now located in the lobby, for a nightcap if you wish following the competition. The hotel staff have been great and nothing has been missed, even a temporary gym has been set up.
Today we concentrate on the Smooth divisions and we are sure the NDCA World Championships are going to be great as usual.
Capital Comes to a Close!
Yesterday the Capital Dancesport Championships came to a close and as usual the evening session was dedicated to the open professional events.
Out of the four styles the Smooth had the most punch with 6 very promising couples in the final. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu were the best and the judges awarded them first in all dances and they won with a majority of first places in every dance. Peter & Alexandra only received a handful of second and third places. The most noticeable were Pat Traymore and Diana McDonald, the only judges to award them a third place, Pat in the VW, and Dianna in the tango.
Second in this excellent heat, in all dances, went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, but when looking at the marks they had a lot of variety. Their worst judge was Linda Dean who awarded them three fifths and a fourth in the tango. Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko were third in all dances and here too there was a variety of numbers. Their worst marks came from Glenis Dee-Creger - 2 5th one 4th and a 6th in the waltz. Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidjova were fourth overall but not in all dances they placed 5th in the foxtrot. Nickolay Pilipenchuk & Natalia Skorikova were fifth 5,5,4,5, and Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 6th in all dances.
The Professional Rhythm was also a well attended heat with a healthy quarter-final and here Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed first in every dance with a near perfect run, just a total of 3 scores that were not 1st. Ivan & Marieta Dishliev placed second overall and in all dances but here their marks were a little more varied and Diana McDonald thought they should be last in every dance. Third was awarded to Shane & Shannon Jensen and their best marks came from Nick Short who thought they should win the cha cha and had them second in all the other dances. From this point on, the couples had to share placements in some of the dances. Shandor Shtefil & Alekandra Barsukov were 4th overall but took fifth in the cha cha. Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti placed 5th overall but took a 4th in the cha cha, and 6th in every dance went to Erwin & Iwona Rybcynski.
The Open Latin was a nice event and that went easily to Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte who placed first in every dance with the majority of firsts in every dance. Second was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who placed 2nd in four dances and 4th in the rumba. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova took 3rd 4,4,2,3,3. 4th place overall was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova 3,3,3,4,4. 5th went to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and they took 5th in every dance and 6th were Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina.
The Ballroom was also a significant event and here Alexander Volskalchuk & Veronika Egora placed 1st in every dance, but they only managed to get the majority of firsts in the tango. The rest of the dances they won with 4th or better. Second in this competition went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova who placed second overall in every dance and third was awarded to Nazar Batih & Marico Cantley 3,4,4,33. During this final the foxtrot as in many of this summer competitions was dedicated in the memory of Brian Puttock, his wife Sue was present and judging the event during the dedication, everyone gave a standing ovation during the dedication. Fourth in this seven couple final was awarded to Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena 4,3,5,5,4, fifth went to Iaroslar Beiliei & Olga Tsikalyuk 5,5,3,4,5, sixth was Samuele Pacchini & Ana Oblakova 7,6,6,6,6, and in seventh position were Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 6,7,7,7,7.
It was a pro/am Ballroom day beginning at 7:00AM. The Open Scholarships were pretty good and following the pattern here at Capital, the C division was the largest beginning with a semifinal. Taking 1st in this was Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 1,2,1,1,1. We thought Beatrice danced great today - everything went just right. 2nd overall fell to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 2,1,3,2,3 and 3rd to Paige Riffle w/ Iaroslav Bieliel 3,3,2,3,2 - this was the first time we have seen Paige with this new professional.
The B divisions began with a semifinal and Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won the day, taking all dances. 2nd went to Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico 2,3,3,2,2 and 3rd to Yanina Kisler w/ Peter Walker 3,2,2,3,3. We felt Yanina a little unlucky today as attires she looked very strong today.
The A division was again a straight final and was won by a gentleman, Andrey Privda w/ Olga Chekhova. This young man certainly has a lot of potential. He placed 1,1,2,2,1 today. Taking 2nd was Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) 2,2,1,1,2 and 3rd was Jana Hester w/ Dmitry Savchenko 3,3,3,3,3.
As customary at the conclusion of the Capital Dancesport Championships a showcase of many who performed during the weekend took place. The “Show” is put together by Wendy Johnson and a parade of couples get up to do their thing. There were quite a few eye-catching numbers this year and in particular catching our eye were the “wearing different hats” by Mr. Louis Bar was quite humorous and kept everyone in stiches from beginning to end. Penelope Rostad with teacher Nikolai Karchev did a wonderful exhibition featuring some lifts and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were devilish with their cute swing. Travis & Jaimee Tuft and Shane & Shannon Jensen did a spectacular duo with some excellent floor and lift work and they closed the show. It was so interesting that we suggested to start a two couple category group number competition. There were plenty more but these few caught our imagination.
The after party was a lavish breakfast affair with about four stations so everyone that needed a little food could enjoy, the only complaint is that in Virginia they must stop serving liquor at 1AM and so everyone rushing to the bar were quite disappointed not to be able to have a cocktail before bedtime.
Overall the Capital Dancesport was a tremendous success and as usual it ran like a tight ship with no difficulties and with great class. Congratualtions to John & Marianne DePalma for another terrific year.
Pro Cabaret Ends Marathon Day at Capital
5 great couples contested an excellent Cabaret division at the end of a long day yesterday. The event went on around midnight, but the couples were in good form and gave us 5 very different routines.
Shane & Shannon Jensen continued their winning form taking the division with their new number. We thought it looked just a little uneasy in places, but the level of difficulty in the adagio work is very high. Runners-up were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who produce a more typically “theatrical ballroom” presentation. We thought they were very secure tonight. 3rd went to the acrobatic prowess of Jugie Zamora & Sheena Damimar. Again good lifts but a few wobbles here and there. 4th and 5th went to “showdance” style routines that were also very accomplished. Vincnzo Minieri & Rosaria Virone were 4th and Manuel Trillo & Anastasia Zhitova were 5th.
Overall it was a great night for Shane & Shannon as they also won all 5 dances in the RS Rhythm to take that division. 2nd went to Riccardo Pappi & Tina Moretti in their first competition in this style. They are the latest Latin duo to make the switch. This was a good start. They placed 2,2,2,3,2. 3rd were Erwin & Iwona Rybcznska 3,3,3,2,5. This division began with a quarter-final.
In the RS Smooth, that also started with a quarter-final, Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova won all dances with little challenge in our view. We also liked runners-up Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and the judges concurred, giving them 2nd in all 4 dances. The new partnership of Morten Jensen & Ashley Mayer took 3rd 3,3,3,4 and certainly showed promise.
The pro-ams contended with 2 styles today – Smooth and Latin. Of the two we felt the Open Smooth Scholarships had the edge over the Latin.
The A was the smallest, a straight final. The winner was Jessica Spink w/ Peter Walker 1,1,2,1. We liked Jessica’s dancing, especially her closed work. 2nd went to Sara Jess w/ Thomas Mielnicki 2,2,1,2, Sara has great floor presence and soft interpretation, but perhaps needs more consistency in technique. 3rd was Samanta Rico w/ Morten Jensen 3,3,3,3.
Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu won all dances in the B Division and looked the strongest to us also. Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston took 2nd 2T,2,2,2 ad Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was 3rd 2T,3,3,3.
In the largest division, the C, Robin Kencel w/ Sergey Vasilyev won all dances and was clearly ahead of the field we felt. 2nd went to Aviva Adler w/ Victor Russu 2,2,2,4. Aviva shows improvement all the time. 3rd in all dances went to Charlotte Carey w/ Kostadin Bidjourov.
In the Latin the A was once again the smallest division and it went to Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinadko 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd was Cynthia Hwang w/ Marek Gabor 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd, Sherry Chen w/ Sergey Izyumov 3,3,3,3,3.
The B division gave us the toughest race for the win but it went to Lorraine Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline 1,2,1,1,2 over Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich 2,1,2,2,1. We might have called it the other way, but Lorraine has made great strides and certainly there is no argument over her win. 3rd was Anna Poberetsky w/ Andre Strinadko 3,3,3,3,3.
Suzanne Saperstein w/ Ricky Bentzen won all dances in the C Division. Jeanie LaFavor w/ Mariusz Olszewska was 2nd 2,3,2,2,2 and 3rd was Vicki Gorder w/ Andre Strinadko 3,2,3,3,4.
Organizer, John DePalma, took time from his pressing organizer duties to participate in the latest craze of dumping a bucket of iced water over your head. He, Dan Messenger and Mark Weiss took the challenge!!
Short but Sweet!
Last night at Capital Dancesport Championships the night session was short but sweet, filled with excellent dancing. The Rising Star Professional Latin and Ballroom were the featured events as well as some terrific Open Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships.
Out of the two professional events the Latin was possibly the best with a healthy semifinal round. There were no superstars that grabbed your attention but the quality of the dancing was terrific. Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina from California won all dances and Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina from England were second. Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie placed third in every dance, Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Virone took all fourths. Tomas Vasicek & Kimberly Harris were fifth and Jungie Zamora & Sheena Damiar, sixth.
The Ballroom was a six-couple final and the win went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova, they won all dances. Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were second in four dances and placed third in the foxtrot. Second in the foxtrot and third in the other four dances went to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina.
Two very capable couples entered the rare Professional Compulsory Theater Arts. This competition I think only takes place here at Capital and at the USDC. The winner was Shane & Shannon Jensen and second went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft. After the event was run there was an issue about the music. Apparently the music has been changed a number of times on the website and so one of the couples had been rehearsing to a different recording. This possibly presented a problem. We think it was a few seconds longer or shorter. It was not a big issue both couples looked wonderful and ready and had it not been brought up to the attention of the chair by one of the judges, nobody would have known that the song came up too short for one of the couples. However, the couples were fine for the moment and we proceeded with the award. Hope the issue gets clarified before the US Nationals in a week.
The Professional Basics divisions, sponsored by DIVIDA, were not as well attended. The Rhythm had the most couples, 4, and they were all quite proficient at the skill. Nazar Norov & Irina Krudyashova were first in all dances, Shane & Shannon Jensen placed second and third went to Jeffrey Goltiao & Katt Baumgartner (3,3,3,4,4). Thse last two were the only couple entered in the Smooth Basics. Finally fourth was awarded to Rex & Rachel Jones.
The Open Rhythm Scholarships were also good and here the “A” Was won by Viktoria Tvreskaya w/Ilya Reyzin. This lady was great! We are sure that she will do quite well at Nationals. The “B” was taken by Kathy Howell w/Martin Cawston and the “C” went to Penelope Rostad w/Nikolay Karchev.
The fashion show by Dore was a success. Many at the bar were quite impressed by the collection. Alexandra Perzhu openned the runway and it was a good intermission between the two professional events while couples made some costume changes.
Last night at the NV!
The last day at the NV Ball was a combination of Ballroom and Latin. The day started promptly at 7AM with the Ballroom categories and without a break carried on to 7PM finishing up with the Latin competitions. The evening session was packed with spectators all coming to see the professional and amateur competitions. Their feature events this night were the Professional Smooth, Latin and Theater Arts/Showdance, along with the Amateur Ballroom. All competitions were solid with semifinals being run in almost all the events.
Out of the three professional events the Professional Smooth had the most punch for us, there were at least four very strong couples with different styles and presentation. The overall winners were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who won all dances and who could not be missed from the start. They seem to be getting more confident and more relaxed on the floor showcasing a carefree style. Second was awarded to Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko and they took second in all dances. Mikolay & Victoria have a very playful look, going from the very dramatic to some very interesting and difficult combinations. Third was Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft who took third in all dances. Here we thought their style was very clean with no missteps, but unfortunately for them, to challenge the top they will have to venture out a little more and like the two on top develop their own signature moves. Fourth in this excellent group of finalists were Kyle & Allie Spinder who took fourth in all dances. This couple is fierce they are super trained and do not miss a beat, it would be hard to leave them out. However, here again I think they to need to explore other possibilities in the style. Fifth in all were Maksin Leonov & Kristina Kudelko and sixth was awarded to Peter Hahn & Jude Coraldi.
The Latin final had six very strong couples but in the end Italy took the NV home by winning all dances, Emanuele Soldi & Elisa Nasato placed first in all dances and from the start they showed us a star quality that could not be ignored. Second went to Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova they took second in three dances and third in the paso and fourth in the jive, you can tell that from here down the judges were not too sure of the couples and so the marks were very varied. Third was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova, they took third in four dances and second in the Paso. Fourth was Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina who placed fourth in four dances and fifth in the jive, fifth wen to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who must have been pleasantly surprised to place second in the jive but unfortunately fifth in the other four dances. Sixth place in all dances were Vinsenzo Miniri & Rosaria Vivone.
The Professional Theatre Arts/Showdance was also run this evening and here Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Vivone took first, Kyle & Allie Spinder took second and Ivan Berkovic & Dena Anna Weiner placed third. Artemi Okunev & Yulia Dragina were fourth, Guo Xiuhua & Lu Deng from China were fifth and Stas Chelnakoff & Tasiia Babluk from Moldova were sixth.
The Open Amateur Ballroom was also an excellent competition and here as expected Andres & Veronika End took first in all dances. Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova were second and third were James Cutler & Virginie Primeau from Canada. Jonathan Bailey & Hannah Augustine-Bailey were fourth, Casey & Kayci Treu were fifth and Dan Maneau & Mia Hu placed sixth.
The Open Amateur American Rhythm was not as well attended as the Smooth the night before here we only had two couples and Mike & Jeravae Christensen won all dances leaving second place to Mahdi & Lisa Betts-LaCroit.
The evening concluded with a fabulous after party that was a complete feast for a king. There were four food-making stations varied from vegetarian, meat lover, pastas and even a wonderful Peking duck station. It was an open bar and everyone ate and danced to the band to their hearts content. The location was a little different than the other after parties, this time it was on the second floor overlooking the beautiful Encore Hotel and pool with access to the a beautiful veranda where many of the guess stepped out for conversation or just for fresh air.
I want to once again congratulate the organizing team for putting such a lavish competition in the sister hotel to the Wynn, the Encore was superb, the suites were fabulous with great views and a relaxing lounge and work area, the spa was out of this world, and the convention facilities very grand. I was also quite impressed at the care and attention all the organizers paid to their patrons from personally giving out the awards and for their terrific support while everyone danced. Their enthusiasm could not just be felt it was heard also and it sure is nice when an organizer becomes a part of the event and not just the face and cash register.
I look forward to many NV Balls and I am sure that in the not to distant future they will become the “NV” of a comp and one that we must all attend.
Great Pro Ballroom at NV
Last night we had a terrific Professional Ballroom competition at the NV Ball in Vegas, Nevada. There was a semifinal round and even then it looked as if it was going to be quite difficult and quite an exciting event.
Victor Fung & Anastasia were present and they of course took first in all dances without a contest or a challenge from any of the other five finalists. The fight was on for second place here between Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova and Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa. For us siting down it was close but for the judges it was not, the judges awarded Mikhail & Olga second place in all five dances leaving Denis & Lesya holding third.
Fourth in this excellent Professional Ballroom heat went to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk and they were awarded fourth in all dances, leaving Richard Tonizzo & Clare Hansen from Canada holding fifth in all dances and in sixth position were Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova. They took sixth in every dance. This was certainly a heat worth waiting for especially after the sad professional heat we witnessed prior to the Ballroom. Hilda Lanza one of the three former organizers of the Nevada Star Ball (Now the NV Ball) presented the award, a perpetual throphy in memory of Brian Puttock who just recently passed, Sue Puttock was invited but unable to attend.
The Professional Rhythm heat was the second to last competition and this too had a semifinal round but it was disappointing to see. Few competitors rose beyond the Rising Star level. The winners, Sergey Shapoval & Ania Tarnoska, won all dances and you could easily spot them from a plane! So to the runners who were also of a reasonable standing, Jim Clark & Tania Chegini, but who to my surprise placed third in three dances and fifth in 2!
The Amateur events were not huge but had great quality. We were totally floored by the Amateur Smooth that had a full semifinal and in the final all couples were of an excellent level and quality. Here the winners were Aaron & Katelyn Holmes who placed fourth in the waltz but won the other three dances. Second went to Alex Taylor & Alayne Wadsworth 1,2,3,3, and third was awarded to Charles Roberts & Emily Kapral 3,3,4,2. From what you can see, past first place, all couples were quite similar in quality and ability and so the judges had a harder time finding a set final.
The Open Amateur Latin was a final but an excellent final as well with at least three finalists at a championship level. Alexey Karaulov & Vlada Semedova won all dances, Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova took all seconds and Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson placed third.
The NV Ball is held in the sister hotel to the Wynn Hotel, the Encore, and like the Wynn it too is a five star hotel. The facilities are amazing including the casino and spa. There are about 10 gourmet restaurants on the property and the ballroom, although a little far to walk to, is grand. The NV after parties have been the talk of all - a full buffet is served nightly for the guests of the NV ball and the set up is fantastic.
I want to congratulate the Rat Pack of Mr. Sodano, Mr. Watson, Mr. Gallker, Mr. Sinkinson & Carmen for putting such a phenomenal event in the heart of Las Vegas Nevada. Today was a full day of Smooth dancing for the pro-ams but tomorrow is the killer day of Ballroom and Latin starting at 7AM. Till tomorrow good night!
NV Las Vegas!
The inauguration for the NV Ball started with a beautiful welcome gala Wednesday night, it was a white glove affair with live music, shows and entertainment. The hosts pulled no punches to make you feel at home. Andrew Sinkinson, Bryan Watson, Carmen, and Hans Galker all danced.
Andre partnered by Charlotte Jorgensen did a foxtrot and a passionate tango. Bryan & Carmen showed us a cha cha and a jive and they were joined by Hans in a very intricate but interesting trio rumba.
It was a cocktail party followed by a four-course meal, and in between a full band lead by our own Brent Milles played for your dancing needs. Mr. Sam Sodano, also part of this NV union, was present and he had a few words to say about the event and in his style plugged the Ohio Star Ball making everyone get a chuckle.
During the gala the majority of the attendees were from outside the United States, down to New Zealand and Australia, Hong Kong had also a huge group, but yesterday on the American style day 90% of the entries were from Nevada, California and a few trickles from around the country.
Today will be a bigger day starting at 8:30AM and that is for the Smooth day, and tonight the pro rising stars and the usual BYU entries. The competition is a good size with way over 5,000 entries. Saturday should be a packed day of Latin and Ballroom - we have not seen any of the dancers that were at the gala perform so I figure it will be then.
The Encore Hotel is superb one of the best on the Vegas strip, the NV after parties have been great with excellent food and friendly atmosphere.
Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis, the current Open British Pro Latin Champions, withdrew from the Pro Latin at the Killick Kalssic last night after dancing only 1 round (of 4 rounds total for the event). Joanna injured her foot and was unable to continue.
Although this was a disappointment, the competition was still one of the best of the year so far and the atmosphere was so highly charged nobody complained about how loud the music was!
Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite (Canada) benefited the most from Michael & Joanna’s withdrawal as they were now clear favorites and won all 5 dances. They gave an absolutely brilliant display of fast-paced and sometimes lighthearted Latin dancing that the audience adored. Maurizio led the finalists in an impromptu jive following the end of the final and even organizers, Paul Killick and Shirley Ballas joined in. Maurizio also led a conga line following his honor dance to close the night!
With 2,2,2,3,2, Mirko Rizzi & Maria Emanchkova (England) took 2nd. Not long out of the amateur ranks, this couple were also on fire tonight. We loved Maria’s tough new look. Taking that 2nd in the paso and 3rd in the other dances were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who also looked confident tonight. Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maiuk (Ukraine) were 4th with 4,4,4,4,6 and right behind them and with a stronger result tonight that some recently, Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaite were 5th 5,6,5,5,6. Closing this great final were Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatlilova 6,5,6,6,5.
Sharing the bill with the Latin was the Pro Smooth and this began with a semifinal. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all 4 dances. Finishing strongly and earning a lo of after event praise at the after-party were Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova, they took 2nd overall with 2,3,2,2. 3rd tonight went to David & Natalie Shulz 3,2,3,3. Vladimir & Vera Kosarev took all the 4ths, Andrei & Elena Rudenko all the 5ths and Vladimir Popov & Anastasia Kazmina all the 6ths.
There was a straight final in the Youth u/21 Latin also and this was dominated by Canada who took the top 2 places. Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward won all dances and Nurlan Galyamov & Jessica Swietonowski took 2nd 3,2,2,2,2. 3rd spot went to Dmytry Dmytrnko & Cheyenne Murilli 2,3,3,3,3.
During the day the pro-ams were in Ballroom mode. The Open Scholarships proved successful for professional Andrea Faraci whose students won 2 divisions and took 2nd in the other. Laura White won the B and Effy Weisfield took the C. Rebecca Kuhn was the runner-up in the A and the win went to Ashley Kruger w/ Misha Vlasov.
Watch out for a full report on the KK coming soon in Dance Beat with individual reports by Corky Ballas and Barbara McColl.
Dancing With The Stars!
To wildly cheering fans, Derek & Marc danced several upbeat routines – Marc performing to a medley of his own music – “Get My Name” and “Miss Incredible.” 3 Miss Incredibles were selected by Marc to receive prizes donated by Vesa Designs. The grand “Miss Incredible” award went to Shiela Davis from Florida.
We were so impressed by the professionalism of these two young men – it was a great interlude that really wowed the audience. Derek & Marc also judged several of the competitions and were joined by fellow DWTS professional, Tony Dovolani who just happened to be in the area.
The highlights of the night were the Open Pro Ballroom and Rhythm and the Open Amateur Latin
The Pro Ballroom was a high quality 8-couple final. The winners easily were Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk who won all dances and received 11 first places out of 13 in all dances except quick step where they received 12. The only judge to place them not first in all dances was Bob Powers who placed them 3,4,3,3,3. The scores for the remaining couples were very mixed. 2nd in all dances and receiving the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances, were Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshe from Canada. But they had the full gamut of judges’ scores down to 8th place. 3rd in 4 dances and 4th in QS – and on a US Tour it seems, were Igor Kobiuk & Lillia Galdiuk from the Ukraine (could we soon be seeing a new import to the USA?). Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were 4th in 4 dances and took the 3rd in QS. Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti were 5th in all: Simeon & Cora Stoynov were 6th 6,7,6,6,6; Pavel Kuzmin & Marsha Khazanova were 7th 7,6,7,77 and Anton & Irina Belev were 8th.
In the Rhythm it was the battle Royal of the Florida superstars, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova and Peter & Alexandra Perzhu. The judges awarded Nazar & Irina their best win too date – giving them all dances with a large majority of 1st places. Peter & Alexandra were 2nd in all dances. In fact it was an “all Florida” final. Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakhova were easily 3rd in all dances. The judges were quite decisive in this division – all couples finished in the same position in all dances. 4th – Shanor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov; 5th – Tams Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurupova; 6th Vicente Martinez & Meagan Murphy.
The Amateur Latin was a highlight for us. The winners were NDCA US Champions, Ferdinando Ianncone & Yulia Musikhina who won all dances with a large majority of 1st places. This was the best we’ve seen them dance in some time. Perhaps they were reacting to the electric atmosphere! (And the great music – giving ourselves a pat on the back !). From Italy Manuel Frighetto & Karin Rooba took 2nd. They placed 2,2,2,3,2. They had the most 2nd better places in all dances but the majority in only 4 but some 4th placements in paso doble allowed 3rd placed, Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach to slip ahead in that dance. They scored 3,3,3,2,3 overall. The remainder of the final finished in the same position in all dances. Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova 4th; Evgeny Raev & Patricya Golak 5th and the final closed with 2 couples from Canada – Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Howard 6th; Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietonowski 7th.
Travis & Jaimee Tuft were very clear winners for us in the Cabaret with their routine, “Return” one of their best we think. 2nd were Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez; 3rd Daniel Erskat & Ahtoy Wonpat-Borja; 4th Paolo & Liene DiLorenzo.
There were also 2 Rising Star divisions, both well-contested, although we felt the Latin was the stronger. Sergiy Barsukov & Maria Sidnjov won the Smooth 1,1,1,1. 2nd Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman 2,2,2,2 and 3rd Andrei & Elena Rudenko 3,3,3,3.
Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova won all dances in the Latin. 2nd went to Ilya Maletin & Polina Majer from Canada 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd Ryan Davies & Tessa Marie 6,4,3,3,3.
It was a VERY busy day for the pro-ams who danced 2 full styles – Smooth and Latin. The Latin, as might be expected here at the KK, was especially strong. In the Open Scholarships (Latin), danced at night the results were:
Open A: 1st Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov; 2nd Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi: 3rd Vera Wei Zu w/ Jacub Zeglin.
Open B: 1st Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev; 2nd Christine Ho w/ Stefan Gulubovic; 3rd Natalia Tomal w/ Maxim Kochura (Moscow)
Open C: 1st Janet Colleran w/ Aleks Nashev; 2nd Lisa Wong w/ Roman Italyankin; 3rd Alice Lekht w/ Ihor Derimov.
The Open Smooth Scholarships took place in the afternoon and the results were:
Open B: 1st Shari Oxman w/ Roman Malkhasyan; 2nd Terry Anderson w/ Olga Bogdanov; 3rd Olga Maslakova w/ Nikoaly Fanagin (Moscow)
Open C: 1st Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin; 2nd Terry Anderson w/ Olga Bogdanov; 3rd John Hansen w/ Michelle Hafle
The KK is OK!
The Killick Klassic is back after missing a year in 2013 – but there have been some changes. Joining the founder, Paul Killick, as a co-organizer this year is Shirley Ballas. Also changed is the venue – this year the event moved to the venerable Boca Raton Hotel, situated on the Intracoastal Waterway in Boca Raton, FL.
This hotel is one of the society fixtures of Palm Beach County and its history dates back to 1926. As you might expect, the fixtures of the hotel are period and that includes the décor of the ballroom. The Killick Klassic has completmented this traditional style with “flowers and feathers.”
Today was really all about Rhythm. The pro-ams danced rhythm all day and concluded the style with the open scholarships in the evening. Also in the Rhythm style, the main event of the night was the Rising Star Rhythm, that began with a semifinal.
Clear winners of the RS in an all-Florida final were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who won all dances. Equally clear with all the 2nds were Tamas Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurupova and with all 3rds Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy.
Included on the judging panel was Shirley’s son Mark Ballas and her “adopted” son Derek Hough – stars of TV’s Dancing With The Stars who are also here for two meet and greet sessions.
The largest of the Open Rhythm Pro-Am Scholarships was in the C Division, beginning with a semifinal and this fell to Dianne Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov 1,1,1,1,2. Dianne has improved dramtically over the past year and her smile is infectious. Another very strong lady, Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 2nd 2,2,2,1. Taking the 3rd spot, Janet Bruttel w/ Michael Neil 4,4,3,3,3.
The B had 5 entries and the winner in all dances was the energetic and enthusiastic Kia Malone w/ Eddie Rivera. 2nd went to Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez 3,2,2,2,2 and 3rd to Laura Paoletti w/ Willem DeVries 2,3,3,3,3.
Kia also won the A division over Lauren Watkins w/ Michael Neil and Vera Gold w/ Shandor Shtefil won the Senior.
Empire Gives 20K!
Last night there was a very happy teacher “Andrea Malleta” who took away $20,000.00 dollars, for being top teacher at the Empire.
The second place walked away with $12,000.00 and third $8,000.00. We think this to be the highest amount paid by a single event in the country today, both the Editor of Dance Beat and staff are thinking on entering next year, that is if we can get anyone to dance with us? Congratulations to this teacher who worked hard and helped make our industry in the USA the very best!
When it came to dancing yesterday at the Empire was Latin day, with all pro/am competition in the Latin categories being run in the morning and afternoon and in the evening the scholarships as well as the feature events the Professional Ballroom and Rhythm. Out of the two feature events the Ballroom was the biggest in size and quality, there was more couples entered with a healthy quarterfinal and the quality of the couples was excellent.
It was basically a walk in the park for Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk from NY, who won all dances in the Open Professional Ballroom with a huge majority of first places. There was off course the odd seconds and even a fourth and a third awarded to them by Tony Dovolani, fourth in waltz and third in tango. In defense of Tony, he did give them two firsts and that was in the foxtrot and quickstep. From here down the scores were a little more varied for the rest of the couples. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blimova place second overall but with a huge variety of marks and not second in every dance as you will see here 4,2,2,3,3. Mikhail & Olga’s worst marks came from the husband and wife team Tony & Amanda Dokman who both placed them seventh in the waltz, and sixth in the other fourth dances.
Third overall in this excellent Ballroom heat went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova 2,4,3,2,5, and as you can see this couple really had a good collection of numbers - not always high numbers but a good variety. In fourth place were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa, possibly our very favorite this night due to their musicality and casual approach to this, very difficult skill and style. Fifth place went to our neighbors from the North, Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch from Canada 5,3,5,5,2. And sixth place overall was taken by Igor Kobiuk & Lillia Gladiuk from Kiev Ukraine the only couple who entered from outside North America and their marks were 6,7,6,6,6. At the Empire the semifinal and final are all done per dance and in the waltz there was a 7-couple final. Included in this final and basically placing 7th overall was Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk, and they too took seventh in the waltz. Linas Korieva will have a full report on this division.
The Rhythm had a healthy semifinal round and in the end for us and the majority of the judges the winner was Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova they placed first in every dance. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashov were second in every dance and Shando Stefil & Aleksandra Barsukov placed third. Fourth down was a different story from here own the marks began to vary. Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were fourth but not in every dance 4,6,4,6,4, fifth went to Jean Michel Erole & Larisa Miknyukova 5,5,5,5,5, Andrey Svirydzenka &Yuliya Zubava were sixth 6,4,6,4,6. There was seven couples called in every dance and in a couple of dances there was eight couples, so seventh place overall was Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 9,8,7,7,8, and eight overall was Ronald & Katie Guillen 7,7,8,8,9.
The Professional Showdance also took place and here the top three were Shane & Shannon Jensen with a brand new routine to “I who have Nothing.” They won. Travis & Jamie Tuft placed second and Kyle & Allie Spinder were third.
The Amateur Latin also began as a quarter-final and brought out most of the north east's top amateur couples, plus the current NDCA US Champions, Ferdinando Iannconne & Yuliya Muskhina from Los Angeles who won all 5 dances with the majority of 1st place marks from the judges. 2nd in all dances were Pasha Pashkov & Daniela Karagach (dancing for the first time as husband and wife). they came closest to the winners in Rumba as they had 6 first places to Ferdinando & Yuliya's 9. 3rd in all dances went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova; 4th went to Ron Garber & Liza 4,4,4,5,5; 5th Evgeny Raev & Patricia Golak 5,6,6,4,4 and 6th Nurlan Galyamov & Jessica Swietoniowsk (Canada) 6,5,5,6,6
There were only four couples in the under 21 Latin and Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowski were first in all dances, Maciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob placed second and third wen to Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevitch. Gregory & Ellen were awarded the $2,000 Yulia Iveleva memorial scholarship.
The pro/am Latin scholarships were also fun to watch and here as in all the scholarships the “B” and “C” had the most entries. Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada took first in all dances in the “B”, Tina Broccole & Delyan Terziev were second in every dance and Matthias Kirwald took third 5,3,3,3,3.
In the “C” Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski took all firsts, Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen was second and Lisa Gardener w/Nikolai Shpakov third 3,3,3,4,4.
There were 5 couples in the “A” and this category went to Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 1,2,1,1,1. Meg Nakamura w/Nikolai Shpakov was second 2,1,2,2,2 and Patricia Mui w/Alex Samusevich was third in every dance.
The evening had a few surprises at the end the wonderful singer of the opening Gala treated us to “A Time to say Goodbye” and the team from Brooklyn Dancesport reprised their rumba!
It was a lovely evening in the stile of the Italian trio Giampiero, Erminio, and although not present, Augusto, always with the full support and hard laboring ladies Katerina, Luana and the one about to go into labor at any moment, Brigita.
Congratulations to this very hard working team and looking forward to 2015 at the Marriott right in the middle of Times Square!
Enough of the flying sh……
Last night at the Empire Dancesport Championships the judges had enough of the flying shining steps, and so two arms were raised high in the Open professional Latin to tell the chairman of judges that the couples had committed the mortal sin of doing lifts. In the four major styles, the Ballroom, Smooth, Rhythm and Latin the rules state that one partner's feet cannot both leave the floor, if both feet leave the floor in an “assisted movement (not a jump), this is considered a lift, a mortal sin in ballroom dancing and one that can cause you to be penalized or even disqualified!!
When the judges hands went up and the chairman was summoned, we had already witnessed this beautiful sweeping action from a very prominent couple and yes it looked like an eternity as her feet were beautifully pointed but totally not on the ground. Mind, we are not sure that beautiful swooping maneuver could have been accomplished while the foot drags on the floor, scrape, scrape... However, by the time the chairman got back to the chair we had witnessed a second couple and even a possible third doing something very similar. Fingers in our mouths, we watched as the chair strode on to deal with the sinning couples and then returned to give firm instructions to the Latin judges that if in the final they were to witness such a phenomenon again they, were to mark it down and the sentence would be handed out swiftly.
Just to be fair all couples were told of the infraction immediately and warned. From what we understood, one bystander who was near the scene reported that one of the couples said that his lady was out of balance and that he had to sweep her off her feet to keep her from falling. Fall or not the judges were not about to take it any longer so the next round all eyes were on the flying “Fernandos.”
No infractions in the final were committed, but the judges were not done, they rewarded the couples and the audience by changing the usual order of placement based on recent events in one event and even changing a result from the previous week.
Roman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova, second in command in the USA Professinal Latin field, were demoted to second place here behind US finalists, Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. Roman & Anna took first in the cha cha and samba, and second in the other three dances. Nikolay & Maria won the Rumba, Paso, Jive and were crowned King and Queen (or Emperor & Empress?) of the Empire Professional Latin. We must also point out that in all the dances Nikolay & Maria hardly took anything less then first and second places from the judges, they only took a 4th in all dances from Allan Tornsberg and one other fourth from Vibeke Toft in the Jive. On the other hand Roman & Anna did take more fourths, thirds and even two fifths from Meryem Pearson in the cha and samba.
As you can see the judges, like the couples, were not missing any punches here. Third in this heat went to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko who’s decision was reversed from last week at the Can-Am where they placed second to Jean-Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc. In this competition Jean-Philippe & Laurence had to be content with taking fourth place in all dances, both these two couples are from Canada. Fifth place in all dances was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, sixth was Jean Paul & Lana Rossi 7,6,6,6,6 and in seventh place overall was Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yulia Besarab. Caroline Smith will be reporting on this division for Dance Beat.
It is a shame that all this interesting flying occured, because unfortunately in this report it took some of the punch out of the real story and that is the Open Professional Smooth competition, that for us was two times better than the Latin when it came to dancing and quality. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with the clear majority of firsts from the judges, only Janet Gleeve, former WDC World Professional Ballroom Champion from England awarded them sixth in all dances. Second in this excellent final went to Mikhail & Galina Zharinov who from our perspective looked as sharp as a blade, and they took second in all dances. Third place in this mix was awarded to Travis & Jamie Tuft but here the marks got a little different, they placed third in three dances and fourth in the tango. We have to say that the variety of styles and quality in this Smooth competition even down to a semifinal was excellent. Fourth overall went to Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko 4,3,5,4,4, fifth was awarded to Kyle & Allie Spinder 5,5,4,5,5 and sixth went to David & Natalie Schulz who took sixth in every dance. Watch out for Martin Lamb’s report in Dance Beat soon.
In the Open Amateur Ballroom Andres & Veronika End took all first places with a huge majority of firsts from all the judges. James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau from Canada placed second overall 2,2,3,2,2, Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra took third 3,3,2,3,3. Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova were fourth 4,4,5,4,4, Rusland Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko placed fifth 5,5,4,5,5, and sixth went to Nikolay Tarasov & Egle Stralckaite who placed sixth in all dances. Watch for Andre & Yulia Klinchik’s report soon.
In the under 21 Partryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarsi were first in every dance Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanove placed second 2,2,3,2,2T and Maciej Zieba & Lory-Eye Jacob third 3,3,2,3,2T.
The Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships were also excellent with great quality and quarter-finals in the B & C divisions. The “B” was possibly the most exciting for us and here Lily Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev was first 1,1,4,1,1. Second was awarded to Tina Zhang w/ Andrey Klinchik 2,2,1,3,4, and third went to Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 3,5,2,2,2.
The “C” went to Hye Kyong Park w/Linas Koreiva, they took first in all dances. Second place in this heat went to Lisa Liao w/Andrea Faraci 2,2,4,2,4, and in third place was Rhonda Fisher w/Gianni Caliandro. In the “A” there were only three couples entered and this went to Rebecca Kuhn w/Andrea Faraci.
A Team Match was also run between USA and the rest of the world. It was a little different here - we had professional couples (both retired and competing), amateur couples, and pro/am all represented. In the end the USA won by a small margin. As usual they all seemed to have a good time and the majority of the audience were still in their chairs, we are not sure if is because the results for the major events were not called yet or they really wanted to see this challenge. As usual we also had a surprise visit from Augusto Schiavo and Caterina Arzenten. This time the role of Augusto who is absent from the competition due to the expectancy of a child, was played by Giampiero Giannico and the role Caterina was played by the outstanding Erminio Stefano whose attention to detail brought the house down especially when he threw the shoe at “Augusto.” For those of us that knew the real Augusto & Caterina in their time it was a comic relief like no other especially since Caterina was in the audience. Catherina was a wonderful sport even when sweeping the floor she took the broom and went out there with the other two ladies of the Empire – Luanna & Katarina (Marks).
Judges in a Quandary!
Seven couples took to the floor last night at Empire Dancesport for the Rising Star Professional Ballroom. Now we all know that placing 7 couples without having seen them can be tough for the judges, but throw in that they were all of a high but almost equal caliber, and the poor judges were really scratching their heads. They needed a little extra time in all dances to make their assessments. And here’s what they were:
Placing 1st in all 5 dances were the tall, elegant duo of Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikalyuk and we must say we agreed with this result. With 2,2,3,2,2, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova finished 2nd ahead of the new pairing, Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova who placed 3,3,2,3,3. 4th went to Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold 4,4,6,4,4; 5th to Anton Domansky & Anna Chaldysheva 6,5,4,5,5; 6th to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina 5,6,5,6,7 and 7th to Vasyl Makarov & Grace Fu 7,7,7,7,6.
The RS Rhythm was a larger event, beginning with a semifinal, danced in 2 heats. We thought this provided a comfortable win to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov and the judges agreed, awarding them first in all dances. The remaining couples received quite a mix of placements. Runners-up were Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 2,4,2,2,3; 3rd Ernesto Palma & Leanne Aranza 4,2,3,5,2; 4th Sasha & Tara Barakov 5,3,4,4,4; 5th Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay 3,5,5,3,5 and 6th Dmitri Dolgopolv & Kristen Dobson.
The pro-ams danced Smooth all day, but the Open Scholarships did not produce large entries except in the C Division that was a 7-couple final. Comfortable winner was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski and Lisa won all 4 dances. 2nd in all 4, and dancing very strongly today, we thought, was Janice Smith w/ David Weise and Janet took 2nd in all 4 dances. 3rd in all went to Tatiana Ignatieva w/ Mikhail Zharinov; 4th to Sharon Sanchez w/ Vladislav Shahov 5,5,4,4; 5th Cecila Gilchrist w/ Darius Mosteika 4,4,5,6; 6th Alison Allan w/ David Alvarez 6,6,6,5 and 7th Karen Shaffer w/ Dustin Jones.
Both the A & B divisions were uncontested. Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika in the B and Sara Jess w/ Tomas Mielnicki in the A. Yoko Kani w/ David Rosario took the Senior from Wendy Sherman w/ Gherman Mustuc.
2 strong couple entered the Open Amateur Smooth and Paul Frietas & Kelly Glashen were the winners in all dances over Zach Lapidus & Emi Terasawa.
The first official day of the Empire Dancesport Championships was all about Rhythm dancing and the Professional Rising Star Smooth and Latin. The evening was specifically for the Pro/Am Scholarships and the Professional Events.
Out of the two rising star events we felt the Smooth was a bit better, they both had semifinal rounds, but for us the Smooth had more excitement.
The quality of the smooth was excellent Kyle & Allie Spinder won all dances and yes to us they were the very best, with everything falling into place. But from second down it was a bit murkier the ability between second down to fifth and sixth was very minute, and you will see it from the judges’ markings below. Sehyoung & Adele Jang Don placed second overall but not second in all dances 3,2,3,2. Sergey & Yana Nelyubov took those second places from Sehyoung & Adele, they placed 2,3,2,3. Fourth placed seemed to be easier fro the judges, Matthias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel took all fourths. Robert Fernandez & Denise Sobiewski took fifth overall 5,6,5,5 and sixth overall went to Leo Mora & Christina Garced (6,5,6,6).
The risin star Latin looked for us even more difficult to decipher, the couples were basically very similar in quality and performance. Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie were first overall but not first in every dance 1,1,1,2,2. Second overall went to Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina 2,3,2,1,1. Third went to Felipe Gonzalez & Kathleen Ilo 3,2,3,3,3, and even fourth was fought hard - here Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva took that prize home with 4,4,4,5,5. Fifth was awarded to Werner Figar & Shimkiri 5,5,5,4,4, and sixth was Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada and they took sixth in all dances.
Out of the three main pro/am Scholarships run this night the “C” had the most attendants and it was the most challenging. Here it was an easy win for Lisa Lowery w/Radeck Wiatrowski who placed first in all dances but the mambo where she took a second place to Philip Widlanski dancing with Jolanta Mosteika, who placed second overall 3,2,3,2,1. Third was awarded to Quin Bommelje w/ Mikhail Vlasov 2,3,2,3,2.
The “B” division was also exciting but with fewer entries. Here it was a five couple final and for us an easy win for Giovanni Fortezza w/Jolanta Mosteika, he won all dances but the swing where he took a second place. The first in the swing and the overall second placement in this heat went to Lana Lusher w/ Jose DeCamps 2,2,1,2,2. Third in all dances went to Robyn Daly & Jean Michel Erole.
The smallest of all the Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships was the “A” with only three couples entered, here Matthew Shimizu & Jessica Nicol took all dances.
One word, Fabulous!
One word, “Fabulous,” was the way an attendee, David Alvarez, owner of the “Hawaii Star Ball” described last’s night Opening Gala to the 2014 Empire State Dancesport Championships here in New York City, and we could not agree more with this description. Last night was superb! The attention to detail, from decorations, the band, show and even the food was amazing.
For us the Empire gives us a touch of class now almost lost to time. It brings us back to the era of grace and beauty, where hundreds of thousands were spent on gowns, galas, balls and magical affairs. Last night as you walked into the ballroom you were transported to another dimension, another period, one full of grace, art and beauty, one that made you lost in time.
Once seated the show unexpectedly began. The opening number was an eye opener or should we say and “ear opener!” Soprano, Megan Piccerno, was lovely, her voice took over and there was only one presence - that of her and her vocal instrument. It was so beautiful that you could touch heaven and nearly cry as you heard even a pin drop.
Megan complemented by a well trained dance troop form the Brooklyn Dancesport Club, and directed by Eugene Katsetman and Maria Manusova, was not the only entertainment of the night. Nicholas Besnard & Ludevine Fernot an adagio team from France were a perfect combination. Their death defying lifts made your arm hairs stand up, all this while the attendees were being served what looked like a wonderful meal, with a devilish desert.
But we cannot forget our ballroom stars, US Amateur Champions Andres & Veronika End who also perform two solo numbers, “O Mi Bambino Caro” accompanied by the lovely Megan and a dramatic tango to “Roxanne” and this went also for our US Amateur Latin Champions Ferdinando Iannacone & Yuliya Musikhina who did a terrific rumba to the “Way We Were” also sang by Megan and later treated us to a jive.
There is nothing else we can think of to say, yet there is nothing really to say except “Fabulous” and congratulations for another unforgettable Gala opening at the Empire State Dancesport Championships!
Can-Am the Flagship!
Can-Am Dancesport in Toronto Canada concluded last night with a terrific WDC World series Professional Latin event and all we can say is that Can-Am Dancesport is the Flagship of Dance Competitions with attention to detail and first class service from the Venue, the hotel, the meals and parties and even down to the flowers it was a first class Flagship experience.
The Professional WDC World Series was a six-couple final, and all couples were of good quality. The first place was very close with the top two couples winning two dances and with it all left to the jive. The victorious couple in this intense fifth dance were Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc from Quebec (1,1,2,2,1) they won the jive with 7 first place marks to 5 a full majority with 13 judges. Second place went to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko from Ontario (2,2,1,1,2), who looked obviously shocked by the result. We ourselves from the stands were slightly shocked since we too felt they could have easily won. In defense of the judges we did not think this was the best performance we have seen from Kamil & Anna, and so perhaps some of the judges might have been marking their performance rather than comparing, however, judging so many couples on the floor all at once leaves plenty of room for the judges to see only spontaneously what is happening on the floor.
The competition on top was fun but the couple that drew our attention the most was Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier who placed third overall (4,4,3,3,3). They looked excellent and in a few dances and on some occasions we even felt they could have easily taken a dance. We knew this to be an impossibility in our business but it was nice to see this couple be so sharp and improved. Fourth went to Rafael Piecyk & Betty Attia (3,3,4,4,4), fifth were Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko who were fifth in every dance and sixth in all were Eyal Glezna & Amanda Fleising. The biggest surprise to us was the little support that the professional WDC couples gave this event, you would have thought that with a world series in hand more would have turned up.
The Professional Smooth was quite impressive with a semifinal round and here once again all couples were very capable. The talented duo of Travis & Jaimee Tuft gave an excellent performance, the best we have seen from this couple and they took all dances. Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft from California placed second in all dances also with a strong performance and Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko from Canada were third in all dances. It was great to see Smooth dancing being developed in Canada and to have such a terrific couple in this field. It was also great to see Vladimir Popov back on the floor but this time with Anastasia Kazmina (5,4,4,4). Vladimir continues to be an excellent dancer but the partnership needs further work to challenge for top placement. It is a difficult transition from Ballroom dancing to Smooth but we are sure Anastasia will soon be totally up to par and ready to take the top on. Mark Igor Shpuntov & Crysta Gunn were fifth (4,5,5,6) and Dmytro Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn were sixth (6,6,6,5).
We must also point out that Travis & Jaimee won the Professional Cabaret challenging successfully well-known Canadian Champions, Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva.
It was also our first chance to see the new Canadian amateur partnership of James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau – they won all dances in the 3-couple Amateur Ballroom Championship. 2nd in all were Marciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob and 3rd Alexandre Douradine & Arielle Jacob.
As is traditional now at the Can-Am, a special award achievement was announced and this time it went to former Canadian and World Champions, Alain Doucet & Anik Jolicoeur. Alain & Anik performed a beautiful waltz proving that although retired now for some years – once you have it, you don’t lose it!
We want to say thanks to Ann Harding, Brigitt Mayer & John Karakis who most definitely pay attention to the details and are able to put together such a Flagship of an event!
WDC World Series Comes to Can-Am
This year for the first time the Can-Am Dancesport Championships are offering WDC World Series events in the Professional Ballroom and Latin.
The Can-Am Dancesport Championships are once again under way at the spectacular Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, situated in downtown Toronto, Canada, right on the shores of Lake Ontario. This facility offers a wonderful ballroom and many guest rooms with a lake view. The lakefront features great cafes and restaurants for those who want to take in the scenery, and boat rides to the outlying islands are also available.
Unfortunately the WDC World Series Ballroom, that was held last night, did not not attract a huge entry. In fact only 3 couples contested the division, but they were all of a high caliber and so the audience was delighted with some great dancing nevertheless. Canadian Champions, Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch were the comfortable winners taking all 5 dances. 2nd in all 5 went to fellow Canadians, Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen. USA took the 3rd spot in the persons of Anatoli & Irina Gorolevici.
6 couples entered the Professional Showdance and we enjoyed a large variety of styles and quality. The two routines that could really be termed “Cabaret” finished 1st and 2nd. Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva (Canada) were the winners with their effective “Exorcist” routine that recently won them 3rd spot at Blackpool. 2nd went to the comedy genius of Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova (Canada) who, with their usual mix of whacky music and sound effects, transported us to the Wild West. 3rd with a more traditional “showdance” routine were Travis & Jaimee Tuft (USA) – their routine based on music from Pirates of the Caribbean. 4th fell to Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft (USA); 5th to Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina (USA) and 6th to Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko (USA).
2 couples from Canada also finished on top of the Open American Rhythm. 1st place went to Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay (1,1,2,2,1). This is a new couple to us and they show great promise. 2nd once again were Egor & Alla with 2,2,3,1,3. The winners of the Rising Star from the night before, Viktor & Yuliya, took 3rd 3,3,1,3,2. Dayan Mantecon Roldan & Kyra Kalweit (Canada) were 4th in all dances, Michael Zepada & Kimberley Turner (USA) were 5th in all and Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin (Canada) were 6th.
The Amateur Latin was the largest of the events. The top 3 couples finished in the same order as in the Youth Latin, danced earlier in the evening. Winners were Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward with 2,1,1,1,1. (In the Youth they placed 2,2,1,1,1). 2nd were Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowska 1,2,2,2,2 (1,1,2,2,2 in the Youth). 3rd in all dances in both events were Marciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob. In the amateur, 4th went to Steve Forest & Bianca Izzo 4,4,4,5,5; 5th to Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru 5,5,6,4,4; 6th went to the only couple not from Canada, Rafael Kyu & Laura Padroni (England) 6,6,5,6,6 and 7th to Jamie Domb & Elsie Magliocchetti.
From Thursday night, Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko (Canada) won all dances in the Rising Star Smooth. This was the first time we have seen them in this style and we think they could really cause a stir on the N. American scene. Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko won the Rising Star Latin, 1,2,1,1,1.
IGB Comes to a Close!
Last night the IGB came to a close with the last of the professional open events. The best and most attended was the Professional Smooth with five couples and here it was an easy win for Mikolay Czameki & Victoria Malko who won the W,T with perfect scores from all judges, the other two dances they had a huge majority with only a few judges awarding them second, and in the VW Anna Trebunskaya from DWT awarded them a third. Second in this heat was David Estrada & Stephanie Betts they took a third in the waltz but second in the other dances. Third overall went to Sean Brunell & Ekaterina Marshukova and they took the second in the waltz from David & Stephanie.
The Pro Latin had four couples total and this competition went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who won all five dances. In looking at the marks it was a clear win but they did manage to take a few seconds from a number of judges, we our selves though that Evgeniy Likhachev & Mariya Potys could have easily taken the competition but both couples were in great form and it was a wonderful competition to witness. Third was awarded to Evgeniy Nazarov & Amy Bennett.
The third and the most attended event this final night was the Amateur Youth U/21 Championship. Here Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson placed first overall 1,1,2,2,1. Second in this event wen to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya and third went to Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich.
And as Beth Knoll said on her face book page: “Big huge "thank you" to Stephan Krauel and Denise Jourdaine for yet another wonderful weekend at the International Grand Ball! So much fun watching great dancing, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and just generally having a good time! This competition is one of the oldest and most respected competitions in the US, and Stephan and Denise run it with class and expert attention to detail. I mean REALLY..... at what other competition can you drink diamond-infused water?”
International Grand Ball
Last night was the main evening at this grand and historic competition. With nearly 50 years under its’ belt it can still produce some excellent dancing and terrific results.
Out of the two featured professional events the Ballroom to me had the most punch. From the start it was clear as to where the top placements were going to go, a clear fight between Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa and Yarasloav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk. Overall Denis & Lesya won all dances with the majority of firsts in every dance from the judges. There was only a judge of two that did not agree and gave them seconds, but their only third came from Alan Dixon who gave them it to them in the VW. Seconds in this parade of wonderful dancers went to Yaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk, they placed second in every dance but not always with a huge majority of seconds. Yaroslav & Olga got some firsts, seconds and even a fourth from Judge Nadia Eftadal in their VW. Their most amount of seconds was in the foxtrot and quickstep.
Third in the Professional Ballroom went to Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti, but from here the marks got murkier 3,4,3,4,3. Fourth overall was awarded to Michal Towliszew & Tiffany Fung. We were a little disappointed in this couple’s performance we expected a little better. They started well but by the end for us they fizzled out 4,3,4,3,4. A clear fifth position was awarded to Evganiy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya.
The Professional Rhythm was also a well attended heat at this “Grand” competition. Here for us was more like a coin toss. The winners overall were Richard & Marianne Myers, who won all dances but not with a majority of firsts, they had to rely on fifth or better to get them through. We usually love this couple, unfortunately for us their performance was not totally up to snuff today. Richard has gained a few pounds since the last time we saw him and her zebra print outfit had for us too much going on - fringe, red sequins and her hair had just as many colors. Never mind the combination of all the judges’ marks presented them with first place in all dances.
Second in this professional event wen to Jim Clark & Tania Chegini, who for us had every thing going for them this evening, but we most also point out that they did not place second in every dance 2,3,2,2,3. This was the best work the Dance Beat Team has seen from this talented couple. Third overall was awarded to Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno 3,4,4,3,2, fourth wen to Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Elizabeth Kinney 4,2,3,4,4 and fifth was awarded to Zach Crawford & Kate Castro 5,5,5,5,5 and Albert Ayers & Kristina Mola were sixth in all dances.
The Adult Amateur Latin was small but with great energy. Here Nikolay Tarasov & Egle Straleckaite won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second overall wen to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya and they took second in every dance with a majority, and third was awarded to Parker Lynn & Kristina Tieken and they got third in every dance.
The Amateur youth Latin Championship was better attended with a seven couple final and here Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson took first in all dances with a majority of firsts in almost every dance. Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich placed second overall and in every dance and third was awarded to Tyler Alder & Makayla Bezzant here things got a little different - here are their marks 4,3,3,3,3.
The International Grand Ball continues to be a terrific competition to attend and it offers great music, a great ballroom and excellent prizes. Tonight we will see the Professional Latin and the Professional American Smooth, look forward to an excellent event as it was yesterday.
Good Night for Nick & Viktorija
Last night at Volunteer State was a great night for Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija. They won both the Open Professional Smooth and Ballroom.
First up was the Ballroom – an event with 3 high-quality entries. Nick & Viktorija placed 1T,2,1,1T,1 in a close 3-way decision. The runners-up were Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab who placed 1T,1,2,3,2 and 3rd were Martin & Liene Reinbold 3,3,3,1T,3. Nick & Viktorija are comparative newcomers to the Ballroom field so this was an impressive win against two high-quality opponents.
In the Smooth, their more accustomed style, we felt they were easy winners and indeed they had a huge majority of 1st places in all dances although they did get a couple of scores lower. Comfortably 2nd in all dances were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark. A ‘Rule 11’ separated 3rd and 4th places with the result falling to Dennis Woods & Amber Reich (4,3,4,3) over Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth (3,4,3,4). 5th in all dances were Jimmy Mulligan & Dani Atkins and 6th Michael & Suzi DeSante. The event started with a semifinal.
The Open Pro Rhythm finished in the same way as the Rising Star the night before. Maks Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were once again the winners and they won all dances. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances, but swing was a close call as they had 7 first places to the 6 of runners up, Erwin & Iwona Rybccynski who were 2nd in all dances. 3rd were Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova (3,3,4,3,3); 4th Rex & Rachel Jones (4,4,3,4,4) and 5th, Blake Glaskox & Kelsey Medeiros.
Volunteer State 2014
The Volunteer State, a Global Spectrum event, is underway right now at the Lowes Vanderbilt in Nashville. The hotel has undergone quite a facelift since last year – the whole bar area is new and the guest rooms have all been upgraded. The ballroom with its chandeliers is very elegant as always.
Over the first 2 days the pro-ams have completed their events in Smooth, Ballroom and Latin. The bronze divisions were the largest.
It was a good day for the gentlemen students and teacher Shalene Archer in the Ballroom as her students won 2 of the Open Scholarships. Ming Wang won all dances in the A and Rick Brooks won the B (1,1T,1,2,3). 2nd in the A was Wende Stambough w/ Ben Ermis (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd was Danielle Mege w/ Jari Muller (3,3,3,3,2). In the B Karen Weber w/ Maks Lototskyy was 2nd (3,1T,2,1,1), Cindy Blanchard w/ Tibor Kerekes was 3rd (2,3,3,3,2) and Jackie Johnson w/ Ben Ermis was 4th.
In the Open B Latin Scholarship Kush Smith w/ Tibor Kerekes was the winner in all dances. Jan McElroy w/ Andriy Velychko was 2nd (3,2,2,2,4), Marguerite Daniels w/ Erik Pali took 3rd (4,3,4,3,2) and Anna Prusinski w/ Robert Surowiec was 4th (2,4,3,4,3).
The evening before Alla Neystadt w/ Eric Pali won all dances in the Open B Smooth Scholarship. Wende Stambaugh w/ Ben Ermis was 2nd in all dances, Bonni Silfer w/ Jeremy Gatlin was 3rd and Charlie Carboneau w/ Kelly Bartlett was 4th.
There was also a “Solo Scholarship” that attracted over 20 entries. The winner of this was Talia Wong w/ Krisztian Timar.
All of the Rising Star Pro divisions were held on Friday night (although there were no entries in the Latin.) The largest event was the Smooth with 6 entries. The Winners, all dances, were Dennis Woods w/ Amber Reich. 2nd in all dances were Dave Hannigan w/ Maggie Toth and 3rd were Jimmy Mulligan & Dani Atkins. Jimmy & Dani also won the Open Showdance.
Maks Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth won all dances in the Rhythm. 2nd in all were Erwin & Iwona Rybczynski and 3rd in all Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova.
There was only 1 entry in the Ballroom – Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.