Making a “Real Snowball”

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Snow Ball Concludes

Yesterday we saw the conclusion of the Snow Ball 2016.  It was a tight-packed day with the pro-ams dancing 2 styles – Smooth and Latin – and it began at 7:00 AM.


For the pros it was also a day of Smooth and Latin with the Smooth being by far the larger and stronger division.  This began with a semifinal and featured many of the same couples that danced in the rising star but with 2 notable additions.  These additions placed 1st and 2nd.  Kyle & Allie Spinder cruised to victory in all dances with Adrian & Hanna Dydynsky equally secure in 2nd spot.  We were once again impressed with 3rd placed Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer, winners of the RS, who were 3rd tonight and really seem to have found a niche in this style.  The other results mirrored those in the RS - Dadbeh & Shelby Javari 4th, Nick Haklin & Sarah Ford 5th,  Martin Pickering & Natalie Botes 6th.

 The same 3 couples contested the Open Latin as the RS but the result changed this time.  Maksim Kapitannikov & Natalia Fridmanovich remained the winners, comfortably so in our view, but 2nd and 3rd reversed.  Dymytrii Goncharov & Tatyana Lutsenco were 2nd this time and Vladimir Velev & Lily Kolman were 3rd.

 The temperatures remained below zero outside, but one brave judge proved he was up to the challenge as you can see by the photo!!

Sizzling in the Snow! 

Yesterday things really heated up at the Snow Ball, despite temperatures outside plummeting to 27 below (or so we heard, we didn’t venture outside). 

As we mentioned yesterday, the atmosphere at this event is among the best we’ve seen of late and not just for the professional events at night, but throughout the whole day.  It was Rhythm pro-am yesterday.

We saw the first 2 of the Open Pro events last night, the Ballroom and Rhythm.  They looked a lot like the rising star of the night before, but both had new winners.

Michael Towkiszew & Tiffany Fung made the trip from California and won the Open Ballroom, beating last night’s RS winners, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson by 3 dances to 2.  Michael & Tiffany placed 1,1,1,2,2, Youriy & Sarika 2,2,2,1,1.  These two couples offer rather differing styles.  The winners more classical and the runners-up with a little more pizzazz.  3rd but very much in the running from our perspective were Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya and they were 3rd in all dances.  4th in all were Dymytrii Goncharov & Tatyana Lutsenco and 5th Eric & Deborah Gillitzer.

Erwin & Iwona Rybczynski easily won the Open Rhythm, taking all dances.  The remainder of the final was comprised of the couples from the rising star but the order got some shuffling.  2nd tonight were Rex & Rachel Jones 2,2,2,2,2.  They had won the RS the night before.  Moving up a place were Matthew Kusak & Jessica Sartori 3,3,3,4,3 and as we thought yesterday, this couple has much potential.  Dustin Donelan & Rachel Damiani were 4th tonight 5,4,4,3,5.  Also moving up a place were Darren Franco & May Lee who were 5th with 4,5,5,5,4.  Todd Munson & Tarah Maya were 6th in all dances and Michael McAllister & Nikki McElvain were 7th.

The only pro semifinal of the night came in the RS Smooth.  The winners were Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer (recently married) and we felt they were well clear.  2nd in all dances were the attractive pairing of Dadbeh & Shelby Javari and 3rd in all Nick Haklin & Sarah Ford.  Martin Pickering & Natalie Botes were 4th 5,4,4,4, Ryan & Laura Kenner were 5th 4,5,5,6 and Dustin & Rachel were 6th 6,6,6,5.  With the exception of the winners, we felt the results were hard to predict and we did feel that Ryan & Laura could have placed higher. 

 Only 3 couples contested the RS Latin and the winners were Maksim Kapitannikov & Natalia Fridmanovich 1,1,1,1,1.  2nd went to Vladimir Velev & Lily Kolman 2,3,3,2,2 and 3rd were Dymytrii & Tatyana 3,2,2,3,3.

Making a “Real Snowball” 

Yesterday the Dance Beat team left sunny South Florida and headed north and west for our first competition of the 2016 season – Donna Edelstein’s Snow Ball in Minneapolis, MN.

In our honor, the hostess spoke to the city authorities and had the snow “turned on” for us!!  That’s right, fresh falling snow as we left the airport! 

This is the largest Snow Ball in its history and Donna added ½ a day on Friday to accommodate the expanded schedule.

Friday was given over mostly to pro-am ballroom heats and the standard was overall quite high from the mostly local competitors.  We must say that the atmosphere in the ballroom was very encouraging to all dancers, perhaps much warmer than at some larger competitions.

We also saw 4 professional divisions on this first night.  Interestingly, Donna added Novice Professional divisions in Smooth and Rhythm.  (we believe these were open to couples who had not placed in the final of a RS division).  The winners were Matthew Cusak & Jessica Sartori (Rhythm) and Jay Morth & Heather Wudstrack (Smooth).

Also danced were the 2 regular Rising Star divisions in Ballroom and Rhythm. 

The Ballroom was a good duel between the top 2 couples, Youriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson and Evgeniy Mayorev & Olga Lisovskaya.  Yuriy & Sarika took all dances although we thought that the foxtrot especially was a close call.  3rd were Dymytrii Goncharov & Tatyana Lutsenco (all dances) and 4th Eric & Deboroah Gilitzer. 

 The RS Rhythm was a 7-couple final and the marks were very spread out with no clear positions in our view.  However, the winners, Rex & Rachel Jones, did win all 5 dances.  2nd with 2,2,2,2,3, were Dustin Donelan & Rachel Damiani.  With 5,3,4,3,2, the novice winners, Todd & Jessica, were 3rd.  We liked their natural rhythmicality in some dances.  Todd & Tarah Munson were 4th 3,4,3,4,4, and this was another couple we could have seen higher in some dances.  Darren Franco & May Lee who had the most support from the audience, were 5th 4,5,5,5,5, Michael McAllister & Nikki McElvain were 6th in all and Paul Meyers & Elizabeth Monge were 7th.

 Today is Rhythm day for the pro-ams and also “winter hat” day for everyone!  Stay tuned for more results and news tomorrow!

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