Winter Wonderland in Nashville!

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The Snow Couldn’t Stop Em!

At Nashville Starz last night it was certainly a matter of saving the best until last with the wonderful Professional Smooth Division that began with a 14-couple quarter-final.

In truth the winter storm did stop a few of the scheduled competitors from attending, but those that made it gave us a wonderful show and set us up for the year ahead in this ever-changing division.

Nick Cheremukin & Viktorija won all four dances and did achieve a majority of 1st place marks in all dances, although only 7 out of 13 in tango and foxtrot. We liked their dancing tonight – they showed classic frame and feet while still allowing for innovation. Perhaps the biggest surprise came in the 2nd place finish of new partnership, Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova, 2,2,2,3. They danced with a lot of passion and commitment considering the brevity of their partnership. They had scores ranging from 1st to 5th in all four dances. Yegor Novikov & Anastasia Smirnova had to be content with 3rd tonight, 3,3,3,2. For us this was not their best night and they were often hampered by poor floor position, seldom, it seemed able to complete their choreographic patterns. With all the 4’s Kyle & Allie Spinder continue to impress and really never seem to have a bad night. Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft were back on the floor after Kris’ soccer injury and also did a creditable job placing 5,5,6,5. Closing this great final were Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 6,6,5,6.

 Watch out for Wendy Johnson’s report on this great competition.

The 2nd largest of the open professional divisions was the Rhythm, beginning with a semifinal. Whereas the Smooth was dominated by California (5 of the 6 couples), the Rhythm was swayed by Florida who fielded the top 3. Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov performed their no-nonsense material with aplomb and were the winners placing 1,1,1,2,1. Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth who won the RS, took only the bolero and placed 2nd overall 2,2,2,1,2. Completing the Florida trio were Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash 3,3,4,3,3. They had missed the RS due to Eddie’s illness – but he looked good tonight. Jonathan Green & Rachel Grumblat were 4th, 4,4,3,5,4; Christopher Wayne & Junaita Simanekova were 5th 5,5,5,4,5T and Jonathan Chen & Melissa Keller were 6th 6,6,6,6,5T.

 US 10-Dance Champions (and recent runners-up in the World 10-Dance), Sergey Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab make short work of the Latin taking every first place from every judge. Dimitry Solomskha & Gabriella Sevilano were 2nd 3,2,2,2,3; Senzo Makhaye & Agnieszka Strojek were 3rd 2,3,3,3,2; Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were 4th in all and Manuel Trillo & Anna Belyatseva were 5th.

 Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson added to their win in the RS Ballroom by taking the Open as well – winning all dances. They had the majority of 1st place scores in all dances. Also mirroring the RS, the Australian duo of Mario Cicala & Bianca Tonizzo were 2nd but this time they placed 2nd in 4 dances and 3rd in foxtrot. I was interested to see that they incorporated some additional figures in the VW, normally frowned upon in professional divisions in the USA. The 2nd place in the foxtrot went to Pavel Cherdantsau & Svetlana Rudkovskaya who were 3rd overall 3,3,3,2,3. Dimitriy & Gabriela placed 4th 4,4,5,4,4, Aleksandr & Aida Skriptsov were 5th 5,5,4,5,5, Alex & Alina Spencer were 6th 6,7,6,7,6 and Manuel & Anna were 7th 7,6,7,6,7.

 The evening began with the Professional Showdance. The winners were Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko, 2nd were Pavel & Svetlana and 3rd, Manuel & Anna.

 Nashville Starz gave some special awards also last night. “Ambassador of Dance” was given to Victor Veyrasset a 10-time US Ballroom Champion and an adjudicator this year at Nashville Starz. This is unusual because Victor very rarely serves as an adjudicator. This was also the beginning of the Dancers’ Cup Tour “Hall of Fame Awards” and this year the amateur award went to Lawrence and Ramona Mitchell and the professional award went to Shalene Archer.


Dancers Brave Weather!

Despite the winter storm impacting Nashville, most dancers were on the floor and ready to dance last night at Nashville Starz where the featured events were the Pro Rising Star divisions and the Open Pro-Am Smooth Scholarships. 

The best and largest of the RS events was the Smooth that began with a semifinal.  Andre & Elena Rudenco were the winners, taking 3 of the 4 dances.  1st in tango went to Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth.  They were 2nd overall 4,1,2,3.  Matt Rivers & Maliwan Diemer were also in contention, taking 3rd with 3,2,3,2.  With 2,4,4,4, Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were 4th, Dabeh & Shelby Jafari were 5th and Ryan & Laura Kenner were 6th.

 Maksym & Sarah were the easy winners in the RS Rhythm taking all 5 dances.  Pleased with their runners-up position were Christopher Wayne & Junita Simanekova 3,2,3,2,2.  Jonathan Green & Rachel Grumblat were 3rd 2,3,2,3,3.  Jonathan Chen & Melissa Keller were 4th tonight placing 5,4,4,4,4.  Blake Glaskox & Kelsey Medeiros secured 5th 4,5,5,6,5, Mykhalio Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko were 6th 6,6,6,5,6 and Diego Semprum & Tatiana were 7th.  This was originally planned for a semifinal but we believe the weather stopped some from making it to Nashville.

 Only 3 couples made it for the Latin, again the weather impacting some.  Winners, in all dances, were Dimitriy Solomshka & Gabriela Seviliano, 2nd went to Senzo Makhaye & Agnieszka Strojek again in all dances and Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were 3rd.

 Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson won all dances to take the RS Ballroom.  From Australia, Mario Cicala & Bianca Tonizzo took 2nd 3,2,2,2,2.  3rd were Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova 2,3,3,3,3 and Alex & Alina Spencer were 4th.

 Yulia Rudenco won the A Smooth with her father, Andrei, placing 2,1,1,1.  That left the runners-up spot for Aiyesah Dey w/ Mayo Alanen.  3rd tonight went to Ran Wei w/ Stefan Ciubotaru 3,3,4,4.

 Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika won all dances in the B.  Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin took all the 2’s and Wende Stambaugh w/ Ben Ermis all the 3’s.  Sophia also won the Open 9 Dance.

 Michaela Puno added the Open Senior Smooth to her win in the Rhythm taking all dances tonight.  Mark Eberle w/ Anna Harwood was 2nd 2,2,3,4 and Lawrence Mitchell w/ Shalene Archer was 3rd 3,3,2,3.

 David Hamilton, the organizer, always provides that little bit extra in the way of entertainment.  The first night there was a karaoke/pizza party afterhours and last night it was a country cookout/swing party.  During the night and in keeping with the Music City locale, a Dolly Parton and an Elvis Presley impersonator sang live to entertain the audience, plus we were treated to a performance by Gary McIntyre & Susan Kirklin.

 Stay tuned for more!


Winter Wonderland in Nashville!

As the record-breaking winter storm rolls across northern USA, Nashville was right in the firing line – today the streets of Nashville are blanketed in snow and fresh snow is still falling.  This just happens to be the 10th anniversary of the Nashville Starz dance championship and the dancers are doing their best to create some heat in the ballroom and doing a great job so far. 

Yesterday it was the turn of the pro-am Rhythm dancers to create the heat and we saw 3 excellent Open Scholarships at night.  It was a good night for Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin who received the runner-up award in both the A and B Open Scholarships.  The winner of the Open A is the fast rising Isabella Liberfore w/ Charles Cunninghan who looked great all day and in 3rd spot was Stephan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer. 

Winner of the B was US and Ohio Champion, Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika and 3rd was Lucinda Poston w/ Jeremy Gatlin.

Michaela Puno w/ Slava Sergiev was the winner of the Open C with Leslie McLeod w/ Melbin De L Cruz taking 2nd and Toni Tallerino w/ Stefan Dobrev taking 3rd.

Today the pro-ams are tackling their Smooth and it’s country western wear in the ballroom for judges and spectators!  Check back tomorrow for more from Nashville Starz. 

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