La Classique - 40 Years!

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A “Classique” Ending!

Last night there was a typical “Classique” ending to La Classique Du Quebec, with standing room only Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova performed what we consider to be one of the best shows we have seen from a ballroom couple and crowned World Professional Ballroom Champions.

The audience was totally hypnotized by their performance and responded with a standing ovation at the end of the show and it all ended on a golden note with organizers Meryem Pearson & Daniel Heruex taking to the floor for a well deserved standing ovation.

The show was wonderful but only the beginning to a excellent night of competitive dancing as, like the night before, the Amateur event took a big role this evening and here in the ballroom Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody took all dances and the trophy back to the USA. It is interesting to point out that Oskar & Karolina won with nearly perfect scores, with the exception of the quickstep where they got a few seconds and a couple of third. We must point out that Tatiana Vainer awarded Oskar & Karolina three of those third place marks in the W,V,Q, in the other two dances she awarded a second in the tango and a first in the foxtrot.

Second overall in this excellent event went to USA’s Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski but not in all dances 3,3,2,2,2, the two second placed missing from Patryk & Anna went to the third place overall 2,2,3,3,3, James Cutler & Virginie Primeau-Poirier, who in our opinion could have easily taken that second place finish. We are sure this was a disappointing result for James & Virginie who we are sure were hoping to challenge for first. Fourth in this event went to Florin Vlad & Natalia O’Connor 5,5,5,4,5, fifth were Stanishlav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka 4,6,4,5,6 who as you can see really got a mixed bag when it came to the result. Last but not least was awarded to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashville 6,4,6,6,4.

In the professional categories it was a win, win for Travis & Jaimee Tuft who won both the Smooth and the Showdance Category and in both they got the majority of firsts from the judges with just a few adjudicators awarding them second position. In the Showdance the runners up Luka Milacic–Perusina & Jenaly Saraza-Pacheco stole the two firsts from Travis & Jaimee. They did a show number with some amazing lifts, unfortunately in our opinion a little disorganized for the judges to give them higher. Third in this fun Showdance event went to Dmitry Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn, leaving fourth to a couple that performed an excellent routine, but unfortunately still a little green around the edges, Dayan Mantecon Roldan & Kyra Kalweit.

As we mentioned earlier, the Professional Smooth went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft and here as we mentioned they too got a huge majority of firsts from the judges in every dance. Their worst marks came from Aira Vaidiliene who spoilt their almost perfect run in the foxtrot and Viennese Waltz. Here Travis & Jaimee got all firsts but a third in the foxtrot from Aira and also a third in the Viennese Waltz. Second in this very competitive heat was awarded to Canada’s “smooth best” Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko and they placed second in every dance. Third also went to Canada and here Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina placed third in all dances, fourth was awarded to Dmitry Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn and they placed fourth in every dance, fifth was Vadim Safonov & Alina Safonova and they too took fifth in every dance and sixth went to Mathieu Casavat & Melanie Martin.

Arunas & Katusha mentioned during their show that it was so cold outside, almost 30 below or lower last night, but that “it was hot in the ballroom” due to such an incredible audience. And it sure got hot for all when it came to the professional Latin. As it was pointed out to me everyone was here excluding Canada’s best Mauricio Vescovo & Andra Aidelaite who did not compete. When this was pointed out we did find it a little odd that Mauricio & Andra would not be here paying homage to one of Canada’s best competitions on its 40th anniversary and to the woman that began the movement, Meryem Pearson, but I quickly pointed out that perhaps they already had contracts in another part of the world.

Mauricio & Andra were surely missed but the competition was as hot as Arunas & Katusha said it was. The overall winner taking first in all dances was Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko and they took these dances with a qualified majority of firsts from the judges in the C,S,R,P but not quite in the jive, to have the majority they would have had to have 9 first place marks and this they did, however, in the jive they just managed 8 first place marks. The judges awarded them some thirds and even some fourths in different dances. We were not surprised, the second place couple, although a little unconventional at times, totally gave them a run for their money, in our opinion Kamil & Anna were lucky that Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova’s unconventional style is still a little hard to understand for many of us. However, we predict this will not be for long - our eyes could not leave them for long last night, their creativity is to be admired and with such a unique appeal it should soon come up trumps in all arenas, and they placed 3,3,2,2,2.

Third in this arena was awarded to Jean-Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc with the score of 2,2,3,5,4, as you can see by these marks this style was very disputed last night in this “mad hot ballroom.” Fourth overall was awarded to Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova 5,4,4,3,3, fifth went to Dmitry & Olena Shvets–Nikishkin with the scores of 4,5,5,4,5. Sixth was Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova 7,6,6,7,6 and last but not least were Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer who placed seventh 6,7,7,6,7.

During the evening professional ballroom competitors from Boston, Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova announced their retirement from competition. They already are directors of a successful studio in the Boston area and we wish them continued success off the floor.

With this La Classique Du Quebec concluded but partying went on through the night with an excellent reception. Congratulations once again to Meryem Pearson & Daniel Hereux for putting together such an incredible event and for hitting 40 in such great style and leaving on a great note until 2017.

Hitting 40!

La Classique Du Quebec hit the 40 year mark this weekend here in Montreal, Canada and it seems like only yesterday we were all lining up to dance at this incredible and fabulous event that played the most incredible music had terrific lighting and a fantastic atmosphere.

The venue at the Bonaventure Hotel in the middle of Montreal is as unique as the competition itself. Sitting on top of the 18th floor it continues to amaze me that its peaceful park surroundings with it’s many water creaks, “Yes” creaks, and evergreens could be 18 floors high up in the sky, yet you feel as if you are on the ground, next to a forest. Incredible surroundings to an incredible event!

With 40 years on the books this year’s celebration brought people from all over the world including a judging panel of 53, many of them like us in Dance Beat competed on this floor many years back, some of the world’s best made it a yearly stop on their world tour and many of them are here as officials this year to celebrate La Classique and the person who made it all possible Meryem Pearson.

This year La Classique was up in entries many of them in pro/am but also in the professional field. At one point in the past there was no Pro/Am dancing here in Canada but now it is becoming a feature and you can see this by the amount of participation.

The Amateur events continue to be one of La Classic mayor features and last night it was no different with a healthy quarterfinal round in the Open Amateur Latin. There was a surprising finish in this heat. Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler from the USA, the favorite to win this event had to take a backseat to Canada’s Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward who won four out of the five dances the S,R,P,J. Pasha & Gabriella comfortably won the Cha Cha with a majority of firss from the judging panel, however, when it came to the other four dances Adam & Morgana overtook them and won all four dances with also a majority of firsts in each dance.

For us the unexpected win of Adam & Morgana was not a surprise. This young couple has blossomed into a fabulous, challenging couple with little fear and a very unique style, their stuff totally separate them from the others and they were easily able to hit a strong homerun and out of the field, making heads spin! Sitting with the audience for these rounds we overheard many comments, the majority as to how wonderful Adam & Morgana looked, including how engaged and emotional they got in every dance. The only slightly harsh comment we heard was over Morgana’s “tongue” being constantly at play, sometimes out and about, although we totally believe this young couple’s creativity should not be restrained in any way, because they have the right to express themselves as they see fit. We did find the mouth action slightly overdone and possibly unnecessary, for a couple that could one day easily be the best Latin couple in North America, in just plain dancing alone, no need to add unnecessary extras that could cost them a world title in the future.

When it came to the favorites going in, our hearts go out to the USA’s couple Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler who placed second overall, they too looked fabulous but when it came to creativity and owning the prize they were slightly short. Third in this competition went to Vladislav Kvartin & Anna Maria taking third in all dances, fourth in all was awarded to Nurlan Gallyamov & Celeste Bailey, fifth were Michel Fikelstein & Arielle Jacob and sixth went to Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru.

The Professional Ballroom was also a brilliant event. The top six couples were all very capable with some even being at a world class level. Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk were one of those couples and they placed first in every dance with a landslide of firsts in every dance and just a few judges dissenting from this decision. Marat & Alina’s waltz got the best marks with only one judge awarding them a low score and that was Benoit Papineau who awarded them third in this dance and in the other four dances, in the rest of the dances the lowest score they got was second but in the quickstep Kenny Welsh joined Benoit and he too awarded them third in this dance.

Second in this Professional Ballroom event went to Canada’s Anton & Anna Lebedev who placed second in all dances, and who were the recipients of the last two judges’ first place marks and any of the other first place marks awarded on this competition. Third overall was awarded to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Koualcikova and they placed third in every dance, fourth overall went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova, this was possibly very disappointing for this couple who we are sure want to maintain their US superiority over the last couple mention, the worst for them we think was the fifth place finish in the quickstep. Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen placed fifth overall and stole that fourth place from Andrey & Anna. And last but not list Yuriy & Oksana Shelkovyy were sixth in all dances.

The Professional Rhythm was a mixed bag of the good and the not so accomplished. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova won all dances with nearly perfect scores from all the judges, just two in nearly every dance dissented from this decision. In the cha Tatiana Vainer from Canada awarded them a schocking 5th place, but that was not all, also a 5th in the rumba, a 4th in the swing, a third in the bolero and a fourth in the mambo, Tatiana was their worst judge. Easy second on our eyes and that of the judges went to Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zuboba, third was awarded to Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay and they placed 3,4,3,3,3, for us it was not as clear, we love Patricia and we think she was perhaps one of the best ladies out there last night, however, their work in our opinion was a bit unfinished and could have easily placed fourth. Placing fourth in this Rhythm competition was Jean Michele Erol & Larisa Mikriyukova with the marks of 4,3,4,4,4, we felt their work was a little cleaner than the couple just mentioned and perhaps could have been in third position overall.

Fifth place in this seven couple final went to Dmitriy Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn and they took fifth in all dances, sixth went to Dayan Mantecon Roldan & Kyra Kalwet 6,7,6,6,6, and seventh in this seventh couple final was Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin 7,6,7,7,7.

Tonight the day will conclude with the Amateur Ballroom, Pro Latin and Pro Smooth and we should have it all for you here as well so stay tune for more on La Classique Du Quebec

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