Atlanta Open – Midway

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“I could have danced all night……..”

And it was just as well, because Saturday was a marathon at the Atlanta Open!


Beginning at 7:00 AM the dancing continued unabated until after 1:00 AM on Sunday ending with an unprecedented 13-couple showdance “final” that threatened to overwhelm the judges and “Comp Manager’s” scrutineering program.

But lets begin earlier. All 4 styles in the Open Pro divisions offered great events last night and all had at least a semifinal and the two American Styles, quarter-finals. The Rhythm was first up and proved to be the most contentious with the judges all over the place in their marks. Shane & Shannon Jensen were the winners placing 1,1,2,1,1. Certainly their marks were the best on aggregate but they had the majority of 1st places only in rumba and bolero. With 2,2,1,2,2, Ilya Velednitskiy & Mariya Ilchenko were the runners-up. Althoughthey actually had more 1st places than the winners in cha, they were one short of the majority and their marks from the judges seemed to be spit into 1st places and 4th through 6th places. Their lack of 2nd’s and 3rd’s basically was their undoing. 3rd place fell to Andrei Abrashin & Mariia Gorrylova 3,3,3,3,4. They picked up 1st places in all dances, 5 in the swing, just one less than Ilya & Mariya who won the dance. Ivan Dishliev & Marietta Nedyalkova were 4th 4,4,4,4,5 and they offered probably the most traditional “Ameerican” style on the night. Aaron & Iryna DeSotto were 5th 5,5,5,5,3. For us this duo could have placed higher tonight. Closing the final were Maksim Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth.

Running opposite the Rhythm was the Ballroom and this too proved an interesting event. Canadian champions, Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch lent their “giant” presence to the event (wow! They are a tall couple) and were the easy winners with large majorities of 1st places in all dances. Surprisingly to us they did pick up some 5th and 6th places as well. 2nd in all dances went to Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova. They had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in 3 of the 5 dances. This couple really seems to be coming into a winning stretch right now. We were interested to see the brand new partnership of Andrea Zaramella & Kseniya Sovernko and overall it looked really good. They placed 3,4,3,4,4. For us they were a clear 3rd. Andrea has always been a classic dancer and his new partner, fresh from the amateur ranks, is a good match for him. 4th went to the always exciting team of Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena 4,3,4,3,5. We were a little surprised by the 5th place in quickstep as we think this is one of their better dances. Stefano & Bianka DiBrinno were 5th with 6,5,6,6,3. We do agree that quickstep is a good dance for them. We noticed some tension in Bianca’s neckline tonight in the other dances. Youriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson were 6th 5,6,5,5,6 and you can see here the vagaries of the Skating System as they were actually 5th in 3 of the dances.

We were expecting a good Pro Smooth division based on the strength of the RS the night before and we were not disappointed. Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova were the winners 1,1,1,2. They have a very unusual take on this style, based very much on Tatiana’s personality and it worked for the majority of judges tonight. Their best dance was tango were they received 13 of the 15 available 1st place marks. The winners of the VW came 2nd overall and that was Travis & Jaimee Tuft 2,2,2,1. They have also stepped up their performance of late and were certainly always a consideration for the 1st place, perhaps more closely than the actual marks would suggest. The RS winners Roman Malkhasyan & Kat Wagner continued to impress the judges and were 3rd in all dances. Adrian & Hanna Dydynsky moved beyond some indifferent results of late to secure a comfortable 4th place in all dances. John Campbell & Jacki Brockman were 5th in all dances and to us seemed to dance better than in the RS. Vladislav & Vera Kosarev closed the final and could possible have placed higher in some dances we thought.

The Latin had 8 entrants in the semifinal and 7 were returned for the final. The winners tonight were Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin and they won all dances, 3 with the majority of 1st places. This put them well clear. Their dancing certainly gets stronger almost weekly and we thought they were deserving of the title even though they were not our own selection. Their dancing is compact and always consistent. 2nd tonight went to Alexandr Skarlato & Loreta Kriksciukayte 3,2,2,3,2. A very different style to the winners more lithesome as befitting their physiques. Their best marked dance was rumba where they had more first places than the winners, but not a majority. With 2,3,3,2,3 Evgeny Likachev & Mariya Levina narrowly missed 2nd place and gave perhaps the best showing we have seem from this physically impressive pair. Rangel Spirov & Victoria Chernyavska were 4th in all dances and have a similar style and physicality to Evgeny & Mariya. They picked up some 1st places. Hyak Blasanyan & Emilia Poghosyan were 5th in all dances; Igor Volac & Roxane Milotti were 6th in all and Felipe Edmiston & Divijak were 7th.

Shane & Shannon Jenson won the marathon Showdance receiving 8 of the 15 first place marks. Travis & Jaimee Tuft were 2nd with 4 firsts and Clyde Harris & Summer Elkin took 3rd. Myhalio Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko were 4th. These 4 couples were all performing adagio style routines and between them took all of the 1st places. Balasanyan/Poghosyan were 5th and the Desotos were 6th.

For the pro-ams and the judges it was a busy day of international style dancing. In the Latin the Open Scholarship winners were Emily Tang w/ Delyan Terziev (A); Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich (B); Suzanne Saperstein w/ Ricky Bentzen (C); Susan Miller w/ Ricky Bentzen (S).

In the Ballroom the winners were: Sabrina Zagolin w/ Ihor Kravets (B); Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano (C); Sherry Borchelt w/ Andrea Stefano (S)

Atlanta Open – Midway 

We’re just over ½ way through this year’s Atlanta Open, held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. 

So far the highlight for us has been the Pro RS Smooth that was danced over 3 rounds last night. The winners in all dances was the exciting new partnership of Roman Malkhasyan & Kat Wagner.  They had large majorities if 1st places in all dances although a few judges scored them in the lower half of the final. 

For us they have so much movement.  The rest of the couples in the final had scores ranging 2nd to 6th in all dances.  However, with 2,3,2,3, Maksim Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were the runners-up and seemed much improved in this style.  3rd with 3,4,3,2, were John Campbell & Jackie Brockman who also are showing great improvement.  Another new partnership, Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts took 4th 4,2,4,5; 5th were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov 5,5,5,4 and 6th in all dances and perhaps a little unlucky, were Andrei & Elena Rudenco. 

 The RS Rhythm was the 2nd largest starting with a semifinal. The winners in all dances were Jonathan Green & Rachel Grumblat.  They had the majority of 1st places in the first two dances.  As you can imagine from that fact, the judges were very divided on this whole 7-couple final.  All the 2’s went to Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash.  It’s hard to imagine 2 more different styles than these two couples demonstrate!  3rd tonight with 3rd in all dances went to Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova.  Showing perhaps the most improvement in this final were 4th placed Jonathan Chen & Teresa Zeller 4,4,5,4,5.  5th went to a new couple on the scene who also show great potential John Kusak & Jessica Sartori 5,6,7,7,6.  6th were Diego Semprum & Tatiana Gonzalez 6,5,4,5,4 and 7th were Wayne Seifert & Skylar Sansing 7,7,6,6,7.

 The two international style events were finals.  4 couples entered the ballroom and the winners were Stefano & Bianca DiBrino and they won all dances and had almost perfect scores.  2nd in all went to Aleksandr & Aida Scriptsov; 3rd were Alex & Alina Spencer 3,3,3,4,4 and 4th Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriella Sevillano 4,4,4,3,3.  There were only 2 couples in the RS Latin and Igor Colac & Roxane Millotti won all dances.  Dmitry & Gabriella were 2nd.

 The pro-ams have completed all their American Style divisions.  First up was the Smooth. The largest of the Open Scholarships was the C and this went to a new pro-am pairing, Charlene Proctor w/ Viktor Tkachenko 1,1,1,1.  2nd was Kako Matsumoto w/ Erik Pali 2,2T,2T,3 and 3rd Janice Gonzales w/ Vladimir Kozarev 3,2T,2T,2.  Obviously a very tight race needing a Rule 11 tiebreak.

 Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won all dances in the B Open Scholarship. Runners-up were Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston 2,2,2,2 and 3rd was Wende Stambaugh w/ Ben Ermis 3,3,3,3.

 Julie Tse w/ Ian Folker won the Global Senior Smooth Scholarship.

In the Open Rhythm Scholarships it was a good night for Quin Bommelje w/ Mikhail Vlasov as she won the Global Senior and the Open C divisions.  Quin won all dances in both divisions. 2nd in the C was Janice Gonzales w/ Vladimir Kozarev 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd was Roberta Fox w/ Aaron DeSotto 3,3,3,3,3.

 Alina Sakura w/ Aaron DeSotto won the Open A 1,2,2,1,1.  Gabriella DeVita w/ Maksym Lototskyy was 2nd 2,1,1,2,2 and Olga Boyarshynova w/ Rex Jones was 3rd 4,3,4,3,3.

 Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika won all dances in the Open B.  2nd was Darcy Ehlich w/ Aaron DeSotto 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd was Stacey Wajcichowski w/ Diego Semprum 3,3,3,3,3.

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