Empire Dance Championships 2019

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A Great Night for Smooth!

The final night at the Empire Dance Championships was a fantastic night for Smooth dancing, a number of US finalists were present giving the audience some terrific performances.

The Open Amateur Latin also took place and that was very interesting as well.

Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Selevirstova danced and from our point of view were totally unchallenged. However, when looking at the marks we noted was not really the case, they did win every dance with huge majorities of firsts but in all dances there were a few judges that dissented and awarded them second or third place in every dance. The two thirds awarded to this terrific couple came one from Simona Fancello from Italy in the waltz and the second third place awarded was in the other waltz the Viennese Waltz and that came from Anna Mikhed.

Second in this excellent final was awarded to Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina who took second in all dances and they also had a solid finish with a majority of second place marks. Third in all dances went to one of our favorite couples of the night, Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova. We said favorite because we normally talk about this couple’s beautiful lines and expansion but in this case what really turned us on was their communication and interpretation of every dance, their performance really touched our heart as never before.

Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yulia Besarab took fourth in all dances, Nikolai Pilipenchuk & Sarika Hudson were fifth in every dance and we should say that Sarika’s beautiful white dress and striking physical appearance totally enhanced their performance on this evening. Slava Kostianets & Valeriia Kostianets placed sixth in every dance.

The Amateur Latin this was also a terrific competition as usual. The winners were Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze who in our opinion have stepped it up from Blackpool where it was a very disappointing performance. On this night, especially in the semifinal round, they were totally on talent from both of them shone fully. Unfortunately, we have to agree with the judges in the final where they awarded them a second place in the Paso Doble. Had we been judging we would probably have followed the minority of 3 judges who awarded them third. We might have even gone lower in this dance because they could not communicate and in the end they basically nearly looked like they were giving up on the floor. We would have probably marked them to win in the other four dances in this final due to the performance in the other rounds but we also saw a few mishaps here and there. When a couple is as good as gold, they really need to run a very tight ship in every round and be totally on at all times.

Second overall and wining the paso doble were Tal Livshiz & Ilana Keselman, they also had a great night with as we mentioned before a very tight ship in hand in that final round. Unfortunately, they were slightly overshadowed in the other rounds by Nino & Austin, had they not been they might have possibly won more dances. Another very tight ship in this final was that of Alexander Chermositov & Arina Grishina who took third in all dances, fourth went to Marco Yongkun Long & Victoria Jiani Cheng from China, fifth was awarded to Yevgnii Orlov & Maryna Yerina 5,5,5,5,6, and sixth overall was awarded to Micha Finkelstein & Yulia Ishchak from Canada 6,6,6,6,5.

The Professional Rising Star this evening was the Latin and here Ilya Ivanov & Yana Tikhenko won 2,1,4,4,1. As you will see from these marks the judges were quite divided in this heat. Second overall went to Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser 3,2,2,3,2, and third went to Daniel Hustiuc & Jessica Li 1,3,3,2,4.

In the Pro/Am Ballroom the Open “A” division went to Jennifer Lin w/ Radu Sterban winning all dances, second was awarded to Eva Chen w/ Cristian Radvan 3,2,2,2,2, leaving third to Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov 4,3,3,4,3. In the “B” category Laura Shooks w/ Alexander Voskalchuk won all dances, second went to Lisa Liao w/ Vladishlav Shakhov 4,2,2,2,2, and third was Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov 2,4,4,4,3. In the “C” Kyle Brown w/ Sergey Bondarenko placed first overall 1,1,4,1,2, second went to Annie Chan w/ Cristian Radvan 2,2,3,2,1, and third was Paige Riffle w/ Iaroslav Bieliei 3,4,1,3,3.

With this the 2019 Empire Dance Championship came to a finish. Congratulations to the organizers for an excellent job - Vibeke Toft, Katharina Giannico, Giampiero Giannico and Allan Tornsberg!

A Great Ballroom Challenge!

Last night at the Empire Dance Championships the main event was the biggest and most entertaining professional event, the Open Professional Ballroom.

Two couples went head to head for first place and from the audience’s point of view it looked as if it was too close to call for both couples. The Rhythm was pretty much what was expected, but the open Amateur Ballroom and Youth Under 21 were excellent.

In the end the Open Professional Ballroom went to Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei, and to our surprise they wpn all dances. However, the marks spoke for themselves. In the waltz Wiktor Kiszka & Julia Granath, (listed from California but we will say Europe for now because this is the first time we have seen this couple dance in the USA), took the most first places out of any of the couples in the final a total of 7 from of 17 judges, but they also took some very low scores in the same dance 5 judges marked them 6th? Iaroslav & Liliia took only 5 firsts, but they did not take any sixth place marks from any judges, this help in securing this dance. In the Tango, Wiktor & Julia took 8 first place marks and Iaroslav & Liliia took 5 but again Wiktor & Julia were awarded two 6th place marks and 3 fifths. In the Viennese Waltz Iaroslav & lillia took a whopping 7 first places and Wiktor & Julia 4 firsts, clearly the winner was Iaroslav & Liliia if this was done with first places only. In the foxtrot both couple had the same amount of firsts awarded to them, 6 each, and in the quickstep Wiktor & Julia took 8 firsts to Iaroslav & lillia 7 first places. If judged only on first place marks Wiktor & Julia would have been the winners, but this is not the way things work in the complicated world of the Skating System.

For us it was a battle of the soul and correctness. Wiktor & Julia for us were a lot more musical and playful with their dancing, while Iaroslav & Liliia stuck to correctness and form, not one step or hair out of place at any time. This is unfortunate, because Wiktor & Julia are what the majority of Ballroom greats talk about. Like a jazz musician creating a different interpretation for every song, but we did see them have some issues with floor craft, perhaps the floor was a little small for this couple, they might be used to dancing at a stadium or gymnasium - a lot of the European competitions are held in this type of venue. We were a little disappointed on the result because we, like most Ballroom greats, like to see more musicality over correctness.

In third place in all dances and stealing a few first place marks in every dance were Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk, placing fourth in four dances and fifth in the quickstep were Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova. Taking that fourth in the quickstep but fifth in the other four dances was Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova, and taking sixth in all dances were Oskar Wojciechwski & Karolina Holody. As you can see this was a very exciting final on all counts.

In the Professional Rhythm Andre & Natalie Paramonov won all dances and the rumba with perfect scores. The cha cha, swing, bolero would also have been perfect had Colin James given them a second in the cha cha, Armando Martin a second in the swing, and Franco Formica a second in the bolero. We must point out that the most firsts they lost were in the mambo where three judges marked them second and two judges awarded them third. Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin tokk second in all dances; Alberto Cortez & Jessa Briones were third in all; Ilya Abdullin & Anastasia were fourth 4,4,4,4,5; Kristian Sese & Mae Lozada took fifth 5,6,5,5,4, and Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti were sixth 6,5,6,6,6.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was also a lovely competition and here Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges. Samuel Hacke & Ekaterina Hermanova took second overall 3,2,2,2,2, and Mikhail Vorobiev & Natasha Sevastianova were third 2,4,3,3,3. Fourth went to Vladishlav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova 4,3,4,4,4; Alec Zhiwei Zhang & Zhuoshi Xie were fifth in all dances and Casey & Kayci Treu took sixth in all dances.

The Under 21 Latin was also terrific and here the winner was Zijian Zhang & Yaxin Hou 1,1,1,2,2 winning by one dance. Second and losing that one dance were Idan Daich & Rumi Dolmaya, and third was awarded to Anthony Mancuso & Sophie Srlevich.

Yesterday was all about the Pro/Am Latin and there were quarter finals in some of the scholarships rounds. The “A” went to Angelina Evseeva w/ Aleksandr Skarlato winning all dances, second was awarded to Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson 2,3,2,2,2, leaving third to Romina Brignardello w/ Jesse Valvasori 3,2,5,4,4. In the “B” division Joanne Kay Smith w/ Richard Liftshitz won overall 1,2,1,1,1; second overall and winning the samba was Deborah Wright w/ Nikolay Voronovich 2,1,2,2,3, this is a move up from the C Division for this lady. Tina Broccole w/ Andrei Kazlouski took third overall 3,3,3,3,2. In the “C” division Sophia D’Angelo w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk won all dances, second overall went to Jelena Sevaljevic w/ Daniis Kutuzovs 4,2,3,2,2, and third went to Lorraine Peoples w/ Genya Bartashevich 3,3,2,4,4.

Today we are working on the Pro/Am Ballroom categories and we should see in this final night the Open Professional Smooth, Amateur Latin and many other events. Stay tuned for more from the Empire Dance Championships.

Empire Starts With a Bang!

Yesterday was the second day of competitions but the first official night of Open Professional Championships here at the Empire Dance Championships.

The Open Professional Latin took place last night and it was out of this world, but speaking of “worlds” just the night before former Professional World and Open Ballroom Champion Mirko Gozzoli & Edita Daniute, performed a show for the yearly “Gala” here at the Empire and most people agreed it was totally out of this world.

However, last night was brilliant with an incredible Professional Latin Championship, featuring another world champion, but this time in the Latin, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko who won all dances with perfect scores from all the judges. Second were Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir placing second in all dances with the majority of seconds in all dances, their lowest scores came from Armando Martin who awarded them 5,4,5,5,4. Third wen to Mikhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina but not in all dances they took fourth in the rumba to Ilya Maletin & Polina Mayer from Canada who placed fourth overall but third in the rumba.

From fourth place down everything got about even with Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova placing fifth in all and Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler taking all sixths.

There were two couples in the Professional Theater Arts-Showdance and this Championship went to Arsen Sargsyan & Jessica Jonika, leaving second to Vincent Antonelli & Stephanie Falciano.

There was 3 professional Rising Star Events and in the Smooth the win wen to Tykon & Yana Zhyvkov, second was a tie broken by a rule (11) and in the end second went to Vitalii Kalluzhnyi & Talia Barrington 3,3,2,2, leaving third to Dmitri Zavialov & Katt Baumgartner 2,2,3,3. In the Professional Rising Star Ballroom Luca & Krizia Balestra were first 2,1,2,1,1, Slava Kostianets & Valeriia Kostanets took second 1,2,1,2,2 and third was awarded to Ivan & Maria Levin. The Professional Rising Star Rhythm went to Kristian Sese w/ Mae Lozada winning all dances, second were Aaron Pierce w/ Ksenia Stavrica in every dance and third in every dance was awarded to Vuk Stefanovic & Lariza Mikryukov.

In the Pro/Am Categories on Thursday before the Galla, Joanne Kay Smith w/ Anton Lebedev won the “A” Smooth Scholarship, Irene Lee w/Egor Bezukladnikov was second and third went to Elizabeth Thomson w/ Patrick Derry. The “B” Smooth also was awarded to Joanne Kay Smith, and in this category Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleksandar Nashev took second and Irene Lee w/ Egor Bezukladnikov was third overall. In the “C” Robin Kencel w/ Mayo Alanen was the Champion leaving Angela Morrison w/ Evgeny Dyachenko holding second and Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia third.

The Pro/Am Rhythm yesterday was also excellent and here the “B” was awarded to Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika, second was Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleksandar Nashev and third was awarded to Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev. In the “C” Category Janice B Gonzalez w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic was first, second was Lana Lusher w/ Jose Decamps, and third went to Jennifer Marre w/ Delyan Terziev. In the “A” Category the winner was Kelby Dougherty w/ Julius Solano.


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