Ohio Star Ball 2019

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Sharky Stole the Night!

Saturday night, the last night of the OHB, a “Sharky” stole the heart and the night from us all.

Travis & Jaimee Tuft’s showdance performance in the Professional Smooth ShowDance Competition brought down the house with a standing ovation! And were the Latin showdance performances the weakest link in the chain? We’ll tell all right now!

There were two major events Saturday night at the Ohio Star Ball, the Open Professional Smooth and Latin Championships along with more singing from David Cook, winner of the 7th season of American Idol and top a billboard artist. The overall winner once again in the Smooth was Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija Varasihina who won three dances and took a second in the tango. Nick & Viktorija won the waltz, foxtrot and Viennese Waltz easily with a majority of firsts from the 17-panel of judges, but in the tango they needed to rely on seconds or better to maintain a second place finish.

The winners of the tango Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova, managed to take second in the waltz but held to second place overall by the skin of their teeth taking third place in the foxtrot and in the Viennese Waltz. The tango, their strongest dance, they won with “second or better” marks but it was perhaps this dance that saved their second place standing, because Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina placed second in the last two dances. This was a great result for Roman & Galina who were very emotional after the awards and was spotted teary eyed after their award was given.

For us and for America’s dancing this was great news to see that three different couples with three different styles are battling it out is amazing for the industry and for the style. This is made for TV viewership where noone really knows who will be on top next. Congratulations to these three phenomenal couples. Travis & Jaimee Tuft placed fourth in all four dances, Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova placed fith in all and Srgeiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab were sixth.

The American Smooth style of dancing exceled in the Showdance portion of the event with couples presenting themes and proper show routines that were entertaining to the viewers. With six hours of dancing each evening it is the least they could do to maintain the crowd’s entertainment and focus. As we mentioned earlier, the night was stolen by Travis and Jaimee Tuft with their “Sharky” routine. You are already probably familiar with it, nearly every other post on social media was about the “Sharky.” We are not much keen on funny routines that have no meaning and hardly any dancing and usually with a message that is personal to the couple, but this one really got us all going. Maybe because all the routines that went before were all about drama, that this caused such a commotion and relief, but we for once were glad the judges awarded them the win on the Smooth Showdance challenge.

Roman Malkhasian & Galina Detkina were second on the showdance with Galina’s “Swan” number, but this time unlike in the past this swan was black. We always enjoyed this routine and we did so this time as well. Max & Tatiana coming out of their “Greek” mythology costume they wore for the Smooth and now did a very dramatic number culminating with him being on “fire”, and we mean on fire, this was a surprise to all and it brought down the house, but on this one we have to agree with the judges the dancing part was okay, with little theme, but maybe the singing being in a language we do not understand, might have something to do with us not getting it. They placed third in the showdance portion for the competition.

Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija Varasihina placed third with a number where they used a red “veil” between them. Yegor Novikov & Aleandra Smirnova spread their wings and did a number with alexandra as a bird, and they were fifth. Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yulai Besarab were sixth in the showdance, but I think the “Sharky’s” performance before them sucked the air out of their performance. We really though their show number was excellent and could have been placed higher, it was kind of a “Circus” medley using elements from different dances, we really enjoyed their performance.

The Professional Latin was a strong seven-couple final and here Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypillina won every dance with a majority of firsts from the judges. From our perspective we can easily say it was a an easy win for them. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova were second overall 2,3,2,2,2, but it was for us a close call between them and Francesco & Sabrina Bertini who placed third overall 3,2,4,3,3. Kamil Studenny & Anna Kaplii who just lately competed in the World Latin representing “Poland,” made a quick change of country and they are now representing Canada again, and were awarded fourth overall 4,4,3,4,5. The couple that could have easily taken a higher place than fourth was Pasha Stepahnchuk & Gabriella Sabler 5,5,5,5,4. Sasha Altukhov & Cheyene Murillo were sixth in all dances and Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova placed seventh.

For us the Professional Latin showdances would go down as the worst of the week, with very little thought or thinking process going to develop them. Couples it is not just good enough for you to do some rumba and cha cha walks, let me tell you if I was casting for a major production you guys might not have made the cut. It is a shame because as you have read for the past days the showdances from all the other styles have been great, making us think, laugh, cry and enjoy, and that is what a show should do!

The winners of the Latin Showdance were Francesco & Sabrina Bertini with a very fast samba. We were not crazy about the outfit that ballooned out, making us wonder where her body went. Ivan Kudashev Ksenia & Ksenia Sokolova went regional with a folklore piece. Usually when they perform this number they get the audience going but this time they applauded but not with the “gusto” that this type of “Nostalgic” song usually gets. They placed second. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova did some sort of “rumba,” but not a very memorable one. Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina did some kind of medly. They were awarded fourth, Pasha Stephanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler were fifth, Kamil Studenny & Anna Kaplii were sixth and Sasha Altukhov & Cheyenne Murillo placed seventh.

The other "scene-stealing" moment came right at the end of this long evening in the Professional Grand Championship.  Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi, representing the Rhythm division, were the winners with Danas portraying "the sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvania" of Rocky Horror fame complete with leather shorts, fishnets and full makeup!

The Amateur Ballroom was a good warm-up act for the professionals that came after, the winners of all dances were from Canada, Nikita Druzhynin & Virginia Primeau. Second also went to Canada, but this time to Vladishlav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova 3,2,2,3,2. We must point out that this perhaps will be the couple to watch a few years from now. Their talent is abundant. Third overall went to the USA Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova 2,3,3,2,4, Alexander Dubovyuk & Rickie Taylor Dubovyk were fourth 4,6,4,4,3, Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova were fifth 6,4,5,5,5, and Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu were sixth 5,5,6,6,6.

The 10 Dance Championship went to Andrey Kitsun & Anna Oblakova. The 9-dance went to Jang & Adele Don.

David Cook once again sang for some of the competitions (2 of the Viennese Waltzes) and also for some of the show - tonight performed by Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko.

In the afternoon in Battelle Hall six couples contested the Pro-Am World Dancesport Series Cabaret Championship. All 6 numbers were highly accomplished. The winner was Natasha Namen w/ Craig Smith, runner up, Jake Mazhar w/ Yuliya Besarab, third place Sophia D’Angelo w/ Michael Choi.

The Saturday night ended with an after party and an award ceremony for the World DanceSport Series. The top student here was Shella Tuck and the top teacher taking the $25,000 home was Tommy Radon. The top man was Don Gingery and the top school was SuperShag, from Boston Massachusetts.

With this Saturday, finally the Ohio Star Ball came to a finish. Congratulations to the organizing committee it was as always an event very well attended, this year in particularly the kids in Battelle Hall were amazing.

Show Dances were “Cooking” at OSB!

Last night in Battelle Hall at the Ohio Star Ball, the professional showdances in both the Professional Rhythm, and Ballroom were great!

And singer David Cook, winner of the 7th season of American Idol and top billboard artist, rocked the scene and complimented our ballroom dancers with his songs! He sang the rumba for the Rhythm final although the format was a little odd. Following the cha cha, the lights went down and the couples stood still on the floor while the singer began. The lights went back up and the couples began their dance. It was a somewhat odd.

In the past we have critiqued the professional competitors for having lame showdances at OSB, we know developing a story and bringing it to an excellent conclusion in under two minutes is quite difficult and requires a bit of time. However, last night nearly all the professionals took their time to make sure their show numbers were not only correct in time, but with great themes and content, each using their own strength to create something sure worth the time to stay and watch and that the audience did last.

In the Ballroom for example Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, winners of the Open Professional Ballroom in all dances with perfect scores in the waltz and quickstep, did a terrific foxtrot mix, that brought the audience to its feet and managed to capture the judges as well wining the showdance portion as well.

Another terrific showdance that we all loved came from Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk, who placed third overall 3,3,2,3,2 in the Open Ballroom. Alexander & Veronika started in their “Pajamas” flat on the floor and began to snore ZZZZZZ, their dreams came alive and they found themselves in the final of the Open British in Blackpool, England. They then segued from dance to dance and later finished one more time on the floor snoring but Veronika woke to show us her rendition of cha cha in her dream and left, leaving sleepy Alexander to be woken up by the MC, John De Palma. Alexander & Veronika placed second in the showdance.

But that’s not all, Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya who placed second overall 2,2,3,2,3 in the Ballroom competition, took to the floor in their showdance and showed us what a female “James Bond” should look like. A very interesting and unique theme for a showdance, a number that the judges awarded fourth place, but that we found quite interesting.

Fourth place in the Ballroom competition went to Vladishlav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova 4,5,4,4,6, who also had a very interesting and sexy cowboy /girl showdance, this theme and dance was good enough to place them ahead of the competition in third place for the showdance.

To top all this we saw the debut of Anna Demidova with new partner Sergey Konovaltsev, and Sergey did not disappoint. His energetic and charismatic dancing rose to a high and caught our attention and as you just read that of the judges, carrying them to a sixth place finish out of seven couples with these marks 7,4,6,7,4. As you can see by the marks the judges were perhaps caught by surprise by their unexpected performance and so their marks were as we would say all over the place, they even got 3 firsts from Giampiero Giannico. We thought this was an excellent showing for this couple. Sergey & Anna placed also sixth in the showdance and they did well-executed quickstep.

Fifth place in this Ballroom final and showdance went to Andress & Veronika End 6,7,5,5,5, and seventh place in both challenges went to Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody 5,6,7,6,7.

The Open Professional Rhythm Showdances were also quite good with just a couple not worth the mention. Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi who won all dances in the Rhythm competition with a majority of firsts in every dance also had an amazing showdance, they performed “Modern” dance that was very abstract and unique in content and so out of character for this couple and for the industry itself. Very well done Danas & Yuki! Unfortunately, their challengers in this showdance portion of the competition are the US Professional Cabaret Champions, Shane & Shannon Jensen who did as always a fantastic job in this category and won the showdance portion of the Rhythm competition. Shane and Shannon placed fourth overall in the actual Rhythm event 4,3,4,4,4.

Second in this Rhythm Championship went to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shverts-Nikishkin and they placed second in all dances. In their showdance they chose to do a regional folklore piece, not always our favorite but usually a crowd pleaser that gets most audiences up on their feet and clapping. Unfortunately for Dmitry & Olena, not many of the audience got into it, they got a good reception but few joined on the beat clapping, during or at the end. We are also not sure the folk costumes did much to compliment their look, they both looked like “Nesting Dolls” we believe the translation is a “Matryoshka.” But it totally worked for the judges and that is what is most important they awarded them third place in their Rhythm showdance.

It was a good night for Ilya Velednitski & Mariya Ilchenko in their Rhythm competition, coming third overall in this Championship 3,4,3,3,3. Unfortunately their “Fiddler on The Roof” If I Was a Rich Man” did not go so well with the judges who awarded them fifth in this showdance competition. We felt that perhaps it might have been much running around with little depth, like beating on a drum for no reason.

There were three new faces in this interesting Professional Rhythm final, Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker, Alberto Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones and Toshko Kondov & Kristen Dobson. Toshko & Kristen took fifth overall 5,5,6T,6,6, in the main event but the judges were not to pleased with their mambo, they awarded them seventh in this challenge. Their mambo had an entrance and an end but it seemed that little creativity went into it, as if they were expecting not to be in this final. With the amount of work that the top couples put to look top notch and professional in these routines, all couples must prepare for then accordingly. We cannot say the same for Albero & Jessa Mae who did a terrific rumba, paso, with great power and wonderful costumes, the fan in Jessa’s hand was just the perfect touch for this routine. Alberto & Jessa Mae were fourth in this Rhythm showdance competition. In the 5 dance Rhythm competition Albero & Jessa Mae placed sixth overall 6,6,6T,5,7. Unfortunately, Andrew & Amy’s “Ran Can Can” might have been good enough to earn them a sixth place finish in this challenge but it looked a little unprepared by using the same costumes they used for their 5-dance Rhythm Championship. This was unfortunate due to the fact that many of the fans around us seemed to love their 5 dance competition performance. Andrew & Amy placed seventh overall 7,7,5,7,5.

We must point out that Andre & Natalie Paramonov were not in attendance for the Rhythm Competition due to a previous engagement. Also in the Open Ballroom, Iaroslav & Liliia Bieliei were not present duet to the fact that they are at the moment representing the USA in the World Professional Championship.

The Cabaret brought about a change in the usual form with the win going to Alyenendrov & Maria Tsorokean over Travis & Jaimee Tuft. We thought the winners were splendid tonight and deserved their win here in Ohio. 3rd were Zachary Pohl & Ariel Frelich and 4th Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova. Egor & Alla, whom we haven't seen in a while, gave us their usual comedic performance that perhaps the judges did not appreciate as much as some in the audience.

For us the Amateur International Latin Championship might have been a good warmup act for the professional competitions but for us who normally look to a terrific Amateur Latin event, it was a little disappointing. Few if any of the competitors were energetic enough to get us going. Even Tall Livshitz & Ilana Keselman who won all dances with perfect scores from all judges did little to appease our hunger for good Latin dancing, but to their defense they could not do it alone on that floor.

Second in this Amateur Latin event wen to Andrei & Amanda Besyedin but not in all dances they placed third in the rumba. On this placement we have to agree with Meryem Pearson and Tomasz Lewandowski who were their worst judges and mark them 6,5, and a couple fourths in all the dances. Not really sure what the judges saw and even her long ponytail got in the way. We will keep an eye in future events to see what we missed. The couple we thought that could have easily been second was Nikita Vasilenko & Olivia Agranovich who placed third overall 3,3,2,3,3. They gave us some of the best dancing and energy in this final besides that of Tal & Ileana. We too look forward to seeing this talented couple develop. Max Firestein & Nicole Renee were fourth in all dances, Ron Garber & Kaludia Petriti placed fixth overall 6,5,6,5,5, and sixth went to Casey & Kayci Treu.

The World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Open Latin Scholarships took place also yesterday during the day and all competitions were fully attended and the quality as in most of the competitions this year at the Ohio Star Ball was extremely high. In the “A” division Angelina Evseeva w/ Aleksandr Skarlato won all dances with a majority of firsts in all. Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson took second overall 2,3,2,3,3, and Emmy Chladek w/ Farncis Lafrenier was third 3,5,3,2,4. Masha Gasyucehnko w/ Maksin Kholostoy placed fourth 5,2,5,5,2; Emely Takhtarov w/ Nikita Malkov was fifth 4,4,4,4,5, and Julia Lokey w/ Art Tsaturyan was sixth in all dances.

In the “B” division Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich took first overall 2,1,1,2,1. The other two firsts went to Oksana Kagno w/ Yury Simachev from Russia 1,2,2,1,2 and third in all dances was awarded to Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terzeiv. Mirra Blinova Thorp w/ Clement Joly was fourth overall 5,4,4,4,5; Irma Tan w/ Alks Nashev was fifth 4,5,5,5,4, and sixth in all dances went to Vanessa DiCicco w/ Vlad Astafiev.

It was an 8-couple final in the “C” World Pro/Am Latin and the winner was Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov and she took first in all dances. Second in all dances went to Deborah Wright w/ Nikolay Voronovich, and third overall was awarded to Sophia D’Angelo w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 3,4,4,3,3. Lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov was fourth 4,3,5,5,4; Lorraine Peoples w/ Genya Bartashevich placed fifth 5,5,3,4,5; Susan Kullman w/ Nicholai Shpakov was sixth in all dances; Jelena Sevaljevic w/ Daniils Kutuzovs was seventh and Isabel Collins w/ Mykyta Serdyuk placed eighth.

In the Pro/Am Dancesport Series Latin Senior 1 4-dance, Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme took all firsts. Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danilov was second 2,3,4,2; Susan Tunick w/ Nikolai Voronovich was third 3,2,3,3; Sherry Tucker w/ Vlad Astafiev was fourth 4,5,5,4; Bonnie Loftspring w/ Brian McNamee took fifth 5,6,2,6, and Cynthia Lavin w/ Erwin Rybczynski placed sixth 6,4,6,5.

In the Senior 2 4-dance Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov took all firsts, Lois Fein w/ Aleksandor Vukosavljevic was second, Lisa Cosby w/ Michael Neil was third overall 3,4,3,4, Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta placed fourth 5,5,4,3, Vy Wappel w/ Oleksiy Pigotskyy was fifth 4,3,5,6, and Toni Mullins w/ Tomasz Wlodarski was sixth 6,6,6,5.

It was a terrific day and night of Ballroom dancing totally worth the trip and we look forward to the finale of the Ohio Star Ball in Battelle Hall tonight.

The Best of the Best for 2019!

The Best of the Best from every competition traveled to the Ohio Star Ball for the culmination of the of the Best of the Best competitions, all ready with about a minute thirty routines and all prepared to take on the country’s best.

In last night’s program we also saw the finale of the Pro/Am World Dancesport Series in the Open Smooth categories and we have to say that all were also excellent in quality and in quantity with many of them taking quarters and first rounds in the afternoon.

We have lots to say about the Smooth Scholarships but first to the Best of the Best solos. As we mentioned previously, most routines were around a minute thirty, but when we say around it’s because the majority always try to sneak a second or three and a number went up to 3 minutes and counting. We believe a bunch of them got disqualified or told or reprimanded. However, the routines were, for the most part, very entertaining, many had themes and many of the showcase divisions even had a cast (a few people in them) and you will see from the lineups and some of the costumes the people really came prepared and wanted to “solo dance.”

The categories went from bronze to gold and as you might suspect it took a number of hours to get through the 97 solo routines originally entered. making the competition about an hour late at one point. But we have to say that most routines were not boring so fun was had by all. First place honors in the Bronze Category went to Nicole Marinac partnered by Benjamin Welch, who from what we could see were totally not expecting it, but we think they did a terrific job especially in the quality of their performance. This was from a number of pages of solos. Congratulations to them!

The Silver Level was also very contested and here Carolyn Glazer w/ Danas Jaksevicius were also very surprised and we were very impressed with their routine. The song and theme was “The Party’s Over.” They portrayed a couple just letting out from a party, with party hat, balloon in hand, etc. and just a little tipsy. I say just because they did manage to get through their very thoughtful routine and in the end it brought the house down, by the way all the winners will be performing in the big arena of the Battel Hall, sometime this weekend.

The gold went to Haley Hernandez w/ Oreste Alitto, this was a Cinderella story when she had just lost her rhinestone slipper and the Prince Charming finds her and they dance into the sunset.

In the showdance categories the Bronze went to Maya Dang w/ Pasha Stepanchuk with what seemed to be a Prince Charming routine. The Silver showcase was awarded to Kim Bors w/ Pavel Lebedev and her cast of men, a routine to resemble an old movie like a Fred and Ginger number. And lastly the gold showdance went to Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev and they did a mother nature routine where they both played a tree, hope we go that right?

In the Theater Arts department the Bronze went to Martina Di Pasqua w/ Roman Chagay, the Silver was awarded to Rachel Balaj w/ Alyenendrov Tsorokean, and the Gold went to Olivia Mullins w/ Alyenendrov Tsorokean. With this the Best of the Best and ShowDance and Cabaret concluded.

The World Pro/Am Dancesport Series in the Smooth divisions were excellent and here the “A” was possibly the strongest category with 8 couples in the final it must have been hell for the judges to make a decision in this terrific final. In the end Natasha Namen w/ Misha Vlasov won overall by taking second in the waltz and first in the other three dances. Natasha only won the foxtrot with a full majority of firsts, the rest of the dances she had to rely on “second or better” marks to win. Second went to probably our favorite of the night and that was Lula Callaway w/ Peter Perzhu who won the waltz but placed second in the other three dances. We must also mention that with the exception or one or two first place marks, any first places that Natasha was missing went to Lula.

Third place was awarded to Ani Mkrtchyan w/ Max Sinitsa 3,4,3,3. Maria Fuentes w/ Peter Walker took fourth 5,3,4,6 as you can see from the marks, third place and below the judges were sweating this one out. Marko Namen w/ Marina Vlasova was fifth 4,6,5,5; Liang Ying w/ Yegor Novikov was sixth 6,5,6,4; Olivia Zettengren w/ Mazen Hamza took seventh place 8,7,7,7, and Elyse Smith w/ Eddie Stutts placed eighth 7,8,8,8.

In the pro/am “B” Category the winner was Olivia Whiteside w/ Sergey Barsukov and she won all dances. Second went to Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft placing second in all dances and third was Elizabeth Rocco w/ Igor Afonkin 3,3,3,4. Irene Lee w/ Igor Bezukladnikov was fourth 4,4,6,3; Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev took fifth 5,5,4,6, and Irene Wong w/ John Campbell was sixth 6,6,5,5.

The “C” category went again this year to Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika and we want to tip our hat to her for the consistency of her work, it is strong and sound at all times. Congratulations to Lynn! Second was awarded to Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa 1,2,2,2. Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Dyachenko took third 3,3,3,3; Angela Morrison w/ Evgeny Dyachenko was fourth 4,5,4,4T; Lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov placed fifth 5,4,5,4T and Charlene Proctor w/ Mikhail Zharinov was all sixth in all dances.

The Senior 1 was awarded in all dances to Linda Gill w/ Roman Malkhasyan. Second went to Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza 4,3,2,2, and third went to Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy 2,4,3,3. Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet was fourth 3,2,4,4; Kathy Steward w/ Mayo Alanen placed fifth in all dances and Audria Hill-Mitchell w/ Peter Perzhu was sixth.

There were two nine dances that concluded last night, the “A” and the “B”. The “B” had a lot more participants with over 20 couples in it and the overall winner was Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev starting with the Smooth dances to Rhythm 2,1,1,2,1,1,1,1,1. Second was awarded to Marina Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev 1,2,2,1,2,2,2,2,2, and third was Leanna Wenderoth w/ Kirill Gorjatsev 4,3,3,3,5,5,5,5,5,3. The “A” Nine dance went to Marko Namen w/ Marina Vlasova 2,2,2,2,1,1,1,1,1. Second was awarded to Gabriella Puno w/ Steven McGrath 1,1,1,1,3,3,4,3,3, and third was Elyse Smith w/ Eddie Stutts 5,4,3,5,4,4,3,4,4.

Congratulations to all the winners! The competition was intense but excellent to watch!

It’s a Man Thing!

The Open World Dancesport Series Pro/Am Scholarships began last night with the Open Pro/Am Rhythm divisions.

Out of the four open divisions run last night 2 amateur man won their divisions. Marko Namen with Marina Vlasova won the open “A” division and Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika took the “B” Scholarship.

All the divisions were well attended with many of the divisions having quarterfinal rounds and even some first rounds and the quality of the dancing in all was of a very high standard. The “A” division and “B” divisions were perhaps so difficult to judge both with more than six couples into the final. In the “A” division 7 couples were called back, but in the end Marko Namen, an energetic amateur dancer with clear movements and footwork, took the lead winning all dances. You can tell it was not an easy task for the judges when looking at the marks, Marko only managed to win two out of the five dances with a majority of firsts, the bolero and mambo, in the other three dances he had to rely on second or better marks to get the win.

As we go down the line naming these excellent pro/am dancers in this “A” heat, you will see from the marks awarded how every dance was fought. Maria Fuentes w/ Kemar Bennett placed second with these marks 2,2,2,4,2; Nathalie Vuong & Volvik Edouard (Canada) placed third 3,3,3,2,3; Elyse Smith w/ Eddie Stutts was fourth 5,4,4,3,6; Abigail Montalbo w/ Slash Sharan took fifth 4,5,5,6,5; Pooja Mehta Himovich w/ Kristijan Burazzer placed sixth 6,7,6,5,4 and seventh was Chasity Smith w/ Eddie Ares 7,6,7,7,7. We have to say that this was an incredible heat this year and perhaps some of the best quality dancing we have seen from the Rhythm category in years.

As we mentioned before, the “B” category also went to a man who has won this title for a very long time and who continues to be on top of this field and that is Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika and he also placed first in all dances; but unlike Marko Namen he did manage to win all dances with a majority of first from the judges. Second place went to a lady that from our perspective could have easily taken some of the dances and did manage to take a number of firsts but not enough to make a dent on Giovanni’s scorecard and this was Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev, but she did manage to take second in every dance. We also have to mention that the third place winner in this heat, Kacey Warren w/ Jean Michel Erol, also stole a number of firsts from Giovanny and had it not been for some low marks in the mambo could have challenged for top. This lady was awarded 5 first place marks in this dance, these were her marks overall 3,4,3,3,3.

From third place down things got a lot murkier in the “B” division. Mariana Lvoff dancing with Vladimir Kosarev placed fourth overall 4,3,4,4,4. We have to say that we were slightly disappointed with her performance that seemed a little quieter than her usual self, perhaps the white outfit she wore also got her a little washed out on this lighted floor, but we are sure to see her wonderful smile strike up again on the next contest. Fifth place went to Kelly Lakas w/ Evgenii Grytsak 6,5,5,5,5; Mytia McNeal w/ Damir Karaman took sixth position 5,6,6,6,6; Mag Retelewski w/ Aaron DeSoto was seventh in all dances and Andi Wolf w/ John Holzworth was eighth in all.

The “C” Category also was hard fought, Lynn Magnesen w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov did manage to win all dances but only the bolero was won with a full majority of firsts from the judges. In the other four dances Lynn had to rely on “second or better marks” to win each dance. Second and also fighting hard for first position was Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksandor Vukosavljevic and she managed to take second in all dances. In looking at all dances we noticed that Janice managed to steal at least three firsts from Lynn in all dances and four and up to five firsts in a couple of other dances. Third in this heat went to Maria Green w/ Toshko Kondov 5,3,3,3,3. As you can see by her overall marks she took fifth in the cha cha and third in the other four dances, this shows how hard everyone was fighting for a high position on that floor. We must also point out that she also took first place marks in each dance three in four dances to be precise and 2 in the mambo.

From third place down things really got heated. Fourth place went to Marguerite Pinard w/ Shandor Shtefil 3,5,5,4,4; Michelle Loeb w/ Aleko Khutsidze was fifth 4,4,4,5,5 and sixth in all dances went to Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez.

It was an easy win for Joan Goddard dancing with Andrew Escolme, winning all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances in the Senior 1 Four Dance World DanceSport Series Championship. But it was not so easy for the judges from second place down. Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan was second overall 2,2,2,3; Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatolliy placed third 3,3,3,2; Luna Viva w/ Kristijan Burazer was fourth 5,4,4,4; Leslie MCleod w/ Melbin De La Cruz placed fifth 6,5,5,5 and sixth went to Lois Fein & Aleksandor Vukosavljevic 4,6,6,6.

As you can see the American Style Rhythm has come a long way and it now stands head to head with all styles, with great quality dancing. We congratulate all finalists and even in the closed categories over the last two days it was amazing to see so many excellent dancers taking part and making our American Style come to a great level in quality and quantity.


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