New York Dance Festival 2020

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Oh what a day! Oh what a night!

The last day and night of the NYDF (Sunday) was definitely a marathon!

It began with the pro-am Latin divisions at 7:00 AM and these did not conclude until almost 9:00PM! And that schedule included no awards breaks and very condensed heat times. Nevertheless, everyone seemed to have a great time!

The night session was equally packed and included an Open Amateur Latin that had 4 rounds. Let’s begin with this amazing event. It boiled down to a 4-couple race for first place in a great 6-couple final. Winners tonight were Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze 1,2,1,2,1, but we must emphasize that this was a very closely marked final. No dance was won by a majority of 1st places except the rumba by Austin & Nino who had 8 of the 15 first places in that dance. They won the cha cha despite receiving only 2 first places in that dance. The judge to favor them the least was Shirley Ballas who placed them 4,4,3,4,5. The runners-up were Sasha Chernositov & Arina Grishanina 2,1,3,1,2. A strong showing from this couple and also a little unlucky. 7 judges placed them first in cha cha (1 short of the majority needed to win the dance outright). If they had won this dance it would have resulted in a tiebreak decision for 1st place. Judge Sam Sodano was their nemesis in this competition, placing them 4th in all dances.

The other 2 couples in this run off for the win were Joel Lopez & Kristina Bespechnova (Spain) and Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman. Joel & Kristina placed 3,3,2,3,3 and Tal & Ilana were 4th in all dances. Both couples were somewhat in contention. Joel & Kristina received some firsts in all dances. It was perhaps a disappointing result for Tal & Ilana who might have hoped to place higher than 4th in at least a couple of dances. Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan took 5th 5,5,6,6,5 and Marko Longchun Long & Cheryl Chen were 6th 6,6,5,5,6.

The Open Pro Ballroom ended with a surprise result. Rudy Homm & Katya Kanevskaya were the winners over Iaroslav & Lilia Bieliei. We believe this is the first time that Rudy & Katya have bested Iaroslav & Lilia in the USA. Rudy & Katya won all dances, although they did not have the majority of 1st places in any. Iaroslav & Lilia were 2nd in all. The closest scored was QS where both couples had 6 first places. It was also a strong night for Sergey Konovaltsev & Anna Demidova who were 3rd 3,3,3,3,4. We were impressed with this couple tonight and wonder how the result might have turned out on a larger floor where this couple could really show how much they can move.

4th place fell to Marco Camarlinghi & Martina Minasi (Italy) 5,4,7,5,3; 5th Oskar Wojciechowski & Karollina Holody 4,5,4,6,7; 6th Alejandro Caliandro & Ariana Esposita 7,6,6,4,5; 7th Dan Malov & Anna Bohachova 6,7,5,7,6. As you can see this was an extremely close-marked division right down to 7th place.

The Open Pro Rhythm was exciting although slightly more predictable. US Champions, Andre & Natalie Paramonov won all dances, but perhaps had to work a little harder than they expected. They did not receive the majority of 1st places in either swing or mambo and in fact the mambo was decided by a tiebreak. The couple pushing them was Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin. They received 6 firsts in swing, one less than the Paramonovs and tied them with 7 firsts in the mambo. Ilya Velednitsky & Mariya Ilchenko were 3rd 3,3,4,3,5 and were perhaps were a little disappointed with these scores. Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker were 4th 4,5,3,5,3 and very close to them in 5th spot were Alberto Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones 5,4,5,4,4. Sergey Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab who are the current US 9-Dance Champions, but rarely compete in the Rhythm division, were 6th in all dances.

The Junior open divisions were in the Ballroom style on this night and the winners were Nickolas Bleykhman & Alissa Joly (J2); Annika Mugin & Nathan Zaytsev (J1); Elizabeth Shlimovich & Kristers Smits (Y).

In the Open Pro-Am Latin Scholarships the wins fell to: Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov (S2); Joanne Kay Smith w/ Richard Livshitz (B); Dmitry Levita w/ Shannon Bachynski (S1); Sabrina Strasser w/ Alon Gilin (A); Andrea Bennington w/ Ivan Mulyavka (C).

NYDF Hits 13 Thousand!

This year the New York Dance Festival, hit over 13 thousand entries, a big milestone for this competition in the heart of New York City.

The competition is managed and run by one of America’s most prominent dance couples, Eugene Kasevman and Maria Manusova, whose successful Latin dancing career propeledl them to stardom. The NYDF is held in the heart of Manhattan, at The Roosevelt Hotel, a few steps away from the restaurants, the theater, and great shopping.

The NYDF started Thursday 27th of February, and every day it has been packed full of heats with many semifinals and finals and rarely an uncontested competition. The first day it was an all Rhythm day, Friday the Smoothies came out to play, yesterday the Ballroom competitions filled the day and today as we write the pro/am Latin heats are taking place in the small but beautiful ballroom of the Roosevelt.

Last night the first Open Professional and Open Amateur competitions took place, the Cabaret, Smooth and Latin for the professionals and the Open Ballroom for the Amateurs. But the climax of the evening session was the conclusion of the partnership between Max Sinitsa & Tatiana Seliverstova who were the runners-up by one point at last year’s United States Smooth Championships and who won the Smooth Professional Competition last night at the NYDF. Their retirement came as a complete surprise to many – look out for an interview with this charismatic couple in Dance Beat Magazine soon.

In this, their last competition together, Max & Tatiana were the winners, placing 2,1,1,1. They had the majority of 1st places in the 3 dances they won. The winners of the waltz, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina, placed 2nd overall 1,2,2,2. They placed strongly in tango, taking 5 first places in a dance that Max & Tatiana have won repeatedly over the past year. Travis & Jaimee Tuft were 3rd in all dances. They took some 2nd placements in all dances but no firsts. 4th in all dances were Sergey Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab; 5th in all were Nikolai Pilipenchuk & Sarika Hudson and closing this strong final were Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson.

The Open Pro Latin began with a quarterfinal. The undisputed winners were Troels Bager & Ina Jeliaskova who did not lose a single 1st place in any dance from the 15 judges. Congratulations to them! Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Schypilina also were clear in their runners-up spot, receiving the vast majority of the 2nd place marks. Only one judge seriously dissented on this, Shirley Ballas placed them 5,6,5,5,6. Artur Tarnavsky & Anastaia Danilova were likewise 3rd in all dances, but had to work a little harder. They had the majority of “3rd or better” scores in 4 of the dances, but not in rumba. Representing Poland, Kamil Studenny & Anna Kaplii were 4th 4,5,4,4,5T. They actually had more “3rd or better” scores than Artur & Anastasia in rumba. 5,4,5,6,4 gave Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler 5th place and Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova completed the final taking 6,6,6,5,5T.

The Cabaret for us was very impressive on top, with two of the finest Cabaret dancers in the world going head to head, Travis & Jaimie Tuft and Mykhailo Azerov & Tetyana Makarenko. Travis & Jaime did a great number, but unlike the usual they had a few missteps that we are sure cost them some marks and possibly the win. Mykhailo & Tetyana went with a regional theme to a song that it sure to get you clapping “Kalinka.” They also won the hearts of the judges as well, they won with 9 first place marks to 5 for Travis & Jamie. Third place went to a veteran South African, Craig Smith & Andrea Harvey. Their routine is very skilled with some amazing cabaret moves but last night the judges wanted more than just lifts. Only one judge scored them to win. We must also mention fourth place because that went to Ivan Kudashev & Kshusha, a “showdance” couple that has a lot of experience in that area. Unfortunately, their skill is not in the lifts and perhaps they needed a few more tricks up their sleeves. We can continue to comment on all the couples but there were just too many to count, (10 in all), all we can say is that all their work was of a very high level and so it must have been a difficult task for the judges to complete.

The Open Amateur Ballroom proved very tough for the judges to decide and required 2 tiebreaks in the final 6. The winners, however, were really secure. This was Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova. They won all dances with a healthy majority of 1st places. The first of the ties came for 2nd place and it was between a US couple and a UK couple. The Americans got the nod, Alexandr Dubovyk & Ricky Taylor Dubovyk over Alex Plant and partner (the lady was unlisted in the results). The scores for both couples were quite unusual. & Ricky placed 2,6,2,3,4 and ???? placed 5,4,4,2,2. Very varied scores for couples vying for the runner-up position! 4th place went to Canada, Komelkov & Sevastianova and they were very close to the two couples placing immediately above them. They scored 4,2,6,5,3. 5th and 6th positions were also decided by a tiebreak. 5th went to Artur Nabok & Michelle Yiu 6,3,3,5,5 and 6th to Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova 3,5,5,4,6. With the National Championship in this division less than 2 weeks away, it looks as if the couples are all in form!

As you would expect from a northeastern competition and especially one organized by the owners of Brooklyn Academy, the junior and youth divisions have been huge. A separate ballroom was used for the single dances divisions and lower grades, but the J1, J2 and Youth Scholarship divisions are all run in the main ballroom and attract huge entries. Last night were the Latin divisions for them. The winners in Youth were Kristers Smitts & Elizabeth Shlimovich (2,3,1,1,3). This was actually a tiebreak with Vadim Pidhorestkyy & Abigail Srulevich 3,1,2,2,2. In the J2 Kirill Budagovskiy & Ani Martirossian were the winners and in the J1 it was Nathan Zaytsev & Annika Mugin.

The highlights of Friday night were the U/21 divisions and the Pro RS divisions. Winners in these were: Alexandr Dubovyk & Ricky Taylor Dubovyk (U/21 Ballroom); Nikita Vasilenko & Olivia Agranovich (U/21 Latin); Dan Malov & Anna Bohachova (RS Ball); Aleksie Shipilov & Julia Mitina (RS Rhyth); Daniel Hustiuc & Jessica Li (RS Lat); Igor Gayenko - Denise Sobiewski (RS Smooth).

Due to the constraints of the schedule, no pro-am awards have been presented in the ballroom and this includes the scholarships, so unfortunately we have no photos of the couples. In the 3 divisions run so far the winners in the Open Scholarships have been: Janice Gonzalez w/ Aleksander Vukosavljevic (C Rhythm); Mariana Lvoff w/ Clad Kosarev (B Rhythm); Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme (S Rhyth); Lula Calloway w/ Nazar Norov (A Rhyth); Leslie McLeod w/ Melbin De La Cruz (S2 Rhyth); Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa (C Smooth); Linda Gill w/ Roman Malkhasyan (S Smooth); Pat Luthy w/ Vlad Popov (S2 Smooth); Joanne Kay Smith w/ Anton Lebedev (B Smooth); Lula Calloway w/ Peter Perzhu (A Smooth); Amy Liu w/ Iaroslav Bieliei (B Ball); Margaret Barrett w/ Ruslan Meshkov (S2 Ball); Kyle Brown w/ Sergey Bondarenko (S Ball); Patricia Schneider w/ Oreste Alitto (C Ball); Alisa Kononova w/ Dan Malov (A Ball).

On Thursday night there was the now traditional, NYDF Gala complete with live music and a show from the organizers, Eugene & Maria.

Stay tuned for more from NYDF.

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