Las Vegas Open 2020

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Ballroom Ruled at Vegas Open!

Last night at the Vegas Open Dance Challenge the Professional Ballroom competition ruled with tremendous talent down to the semifinal round.

The other professional and amateur events were great but the Ballroom competition got the who’s who on the Ballroom national scene.

In a pleasant surprise Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, a world class couple and national ballroom heros to many, showed and competed making this a very exciting heat to watch. Obviously Victor & Anastasia won all dances with perfect scores from the judges, and tremendous applause from the pleased audience. But, it was not so clear from second place down. It was a mixed bag of marks for all, separated by just a few points one couple from the other. Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova placed second overall but as you will see not in all dances 3,3,2,2,2. This very talented couple for us had their moments but were not completely secure as you see with all the marks and all the dances. We do see great potential in Valeriu & Liana, we think with time and effort they could move up the ranks very rapidly.

Third in this terrific heat was awarded to Andres & Veronika End who we were a little surprised they did not place second in all dances, here are their marks 2,2,3,3,4. We think that Andres & Veronika had a consistency of work that Valeriu & Liana lack at the moment; unfortunately they did not display the energy and command necessary to easily secure second position. Fourth place went to Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova 4,5,4,4,3. As you can see by all the marks so far the judges were all over the place on this one competition. As far as Radu & Xenia here we too feel they have incredible amount of talent. However, on last night’s performance their partnership was not responding as it should between the couple and so with this caliber of dancing on the floor they had to settle for fourth.

Fifth place went to Stefano & Bianka Di Brino, 5,4,5,5,5, as you can see their tango really impressed some of the judges and we totally have to agree, with the exception of Victor & Anastasia’s tango there was no other tango that made us really watch. In the other four dances Stefano & Bianka got in the mix with the rest of the couples and the judges too had them going up and down. In sixth place but also with a strong showing among this excellent group of dancers, Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna taking sixth in all dances. They did get a good amount of sixth place marks from all judges but they did manage an occasional 3rd down to 5th place from some of the judges and even a second in the waltz from Michael Mead.

We must point out that the Dance Beat Team itself was very divided in their opinions of the couples tonight and keep reading Dance Beat online for a review of the event by Luca Baricchi.

The ballroom was a great competition but it was also a little sad due to the absence of the well known ballroom icon, and a person we all got to love, Mr. Paul Holmes. During the foxtrot the organizer, Maria Hansen, gave few words to express what we all felt and conducted the couples to dance to the one song he liked to teach with “More.” It was a very somber moment for all especially many of the judges who shed tears while judging this dance until it ended. We personally will mis this very kind, funny, caring man for all our years to come, no one made us laugh and see how special life is for us all. We will miss you forever Paul!

The Open Professional Smooth was the second best competition of this evening of dance and like Victor & Anastasia, Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova won all dances with perfect scores from the judges and we totally agreed. Perfect scores for perfect dancing! We always enjoy this very exotic couple on the floor, but we must say that we have never seen Yegor & Alexandra as perfect as we saw them at last night’s performance. The quality of their lines, their basic movements as well as all their unusual choreography and interpretation of every dance made them super stars in this field last night. We cannot wait to see this beautiful art in motion couple again, with Yegor directing this beautiful lady from top to bottom. Next to me a gentleman said “this lady must be a model!”

Second in all dances went to Aleksandr Vukosavljevic & Nevena Urosevic. Here is another very talented couple but we were a little disappointed with their performance. In other events we have seen this couple display the beauty of their extremities and energy. In last night’s performance it all looked timid and contained. We hope this is just a passing phase and that they do not take away what was very special. We don’t want the shine to go away from them, just want to see it better.

Third went to Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson. This couple is moving up the ranks with great energy and perseverance. For us they could look a little over-studied at times, but on last night’s performance we can almost agree with the judges that awarded them second in some of the dances. Mariusz Zakrezeski & Lynnsay Ray took fourth in all dances. We think they might have been a little disappointed with their scores and we are a fan of this also very talented couple. We think that the showing of their work and talent around the country started a little too late, so now they need to win over a lot of the judges by becoming more creative in their work and showing the judges that it is not just good solid dancing that they have, but that they have plenty of art to show us and not just steps.

There was a great addition to this final, the new partnership of Marcin Tomaszewski & Zhenia Casanave. What a breath of fresh air! We really loved what we saw. Marcin is possibly one of the most talented men in this group and he had the opportunity to shine with this excellent lady, Zhenia. On this outing they placed fifth but we can tell this is going to be a challenging couple in future competitions and a terrific addition to this wonderful style. Marcin & Zhenia took fourth in all the dances.

Sixth in all dances was awarded to Igor Dogoter & Natalia Gorshkova, and seventh went to Joseph Nuget & Kyla Liu.

A note of caution for all dancers, when asked to present a “dance-on” before the event begins, do not start your routine with a basic movement if you are not able to do a great basic. Flat throughout is not proper footwork for a foxtrot or a waltz.

The Professional Rhythm was also well attended and the US Rhythm Champions Andre & Natalie Paramonov were also in attendance winning overall. We say overall because they lost the cha cha to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi who placed second overall by winning the cha cha and taking second in the rest of the dances. It was nice to see Ilya Velednitski & Mariya Ilchenko back in full swing giving us the kind of performance we totally expect from them, on this outing they took third in all dances. Ryan & Danelle Lokhart placed fourth in all dances and we totally appreciate their precision in all moves. Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea were fifth 6,5,5,5,5, and Roman Zotov & Anna Zotova placed sixth 5,6,6,6,6, and we are happy to announce this time they danced the mambo on time (congratulations). Last in this heat and seventh in all dances was awarded to Aaron Pierce & Ksenia Stavrica.

The Open Professional Latin was a little of an enigma and hard to pick who should place where, with the exception of Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova who were, for us, the most consistent of the group, it could have gone anywhere. Roman & Alexandra won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges. A new couple to us Vladyslav Babenko & Anastasia Shynkarova seem to be the flavor of the month, they took second in all dances. In looking at the marks they did manage to get the majority of second or better in three dances cha cha, rumba and paso doble, but had to rely on thirds or better to secure the other two dances.

Third in all dances went to Roman Drobotov & Liya Kazbekova, fourth overall went to Przemyslaw Modrzynski & Magdalena Zybura 4,4,4,5,5; fifth were Joseph & Alexandra Hopwood 5,5,5,4,4; sixth in all dances went to Mattia Bielli & Tasiia Hughes and seventh was awarded to Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys.

Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli took all firsts in the Open Amateur Ballroom. Second wen to Jared Hopkin & Vashti Smith 3,2,2,2,2, and Rober McShinsky & Jenna McShinski placed third overall 2,3,3,3,4. TJ Kyle & Liese Bramwell were fourth 4,4,4,4,3, Michael Cozzens & Hannah Smith were fifth 6,6,5,5,5, and sixth wen to Kendall Christensen & Kelani Podzikowski 5,5,6,6,6.

It was remarkable to see that here at Vegas Open, 4 of the top 5 teachers were ladies and this included the overall top teacher, Cherish McConnell, who did over 500 entries.

We want to congratulate Maria Hansen and Mikhail Watkins for running this very successful event. This year their entries were much higher than ever and there was plenty of people and major competition.

Rising Las Vegas!

Last night was Rising Star time for the Professionals here at the Vegas Open.

All heats were well attended with full finals in the international styles, a semi in the Rhythm and a quarter in the Smooth. The interesting result was in the Professional Rising Star Rhythm where the winning couple basically lost to a dance, we’ll explain.

The Rising Star Rhythm began with a full semifinal round and in the final two couples fought for first and second places, Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea and Roman Zotov & Anna Zotova. When looking at the marks from the judges, Roman & Anna won three dances, placed second in the bolero and were last in the mambo. On a quick look you would think they might have won? Wrong! The win wen to Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea with these marks - 2,2,2,1,1. It was very unfortunate that Roman & Foteini danced the mambo out of time. The judges in that dance awarded them the majority of sixths, only four judges awarded them first one awarded them second and one a fifth place mark on that dance. I supposed the majority of the judges expect the dances to be danced to the timing it is supposed to be dance at. But the biggest question is should the judges have a guideline to follow when a couple dances out of time? For us, our instinct is to tell us to place them last immediately, because dancing to the music is a big part of our style of dancing, but what about the judges that mark them to win, do they not care if they dance off time or not? And the judges that place them second and fifth, where do they get their final judgment? Was dancing out of time not that important to them? Perhaps just a little? This made this a very interesting result to say the least.

Third in this Rising Star Rhythm went to Tony Nunes & Oxana Kashkina with these marks 3,4,3,4,2. Fourth was John Bernal & Bailey Carrillo 4,3,4,3,3; fifth went to Victor Cameo & Julia Vaysfeld 5,6,5,5,4, and sixth was awarded to Oliver Dominguez & Georgia Lerma 6,5,6,6,5.

The Professional Rising Star Smooth was well attended with, as we mentioned before, a quarter final round. In the end only six couples made it to the final and here is how it all lined up. First place overall went to Marcin Tomaszewski & Zhenia Casanave 2,2,1,2; second was Ilia Sydorenko & Tetyana Kuts 1,1,3,3, and third went to Igor Dogoter & Natalia Gorshkova 3,3,2,1. Joseph Nuget & Kyla Liu were fourth 4,5,4,4; Nikolay Kralev & Julianne Daniells took fifth 5,4,5,5, and sixth in all dances went to Kyle Campbell & Christina Campbell.

Before we go on with the other Rising Star Events, there was one Open Professional event and that was the “Cabaret” category. This Cabaret went to Ryan Lockhart & Danielle Lockhart with a very interesting version of “I’m a Survivor.” Second in this heat went to Alejandro Falcon & Lucelia Falcon and third was awarded to Joseph Nuget & Kyla Liu.

The Professional Rising Star Latin was a seven-couple final, and here Vladyslav Babenko & Anastasia Shynkarova won overall 1,2,1,1,1. Second was Joseph Hopwood & Alexandra Hopwood 2,1,2,3,2; third place was awarded to Przeyslaw Modrzynski & Magdalena Zybura 3,3,3,2,3. Fourth were Parker Lynn & Stacey Chuang placing fourth in all dances. Fifth went to August Jensen & Nanette Scheetz 5,5,5,6,5; sixth were Mattia Bielli & Taisiia Hughes 6,6,6,5,6, and in seventh position were Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys.

There were five entries in the Rising Star Professional Ballroom and here Mirko Spano & Pamela Romano took all firsts. Second in all dances were Mattia Bielli & Tasiia Hughes, and third were Oleg Teleha & Michelle Brecker and they took third in all dances. Joseph Nugent & Kyla Liu were fourth in all and Robbie Cromwell & Ruth Trimer were fifth.

The pro-ams have completed 3 styles so far and the best of the open scholarships came in the Ballroom division. Here the winners were: Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov (B); Theresa Woo w/ Veleriu Ursache (S2); Francis Manning w/ Tadas Jonyla (S1); Annie Chan w/ Cristian Radvan (C); Jennifer Lin w/ Radu Sterban (A).

It was a fast passed event leaving people time to have fun, go see show or gamble a little

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