The First Coast Classic Dancesport Championships concluded Saturday, March 13th at the Renaissance World Golf Resort in St. Augustine, FL. Taking advantage of the more relaxed Covid 19 regulations of Florida, the event was able to run mostly as normal and attracted high level entries in all categories.
Saturday night saw all of the Professional, Open World Masters divisions and the Jensens won 3 of them – the Rhythm, Cabaret and Showdance. The Rhythm was the largest division of the night, beginning with a semifinal. Shane & Shannon took the event 1,1,1,1,2. They had the majority of 1st places from the judges in C, R and B. The swing was tighter, but the Jensens took the dance with a majority of “2nd or better scores.” The couple pushing them and who took the runner up spot were Kevin Ubillus & Milargros Lareto who placed 2,2,2,2,1. Their mambo win was the most convincing of the event with only 2 judges not placing them first. This couple are originally from Peru and have a very different style to the more traditional approach of the winners. If they could harness their undoubted prowess in the mambo and perhaps give us some more variation in the other dances, they could go all the way in this division. Taking 3rd in all dances were the RS winners from the night before, Shandor Shtefil & Evgeniia Elcoro. This is an exciting new partnership that also could go far in this style. Tonight they did not excite the judges so much it seemed as the majority of their scores fell from 2nd to 4th. Jan & Adele Don took 4th in all dances. Bolero was their best scored dance with 8 second places from the judges, but it was in swing that they came closest to upsetting Shandor & Evgeniia as each couple received 7 “3rd or better” scores in that dance. With 5,5,5,5,6, Igor Puzhevich & Tetyana Makarenko were 5th and 6,6,6,6,5 gave Samuel Da Silva & Lindsay Milan the last spot in the final.
Watch Dance Beat for a full report on this division from former US Finalist, Michael Neil.
The American Smooth gave an easy win to Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina who scored 51 out of a possible 52 first places. They lost one first in Viennese Waltz. Also very comfortable in the runners-up position were Jan & Adele Don. They were the recipient of that missing first place in VW and in the all dances had the vast majority of 2nd places. The RS winners, Volodymir Barabash & Yulia Rudenko comfortably defended 3rd place, taking that spot in all dances. 4th in all went to the elegant team of Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir; 5th in all were Christian Lightner & Kia Kenney; 6th in all Cody Arndston & Nickolea
Watch Dance Beat for a review of this division by Olga Bogdanov.
In the Open World Masters Latin, Artur Tarnavsky & Anastasia Danilova also had an easy win, losing very few 1st place marks over the 5 dances. We thought this was an excellent performance from this duo – the best we have seen from them recently. Roman Italyankin & Sasha Bokova were 2nd in all dances and did achieve a majority of “2nd or better” scores in all. They did not have quite such a good night in our opinion, on a better night they could have challenged the winners more strongly. 3rd in all dances went to the exciting new team of Daniel Hustiuc & Jessica Li. This is a couple with great physical attributes for this style, we are sure they will go far as they continue to develop. With 4th in all dances, the RS winners, Vladyslav Babenko & Anastassia Shynkarova, took 4th spot. This is another physically very appealing team. 6,6,5,5,5 gave Dmitry Pugachev & Angelina Evseeva 5th position overall. We particularly enjoyed their rumba that showed off Angelina’s great leg action. Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva took 6th spot 5,5,6,6,6. I’m sure they were disappointed with this placement and we too thought they could have placed higher, particularly in the first 2 dances. Brad Montagnese & Tania Trigili closed this final with 7th in all dances.
Watch Dance Beat for a full report on this division from Marina Vlasova.
The World Master Ballroom was the smallest of the divisions with only 4 couples competing. The easy winner was the dynamic team of Gianni Caliandro & Arianna Esposito. They scored an almost perfect win, losing only 1 first place score from a possible 65. Alexandr & Aida Skriptsov were the runners up, 2,3,2,2,2; Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva were 3rd 3,2,3,3,3; Justin Kaiser & Sarah Mollison were 4th in all dances.
As we said at the beginning of this report, Shane & Shannon Jensen were the winners in both the Cabaret & Showdance divisions. In the Cabaret they received 10 of the 11 first place scores. The runners-up, Craig Smith & Andrea Harvey, were also very strong and I’m sure many judges were somewhat torn in their decision. Both couples performed routines that we had not seen before. In the Showdance Shane & Shannon received 8 of the 11 firsts with the other 3 going to the runners-up, Daniel Hustiuc & Jessica Li. Aleksie & Daria Smirnov were 3rd but did receive five 2nd place scores, just 1 behind Daniel & Jessica.
Our congratulations go to John DePalma & Marianne Nicole who were inducted into the World Masters Hall of Fame for their considerable services to Ballroom Dancing. Our congratulations also go to Vasiliy & Marina Vlasov who celebrated their 40th Anniversary here at the First Coast Classic.
We must say “well done” to organizer, Sarwat Kaluby. The competition ran on time throughout and the after party with the theme “A Night in China” with a delicious Chinese buffet (served by staff members in true Covid style).