The Ohio Star Ball 2021

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Ohio Winds Down with Pro-Am Ballroom

The Ohio Star Ball 2022 came to a close Sunday afternoon, featured events include the World Dancesport Series Open Ballroom Championships.

The level of dancing we thought was quite high in all divisions, but the numbers were somewhat lower than we have seen in prior years.

In the Open A, the winner was Natalie Rezai w/ Sergey Kiselev. Although Natalie won all 5 dances, the competition was strong and she did not receive a majority of 1st places in any dance. The runner-up was Lydia Barress w/ Basil Issaev and she scored 2,2,2,2,3. Lydia received almost as many 1st places from the judges as Natalie, but again, never the majority to win the dance. A gentleman, Oskar Rybczinsky w/ Yuliya Kornilova placed 3rd with 3,3T,3,3,4 and he also received a significant number of 1st places. Also in this mix, and only 1 point behind 3rd place, was Heather Sabel w/ Ronen Zinshtein who scored 4,3T,4,4,2. Arun Garg w/ Madelina Varlam Lettig was 5th in all dances and Alaine Nicole w/ Maura Garuccio was 6th in all.

Sabrina Zagolin w/ Yuriy Kravets won all dances in the Open B and according to the judges, she got better as the event progressed – Sabrina received the majority of 1st place marks in the last 3 dances. We felt Sabrina had a very good day and was a comfortable winner. The runner-up was another very experienced competitor, Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold and she placed 4,2,2,2,2. Also impressive was 3rd placed Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano, 2,3,3,3,3. 4th and 5th placements were decided by a Rule 10 tiebreak with the result falling to Xiaojuan Liu w/ Anton Koukareko 5,4,4,5,4 over Cindy Saviano w/ Oreste Alitto – 3,5,5,4,5. 6th in all dances was Letizia DiCarlo w/ Mario Drobney.

Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano was back on top in the Open C which at 3 rounds, was the largest open division of the day. Jill was the easy winner today with the majority of 1st places in all dances and a perfect 11 first places in quickstep. Patricia Schneider w/ Oreste Alitto was equally secure in 2nd place taking the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances. 3,3,3,4,3 gave Sabrina Kirkpatrick w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 3rd place. 4th Lisa Dryer w/ Mikhail Avdeev 4,5,4,3,4; 5th Kristine Riemer w/ Erik Pali 5T,4,5,6,5; 6th Charlene Proctor w/ Andrey Begunov 5T,6,6,5,6.

In the Open S1 the judges were not unanimous and the 1st places were quite spread. However, placing 1,1,1,2, Kathy Stetler w/ Alexander Voskalchuk was the winner and certainly looked the part on the day. Linda Dillman w/ Igor Gayenko was the runner-up 2,2,2,4. The winner of the QS was Dana Ben-Yehuda w/ Andrea Faraci, was 3rd overall 4,4,3,1. 4th Jennifer McPartlin w/ Richard Tonizzo 3,3,4,3. We felt this lady could have placed higher. 5th Laura Solomon w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 5,5,5,5; 6th Yumiko Yoshida w/ Aliaksei Peihanovich 6,6,6,6.

The easy winner of the Open S2 was Lynn Murrell w/ Andrea Zaramella who won all 4 dances with the majority of first places. All the “2’s” went to Linda Huntress w/ Andrea Stefano and all the “3’s” to Vikki Sato w/ Nazar Batih. Some other scores in this 8-couple final were more mixed. 4th Krista Stewart w/ Oleksiy Buravenko 4,4,4,6; 5th Margaret Barrett w/ Ruslan Meshkov 7,6,5,4; 6th Julia Wang w/ Basil Issaev; 7th Shiela Abraham w/ Sergey Vasilyev 6,7,7,5; 8th Dexter Wang w/ Liene Apale 8,8,8,8.

Nordis Glasoe w/ Anatoli Gorolevici won the Open S3, scoring 1,1,1,2. Taking the QS and 2nd overall was Joan Wright w/ Sergey Bezrodnov 2,2,2,1; 3rd Noriko Sekine w/ Lukas Spisak 3,3,3T,3; 4th Ram Viswanathan w/ Sarika Pilipenchuk 6,4,3T,4; 5th Barbara Cheney w/ Vlad Astafiev 5,5,5,5; 6th Recy David w/ Vladimir Popov 4,6,6,6.

Smoothies Steal the Show!

Last night, once again, it was the “ballroom smoothies” who stole the show during the professional solo showdances.

Just as the Ballroom solos outshone the Rhythm on Friday, so too did the Smooth outshine the Latin last night. More about that a bit later!

Let’s start with the Open Pro Smooth that was truly a great division and with several couples fighting for the open places in the top 6, you bet the competition was fierce! Having said that, all was pretty safe on top. Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina won all dances and took the overwhelming majority of the judges’ first place marks. They lost a total of only 7 firsts from a possible total of 76. Their recent successes have given them added confidence to relax and let their natural talent shine through and with the absence of their closest rivals for the past year, that’s exactly what they did. Travis & Jaime Tuft were equally comfortable in the runner-up spot taking 2nd in all dances easily. We thought they had a very good night and were a little surprised to see a smattering of marks in the lower half of the final. Aleksandar Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova were 3rd in all dances. Aleksandar stole the show cosmetically when he appeared for the final in a fully sequined, silver jacket! These two have always pushed the boundaries on costuming and attitude, but last night many in the audience felt they are adding more movement to their choreography and eliminating some of the posing. A good thing and it paid off for them tonight. Oleksiyy Pigotskyy & Anastasia Zhuchenko were 4th, again in all dances. They may be the smallest couple in the final, but last night they were everywhere. Our eyes were continually drawn to them – movement plus! The final 2 places went to couples new to this caliber final. With 5th in every dance, Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko took that placement and certainly turned a few heads. Previously ballroom competitors, this elegant duo have really found their niche in the Smooth style. Many in the audience felt they could even have placed higher and indeed, some judges awarded them as high as 3rd place. 6th position went to Volodymyr Barabash & Yulia Rudenco, the current US RS Champions. This is another couple on the rise with their own style.

When it came to the solo showdances, Roman & Galina, drew the first position in order of dance and we have to say they set the standard with a beautifully emotional piece. The judges felt that no other couple matched the standard and awarded them first in the showdance also – the only pro winners to take both the competition and the showdance as it turned out. All the couples went for an emotional theme this year. 2nd spot again mirroring the competition result went to Travis & Jaimee. Their costumes featured glowing sleeves and the audience responded with glowing cellphone lights! Oleksiyy & Anastasia took 3rd, Kharyton & Anastasia 4th, Aleksandard & Alexandra 5th and Volodymyr & Yulia 6th. We thought that Kharyton & Anastasia could have placed higher, but we (and others) were a little confused about their theme. They danced to Shindler’s List music, but he seemed to be wearing what was perhaps a Russian military uniform??

Although we were not as impressed with the showdances, the actual Latin competition was on fire from beginning to end.

Easy winners were Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir who won all dances with large majorities of first places from the judges. This duo really seem to have pulled away from the pack here in the USA. Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina were also comfortably 2nd in all dances. Although the vast majority of judges did place them squarely in the top 3, there were a couple that marked them in the lower half of the final. The closest race tonight was for 3rd place and it fell to Francesco & Sabrina Bertini by 3 dances to 2 – 3,4,4,3,3. We are great fans of this high-energy couple and are consistently amazed my Sabrina’s speed and power. We were not sure about the black headpiece she sported for the final – it didn’t really enhance their look on this large floor. Getting the 4th spot with 4,3,3,4,4, were Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova. They have become the country’s most consistent competitors in this style – we see them a lot, but there is always something new when watching them. They never stop innovating. 5th position went to Canada’s Valentin Voronov & Anna Pelypenko and they placed 5th in all dances. However, this was an entirely new Valentin & Anna from the couple who competed just a week ago in Chicago. Tonight’s performance was full of fire, and for us they could have placed higher in some dances. Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler were 6th in all dances, but in looking at the judges’ individual scores, several considered them for much higher placement. We feel they need to keep searching for a competitive edge that will push them up this slippery ladder.

As we said, the showdances were not up to the standard of those in the Smooth. However, the winners here were Mykhailo & Anastasiia and their retro disco style routine was well choreographed, costumed and portrayed. They were clearly the best to us and the judges agreed. Runners-up were Francesco & Sabrina and they too had done their homework and turned in a high-power, slick routine. But the remaining routines were not really in the “wow” category. Artur & Anastasiya were 3rd. Valentin & Anna took 4th in a clever routine involving blow up samurai costumes. This was amusing, and the crowd loved it, but didn’t really give the judges much to “judge.” Pasha & Gabriella took 5th which left 6th place to our competition winners, Andrei & Asta, who had problems with their audio and never seemed to really recover from this.

(A quick word from the DJ Booth! Whether you’re dancing professional, amateur or pro-am, the simplest way to turn in your music is on a flashdrive - phones, emails, etc. do NOT always work!)

For the amateurs and juniors it was a ballroom day. While most of the events take place in the daytime, the final of the Amateur Ballroom was last night. It was a high-quality final with the top 3 especially of a very high standard. The winners in all dances were Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova. They had the majority of first places in all dances and as always demonstrated their calm and relaxed style to perfection. However, they didn’t have things completely their own way. They were pushed hard by Canada’s Vladyslav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova who took first places from the winners in all dances and had 5 firsts to the winners’ 6 in tango. Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova rounded out this talented trio taking 3rd in all dances. 4th in all dances went to Erick & Shelly Linder; 5th Jaren Hopkin & Vashti Smith 6,5,5,6,5; 6th Robert & Jenna McShinsky 5,6,6,5,6.

As in the Latin on Friday, the Junior Grand Slam was the largest event in the afternoon. The winners were Nathan Zaytsev & Bankova who won 4 dances and tied for first with the runners-up in foxtrot. All dances were close. With 2,2,2,1T,2, Daniel Novikov & Mishella Vishnevskiy were 2nd and 3rd spot went to Leo Kolmykov & Katya Storchevaya – 3,3,3,3,3.

The Ohio Star Ball is the concluding event of the 92 events that make up the World Dancesport Series and the presentation of the top students and teachers for the year was made last night.

Teachers: 1st Tommy Radon; 2nd Kakha Turiashvili; 3rd Josh Tilford; 4th Brian Baker; 5th Francesco Arietta; 6th Michael McKeever.

Top Female Students: 1st Amy Leis; 2nd Elaine Krieger; 3rd Gail Cohen; 4th JoAnne Fisher; 5th Patricia Bray; 6th Cheryle Russo.

Top Male Students: 1st Les Antman; 2nd Don Gingery; 3rd Buck Lindsay; 4th Bill Savage; 5th Bob Raurell; 6th Tolgo Bakircioglu.

Top Studios: 1st Storm Ballroom Centre; 2nd My Dance Hub; 3rd Supershag.

The competitions continue today – watch for a report on the World Dancesport Series Open Ballroom Scholarships coming soon!

"Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret!"

Outside it’s winter.

But last night in the Battelle Hall life was beautiful - the Open Professional Cabaret was beautiful, but not only beautiful but amazing is the correct word to describe the five Professional Cabaret couples that took to the floor for the Open Professional Cabaret Championship in Battelle Hall.

This same day we had the first leg of the Ballroom Spirit Under 21 Latin Tour where the couples compete for $9,500.00 in cash. And on the same night we also witnessed a terrific Open Professional Ballroom final as well as a very exciting and interesting Open Professional Rhythm Championship, and of course with all their 1? minute solos to go with it. Around us most agreed that the Open Professional Rhythm Solos were about the least inspiring we have seen so far through the years and we should explain what they meant later in this blog.

The order in which they took to the floor is unimportant, what was really amazing was the quality of all the Professional Cabaret competitors. The winners Craig Smith & Andrea Harvey gave an amazing, faultless performance to “I Don’t want to Talk.” Their number last night had character, faultless technique and the difficulty of some of the maneuvers and steps were breathtaking. Had we been judging, we would probably have awarded them a 100 score out of 100. Yes Craig & Andrea won fair and square with a majority of firsts from the judges. However, we were quite surprised that four of the judges still awarded them second place for their effort, but thinking it over we are totally glad not to be seated in their position with this amazing Cabaret Championship.

Second in this stellar Cabaret final went to Maria & Alyenendrov Tsoroken who stole the four remaining first place marks from Craig & Andrea and who too brought down the house with a standing ovations. Their outfits were perfect with Alyenendrov wearing white, “samurai” looking pants a perfect choice to not take away any eyes from his chiseled, perfectly constructed body. The step where Maria was held hovering a few inches from the floor to then be picked up slowly out of it and into another amazing lift made the entire ballroom exhale. This for us, as for the judges, was easy to mark second to Craig & Andrea, because they were amazing too. What we found a little strange or surprising was that some of the prestigious panel of judges awarded this couple fourth and fifth place marks. Linda Dean and Marianne Nicole awarded Maria & Alyenendrov fifth places and Alexandra Perzhu was not far behind awarding them a whopping fourth place mark on their score card.

Third in this parade of Cabaret stars went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who also gave a stellar performance with some very difficult maneuvers. Unfortunately, tonight in this battle giants, they needed to show a little more security on some of their lifts and perhaps needed to go an edge further into the danger zone to break ahead of the last two mentioned. We could say almost the same for Zachery Pohl & Ariel Freilich who placed fourth overall behind Travis and Jaimee. Here we had a lovely routine with a very nice vocal, their choreography was well-executed but not nearly as difficult as the two couples on top, so for us there was no way they could have gone through that iron curtain of Craig & Andrea and Maria & Alyenendrov.

Last in this amazing Cabaret final was awarded to “Pavarotti,” almost but not quite. Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez dance to Pavarotti’s opera and were awarded fifth for their effort. The routine was also faultless, but compering them to the rest we and we presume the judges, all have some difficulty with this experimental idea. Being fans of Pavarotti and all his music, we would find it hard not to give him a first place mark, but then we should be judging dancing and that is where I think the disconnect begins. Clifton & Mar received five, fifth place marks, and four, fourth place marks leaving only two judges that understood their concept and awarded them second place and they were Linda Dean and Alexandra Perzhu.

Early Friday morning Battelle Hall got going with the Under 21 Championship and the first leg of the Ballroom Spirt Latin Tour. 33 young couples were ready for the challenge and after one full first round, a quarter, and a semi, six couples were brought back for the final. It was wonderful to witness so much talent all at once, but unfortunately there can only be one winner and this time, the winners of all five dances were Vadym Pidhoretskyy & Ruby Castro. They were also the first recipients of the invitation for the finale of the Ballroom Spirit Latin Tour. There are still 5 more competitions to go and 5 more couples will be awarded this invitation. Second in this Under 21 Latin Championship were Nikita Grygorchuk & Naomi Spektor who placed second in three dances and third in the C,J. Third overall were Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton 2,3,3,3,2. Fourth was awarded to Kevin Filipczak & Sophia Marriott 4,5,4,4,4, fifth went to Krister Smits & Shelly Umansky 5,4,5,5,5, and in sixth place was Joshua Ginzburg & Emmanuelle Gray placing sixth in all dances. We congratulate these very talented young people and we look forward to seeing them on the next leg of the Ballroom Spirit Under 21 Tour that will be held at the City Light Open at the end of January 2022.

The Open Professional Ballroom was one of our favorite competitions of the night and here Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk won the championship overall, but it was quite close between them and Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtirova. Alexander & Veronika won two dances and placed second in three dances, and we say close because Valeriu & Liana won two dances and placed second in two dances and third in the quickstep. But the real close tie in this excellent heat came between the third and fourth place marks, here Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletoba got 5,4,3,4,1, a total of 17 points and Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova got 3,3,4,3,4, a total of 17 points. In order to break this tie they had to go to (Rule10) a very easy rule to apply as you can see Andrii & Ekaterina had the least damage with three thirds and two fourths, so they were awarded third overall, meantime Radu & Xenia had two fourths a first, that looks great on their score card but that fifth cost them that placement and so they took fifth place overall on this competition.

Fifth was a clear end for Andres & Veronica End with these marks 4,5,5,5,5. Sixth place went to Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova taking sixth in all dances.

With these scores the Open Professional Ballroom couples moved to their solo performances. In the past this group usually did not have a great reputation so we were not expecting great, we were expecting lots of fun and I mean funny!!! But in the end we were quite impressed with some of the ideas of the couples. The best for us and for the judges was the performance of Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletoba who both dressed as identical “Charlie Chaplins” and gave us a very interesting and humerus dance which the audience and apparently the judges liked, they took seven out of 11 first place marks that could have been given. David Hamilton and Stephen Knight were the only unconvinced judges who awarded them a third each. Second in this solo venture went to Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtirova but here the scorecard was a little more varied, but they did manage to steal one first place mark from Radu & Xenia. We were quite disappointed with Alexander & Veronika Voskalchuk’s solo performance especially after their standing ovation win at the World Ballroom Classic ShowDance in Miami, where they had everyone standing for quite some time, here the only ones standing for their performance was the people leaving.

Fourth in this short and sometimes sweet solos was awarded to Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova who did a fun number that included some hip hop in it, it must have been hard for Andrii to dance with the mask but it was totally worth it, the audience loved it and the judges did also somewhat. Fifth place in this solo competition went to Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova who did a very basic routine, perhaps they were not expecting to be dancing in this final but a suggestion - when it comes to Ohio, always be prepared, you never know. Last in the Ballroom solos was Andres & Veronica End and yes these brought us to the end of the Open Professional Ballroom Championships.

The Professional Rhythm had quite a number of surprises. The first was that their showcase numbers have move down to possibly the worst we have seen from the Rhythm in recent years and we will mention why later but for the moment we must go over the actual Rhythm Championship. Andre & Natalie Paramonov won the event 3 to 2, by placing first in the C,R,B and second in the other two dances. In recent reports we have mentioned that they almost always capture perfect scores from the judges, here this was not the case. In their cha cha they got 11 first place marks just making it above the majority of firsts and also in the rumba where they got 10 first place marks and yes they did get a majority of first out of the 19 panel of adjudicators but they got the majority by the skin of their teeth. They won the bolero but they had to do it with second or better marks. And as we mentioned they lost two dances this was perhaps not their best we have seen them do at a competition.

Second went to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin by placing second in three dances and first in the swing and mambo. It is always great to see this energetic couple dance, always with the “take no prisoners” attitude and this really worked for them this time. Third in this Rhythm Championship went to Shane Jensen & Shannon Jensen with these marks 3,3,4,3,5. This was a great result for them in this category, we are not quite sure how they got there because from the sidelines their performance was a little weak especially in the final. Fourth in this Rhythm heat went to the new partnership of Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones who placed 4,4,3,6,4. This partnership shows tremendous potential and they seem to be getting better with every outing they take. On a personal note they need to just lay off that “coffee.”

Fifth overall was awarded to Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto 5,5,5,5,3. As you can see they were rewarded a third in their mambo because they are truly dancing with mambo soul, and we are pleasantly surprised that their basic skills in the other four dances are improving. It’s no longer about Kevin’s side to side movement of the head, there is a little more substance to what they are doing, congratulations! Sixth went to Toshko & Kristin Kondov, 6,6,6,4,6, a good placement for this couple at the moment. We do feel that Toshko is one of the most talented men in this field, however, the partnership still trying to jell.

A “mambo” took the prize for the best solo of the Open Professional Rhythm Championship. This brought a tear to Milagros Lareto when they were announced - Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto as the winners of the solo performance and it also brough a tear to our eye, because from there down the solo Rhythm presentations were a disaster. Shane Jensen & Shannon Jensen did a mixture of Cabaret and Rhythm, but even though we are fans of their Cabaret, we have to say that it was hard to figure out a “why” for the routine. The best part of it was when Shannon ripped Shane’s shirt off and exposed a chiseled “David” underneath the clothes.

We nearly did a citizen’s arrest with Andre & Natalie Paramonov. Here we thought they were going to save the day, because in the past we have seen some spectacular shows from this talented couple, but no - all we got was a bunch of walking around with what looked like him chasing after her to arrest her or take her home, we don’t really know! Fourth was awarded to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin who as you can see form the picture did some sort of a swing, but just looking at the picture you can tell that it was not going to get very far on the scorecard. In fifth position was “Snoopy” with “Orphan Annie” being played by Toshko & Kristin Kondov. We’re not sure how long this program was, but we saw at least two people looking at their watches during the performance and truly it felt like an eternity, poor Snoopy! Last but not any less was Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones. But all we have to say to them is “please ditch the “Lattes” before you enter the dancefloor, really? By the way if you really have to drink the coffee don’t drop it!

The Open Amateur Latin final was also held this evening at the Battelle Hall and eight very talented couples made it to the final from a quarter final round of competition. In the end first place in all dances went to Joel Lopez & Kristina Bespechova, second in all dances was awarded to Max Firestein & Nicole Renee, third went to Ron Garber & Klaudia Petri, fourth was Vadym Pidhoretskyy & Ruby Castro 4,4,5,4,4, fifth place overall went to Daniil Tymoshenko & Vladyslana Vursalovas 5,5,4,6,8, sixth was awarded to Erik & Shelly Linder 6,7,7,5,5, seventh was Nikita Grygorchuk & Naomi Spektor, and in eighth position was Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton 8,8,8,8,7.

The World Pro/Am Dancesport Series in the Latin divisions concluded yesterday late afternoon with all the scholarships and this is how it evolved.

The Senior 1 went to Doreen Dressel w/ Genya Bartashevich winning all dances. Second overall was Marcy Garson w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 2,2,2,3, third went to Scott Magnesen w/Sabrina Bertini 3,3,3,2, fourth was awarded to Christina Rossetti w/Francesco Arietta 4,4,5,4, Fifth was Windy Yu w/Roman Italyankin 6,5,4,5, and in sixth place was Luna Viva w/Kristijan Burazer.

In the Senior 2 Latin the overall winner was Judi Markel w/Pavel Cherdantsau 2,1,1,1, second was Alice Lekht w/Igor Derimov 1,2,2,2, and third was Shela Abraham w/Sergey Vasilyev 3,3,5,3. Michaela Puno w/Slava Sergiev was fourth 5,4,4,4, Vimala Sivarama w/Plamen Danailov placed fifth 4,5,3,5, Richard Boudrew w/Inga Srkaite took all sixths and Mei Chiu w/Valentyn Isaiev was seventh.

In the Senior 3 Susan Sordoni w/ Fancesco Arietta won all four dances. Joan Endres w/Gene Bersten placed second in all and Momoe Garland w/Dmytro Kovalenko was overall third 4,3,4,3. Barbara Cheney w/Vlad Astafiev placed fourth 3,5,5,4, Haru Wladyka w/Alex Senko was fifth 5,4,3,5, and Ram Viswanathan w/Sarika Pilipenchuk took sixth in all dances.

The “C” division started with a quarter and here Lynn Magnesen w/Tomasz Lewandowski took first overall 1,1,1,2,1, second went to Deborah Wright w/Nikolay Voronovich 2,2,2,1,2, and third in all dances was awarded to Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev. Sophia D’Angelo w/Vitalii Proskurin was foruth overall 5,4,4,4,4, Kimberly Bottini w/Aleksandar Vukosavljevic was fifth 4,5,5,5,5, Marialisa DeGasperis w/Stanistav Kochergin was sixth 6,6,6,6,7, and Lisa Lowery w/Artem Merenko placed seventh 7,7,7,7,6.

In the “B” division Christine Stanko w/Nikita Malakov were the overall winners 1,1,1,2,2, second overall went to Missy White w/Genya Bartashevich 2,2,2,1,1, and third overall was Irma Wang w/ Daniel Hustiuc 4,4,3,3,3. Lindsey Keatley w/ Vlad Robatsenko placed fourth 3,3,4,4,4, Mirra Blimova Thorp w/Clement Joly were fifth 5,5,6,5,5, Jacqueline Tarr w/Allen Genkin took sixth 6,6,5,6,6, and Christina Enoch w/Roman Drobotov placed seventh in all dances.

The “A” division was magnificent, there were so many talented dancers in this heat, but in the end Ariel Xu w/Daniel Hustiuc won overall 1,1,2,1,1. Second overall was awarded to Anna Brown w/Andrey Tarasov 2,2,1,2,2, third went to Jessica Stone w/Sergey Korshunov 4,4,5,3,3, Alena Khoroshevtseva w/Michiko Bregvadze was fourth 6,3,3,4,4, Deborah Tipley w/ Paul Richardson placed fifth 3,6,4,5,6, Kaylee Schwarz w/Evgenii Grytsak was sixth 5,5,6,6,5, and seventh was Anvelyn Pi w/Pasha Stepanchuk taking seventh in all dances.

Battelle Hall in the afternoon was the setting for the Fordney Foundation, Best of the Best Solo presentations. They competed in 3 categories – preteen, junior and youth. Some of the routines were well thought out. The winners were: Daniel Novikov & Mishella Sishnevskiy (Junior); Timor Valiev & Michelle Itkin (Youth).

The Junior Grand Slam was the largest amateur event of the day with 38 couples entering.  Daniel Novikov & Mishella Sishnevskiy were the winners 1,1,1,1,1.  Runners-up, Ethan Hayutt & Anna Jgenti 2,2,2,2,2; 3rd David Maimon & Alisa Guzman 3,3,3,3,3

With this we concluded Friday and we look forward to tonight !

A Day of “Smooth & Solos”

Thursday at OSB was filled with some great dancing in the Smooth divisions and also in the Best of the Best Solo divisions.

The Open A World Dancesport Championship was a very strong division. The winner in all dances was Lula Calloway w/ Sergey Barsukov who had the majority of first places in all dances. As the winner of the Rhythm also, this was the first "double" of the night.  As in the A Rhythm, 2nd and 3rd places were very much a family affair. This time Natasha Namen w/ Mikhail Vlasov took the lead 2,2,2,2. Her brother, Marko with Mikhail’s mother, Marina, was 3rd 3,3,3,3. 4th was Arun Garg w/ Joseph Lettig 4,4,6,4. We believe this was the highest placement to date of a same sex couple in an open division. 5th Rebecca Smart w/ Balint Temesuari 5,5T,4,6; 6th Cindy Brinkmeyer w/ Christopher Wayne 6,5T,5,5; 7th Diana LaVecchia w/ Paulo DiLorenzzo.

Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano, back from a hiatus, returned to competition in good form to take the Open B Championship very easily. Celia lost very few first place marks from the 11 adjudicators. Another very strong competitor, Olivia Whiteside w/ Sergey Barsukov was the runner-up placing 2,3,2,2. That 2nd spot in tango went to Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft who placed 3rd overall 3,2,3,3. Zlata Clark w/ Kyle Spinder took 4th 4,4,4,5; 5th Mariana Lvoff w/ Vlad Kosarev 5,5,5,4; 6th Stacy Tilford w/ Josh Tilford 6,6,6,6.

The Open C gave us the closest result of the night between 2 ladies who have very different styles. In fact, it was a tie for first place, only broken by Rule 11. Maintaining her current form and taking first place was Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki who placed 1,2,1,2 over Sophia D’Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa 2,1,2,1. As with any Rule 11 tiebreak, the difference was in the random judges. In this case, Sophia had a couple of judges who scored her in the lower half of the final in some dances and this made the difference, basically. Patricia had 36 total “2nd or better” scores to Sophia’s 30. We applaud both ladies on a dynamite performance.

But as if one Rule 11 was not enough, 3rd and 4th placements were also decided by a tiebreaker. This time Rule 10. With 3,3,4,5 Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev secured 3rd place over Inez Inserra w/ Mayo Alanen with 4,4,3,4. (Note that the totals for both of these ladies add to 15, but Nichelle placed 3rd in 2 dances – the position in question – to only 1 dance for Inez).

This was a tight final all round, as 5th placed Sue Eldred w/ Oleksiyy Pigotskyy scored 6,5,5,3 and sixth place went to Angela Fuller w/ Sasha Tsyhankov 5,6,6,6.

The experienced Sue Eldred, dancing with Oleksiyy Pigotskyy, was the winner in the S1 division and did win all dances. However, she was pushed hard by the runner-up and in fact won only the tango with the majority of first places. The runner-up was Irene Fong w/ Slawek Souchaki who placed 2nd in all dances, despite having more first places than the winner in 2 dances – but never the majority. 3rd in all dances went to Helena Kostik w/ Nicolai Pilipenchuk. Then we were back to the ties – 4th and 5th places and 6th and 7th places were both decided by Rule 11 tiebreakers. 4th Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy 5,5,4,4; 5th Kathy Stewart w/ Mayo Alanen 4,4,5,5; 6th Carolyn Glazner w/ Danas Jaksevicius 7,6,7,6; 7th Yasuko Kuroda w/ Ilya Abdulin 6,7,6,7.

Janet Brutell w/ Dmitry Zavialov scored the second "double" of the night adding the S2 Smooth Championship to the Rhythm she won the day before. Janet won all dances and had the majority of first places in all but tango. Jeanie LaFavor was 2nd in all dances, narrowly missing the win in foxtrot by 1 first place mark. Judi Markell w/ Pavel Cherdantsau, another very strong lady in this division, was 3rd in all dances. 4th in all went to Annette Burden w/ Tony Scheppler. Mark Eberle w/ Veronika End kept his place among the ladies in the final, taking 5th spot with 5,5,5,6. Another gentleman, Willie Grana w/ Yuliya Besarab was 6th 6,6,6,5 and Susan Scott w/ Shane Jensen was 7th.

Sally Hess w/ Darius Mosteika had one of the easiest wins of the night, taking the majority of first places in all dances in the S3 division. 2nd in all went to Lyn Riddle w/ Sergey Samchynskyy. 5,5,3,3 gave Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 3rd spot and close behind her with 4,3,6,4 was Anne Goldstein w/ Andrei Gergel. Buck Lindsay w/ Yuliya Besarab was also in contention, placing 4th with 3,4,5,6. And in this tight-fought division, Nancy Smith w/ Tommy Radon was 6th 6,6,4,5.

The Best of the Best solo categories, almost 80 in number, took about 3 hours to complete. To be eligible to present one of these solos, a student had to win a “Best of the Best” dance off at a qualifying event in the previous year. The routines showed varying levels of preparedness, but most were entertaining and kept the audience attentive. The largest categories were the Bronze, Silver and Gold & Above but there were other categories for showdance and cabaret. The winners were: Bronze - Silver – Gina Ruby w/ Marcus Johnson. Gold – Nancy Stone w/ Sergey Korshunov.

OSB Is Back!

After a one year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic the “Ohio Star Ball” is finally back and running on its usual schedule here in the Regency Ballroom in Columbus Ohio.

This week of dancing began Tuesday morning with the Pro/Am Rhythm categories, Pro/Am Rhythm is usually quite popular at OSB and so after two full days of competition the Open Scholarships came to an end last night just before midnight and here are the results of all the World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Open Rhythm Scholarships.

The “A” division started with a semifinal round of competition and here Lula Callaway dancing with Nazar Norov won all dances with the majority of firsts in every dance. Her mambo was her strongest dance with 9 out of 11 judges marking her first. Second overall in this heat went to Marko Namen w/Marina Vlasova by placing second in four dances and third in the rumba. Third place went to his sister Natasha Namen with Marina’s son Mikhail Vlasov, and she placed third in four dances and second in the rumba. As you can see this was a family affair with the two siblings dancing with a mother and son, a very interesting moment here at the OSB for this first Scholarships being run. Fourth place in this same “A” Rhythm heat was awarded to Abigail Montalbo w/Vasilii Platonov with these marks 4,4,4,5,4, fifth was Natalie Peterson w/Jason Daly 5,5,5,4,5, and sixth in all dances went to Maxahna Brinkmeyer w/Christopher Wayne.

The “B” Division was a repeat of many years past with Giovanni Fortezza dancing with Jolanta Mosteika and wining all dances. This was a very easy win for them, they won all dances with a huge majority of firsts in each dance. In four of their dances they managed to capture 9 out of the 11 first place marks awarded, the bolero was their weakest but even them they got 8 out of the 11 first place marks. Second overall by placing second in the C,R,B and third in the SW,M was awarded to Mariana Lvoff w/Vladimir Kosarev. We totally enjoy this lady’s dancing but on this occasion she had a “yoyo” going on her scoreboard in many of her dances her scores went from first to fifth place. Third in this excellent heat went to Kacey Warren w/Jean Michel Erole with these scores 3,3,2,3,2. Fourth place in this heat and in all dances was awarded to Leanna Wenderoth w/Kirill Gorjatsev, fifth position overall went to Andi Wolff w/Decho Kraev 6,5,5,5,5, and sixth was Mag Retelewski w/Aaron DeSoto 5,6,6,6,6.

The “C” Category started with a full quarter-final round and the World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Open Rhythm Championship went to Lynn Magnesen w/Thomaz Lewandowski. Lynn won all her dances with a majority of firsts but in her cha cha she missed having a perfect score by one mark, Linda Dean was the only judge to award her a third place in that dance the rest of the judges gave her first. We have been following this lady’s dancing and we must say this is the most improvement we have seen from Lynn in this style. Second in all dances was awarded to Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev and we must mention that the majority of firsts that Lynn lost went to Nichelle. Third overall was awarded to Janice Gonzales w/Aleksandar Vukosavjevic placing third in four dances and fourth in the swing. Fourth overall was Angela Fuller w/Sasha Tsyhankov with these marks 4,4,3,4,4; fifth position was awarded to Lisa Lowery w/Artem Merenkov 5,5,6,5,5, and in sixth place was Michelle Loeb w/Aleko Khutsidze 6,6,5,6,6.

The Senior 1 also started with a full quarter-final round of competition and here the winner in all dances was Carolyn Glazner w/Danas Jaksevicius. Carolyn won the bolero quite easily with a full majority of firsts, 7 out of 11 in total, she also won the swing with a majority of firsts and that was 6 out of 11. However, in the other two dances she had to rely on second or better to win the dances. Second overall on this Senior heat went to Esperanza Blair w/Andre Paramonov and here they placed third in three dances and second in the swing. Third place was awarded to Diana Best w/Alosha Anatoliy with these marks 5,2,3,2, as you cans see there was quite a variety of marks in this lady’s scorecard. Luna Viva w/Kristijan Burazer took fourth place overall in this Senior 1 Rhythm heat 2,5,6,4; Sandy Buckholz w/Toshko Kondov was fifth overall 4,4,4.5,5, as you can see they tied in the bolero for fourth place with Scott Magnesen w/Sabrina Bertini who placed sixth overall 6,6,4.5,6.

In the Senior 2 the overall winner was Janet Bruttell w/Dmitrii Zavialov and they won three dances and placed second in the swing. Second overall but not in all dances went to Leslie McLeod w/Melbin De La Cruz 2,2,1,3, as you can see Leslie stole the bolero from Janet. Third place in this interesting final went to Jeanie LaFavor w/Igor Afonkin with these marks 3,3,3,2. Before we go on we must point out that in this Senior 2 Rhythm a seven-couple final was recalled and so the fourth placement went to Susan Scott w/Nazar Norov with these marks 4,5,4,4; fifth position went to Annette Burden w/Tony Scheppler 5,4,5,6; sixth position was awarded to Sally Childs w/Jay Holmes 6,6,6,5, and seventh place in all dances went to Robie Grana w/Yuliya Besarab.

The Senior 3 World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Open Rhythm Championship was a six-couple final and the overall winner in this small but mighty heat was Susan Sordini w/Francesco Arietta and she won 3 dances and placed second in the swing. There was a tie for second place in this Championship between Anne Goldstein w/Andrey Gergel and Barb Smith w/Tommy Radon in the end they both had accumulated 10 points total. After applying (Rule10) the second place winner was Anne, leaving Barb holding third. Fourth place overall went to Nadine Kawaguchi w/Dmitry Nikolaev 3,4,4,4; in fifth position in all dances was Buck Lindsay w/Yuliya Besarab, and sixth was Ed Hammond w/Krystyna Dubrovshenko.

Today is Smooth day here at the Ohio Star Ball and we should have all for you tomorrow so stay tuned and keep watching!

  • World Dancesport Series Winners 2020

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  • January 2002 - A Look Back

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    With so much time on our hands of late, and no competitions in the offing, we decided to look back over some of our previous 30 years and find out how much has or has not changed. We begin this nostalgic journey with highlights from our January 2002 edition - the first edition to be totally digital.


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