Top honors went to the Open professional Latin that started with an exciting semifinal round and had a terrific final. World renowned Nino Langella & Andra Vaidilaite from Italy competed and won every dance with nearly perfect scores only one judge dissented in four dances and awarded them second in the S,R,P,J. In the cha cha they were awarded perfect scores.
For us the Latin was one of the best heats of the night and as we mentioned Nino Langella & Andra Vaidilaite, had no problem sweeping firt in all dances and from the sidelines many in the audience acknowledging their number. For us they were solidly the best of all couples, their work looked soft, playful and secure, making you want to join them in the fun. Second in four dances and third in the jive went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk, who for us also had a wonderful night. In the past we have been slightly disappointed with this very talented couple’s performance but on the last two outings and especially in this one, they recaptured our attention and we are now looking at a fantastic future ahead for this very talented couple. We have to agree with the judges on the jive, their performance lacked the energy and bounce needed of this dance. In fact at times we could say they looked as if they were just walking it through. In the rest of the dances we have to agree they have improved 100% and are fully challenging for higher ground and they are being rewarded.
Third overall was awarded to Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler who most have been disappointed with their result where they placed third in four dances and second in the jive. For us and in looking at the marks it was very close between Pasha & Gabriella and Manuel & Natalia. We felt that perhaps Pasha & Gabirelle might have an edge and apparently they did in the jive where they placed second but in the other four dances even if it was close the majority awarded second to Manuel & Natalie. A comfortable fourth place in all dances was given to Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Besyedin who had great energy but perhaps lacked the consistency of quality that the other three had in this final from beginning to end. Fifth overall went to Robin Alexander Veskus & Diana Gavrilova 5,6,6,5,5, and sixth place was given to Mykhaylo Smagin & Melanie Weiler 6,5,5,6,6.
In the Open Professional Smooth, the judges recalled seven terrific couples to the final, but it the end Aleksandar Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova won the event with little opposition from the other couples, receiving the majority of firsts from the judges in all dances. Second overall was awarded to Kharyton & Anastasiya Khomenko 3,2,2,2, and we have to agree this couple like Manuel & Natalie had a fabulous night and were fully noted on this performance. They had energy great floor craft and consistency to maintain their form in all the dances from the semifinal on. However, we can almost say that their performance and that of Volodymyr Barabash & Yulia Rudenco who placed third overall was very close with perhaps Kahryton & Anastasia having an edge when it comes to energy displacement and we could easily tell from the marks they received from the judges that second position was hard fought for, here are Volodymyr & Yulia’s marks 2,3,3,3.
Fourth in this Smooth heat and in every dance went to Ilya Abdullin & Anastasija Jerjomina. We prefered this nine-dance couple this evening in the Rhythm, but fourth was a good placement for them in this heat. Fifth, also in all dances went to Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir. From fifth down there was slight changes - Evgenii Grinin & Olga Morozova placed 7th in the waltz and sixth in the other three dances and were awarded sixth overall, leaving seventh overall to Pavel Lebedev & Ekaterina Romashkina 6,7,7,7. We were quite surprised with this placement for this couple. We figured they might be placed slightly higher but it was not to be on this outing.
The Open Professional Ballroom was danced as an unusual 8-couple final. It was a challenging heat. Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova won all dances and did have the majority of first places from the judges in all. We felt this was a well-deserved placement for this duo who continue to improve. The runners-up were Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova and while they were 2nd in all dances, a couple of them were quite close with the 3rd placed couple Dan Malov & Anna Bohachova who were 3rd in all dances. These two couples offer very different products. Igor and Valeriia are a tall, stately partnership, whereas Dan & Anna offer a more energetic performance. Viennese Waltz was the closest scored dance between these two. 4th Artem Belmeha & Anna Shevchenko 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Jonathan Test & Tatiana Mescheryakova 5,6,6,5,5; 6th Evgenii Grinin & Olga Morozova 6,5,5,6,6; 7th Ion Postolachi & Diana Postolachi 7,7,7,7,8; 8th Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva 8,8,8,8,7.
In the Open Professional Rhythm, the 6 finalists finished in the same position in every dance, but a look at the actual judges’ marks shows a much closer race than those figures would imply. It was not, however, close for first place. Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones received first place in all dances from all judges except one. So that lost a total of only 5 first place marks. They go from strength to strength and Francesco must certainly be commended on his energy level as he also competed in multiple pro-am divisions over the weekend. Ilya Abdullin & Anastasija Jerjomina were 2nd and they did manage to receive a majority of 2nd or better scores in all 5 dances. Kristian Sese & Mae Lozada placed 3rd, but received the majority of “3rd or better” scores in only 2 dances. They were, however, the recipients of the 5 first places not awarded to Francesco & Jessa Mae. Andrew Nikitchenko & Tara Fanzo were 4th, and certainly pushed Kristian & Mae pretty hard. Jeffrey Benarao & Therese Andre Quilaton were 5th and Artem Shiller & Ginny Ray Shiller were 6th.
Both of the U/21 divisions were straight finals. Oskar Krimus & Shayna McDonald won the Latin and Maksym Vasylyk & Sophia Kouznetsov took the Ballroom.
One thing the PDC is famous for is its after party and last night's certainly did not disappoint! Lots of food and drinks and most important - a live Latin band for those who had not had enough dancing! Congrats to the organizers - Chuck Danza & Igor Litvinov.
A Hero’s Welcome!
We’re back in the city of brotherly love for the 2022 edition of the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships.
The event kicked off with nightclub on Thursday night – the theme was “Super Heroes” and we were impressed with how many people showed up in costume – competitors and judges!
Last night the featured event was the Open Amateur Latin and for that we had a strong 7-couple final. The winners beyond question were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman who lost only 1 first place mark in the whole event (1 second in jive). Equally clear was the runner-up spot, Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze had the vast majority of the judges’ 2nd placements and that 1 first in jive. Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton were 3rd in all dances and like the first two couples, they were very clear in that position. This certainty from the judges extended equally to the 4th position for Oskar Krimus & Shayna McDonald who were 4th in all dances. The last 3 places were a little more mixed from the judges’ perspective although Ryder Yang & Anastasiia Zhigulina from Thailand definitely got the best of it and placed 5th in all dances. 6,6,6,6,7 gave Ryder Yang & Anastasiia Zhigulina 6th spot and with 7,7,7,7,6 Marc Zhadan & Savanna Filip were 7th.
Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova won the Open Amateur Ballroom and this was also a 7-couple final. Sam & Katarina had the clear majority of first places in all dances. Maksym Vasylyk & Sophia Kouznetsov headed up the chasing group and they were 2nd in all dances although the waltz was decided with a tiebreak. Matthew Matusovskiy & Nicole Klavansky lost that tiebreak in waltz and placed 3rd in all dances. 4th Brandon S. Klavansky & Karolina Lokaj 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Dimitri Billian & Hanna Shyvilka 5,5,5,5T,5; 6th Xingmin Lu & Katerina Lu 6,6,6,5T,6; 7th Christian Larsen & Lara Beecher.
All 4 styles of Rising Star divisions also took place last night and posed some tough choices for the judges.
The Rhythm began with a semifinal. The winners in all dances were Jeffrey Benarao & Therese Andre Quilaton.
The Smooth also had a semifinal round and the winners were Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir 1,1,1,1.
Perhaps the toughest job for the judges came in the Latin, also starting with a semifinal. All six finalists received scores ranging almost the full 6 places. The winners were Mykhaylo Smagin & Melanie Weiler and their final placements were 2,1,1,1,2.
The Ballroom division was a straight final. Jonathan Test & Tatiana Mescheryakova from Canada were the winners scoring 1,1,2,1,2.
Stay tuned for the Open Professional divisions tonight.