Hawai'i Star Ball 2022

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Dancing Over The Rainbow!

It has been three years since we last flew over the rainbow to attend the Hawai’i Star Ball.

It was lovely to see that after nearly three years the islands are still as beautiful as always and even better, the Hawaii Star Ball Competition continues to grow without missing a beat at a very healthy pace with three full days of competition that began with a catamaran ride on Waikiki Bay as a welcome party followed by a “luau” and finished with some terrific professional ballroom dancing Saturday night.

Every day we had an early start, but the competition did not disappoint. The Pro/Am divisions were all fully attended and ballroom dance schools from the island and from all over the mainland were present. All people travel here to compete and have fun in this magnificent paradise that is just over the rainbow, called the Hawai’i Star Ball.

Saturday the professional events were quite good with some excellent dancers. The Open Professional Latin for example had the duo of Rangel Spirov & Veronika Chernyavska from Texas who thrilled the audience and had then at one point on their feet applauding their Latin skills. Rangel & Veronika won the cha cha with perfect scores from the judges and in the other two dance they missed perfection by one mark in each that came from Albina. Second in this fun heat was awarded to Anton Silantev & Olga Aropova who placed second in all dances and where the recipients of Albina’s four 1st place marks missing from Rangel & Veronika’s score card. We felt that Rangle & Veronika were by far the best from the group and deservedly easily won this competition.

Third in the Open Professional Latin was awarded to Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys in all dances and from all judges. Zsolt is now sporting a trendy beard and Timea was sporting the new style of futuristic pant suit with little floating straps on the bottom and top. Fourth went to Nirvana & Thomas Jay Loewe who seem to be on a world tour, we have seen this couple in a number of events including the US Championships.

The Professional Smooth was the most populated with a full semifinal round and six being called back. Here the winners by a full consensus of all judges who awarded them perfect scores in the tango, foxtrot and Viennese Waltz, were Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov. They also got a first in the waltz but missed perfect scores by two marks one from Michelle Hudson and one from Valentina Kostenko who each awarded them second. We have to agree with the majority, this couple left nothing to chance they were as they say, “right on the money” from start to finish of this Smooth competition. Second place in this Smooth event went easily to Elisa & Stephen McCann and they took the majority of second place marks from the judges and the two firsts missing from the winners’ column. This was another easy couple to spot on the floor, they also had enough power and experience to get around all the other couples without having too much trouble.

It was a tie for third and fourth place, one that had to be broken with a Rule11 decision. Both couples here had a total of 14 points each making it a tie, once the rule was applied David Elser & Elizabeth Krug placed third 4,3,4,3, and Jason Rivers & Jennifer David took fourth 3,4,3,4. On this outing for us we felt that, Jason & Jennifer might have had a little of an edge especially when it came to musicality and interpretation, but both couples were technically sound and able to fulfill the third place finish position. At the end as you just saw the skating system broke the tie and that was the result.

Fifth went to Anastasia & Mykhailo Azarov in all dances, this is a very talented couple that started like a rocket but somewhere in the middle they faded and things can at times get a little to sweaty and disorganized. I think with time and experience they will for sure be able to challenge higher. And sixth in this terrific final was awarded to Yutaka Kubota & May Hibino from Japan. They were a couple with a lot of talent if you could find them on the floor. They needed to dance to this high ceilinged ballroom and perhaps they were dancing to a normal ceiling making them look small.

We most also point out a rare occurrence that happened in the Rising Star Smooth the day before and that was that we were running about 15 minutes late when the heat was called to order. Before it started this heat was supposed to be a semifinal round of eight couples but fifteen minutes passed and a final was announced and the couples took to the floor and danced the waltz. When the Tango was about to start the couple showed up and so the Chairman of Judges made the determination to let them start from the tango, a good decision we felt out of respect for all the other couples that were there on time and had danced their first dance. So now an eight-couple final was called in the tango, foxtrot and Viennese Waltz. I am sure it was a tough tango for the judges who had to now consider this new couple but one that with the amount of judges, was easily done. This we thought was a good decision in a evening that could go on past midnight if we had to start all over again.

Tykhon & Yana scored a second win in the Showdance, the last event of the night. 7 couples entered this division, including 3 couples from Japan. Second went to the McCanns with their Irish Showdance Medley. Actually the judges were split on these first 3 couples. The winners received 4 first places, the runners-up received 2 and in third place, Anton Silantev & Olga Aropova actually had 3 firsts. 4th, 5th and 6th positions all went to Japanese couples. 4th Nakaaki/Nakaaki; 5th Suzuki/Furukawa; 6th Kubota/Hibino. 7th were Loewe/Nirvana.

The Open Professional Rhythm and Ballroom on the last night, were both very small competitions with only three couples in each heat. In the Rhythm, John Bernal & Bailey Carrillo placed first overall by winning four dances and placing second in the cha cha. We totally agreed with the judges on this one, it took a little bit for John & Bailey to warm up, and they danced the first dance too close to the end of the floor making them look a little faded on the floor. Second went to Anastasia & Mykhailo Azarov, and here too they started with a bang with a clear cha cha, but as the competition went on everything seemed to get a little tighter and less organized so we can see why they got the marks they got. We still feel they had a very good mambo with great rhythmical attributes but not enough to win them this dance. Third in all dances was awarded to Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys.

As we mentioned earlier, the Open Professional Ballroom was also a three-couple final, and this contest went to Anton Silantev & Olga Aropova placing first in all dances. Second in all dances was awarded to Oleg & Mishka Teleha and third went to Jason Rivers & Jennifer David.

A band played throughout the night for general dancing but also for the 4 professional divisions.  Live music can be a challenge sometimes, but we must congratulate this particular group who not only played the correct tempi and duration, but provided a great sound for most of the dances.

It was great to be back in the Hawaiian Islands and a big thank you goes to organizers, David Alvarez & John Allen for their attention to details.  We loved the live fish in the center pieces!!


  • Hawai'i Star Ball 2019

    All Left the Same!

    Last night at the Hawaii Star Ball the evening concluded with the Open Professional competitions, but in the end it was basically the same result from the night before, with the exception of the Open Professional Ballroom and Smooth where a few extra couples entered, the other two events had basically the same result.

  • The Hawaiian Experience 2018

    The Hawaiian Experience 2018

    It is always a special experience to officiate or dance in the Hawai’i Star Ball!

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