The Rhythm of Miami
Miami is the USA’s center for Latin American heritage, so it was only fitting that the Rhythm style took center stage at this year’s Platinum Dancesport Classic.
In a marathon night of dancing last night, the Professional Rhythm was undoubtedly the centerpiece of this year’s event and the reason was the long-awaited debut of Andrew Escolme & Asta Sigvaldadottir. Andrew is a former finalist in this division, but Asta, a former US Latin Champion, is new to the genre.
So how did it go? The result was a win for the new duo. Their closest rivals were US finalists, Kevin Ubilius & Milargros Lareto who took the runner-up spot but did score a win in their signature dance, the mambo. Andrew & Asta won the first 3 dances with comfortable majorities of first place marks. They took the bolero by 7 to 6 and they lost the mambo to Kevin & Milargros by 7 firsts to 2. Andrew & Asta are both super-talented dancers and we felt that they certainly deserved their win tonight. We did feel there was some “first showing” tension here and there - and that perhaps explained the scores from the few judges who were not totally convinced. They did receive some 3rd places and even one 4th in the mambo. To really stamp their mark on this style, we feel they should rely more on their natural talent and personalities and allow the uniqueness of their partnership to shine through. Tonight they certainly established themselves as the couple to watch in this style.
Kevin & Milargros were perhaps a little disappointed not to push the newcomers a little closer. They rely very much on their natural rhythm and infectious personalities. This works so well for them in mambo but does not always transfer into the other dances. It was interesting to note their strong showing in bolero, perhaps signifying a new dimension to their careers.
With 3,4,3,4,3, Roger Romero & Arismel Naya took 3rd spot. This is our second look at them this month and we were equally impressed on both occasions. Roger is definitely one of the strongest men in the division with incredible energy and rhythm in his back. They exhibit the true Latin style their appearance would imply, and yet have a strong technical base as well. Definitely another couple to watch in the near future!
With 4,3,4,3,4, Kristian Sese & Mae Lozado were a close 4th. 5th Jake Davies & Alona 6,5,5,5,6; 6th Roberto Fernandez & Angelina Evseeva 5,6,6,6,5. The event began with a quarter-final.
All the other professional divisions were straight finals, but we nevertheless saw some very interesting contests. Chief among these was the Ballroom – although only 6 couples entered they were among the best in the country. It was definitely a 3-way race for the top position and although 3 couples won at least one dance with the winners taking 3. This was Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova 1,2,1,1,3. Of the 3 dances they won, they had the majority of first places in only VW. This was a very closely scored division. Only 1 point behind with 2,1,2,2,2 were Andriy Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova. They also had a majority of first places in the tango. They also had the most (although 1 less than the necessary majority) in waltz and foxtrot – so it was an unlucky day for them. The third wheel, and winners of the quickstep, were Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova placing 3,3,3,3,1. We are great fans of all these couples, so we had to be glad not to be judging!
4th Florin Vlad & Natalia O’Connor Vlad 4,5,4,4,4; 5th Riccardo Conte & Eleonora Filippi 5,4,5,5,5; 6th Evgenniyy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya 6,6,6,6,6.
The Pro Latin was much more cut and dried. Artur Tarnavsky & Anastasiia Danilova won all dances and dropped a total of only 3 first place marks. Equally clear, Rangel Spirov & Veronika Chernyavska took every 2nd place except for the 3 first places that Artur & Anastasiia did not get. 3rd Artur Shvetsov & Camila Rojas 3,3,3,3,3; 4th Gian DiFranco & Diana Santos (Portugal) 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Zolt Katona & Timeya Potys.
The Smooth was another close fought division. Volodymyr Barabash & Yuliya Rudenco were the winners 1,1,1,2 over Jang & Adele Don 2,2,2,1. These 2 couples split the judges’ first places quite evenly. They went in favor of Volodymyr & Yuliya 7/6; 8/5; 7/6; 6/7. 3rd in all dances went to Joseph & Madalina Varlam Lettig. 4th Dmitry Krasnyanskiy & Esther Frances 4,4,4,4; 5th Anton Chubykala & Josephine Auchterlonie 5,5,5,5; 6th Juan Martinez & Yamila Molina 6,6,6,6.
The only other event of the night to begin with a semifinal was the Amateur Latin. Once again there was a close race for the pole position. Mykyta & Lyndsey Vasylenko were the winners with 1T,1,1,2,1. Ron Garber & Klaudia Petriti were second 1T,2,2,1,2. The new partnership of Maksym Rodionov & Alexandra Miller took 3rd in all dances, although tied for that place in paso with 4th placed Sergey Pirozhkov & Dasha Zhalo 4,4,4,3T,4. 5th Eric Groysman & Nina Mayster 5,5,6,5,5; 6th Michael May & Sopheanna English 6,6,5,6,6.
Nikolay & Sarika Pilipenchuk were added as official co-organizers this year, joining Igor & Polina. The competition continued to offer a gala dinner on the last night, complete this year with a Tango Argentino show. Later in the evening a salsa troupe also performed – keeping it all “Miami Style!”