US National Amateur Championships 2023

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Ballroom not Standard!

This year’s United States Amateur Ballroom Championship in BYU was not your usual “standard” competition!

A number of the finalists have changed and new energy has been introduced making it one of the finest “Standard” competitions in the USA, or should we say “Ballroom” dance contests in the world today.

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The Ballroom Championship began with a huge first round of competition and six fantastic couples were selected for the 2023 United States Amateur Ballroom Championship. Some finalists from last year made it, but others did not. A few of last year’s finalists were left out and new faces came in making it a very exciting year for Ballroom dance at BYU.

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The winners, Danylo Dobrovolskyi & Anastasiia Malovana, were the only couple with an easy, clear placement in the final. The rest of the couples required third, fourth, fifth or better marks to be placed in the final and even Danylo & Anastasiia, the winners, required second or better marks in the quickstep to conquer first in that dance. So, as you can see overall this was not your usual “standard” at this Amateur US Ballroom Championship.

For us and for the majority of the judges Danylo Dobrovolskyi & Anastasiia Malovana were the best overall. In the final we found them to lose a little steam particularly in the quickstep where they totally lagged towards the end – almost coming to a standstill, but overall even in that dance where they only captured 5 out of the fifteen first place marks available, we still felt they were good enough during 80% of the dance and their first place was justified. Although we said that, Danylov & Anastasiia were brilliant from the start and they were easily to spot with their beautiful musical interpretation of these five ballroom dances from first round on.

From second place down was not an easy task for the judges or even for us a viewers to pin point who we preferred. All couples for us had their special draw and different interpretation of the five dances. Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina placed second overall, but here as you will see the marks say more than the words 4,2,5,2,2! What were the judges thinking and writing on their scorecards? Andrei & Anna are the youngest couple in this final and it totally amazes us how much talent, creativity and knowledge at such a young age this couple has. We were thrilled to see them make the final and happy that the judges recognized this young couple and their talent at this stage of the game. We most also report that Andrei & Anna stole the most firsts in one dance out of all the couples away from Danylo & Anastasiia the winners, they took 5 first place marks from them in the quickstep, making this the only dance that Danylo & Anastasiia could not win with a majority of firsts.

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The only other couple not requiring a Rule10 tiebreak decision and to be ablet to challenge for second or higher placement in this final was Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova who took third overall 3,3,2,3,4. Samuel & Katarina together are veterans of this competition and have made this final in the past, and we must say that they really stepped it up on this occasion and are totally deserving of this placement. It is not easy for a couple that has been competing in this field for this long to maintain and even improve year after year especially against new faces and new partnerships, Samuel & Katerina managed to keep cool and collected and do the work even with all the pressure put to them from the new flavors of the month.

A Rule10 had to be used to break a tie between fourth and fifth placement. The couples in question were Mikhail Vorobiev & Anna Sydygalieva and Aleksandr Riabtsev & Mariia Oblakova. Both these couples were terrific in their own right and we can see how the judges had some difficulty when making this decision. Both couples received 21 points each making it a complete tie. In the end Aleksandr & Mariia took fourth under a Rule10 with 21 points but better marks 5,4,3,6,3. Mikhail & Anna placed fifth also with 21 points total, but not as good marks 2,5,4,4,6. As you can see the two 3rd place marks that Aleksandr & Mariia were awarded trumped the two fourth place marks Mikhail & Anna were given.

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Another veteran couple from last year was Alex Dubovyk & Rickie Taylor Dubovyk and they placed sixth overall 6,6,6,5,5. Alex & Rickie took a little break and have recently returned to the competition floor. It is nice to see them back. Unfortunately, the recess might have taken their dancing slightly back but we are sure they will be back stronger soon enough.

Interestingly, we thought the semifinal was the most exciting round with so many couples vying for a place in this final. The six couples not progressing to the final all received a significant amount of marks in – a testament to the overall quality of this event.

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The US Junior II Latin Championship like the day before, ran consecutively with the US Amateur Championship, this competition had a huge entry with over 56 couples competing in a number of rounds that started in the late afternoon and continued into the night. These Junior events are always the favorite of the audience because they have so much energy and you see so much unexplored talent. The results also make it very exciting because they change and it is hard to tell from the beginning how the cards will play out.

The winners overall by placing first in four dances and second in the cha cha were Ervinas Valskys & Alexa Sosna. They won the samba, paso and jive with a majority of firsts from the judges, in the rumba they had to depend on second or better marks to win because they were only awarded 5 firsts out of the eleven panel of judges. Ervinas & Alexa got the same amount of firsts in the cha cha as they did in the samba, but lost the dance by one second place mark 10 to 9, that was awarded to Leo Kolmykov & Mishella Vishnevskiy who placed second overall. These 2 couples had placed in the same order, 1st and 2nd in the Youth Latin the day before.

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In this Junior championship for us, both these couples were quite excellent, but we felt that perhaps Ervinas & Alexa looked a little more mature and secure in their movements. Leo & Mishella were not easy to miss but perhaps sometimes were pushing a little too hard with not enough light and shade to showcase their talent and musicality.

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It was the night for ties at the championship - here too, as well as in the US Amateur Ballroom, there was a tie between third and fourth position and once again they had to use a Rule10 to separate them. Here, Robbie Milstead & Emily Tatoosi had 20 points total with these marks 3,3,5,6,3, the same as Kirill Zakirzyanov & Valerie Snitko 5,4,3,3,5. Using Rule10 Robbie & Emily took third place because of the 3 third place marks and Kirill & Valerie were awarded fourth because they got 2 thirds and the rest of the marks were higher. These kids for us were of very high level but we would have had the result in reverse Kirill & Valerie placing third and perhaps even with Robbie & Emily placing a little lower, Robbie’s posture for us could be a little more dominant - believe in your abilities!

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Fifth place was awarded to Alex Zheng & Anya Nunez 4,5,4,4,4. We really enjoyed Alex & Anye in the earlier rounds but for us they got a little tired or out of steam in the final round. The opposite for us was with Dallin Keck & Mya Tuaileva 6,6,6,5,6 who we felt in the earlier round took it easy but in the final round woke and had a little more punch to their dancing, and could have perhaps placed slighter higher.

The Cabaret is always a hit at the United States Amateur Championships in BYU, and it is always certainly one of the best cabaret competitions in the world – amateur or professional.

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Taking 8 firsts out of 11 judges were Logan R. Barnes & Katey Stolle as you can see in the finals, 11 judges were used on this night, the semifinal was run two nights before and 9 judges were used on that night to select the finalists. Logan & Katey brought the house down, their performance bringing many in the audience to their feet at the conclusion of their routine. Their performance was in the classic “BYU Style” being an elegant theatrical ballroom presentation with enough high risk moves to wow the crowd.

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Second in this United States Amateur Cabaret Championship went to Brandon Keck & DeeDee Smith and they took the 3 firsts missing from Logan & Katey’s scorecard. We must point out that it took Brandon & DeeDee 9 “second or better marks” to capture their placement. With 8 “third or better” placements Sawyer Stolle & Serena Keck (the husband of the winner and the sister of the runner-up) to secure third placement on this very prestigious event, they did not get any first place marks from the judges. These two numbers were rather different with Brandon and DeeDee going for the more dramatic “tangoesque” “Roxanne” and Sawyer & Serena opting for the more lyrical style.

Fourth in this Cabaret final was awarded to Matthew Edwards & Sarah Vanderhoven-Edwards and they captured this fourth place position by taken 9 “fourth or better marks” but no seconds of firsts. Fifth went to Julio Lazarte & Margaret Safarova with “6 fith or better marks” and no seconds or firsts. Finally in sixth place were Juan Mendez & Briana Bartholomew who got 11 “sixth or better” marks but no seconds of first.

This year the competition started with a semifinal round and as always there are one or two couples that too could have easily made it into the final. This year there was a couple that in our opinion should have been included and unlike in many of our writeup’s and blogs where it is always because the dancing was good enough to be included with the best, this year it was a different reason that had us wanting this couple back to the final. Isaac Hassel & Sarah Hassel got 5 marks out of nine 9 to come back to the final, unfortunately not enough marks to get them through. The reason we would have liked to see them in the final was for their final maneuver – something we have never seen. Sarah lifted her partner over her head in an angel lift. We think the BYU audience would have really enjoyed this feat! Hopefully next year their dancing will improve enough that we can get to see this on Saturday night.

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The US National U/21 Latin Championship unsurprisingly turned into a showdown between 2 couples, both of whom had made the Open Amateur final the night before – Vadym Pidhoretskyy & Ruby Castro who had placed 5th and Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton who had placed 6th.

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This time the placements were reversed – our 2023 National Champions are Dave & Kennedy who won all 5 dances. They had the majority of firsts from the judges in cha cha, paso and jive. The rumba was the closest scored where Vadym & Ruby had more firsts (but not a majority) and Dave & Kennedy won by 8 “2nd or better” scores to Vadym & Ruby’s 7. As in the Amateur division, Vadym & Ruby seemed a little low energy and not up tp the form that they had showed just 2 weeks before at NYDF.

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3rd in all dances went to Vladyslav Pohorilyi & Ceilidh Mcseveney. They had placed 7th in the Open Amateur, narrowly missing the final, and so this result was certainly expected here. They had first placements in all dances. They are very high energy – perhaps a little too much so, as the energy level rarely changes giving their performance no light and shade. With 4,6,4,6,4, Justin Lujan & Sofiia Hera took 4th – just 1 place lower than they scored in the Youth Championship. We felt they danced much better here in the U/21 division. Maksym Rodionov & Alexandra Miller were 5th 6,4,5,4,6. They are a relatively new partnership and looked strong both in this event and the Open Amateur the night before. Closing this strong final were Artem Pukhalskyi & Gabrielle Gold 5,5,6,5,5. As we relayed in the Youth Latin, this couple are very unique. Our hope is that they can clean up some areas to appease some judges, while also maintaining their free spirited style. We wait and hope!

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US National Youth Ballroom Championship
1. Nathan Zaytsev & Alice Bankova 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutyunnyk 2,2,2,2,2; 3. Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley 4,3,4,3,3; 4. Zorik Moldavsky & Vickanat Govorun 3,4,3,4,4; 5. Caleb Judd & Kyra Christensen 5,5,5,5,5; 6. Tymur Masenzhuk & Ana Lujan 6,6,6,6,6.

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US National PreTeen II Latin Championship
1. Michael Novikov & Angelina Novikova 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Nathaniel Mains & Juliana Gekker 2,2,3,2,2; 3. Max Bogatov & Kalia Gonzalez 3,3,4,3,4; 4. Bryan Rizun & Capri Johnson 4,4,2,4,3; 5. Oleh Lytvynenko & Stella Brinkerhohh 7,6,6,5,5; 6. Sergey Peshkov & Adel Bahatyrchuk 6,5,5,6,7; 7. Domenico Burns & Dasha Dragunov 5,7,7,7,6; 8. Austin Li & Reagan To 8,8,8,8,8.

More results and photos coming soon .........

A Star, on a Starry Night at BYU!

Last night at the Marriott Arena in Provo Utah, the US Amateur Latin Championship, shone like a diamond with cell phone lights going, and a very enthusiastic audience that roared as the couples competed in the arena for the United States Amateur Championship.

So many standing ovations and so much enthusiasm made this competition shine like a diamond on a Starry night! There were so many wonderful events going on this day including the Junior II US Ballroom Championship, that accompanied the Latin Championship. The daytime was also filled with wonderful dancing including an incredible Under 21 Ballroom Championship that was like a professional final and a great Youth Latin Championship. All this made last night and day a “star filled day.”

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We begin our coverage with the most prominent event of this evening, the United States Amateur Latin Championship, where everyone, from the attending officials, to the audience stood up for half the time, encouraging these talented couple. Six couples were called to the final and they were first class and we mean “world” first class. The winners were the brightest star of them all - Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina who won all dances with a huge majority of firsts from the judges and a standing ovation from the audience. Alexander & Arina lost two 1st place marks in the cha cha, 4 in the samba, 4 in the rumba, two in the paso, and 2 in the jive. From the audience we don’t know how that could be possible, for us (in the audience) there was only one big shining star and that was Alexander & Arina.

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Second in all dances in this incredible final went to Austin Joson & Liza Lakovitsky, and you might be thinking that they most have stolen the majority of firsts taken away from Alexander & Arina, but that was not the case. In the cha cha Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze who placed third overall 4,3,4,4,4, took both first places away from Alexander & Arina, in the samba Austin & Liza took 2 first place marks away and the other two went to the Firestein Brothers, one to Max & Nicole and the other first went to Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton. Austin & Liza did better in the rumba they took 3 firsts away from Alexander & Arina, and the brothers took one each. And finally the two first place marks that Alexander & Arina lost in the paso and the jive
both went to the brothers and their partners one to Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton, and the other to Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze. So as you can see Austin & Liza placed second with a majority of seconds or better marks and not by stealing many first place marks from the “Stars” Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina.

So how did we see Austin Joson & Liza Lakovitsky’s performance from the audience’s perspective? In our opinion they started the final with a disadvantage - Liza’s dress perfectly matched the curtains and drapery around the ballroom, it was an exact dark blue to match, and it seemed to blend in and so unless you really focused it was hard to see their dancing clearly. This and the fact that they mainly danced on one corner of the ballroom floor and hardly ever ventured out of that spot, perhaps made it difficult for all of us and even the judges to make a correct assessment of their dancing.

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As we mentioned before, third place overall was awarded to Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze. From the sidelines they looked very correct and this might be perhaps because all our eyes were on the winning couple and their challenger who as you can see really never challenged. From the judges’ view, however, this was the most improved couple in the final. Our eyes kept going more towards Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets who took fourth overall 4,3,4,4,4, and yes we thought they could have easily taken more than one third place from Max & Nicole. We totally agreed with the judges on the samba, but we think the jive could have easily gone to them as well. Bumchin & Michelle looked great from the word go, the white dress Michelle decided to wear really stood out on the floor and enhanced their performance.

We were very surprised with Vadym Pidhoretskyy & Ruby Castro’s performance and placement. On this outing Vadym & Ruby placed fifth overall 5,6,5,5,6, and we really don’t see how? To start right in the beginning of the final in the first two measures of the cha cha Ruby, took a major tumble. Luckily she showed impressive skills in getting up like a cat falling off a “tin roof.” From then on we still could not believe this was them performing. Here we have one of the most talented and brilliant couples in the world and they seemed to be just going for a stroll. Let’s just hope that the “altitude” might have affected them because we thought the judges were very kind in awarding them fifth overall in our opinion on this night they could have been 6th.

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Last in this final of the shining “Stars” were Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton who took 6,5,6,6,5, and in our opinion had a fabulous night, their solo performance at the beginning was energetic and amazing.

Having said all this from the longest running US ballroom magazine, we have to add that we were just as excited as everyone else, the fact that besides Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina’s grand US, win all the other couples were challenging each other for a higher position, making this final exiting and full of possibilities and the audience showed their appreciation for it. Also worth mentioning from the semi are Vladyslav Pohorilyi & Ceilidh Mcseveney- a new couple to us also with great potential. They placed 7th.

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The Junior II Ballroom running with the Open Latin was an excellent combination for this Starry Night. The competition here was also fierce especially for first place between Samuel Kolovyansky & Alexis Kolovyansky and Daniel Novikov & Melaniia Sivkovych. We don’t see how anyone could have marked these two couples any less than first or second but some did in a few dances. Having said that, we must take a look at the scoreboard for these two amazing couples. Daniel & Melaniia won the US National Junior II Championship three dances to two, but it was very close in some of the dances. Second went to Samuel Kolovyansky & Alexis Kolovyansky they won the two waltzes but placed second in the tango, foxtrot and quickstep.

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We must add that the two waltzes won by Samuel & Alexis were won with a majority of firsts, unlike Daniel & Melaniia who only won the foxtrot with a majority but had to depend on second or better two win their tango, and quicktep. The tango was very close with both couple taking 5 firsts from the judges Daniel & Melaniia won the tango by taking one more second than Samuel & Alexis. In the quickstep it was the same story as in the tango Daniel & Melaniia won by being awarded one more second than Samuel & Alexis. Having said all this from our perspective Samuel Kolovyansky & Alexis Kolovyansky could have taken the division. In the tango, however, we felt their knees were a little too bent, all the time.

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Third in all dances were Kirill Zakirzyanov & Valerie Snitko. This was the smallest couple in the final, but you could not judge their dancing by their height. Their skill was good enough for this position in fact give them a little more time and we see them challenging for first soon enough. Fourth overall went to Kai Matthew & Vlada Denysovets 5,4,4,6,5. This couple were quite impressive at the beginning of the final and in the earlier rounds, but towards the end we felt they were running out of steam.

In fifth spot were Samuel Khelmer & Julia Sherstnyova 6,5,6,4,4. They appeared a little less experienced than the couples above them and we found their dancing a little inconsistent. But when they were on they showed some nice, soft action. Samuel Khelmer & Julia Sherstnyova were 6th 4,7,7,5,7. This young duo has tremendous potential but on this night we found them a little raw. They are certainly moving in the right direction but need a little more time. Closing the 7-couple final were Yegor Zhukov & Adyson Cherkas 7,6,5,7,6. We felt them unlucky in this result, especially as they placed 7th in only 2 dances. We had them pegged for a higher spot tonight.

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Another amazing event one that perhaps should have been at night for this terrific audience was the US National Under 21 Ballroom Championships running in the afternoon. The entire final was more like a professional ballroom heat and we must say with more enthusiasm and energy than many professional events we have seen of late. The winner for us and clearly from the judges’ perspective, winning all dances with a clear majority, were Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina. What amazing dancers these two are! And the energy that they are able to put out makes us all want to dance again.

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Second in this fabulous heat went to Nathan Zaytsev & Alice Bankova 2,2,2,3,3. We have witnessed and been a fan of this couple for now quite some time. We have seen them be down and up many times. We are glad that they must have really focused on this style for this outing because the improvement was tremendous and making this final and being part of this amazing group is quite an accomplishment. For us second and third could have gone either way - Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutyunnyk who placed third with these marks 3,3,3,2,2, were also terrific but both couples had completely different styles. Roman & Marta are a little softer and Nathan & Alice have a little more spice to their movement.

Fourth was awarded to Vitalii Demianenko & Oleksandra Fedorova 6,4,4,4,5. We quite liked this couple in the earlier rounds, they brought freshness and lots of enthusiasm to this style that at times can be a little somber. However, in the final the other couples stepped it up and they seemed to die down and lose a lot of steam. Fifth place was awarded to Zorik Moldavsky & Vickanat Govorun 4,5,5,5.5,4. This is a couple that, like Nathan & Alicia, totally made a stride and are now understanding and dancing ballroom music to the fullest. In the final they also got a little timid, we noticed them more in the earlier rounds, but our congratulations to them for such an amazing accomplishment. Last in this amazing final were Ilya Ignatyev & Daria Korzh 5,6,6,5.5,6. We have to tip our hat to this amazing couple and to Ilya in particularly for doing two styles the American Smooth and the Ballroom, this while doing it with two different partners. This not only difficult, but a marathon of practice. On this outing they were amazing and in our opinion could have easily placed fifth overall.

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Just after this great U/21 event was another firecracker – the US National Youth Latin Championship. What we liked about this division was that there were many new partnerships and others just progressing from the junior ranks – so the result was in no way a foregone conclusion. The new champions are Ervinas Valskys & Alexa Sosna who won 3 of the 5 dances, samba, paso & jive and were 2nd in the other 2. With the reverse positions was the new partnership of Leo Kolmykov & Mishella Vishnevskiy. These two couples were definitely the most consistent of the finalists, however, some other couples did take some first places and the only dance won with a majority of firsts was the paso by Ervinas & Alexa. Our congratulations go to both couples for their great achievements.

3rd and 4th positions were extremely tight and in fact were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 3rd spot went to Justin Lujan & Sofiia Hera 4,3,3,3,5 and 4th Artem Pukhalskyi & Gabrielle Gold 3,4,4,4,3. These 2 couples also tied 3 of the dances – samba, rumba and paso. Justin & Sofia are strong, technical dancers and they had as many first places from the judges as the first 2 couples. Artem & Gabrielle, on the other hand, are very avant garde in the presentation, both in appearance and choreography. This appealed to some judges and not others. For us, we see great potential in this pair. Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley took 5th 5,5,5,5,4. They compete in 3 styles and for us, the Latin has been their weakest. They have made great improvements and looked at home in this final. Natalie’s softness that is such an asset in the Smooth, can make her appear hesitant in this style. Alex Zheng & Anya Nunez were 6th in all dances but certainly picked up some higher placements from the judges in all dances. They are extremely clean in their presentations and perhaps showed a little better in the earlier rounds than in the final.

Overall this was a terrific event that began with over 60 couples.

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US National Pre-Teen II Ballroom Championship
1. Michael Novikov & Angelina Novikova 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Nicholas Kartashov & Sophia Kartashov 2,2,2,2,2; 3. Oleh Lytvynenko & Stella Brinkerhoff 3,3,3,3,3; 4. Andrii Boloto & Sarah Hajduk 5,4,4,5,4; 5. Sergey Peshkov & Adel Bahatyrchuk 6,5,5,4,5; 6. Valentin Stoev & Katherine Stoeva 4,6,6,6,6.

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US National Pre-Teen I Ballroom Championship
1. Nicholas Kartashov & Sophia Kartashov 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Andrii Boloto & Sarah Hajduk 2,2,2,2,2; 3. Maksim Mkrtchian & Lucy Kobylyanskyy 3,3,3,3,3; 4. Yasha Pogreb & Alice Cherenshchikova 4,4,5,4,4; 5. August Komkov & Alina Doroshenko 5,5,4,5,6; 6. Ilya Gurovich & Milada Myronenko 6,6,6,6,5; 7. Phabian Parra & Dasha Solomennikova 7,7,7,7,7.

Keep checking back for more updates.......

This was an amazing “Starry Night” giving BYU and the US National Championships perhaps the best atmosphere to dance in the world. Congratulations to Lee and Linda Wakefield and their team for putting together such an excellent event for all of us and the couples competing.

The Best Man Wins!

Last night at the United States Amateur Championships there was some excellent dancing, the main feature was the US Amateur Smooth Championship where over 25 couples took to the floor to fight for the highest Smooth amateur title in the USA.

Along with the Open Amateur Smooth we witnessed a terrific Junior Smooth as well as a Division II Latin Formation Championship. All three of these events were excellent in quality and quantity but for us the thrills came in the US Amateur Smooth, where two couples fought hard for the title but in the end for us, the best man won!

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As we mentioned earlier the US Amateur Smooth started with over 25 couples in a first round of competition and six super talented couples were called for the final. However, the elephant in the room was the competition between Sawyer Stolle & Serena Keck and their challengers Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley, both couples were challenging for the title of US Amateur Champions. Nearly everyone’s eyes in the arena were on these two couples including the judges who also had the hard task of placing the rest of the final, all very talented and accomplished in their own right.

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On paper Parley & Natalie won three to one by taking first in the waltzes and foxtrot and placing second in the tango. Sawyer & Serena won the tango and placed second in the other three dances. Parley & Natalie won all three dances with a majority of firsts, Sawyer & Serena needed seconds or better to win in the tango. For us and we think for the majority of the people watching, it was much closer than that. Both couples were fantastic in the final starting with their dance-ons where we though Sawyer & Serena had a slight advantage and you could also hear it from the audience, especially when during the posture as the song fade it, the crowed grew louder.

For us both ladies in this final and all rounds were equal in performance, the actual difference for us was with the men. From the first round we though Parley took full control of driving and maneuvering around the other couples with great floor craft skills. Sawyer was almost as good but seemed to allow the other couples more leeway to get in his path cornering him at times. This for us made Parley & Natalie easier to spot and they always managed to do their work clearly without interruption. The same cannot be said for Sawyer & Serena, we found them to get stuck in traffic jams making it hard for them to display their best quality work. Even though the judges awarded Parley & Natalie the title, we still feel quite lucky to have been able to witness such an amazing competition from these two couples and from the entire final.

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Third overall in this heat was awarded to Tanner Cole & Jacie Yardley 3,4,3,3, who also gave an excellent performance in this final. Unfortunately, many of the couples including them got overshadowed a little bit by the top two couples. Fourth went to Ilya Ignatyev & Jacqueline Pop 5,3,4,5. This very young couple is very skillful and we were very impressed with their mature performance from start to finish. Their youthfulness could sometimes give you a little uncertainty and perhaps that is why we see their marks varied so much, but they were an excellent addition to this final. Fifth overall went to Michael May & Pallany English, also a very skillful couple. We are not so sure Pallany should have her hair loose. At times for us this seemed to dimmish her neck line and with perhaps the most unique and beautiful dress in this final, we’re not sure the loose hair is necessary or complementary. Sixth in this great Smooth challenge were Nathan Stevenson & Sabrina Bezzant taking sixth in all dances. This couple for us showed better in the earlier rounds and perhaps the judges were able to see this when it came to the final as you can see by their marks. When watching them closely we felt that perhaps more attention should be given to basic food and leg action and remember flat throughout is not a foot action when it comes to man or lady.

Reports and photos on the Junior & Youth Smooth coming soon.......

US Amateur National Championships 2023

We’re seeing record snowfall in Utah this year, but the atmosphere in the Marriott Arena on the BYU Campus is anything but frosty.

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It’s still early in the week for the Amateur Nationals, but the famous Provo audience is already out in force supporting their favorite couples and formation teams.

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The major US National Championship decided so far is the Amateur Rhythm and this fell easily to the brother/sister team of Brandon & Serena Keck. Brandon & Serena won all dances and lost only 5 of the possible 75 first places. After the winners, however, things got a lot closer. Runners-up were Shanden Hoffman & Sabrina Hoffman 2,2,2,2,3 but they did not receive the majority of 2nd placements in any dance. They were, however, clearly the runners-up as Tristan Moe & Margaret Safarova who placed 2nd in the mambo placed 4,4,3,3,2 overall for a 3rd position. 4th Julio Lazarte & Nina Adams 3,5,4,4,4; 5th Benjamin Eydlin & Madigan McCormick 5,3,5,6,5; 6th Logan R. Barnes & Kaylee Patillo 6,6,6,5,6.

During the afternoon session, two other National Titles were decided. The Youth Smooth and Rhythm. Both had a good amount of entries.

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Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley swept the Youth Smooth with perfect scores (9 first places in each dance). A great demonstration of American Smooth dancing. Dallin Keck & Arynne Cole were the runners-up in what became a close race. They placed 2,3,2,2 but did not receive a majority of 2nd places in any dance. Anthony Lott & Julie Slater were 3rd 3,2,3,3 and they did in fact receive a majority of 2nd places in the tango. These 2 couples were both excellent and had very differing styles – Anthony & Julie showed a more traditional approach, while Dallin & Arynne were a little more avant garde. Noah Scribner & Sophia Ruiz were 4th 4,5,4,4, but we felt they were definitely included in the mix for the 2nd and 3rd positions. 5th Jaxon Humphrey & Jiaxin Haslam 5,4,5,5; 6th Carson Baker & Kate Heiner 6,6,6,6.

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Hector Lara & Coral Garza won the Youth Rhythm. They won all 5 dances and all but the rumba with a majority of first places. The runners-up were Connor Kikot & Maya Fleytekh and they were 2nd in all dances. They also won the combined Junior I & II National Rhythm Title. 3rd Alex Salinas & Haley Guajardo 3,3,3,3,3; 4th Gio Lopez & Cindy Meza 4,4,4,5,4T; 5th Eli Eugenio & Sophia Jones 5,5,5,4,4T; 6th Eli Anderson & Ella Wiblin 6,6,6,6,6.

Stay tuned for today’s events where the headline competition is the National Amateur Smooth Title.

  • US National Amateur Championships 2022

    Plenty of Meat, But Not Enough Sauce!

    With all due respect to all Ballroom competitors, we were thrilled to see so much talent in one competition, but on the other hand, we expected to see full development in musicality and style in this the highest amateur Ballroom competition in the USA.

  • USDSC 2021 - 50th Anniversary

    US National Amateur Championships 2021

    These past few days have been filled with unforgettable memories and achievements for many of the amateur competitors who this year had to travel to Florida in order to partake in the United States National Championships held at USDC.

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