Travis & Jaimee were the last dance of the evening in the Cabaret, closing a fabulous “Trifecta” of dancing in a fantastic weekend of dance competition here in Stamford Connecticut!
The Professional Smooth was an excellent heat with two great professional competitors competing for the Tristate Smooth title and some interesting new faces in the mix. And here Travis & Jaimme Tuft were for us and the majority of the judges the easy winners. They only lost two marks in three of the dances and one mark in the foxtrot, and all the first place marks they lost were replaced by second places. The couple that took nearly all the firsts that Travis & Jaimme lost placed second and they were Aleksandar Vukosalvjevic & Alexandra Smirnova. We said nearly because there was one first place mark awarded to the couple that took third overall and that was in the in the tango and that couple was Kharyton & Anastasiya Khomenko who took third in all dances.
For us the only two couples challenging for first with two very different styles of Smooth were Travis & Jamie and Aleksandar & Alexandra. Travis & Jamie’s style is more playful and correct while Aleksandar & Alexandra tend to be more intense. In the end Travis & Jamie were awarded their first crown in this Trifecta the Open Professional Smooth Championship and Aleksandar & Alexandra also took the runner-up spot with a majority of seconds. Kharyton & Anastasiya Khomenko for us were also easy third place finalists, they are very agile and move with ease, they only need to cement their own style to many of the dances and they could easily challenge for higher placement.
Fourth place in the Smooth was awarded to Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushner taking fourth in all dances. Fifth in all went to Kirill Gorjatsev & Daria Zotova and in sixth place were Sergei Solodov & Ekaterina Maslennikova. This was a new face with terrific potential. His height makes him stand out immediately, but like Aleksandar & Alexandra who are quite tall, they need to figure out the floorcraft a little better.
The second crown of Travis & Jamie’s trifecta was in the Professional Cabaret Championship, where they got perfect scores from the judges performing a Smooth ShowDance, good enough to win them this title. Second in this heat went to Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrod taking 12 out of 14 second place marks, losing two second place marks to Alexey Smirnov & Daria Smirnova who placed third overall.
Travis & Jaimee completed their triple crown with “The Best of The Best” professional championship at the very end of the competition once all the professional heats have been decided. This year all the champions from all the professional events were present there were no substitutions. And here too Travis & Jamie took first from all judges securing their triple crown and winning a near perfect “trifecta.” It is very interesting to note once again that Travis & Jammie won both the Professional Smooth but were also representing the Cabaret division and here they performed their well-renowned “Yellow Brick Road” number and were nearly as perfect as at the New York Dance Festival where as we mention in our blogs, they were perfection in motion. Travis & Jammie took perfect scores in the Cabaret and placed second overall with their Smooth showcase and on this performance they took 5 seconds out of nine, with four judges awarding them third place for this number.
In the Best of The Best, third was awarded to Dimitry Nikishken & Olena Shvets Nikishkin who won the professional Rhythm this evening, but here it was a very mixed bag of marks from 2nd to 5th place marks were awarded to them 3,5,2,2,5,2,5,3,3. As you can see the judges did not know what to do with this, and what seemed to be a mambo to “I’m a Survivor.” Fourth went to Andriy & Amanda Besyedin who won the Professional Latin earlier. Their marks were also slightly mixed 4,2,5,4,3,4,3,4,5. And in fifth place were Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova 5,4,4,5,4,5,4,5,4.
We should now talk about how these last couples mentioned got here. Dimitry & Olena Nikishkin won the Professional Rhythm four dances to one and in the dances they won they took a huge majority of firsts from the judges. The only dance that Dimitry & Olena placed second in was the rumba. This dance was won by Andrew Escolme & Asta Sigvaldadottir. In the other four dances they placed second giving them and overall second position finish. This was not a good result for Andrew & Asta who just a few weeks back were being placed above the winners and were fighting for top placement in this style. Andrew & Asta did take 5 first place marks from Dimitry & Olena in the C,SW,B and four in the mambo but not enough to capture any other dance besides the rumba that they won with a majority. This was a very interesting result making this fight for top placement in the Rhythm even more interesting for this coming 2023 Nationals in September. We must also mention that at this level and with this caliber of dancing you cannot afford a big mess up and sure enough in the Bolero Andrew & Asta had a clear run with no one else around them at that moment and either someone did not follow or lead but they had a major blunder where everyone could see it. We literally saw at least one judge licking their chops, and we were not surprised when they lost a lot of marks in the mambo, the next dance.
Third overall in this interesting Rhythm result was awarded to Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian 3,4,3,3,3; fourth went to Dymytri Gorcharov & Veronika Shapar 4,3,4,4,4; Miroslav Randelovic & Dakoda Pizzi were in fifth place overall 5,5,5,6,6 and Andrew Nikitchenko & Tara Fanzo took sixth 6,6,6,5,5.
In the Professional Ballroom Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova won all dances and four of them with a majority of firsts. In the quickstep they did require second or better marks to win this dance. For us it was clear from the semifinal that this couple would easily take first place. But the other couple to also impress us and as you will see the judges, from the start was Dan Malov & Anna Bohachova who placed second in all dances. This couple have wonderful floorcraft missing a lot of the usual collisions that happen in this style and so we were able to appreciate their work from the start.
Third place in this Ballroom heat and in all dances, from Canada, were Vladyslav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova, another very talented couple with great potential. However, compared to the rest they tend to perhaps push just a little too hard, to be able to steal marks from the top couples. Having said that we must also point out that Vladyslav & Alexandra took plenty of second places from the judges and at least one or two firsts in most dances. So there is no lack in talent here. Fourth in all dances went to Florin Vlad & Natalie O’Connor. From fifth place down the judges marks were all over the place - Grinin & Olga Morozova took fifth 6,5,5,6,5, and Oleksii Halaktionov & Olha Shadrina-Halaktionova 5,6,6,5,6.
Andriy & Amanda Besyedin won the Professional Latin. They were placed first in all dances. In the first two dances Andriy & Amanda had to depend of seconds and better to win, but as the competition went on the judges got a lot more confidence and they won the R,P,J with a full majority of firsst from the judges. Second on this Latin heat was awarded to Ilya Maletin Anna Oblakova. I have to say that their choice of costumes was great here, the color was very appealing and there was nothing to distract you from their performance, in our book they should get the best dressed couple of the comp.
Third was Alon Gilin & Maria Bavyko 3,3,3,4,4. We quite liked Alon, he is probably one of the best male dancers on the floor. Unfortunately, the partnership does not seem to flow yet, perhaps with time we can see it flourish a bit more. Another very talented couple that perhaps might have been a little disappointed with their placement was Andrey Kitsun & Nicole Prosser 4,4,4,3,3. Like the last partnership just mentioned, there is lots of talent here. On this outing that is not enough, couples really had to have it together to be on a top spot on this final. Fifth place went to Kostiantyn Samarskyi & Margarita Golubeva 5,5,6,5,5, and sixth was Ilya Ivanov & Yana Tikhenko 6,6,5,6,6.
One of the biggest heats of this weekend of dance was the Amateur Latin that started with a very large quarter-final. It was particularly wonderful to see the champions, Vadim Pidhoretskyy & Ruby Castro on this occasion making a comeback from what we thought to be a disastrous performance at the United States Amateur National Championships in Provo, Utah the week before. On this outing for us they were back on form and won the championship and all dances quite easily, three of the dances with a majority of firsts and the cha cha and jive with second or better marks missing the majority by one mark in both dances. On this outing they were totally on from start to finish we were a little surprise that anyone would mark them second, both Vadim & Ruby were in top form and ready for this performance.
Reversing the trend from the US Amateur Championships the week before where Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton placed ahead of Vadim & Ruby in the U/21 National Event, this time Dave & Kennedy took second in all dances. We must point out that although they were second in every dance, they did manage to steal from Vadim & Ruby five to six first place marks in all dances. Another excellent couple in this heat was Lyndsey & Mykyta Vasylenko who placed third in all dances and who also stood out from the start of the competition.
Idan Daich & Anastasia Sinyauskaya from Canada took fourth in all dances. We felt them to be a lot better in the earlier rounds, but in the final they lost some steam. Fifth overall was awarded to Oskar Krimus & Shayna McDonald 5,5,5,6,6, and sixth went to Kristers Smits & Shelly Umansky 6,6,6,5,5.
To conclude, let’s tip our hats out to the organizers, Andrei Gavriline & Elena Kryuchkova who always manage to give the guests, competitors and attendees such an amazing experience from the decoration, to the candy and food treats, there is never anything missing to keep all comfortable and enjoying the experience of being at the Tristate Dance Championships.
Congratulations for another very successful Championship!