The word can be directly translated from its Greek origin to mean “Brotherly Love.” The city was founded in colonial America, growing into an important trading port and was a hub of revolutionary activity. The city was the meeting place for the Founding Fathers, the framers of the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin was a leading citizen of Philadelphia. Today Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the United States, and a great destination for sightseeing and adventure.
The venue for Philly this year was the Marriott Old City. This is a wonderfully quaint part of the city and for us this year it was all about the food! We discovered so many great places to eat so near and around the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships. One to brag about if you like traditional French food was “La Boucherie.” Another popular place for the locals and dancers alike was the “Olde Bar” at the Bookbinders Building, uhmmm, uhmmm seafood to lick your fingers. We also experienced a fabulous Peruvian Restaurant very near but the name escapes us at the moment. There are so many excellent restaurants with great food and atmosphere that it’s so hard to remember them all.
The food itself was worth the trip, but we were here for the dance championships and that was also quite interesting. The Professional Rhythm was a terrific heat with Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones giving an excellent performance. They won all dances with a majority of firsts. Francesco & Jessa got perfect scores in the cha cha, lost one mark in the rumba, two in the bolero and mambo, and four in the swing. For us with the exception of the swing where we had to agree with the minority, their performance was flawless. Second in all dances and stealing the four first place marks from Francesco & Jessa in the swing were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets-Nikishkin, whose energy can light up a room in the swing. They also gave a terrific performance overall.
Third in all dances went to Gene Bersten & Elena Bersten, fourth was awarded to Miroslav Randelovic & Dakota Pizzi, Jani Bogre & Tjasa Novak were fifth and sixth went to Roberto Fernandez & Angelina Evseeva.
It was also a great night for Travis Tuft & Jaimee Tuft, who won two categories - the Open Professional Smooth and the Cabaret. In the Cabaret Travis & Jaimme opted to do a ShowDance waltz instead of a cabaret routine. This number was well executed giving them perfect scores from the judges. Valentin Voronov & Anna Pelypenko placed second overall in this venture, their number started with Anna wearing a very long dress that lay encircling her legs and feet. She then proceeded to give us some flamenco hand movements, followed with a paso doble, They kind of lost us in the paso doble and the fact that she had to carry that train in her hands did not help their cause. Nevertheless, they took the majority of second places. Third place went to Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrod and in fourth place were Alexey Smirnov & Daria Smirnova.
As we mentioned before, Travis Tuft & Jaimee Tuft also won the Open Professional Smooth also with a majority of firsts in all dances. They only lost 3 first place marks in every dance. Second in all dances and stealing at least two firsts in all dances, were Aleksandar Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova, who gave a good performance but we think they lacked the room to be free due to their stature. Third went to Peter Minkov & Yuliia Sorokata who took away a first in the first three dances also from the Tufts. Fourth and fifth place was decided by a Rule11 and after this rule was applied fourth place was awarded to Steven McGrath & Jessica Mancini 5,5,4,4,, and fifth went to Kirill Gorjatsev & Daria Zotova 4,4,5,5. In sixth position were Joseph Lettig & Madalina Varlam Lettig.
The Professional Ballroom went to Igor Mikushov & Valeriia Belozerova with first in all dances. Riccardo Conte & Eleonora Filippi placed second, Dan Malov & Anna Bohachova took all thirds, Oleksii Halaktionov & Olha Shadrina-Halaktionova took all fourths and fifth in all dances went Ion Postolachi & Diana Postolachi.
In the Professional Latin Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler won overall 1,1,2,1,1. We are truly fans of this couple, but on this night their performance, especially in the last three dances was somewhat uneven. They lost quite a lot of marks in all dances and the marks from some of the judges went up and down. For us the couple perhaps stealing the light from them and taking first in the rumba was Andriy Besyedin & Amanda Besyedin 2,2,1,2,2. Third in all dances went to Valentin Voronov & Anna Pelypenko now representing the Ukraine. Fourth overall was awarded to Kostiantyn Samarskyi & Margarita Golubeva 5,5,4,4,4; fifth overall went to Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrod 4,4,5,6,6 and sixth Alon Gilin & Maria Bavyko 6,6,6,5,5.
In the Open Amateur Latin, Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze, won quite easily with a majority of firsts in 4 dances, they also won the rumba with perfect scores. Second overall in this heat went to Arthur Solomovych & Angelina Rozghon 2,3,2,3,2 as you will see the marks were quite spread out from here on. Marc Zhadan & Savanna Filip took third overall 5,2,4,2,3; fourth overall was awarded to Oskar Krimus & Shayna McDonald 3,4,3,4,4; there was a tie for sixth place that was broken with a Rule 10 - in the end Michael May & Pallany English, took fifth 6,5,6,5,5, and Lev Libkind & Kateryna Foichuk placed sixth 4,6,5,6,6.
In the Amateur Ballroom, Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova, won all dances with a majority of firsts. Second in all dances went to Alieksandr Lavrov & Vilhelmina Lavrov. Jonathan Liu & Oleksandra Basko took third, Jonathan DeWitt & Stratton DeWitt placed fourth, Michael Greco & Kye Stapleton-Gray were fifth overall 5,5,5,5,6 and Christian Larsen & Lara Beecher placed sixth.
This was the third leg of the Ballroom Spirit Foundation U/21 Ballroom tour and the third couple to qualify is Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley. Next stop of the tour will be the Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships.
Mr. Sam Sodano hit 80 and there was a surprise celebration with a cake in the shape of the number 80! There was a biographic video presentation for him of his life starting in his earlier years until present. The organizers also initiated an annual award called The Sammy and of course, Mr. Sam Sodano was the first recipient. We want to wish Mr. Sam Sodano a very happy birthday and we wish him many more to come.
Congratulations to the organizers, Mr. Chuck Danza & Mr. Igor Litvinov for running this excellent event and we hope to be there for 2024.