Three styles - completely different and so were the players, finishing this year’s events on a very exciting note.
The Professional Ballroom was an easy choice for the majority of the judges. Valerio Colantoni & Anna Demidova were indisputably the best for us and a majority of the judges. Their worst marks came in the waltz and the foxtrot where Sharon Holman awarded them fifth, in the foxtrot she was the only dissenting mark stopping them from getting a perfect foxtrot, but in the slow waltz she had some company with two other judges awarding them second Albina Habrle and Toni Redpath. Albina also awarded them second in the Viennese Waltz and quickstep, spoiling their perfect scores in these dances, the other second place mark came from Toni on the tango where Sharon awarded them a third place. With such amazing lighting as always at the Millennium these three ladies must have been able to see something we did not. Valerio in posture alone for us is above all others, but what really put them above the rest is their musicality making them for us the very top in this field in the USA and possibly in the world.
From second place down the majority of the judges had a harder time placing the couples. We can see it by the way the marks were so spread out on the scoring sheet. The overall second place for the judges were Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil with these marks 4, 2,2,4,3. As you can see by the final tally, the judges had this heat all over the place and we can concur with it - so did we. All the couples had some wonderful moments, but were not as consistent as Valerio & Anna. Third was awarded to Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 3,4,4,3,2; fourth were Gaetano Iavarone & Emanuela Napolitany 2,5,3,2,5; fifth went to Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova 5,3,5,5,4, and placing sixth in all dances was Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova.
The Professional Rhythm was also very interesting with all top couples sporting different looks and styles. We could almost say that every dance for us could have had a different winner. The overall winners of all dances were Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones, but looking closely at the marks it was not as solid as the previous winners mentioned. Yes, they had the majority of support from this panel of judges but on and off the floor there is plenty of disagreement among the fans. In the cha cha, Francesco & Jessa took 16 first place marks out of the 21 judges selected and so it looks quite clear but if you talk to the fans there are plenty of theories and opinions. In many ways we have to agree that everything does not look as secure as we are sure they would like it to be, and so all couples have to continue to work their way up the hill politically and most importantly of all by rehearsing and developing their own personal feel and look to this style. There is only one pet peev we have with some of the gentlemen in this style and that is standing, split weight with little rhythm or isolation on one foot or the other is not really dancing for us, and although it might make you look quite “macho” as you assist your partner, it does nothing to make us stay and watch. However, Francesco & Jessa won all their dances handily – they had 18 firsts in rumba and bolero, 16 in swing and 12 in mambo.
Moving on to second place - all second places on this outing went to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin and who continue to for us to have the best swing in town. We also want to point out that they stole in nearly every dance a minimum of 2 first places from the champions. The only dance where they only took one first place from Francesco & Jessa was in the bolero where Tina Gerova was the only judge to give them a first place mark.
Perhaps the couple with the best skills for us, but not quite the understanding of the Rhythm style as well to push them further on their quest, was the couple that placed third in all dances, Andrew Escolme & Asta Sigvaldadottir. Yes, they too managed to steal a couple of first places from the champions but not enough to place them any higher than third place this time around. But what is quite clear for us all is the fact that Rhythm dancing is getting some amazing attention by both some very talented dancers as well as from the audience and we want to congratulate and thank all top couples for their hard work to make this style exciting and thrilling to see. Our industry needs this to be the norm in all styles, where we truly do not know from competition to competition which couple will take what and that makes it exciting for all including the sponsors who want a true race to the finish. Andrew & Asta took third in all dances.
Fourth overall in this style went to Shane & Shannon Jensen 5,4,4,4,5; fifth place was awarded to Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto 4,5,5,5,4, and sixth in all dances was awarded to Elena & Gene Bersten.
The Professional Cabaret totally brought to life the organizer’s concept of upper and lower “Egypt” with so many styles and choices for the judges and here we must say we too were left wondering who would take the double headed crown home. The overall winners were Alyenendrov Tsorokean & Yuki Haraguchi who received 5 first place marks out of the 13-panel of judges. Their routine is almost magic and the difficulty of many of their steps is palpable. However, it is not always about the difficulty or uniqueness of every step, sometime quality is very important and the couple that took second did a faultless routine with beautiful entrances and exits never giving us the impression that everything was not secure and that is very important in this style. They took second overall and three fist place marks from the winning couple and they were Brandon Baker & Chelsea Hicks.
Third in this parade of Cabaret stars went to Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich, another wonderful routine that did earn them this position and 4 first place marks from the 13 panel of judges. This was a totally well-deserved position for this excellent routine. However, perhaps they needed a little edge to their routine to push further but it certainly was up to par for this excellent heat. Fourth place was awarded to Stanislav Morozov & Kseniia Tashkinova, fifth place went to Elena & Gene Bersten, and sixth were Mishiko Bregvadze & Elena Khoroshevtseva.
For the pro-ams it was a day of Latin and the results of the Open Scholarships were as follows:
Open A Latin
1. Minasyan/Way 1,1,1,1,2; 2. Ebinger/Romario 2,2,3,2,1; 3. Diassi/Kudashev 3,3,2,3,3
Open B Latin
1. White/Bartashevich 1,1,2,2,1; 2. Wright/Voronovich 3,3,1,1,2; 3. Keatley/Arietta 2,2,3,3,3
Open C Latin
1. Wright/Voronovich 1,1,1,1,1; 2. DeGasperis/Kochergin 3,2,2,2,3; 3. Peoples/Samarskiy 2,3,3,3,2
The Two Lands!
“Know the world in yourself. Never look for yourself in the world, for this would be to project your Illusion.” An Egyptian Proverb.
This year the Millennium Dancesport Championships celebrated dance and culture by choosing the theme “Egypt” and as usual Mr. Chapman, the organizer, turned the ballroom into an Egyptian Temple, celebrating their culture, their arts and their dance.
The two lands of Upper and Lower Egypt were celebrated and a show featuring John DePalma and Marry Murphy and the organizer himself Michael Chapman as Mark Antony, was put together with some fabulous dancing!
The featured performers in this Mary Coombes Show of Shows were Troels Bager & Ina Jelaizkova in Latin, Victor DaSilver & Joanna Leunis in Cabaret, The Argentine Tango world champions and the amazing show teams from BYU.
On the competition floor we had some equally impressive dancing led by the couples from the Open Professional Latin and Smooth divisions as well as the Amateur Ballroom.
The result in the Latin was something of a nail-biter. The win fell to Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Schypolina who placed 2,1,2,1,1 with the runner-up spot to Manuel Favilla & Nataliya Maiduk 1,2,1,2,2. However, the scoring was extremely tight and every dance except jive was won with the majority or tiebreak coming on “2nd or better” scores. 21 judges were used and Mykhailo & Anastasiia did get the necessary majority of 11 first places in the jive.
Taking at least 3 first places in all dances and third overall in all, were the newly professional duo of Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman. Riding the wave of their recent win in the RS at Blackpool, this couple were on form here tonight. Now representing Ukraine, Vladimir Voronov & Anna Pellypenko took 4th in all dances. The winners of the RS here at Millennium on Thursday night, Ron Garber & Klaudia Petriti seemed happy with their 5th place finish – 5,5,6,5,6 – over Roman Italyankin & Sasha Bokova in 6th place, 6,6,5,6,5. The event began with a quarter-final round.
The Pro Smooth gave us a very different perspective from the judges. The Champions, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina lost only 3 first places from a possible 84. So there was little doubt in the winners here. The new partnership of Yegor Novikov & Tatiana Voilokova must have been delighted to move up the ladder from their finish at The Emerald Ball last month to finish second here. They were second in all dances but did not have the majority of “2nd or better” scores in any dance. To decide 3rd and 4th positions a Rule 11 tiebreak was needed. This fell in the favor of Kharyton & Anastasiya Khomenko who placed 3,4,3,4 over Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov 4,3,4,3. 5th were Jang & Adele Don 5,5,6,5 and the 6th spot went to Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian 6,6,5,6. This event also began with a quarter-final.
For the Amateur Ballroom, that began with a semifinal, we were back to some very tight scoring where in fact, in tango every couple in the final received at least 1 first place. The winners, placing 1,1,2,1,1 were Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova, but as in the Pro Latin, no dances were won with a majority of first places. With 2,2,1,2,2, Savytskyy & Kovalova took the runner-up spot and it was certainly a tight finish with never more than 1 first place separating these two couples. 3rd went to the U/21 winners, Roman Shchochka & Tyutyunnyk, 3,3,5,3. 4th Aleksieiev & Vusatenko 4,4,4,3,4; 5th Demianeko & Fedorova 5,5,5,4,5; 6th Parley Ford & Natalie Jolley 6,6,6,6,6.
With pro-am Latin occurring in the ballroom right now, the pro-am competitors have completed 3 styles so far – Rhythm, Smooth and Ballroom. Selected Open Scholarship results were as follows:
Open C Rhythm
1. Salinas/Fernandez 1,1,1,1,2; 2. Lusher/DeCamps 3,2,2,2,1; 3. Lysic/Margaryan 2,3,3,5,3
Open D Rhythm
1. Pinard/Reyzin 1,1,1,1,1; 2. Oxman/Balasanyan 2,2,2,2,2; 3. Glazner/Novikov
Open B Smooth
1. Chou/Stefano 1,1,1,1; 2. Whiteside/Barsukov 2,2,2,2; 3. Boneo/Kosarev 3,3,3,3.
Open C Smooth
1. Eldred/Pigotskyy 2,1,2,1T; 2. Bebi/Norov 3,2,1,1T; 3. Copeland/Robatesenko 1,3,3,3
Open D Smooth (The largest scholarship division)
1. Eldred/Pigotskyy 1,1,1,3; Bebi Norov 3,2,2,1; 3. Stewart/Alanen 2,3,3,2
Open S1 Smooth
1. Brutell/Zavialov 1,1,2,1; 2. Scott/Kosarev 2,3,3,2; 3. Burden/Scheppler 3,2,1,3
Open S2 Smooth
1. Luthy/Popov 1,1,1,1; 2. Klein/Gabor 2,2,2,2; 3. Fein/Lopez 3,3,3,4