Manhattan Dance Championships 2023

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Saturday In Big Apple

Another perfect score getaway happened here at the Manhattan Dance Championships, this time in the Open Professional Ballroom Championship.

Valerio Colantoni & Anna Demidova won every dance with perfect scores from the judges leaving very little room for anyone to bypass them. For a moment we felt the feathers might get in the way again, but they did not, this time the feathers stayed where they belonged and it complimented their look as they danced freely around the ballroom.

From second place down was a little more difficult for the judges. Their choice for second place was Gaetano Iavarone & Emanuela Napolitano. We find this to be a conservative choice for this panel for the runners-up position, but a secure one. Gaetano & Emanuela placed second in four dances, but were awarded 3rd in their quickstep. Third overall went to Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova, who took fourth in the quickstep but placed third in the other four dance. As you will see by the marks, Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil who placed fourth overall, it was not an easy task for the judges 4,6,4,4,2. Fifth went to Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova 5,5,5,5,6 and in sixth place were Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli 6,4,6,6,5.

The Open Professional Rhythm was promising to be the contest of the night, but unfortunately for all of our expectations one of the featured players of this style, Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones had to pull out of the final contest due to an injury to Francesco during the semifinal round. This was a great disappointment as the current number one ranked US couple, Francesco & Jessa, seemed especially on form tonight. We wish him a quick recovery and hope to see them somewhere soon on the road to USDC.

The event was quite good but it lacked the edginess that comes from seeing Francesco & Jessa, Andrew Escolme & Asta Sigvaldadottir and Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets-Nikishkin, go head to head at each other and no one knows how the roulette wheel will place them all, making this perhaps the most exciting competition in America today.

The overall winner of this competition was Andrew & Asta who won four dances with a majority of firsts but lost the mambo to the runners-up Dmitry Nikishkin/Olena Shvets-Nikishkin, who took second in all the other dances. They had a majority of firsts in the mambo. We totally agree that Andrew & Asta were overall the best of the group, but we have to say that not in all dances. For us still Dmitry & Olena had an excellent performance in the swing and for us this dance could have been theirs. As far as for us on the sidelines, the couple that did the best mambo in this final and who totally understand the music and what they are trying to convey was Roger Romero & Arismel Naya, but the judges didn’t agree they felt that they should be fourth in this dance and fourth overall 4,5,4,4,4.

Third in all dances was awarded to Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova. They too had an excellent showing and we particularly liked their bolero, totally well sorted with great soft movements. Fifth place went to Ilie Bardahan & Oxana Kashkina. You cannot miss this couple in fact you could probably see them from a plane,5,4,5,6,5. Yes, they have good technique and their work is super clean, very little room for messes, but they too are suffering from Asta & Andrew’s syndrome where their Rhythm dances are not natural for them, perhaps they don’t understand the music or where it comes from but more work possibly should be done in this department for them to create their approach to this style. Sixth place in this final went to Miroslav Randelovic & Dakota Pizzi and they took sixth place in all dances.

The Open Amateur Latin never disappoints here at the Manhattan Dance Championships and in this contest the easy winners by placing first in all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances were Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina. We have to agree with the judges in this ruling they are truly brilliant in talent, musicality and choreography. Second in this excellent final was awarded to Austin Joson & Liza Lakovitsky who are looking amazing. This partnership seems to have been made in heaven, such great dancing, and we must point out that most of the firsts that Alexander & Arina lost all but one went to them. That one single first place mark that did not go to Austin & Liza was in the jive and it went to the couple that placed third in all dances Max Firestein & Nicole Mtchedlidze.

Fourth overall was awarded to Dave Firestein & Kennedy Eaton with these marks 5,5,4,4,4, fifth position was granted to Mykyta Vasylenko & Lyndsey Vasylenko 4,4,5,5,5. Leaving sixth position to Idan Daich & Anastasia Sinyauskaya and they were sixth in all dances.

The final event of the Championships was the Professional Cabaret.  This was won by Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich who received 7 of the available 9 first places.  The other 2 firsts and second place overall went to Andrey Kitsin & Nicole Prosser and in third were Roger Romerto & Arismel Naya.

The remaining style for the pro-ams, the Latin, was also danced on this Saturday and the Open Scholarships produced the following results.

Open A Latin

  1. Ava O’Hara w/ Ron Garber 1,1,1,1,1
  2. Emily Chertkova w/ Tal Livshitz 2,2,4,3,3
  3. Anvelyn Pi w/ Pasha Stepanchuk 3,3,5,2,2
  4. Celene Parragh w/ Jozsef Parragh 4,5,2,4,4
  5. Julia Eidelman w/ Sergiy Samchynskyy 5,4,3,6,5
  6. Jordan Vijungco w/ Radomir Pashev 6,6,6,5,6

Open B Latin

  1. Lindsey Keatley w/ Francesco Arietta 1,1,1,2,1
  2. Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich 2,2,2,3,2
  3. Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin 3,3,3,1,3
  4. Donie Burch w/ Yevgenii Orlov 4,5,4,4,4
  5. Jackie Tarr w/ Aleksei Shipilov 5,4,5,5,5
  6. Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinadko 6,6,6,6,6

Open C Latin

  1. Lynn Magnesen w/ Tomasz Lewandowski 1,1,1,1,1
  2. Maria Rigopoulos w/ Andrei Kazlouski 2,2,2,2,2
  3. Lorraine Peoples w/ Kostiantyn Samarskyi 3,4,4,3,3
  4. Rebecca Wong w/ Richard Lifshitz 4,3,3,4,4
  5. Susan Kullman w/ Sergey Dementyev 5,5,6,6,7
  6. Sally He w/ Paul Richardson 6,6,5,7,8
  7. Danielle Ethier w/ Francis Lafreniere 8,7,7,5,6
  8. Scott Magnesen w/ Izabela Lewandowska 7,8,8,8,5

Open S1 Latin

  1. Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme 1,1,1,2
  2. Rebecca Wong w/ Richard Lifshitz 2,2,2,1
  3. Scott Magnesen w/ Izabela Lewandowska 3,3,4,3
  4. Jennifer Marre w/ Plamen Danailov 5,4,3,4
  5. Tomoko Fujiwara w/ Sergiy Samchynskyy 4,5,5,7
  6. Sherry Tucker w/ Vlad Astafiev 7,6,6,5
  7. Beth Kaplan w/ Genya Bartashevich 6,7,7,6

Open S2 Latin

  1. Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov 1,1,1,1
  2. Susann Tunick w/ Nikolay Voronovich 2,2,2,2
  3. Alice Lekht w/ Igor Derimov 3,3,4,3
  4. Philippa Zemelman w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 4,4,3,4
  5. Felicia Porges w/ Adam Katona 5,6,6,5
  6. Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 6,5,5,6

As always, our sincere congratulations go to the incredible organizers of the Manhattan Dance Championships, Gary McDonald and Diana McDonald. 

A Dancers’ Paradise

As we have said in previous years – The Manhattan Dance Championships are all about the dancing!

Every heat, professional, amateur, pro-am is highly contested with some of the best dancers from all over the country who this year braved some extensive flight delays to be able to attend.

The entire competition is a dancers’ paradise with fantastic quality as well as quantity. In the Open Professional Smooth, danced on Friday night, the current US Professional Champions, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina took first in every dance with perfect scores in the foxtrot and winning with a majority of firsts the other three dances. To be precise they lost two first place marks in the waltz, one in the tango, one in the foxtrot and one in the Viennese Waltz. We were quite impressed with their performance especially on the closed hold movements, where they showed quite a lot of maturity in their closed hold movements. Travis Tuft & Jaimee Tuft were awarded second in all dances and they too managed to get the majority of seconds in all dances even stealing two firsts from Roman & Galina, one in the waltz and one in the foxtrot. The quality of this couple was also palpable from the first round on and we can see why their scores did not waiver much from this second-place finish.

Third place was awarded to Aleksandar Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova in all dances. This couple could not be missed this evening - in costumes alone there was possibly more bling than all two couples above them combined and it totally suited them and their edgy style and there was no missing them in action tonight. They also managed to steal a couple of firsts from the top - one in the waltz and one in the Viennese Waltz, and looking at their dancing we can see why. Their movements were precise and full of energy and if you love bling and great smooth dancing, they are your cup of tea. The remaining couples also finished in the same place in all dances. Fourth place in all went to Tykhon Zhyvkov & Yana Zhyvkov; in fifth place were Kharyton Khomenko & Anastasiya Khomenko and sixth was awarded to Dmytro Gurkov & Celeste Bailey from Canada.

It was also a paradise in the Open Professional Latin where Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova stole the night by winning all dances with perfect scores from the 17 judges appointed to this task. For us on the side it was also a delight to watch these two interpret every song to perfection in a musical paradise of steps and movement. Second to sixth place was a little more hard fought and you can see by the judges’ individual marks. However, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina were still ablet to get plenty of “third or better” marks to place second in all dances - a total of 10 points. Not far behind in third place were Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk with a total count of 15 fifteen enough to give them a clear third place finish.

There was a tie in points between Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman 5,5,5,4,4 - a total of 23 points and Darren Hammond & Marina Steshenko from South Africa 4,4,4,5,6, a total of 23 points. After using a tiebreak rule, Darren & Marina were awarded fourth place leaving Tal & Ilana holding fifth position. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova placed sixth in all dances with a total of 29 points.

The Amateur Ballroom was the third Championship featured this evening of wonderful dancing in paradise and the winners were Nikita Druzhynin & Virginie Primeau from Canada, taking first in all dances with a majority of firsts - 9 first in the waltz and foxtrot, 7 firsts in the tango and quickstep, and 8 firsts in the Viennese Waltz. They were the easy winners with the 5 points needed to win the championship.

Second on this excellent Ballroom heat went to Danylo Dobrovolskyi & Anastasiia Malovana who took second in every dance. Third was Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina, fourth in all dances was awarded to Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova, fifth place was given to Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutyunnyk, and sixth in all were Mikhail Vorobiev & Anna Sydygalieva

We must mention that earlier on the week the Ballroom competition in the Under 21 took place and all couples were amazing. This competition is part of the Ballroom Spirit Foundation U/21 Tour and one couple was qualified to participate in the finale at the DBDC 2023, Mykola Hudz & Stanislava Klishch. In this competition they placed third in all dances, the honor was not given to the first place winner Andrei Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina because they have already qualified at another event, the invitation also could not be given to Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutyunnyk who placed second in all dances, because they too have qualified for this honor at another event. Our Congratulations to Mykola & Stanislava.

As with the professional and amateur divisions, the top flight pro-am scholarships have been first rate so far with 3 styles already by Friday.

First up was the Rhythm style and here are the results of the Open Scholarships.

Open A Rhythm

1.  Adrian Kaiser w/ Evgeniia Elcoro 1,1,1,1,1

2.  Chasity Smith w/ Eddie Ares 2,2,2,2,3

3.  Melissa Majlat w/ Radomir Pashev 3,3,3,3,2

4.  Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan 4,4,4,4,4

5.  Samantha Ferris w/ Roman Doroshenko 5,5,5,5,5

6.  Erin Hunkemoeller w/ Ivan Kudashev 6,6,6,7,7

7.  Kailee Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 7,7,7,6,6

Open B Rhythm

1.  Michael Butler w/ Oxana Kashkina 2,2,1,1,1

2.  Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 1,1,2,2,2

3.  Monica Morales w/ Abraham Sannoh 3,3,3,4,3

4.  Chris Wilson w/ Anna Krasnoshapka 4,4,4,5,4

5.  Jennifer Hoffman w/ Dave Hannigan 5,5,5,3,5

6.  Kelly Rogers & Jani Bogre 6,6,6,6,6

Open C Rhythm

1.  Lynn Magnessen w/ Tomarz Lewandowski 1,1,1,2,1

2.  Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 2,2,2,1,3

3.  Louise Shah w/ Andrew Escolme 4,3,3,3,2

4.  Janice B Gonzalez w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 3,4,4,4,4

5.  Michelle Loeb w/ Aleko Khutsidze 6,6,5,5,5

6.  Chris Wilson w/ Anna Krasnoshapka 5,5,6,6,6

Open S1 Rhythm

1.  Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme 1,1,1,1

2.  Joanne Johnson w/ Ivan Kudashev 2,2,2,2

3.  Karen McDougal w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 3,3,3,3

4.  Susan Volpicella-Levy w/ Bogdan Tabaka 4,4,4,4

Open S2 Rhythm

1.  Leslie McLeod w/ Melbin De La Cruz 1,1,1,1

2.  Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 2,2,2,2

3.  Debbi Brewster w/ Radomir Pashev 3,3,3,3

4.  Diane Schuman w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 4,4,4,4

Open A Smooth

1.  Elizabeth Cuevas w/ Mayo Alanen 1,1,1,1

2.  Alicia Jackson w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 2,2,2,2

3.  Adrian Kaiser w/ Evgeniia Elcoro 3,3,3,3

4.  Kailee Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 4,5,4,4

5.  Aurora Ghorab w/ Travis Tuft 5,4,5T,6

6. Samantha Ferris w/ Roman Doroshenko 7,6,5T,5

7.  Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan 6,7,7,7

Open B Smooth

1.  Mila Pavlichenko w/ Dmytro Gurkov 1,2,1,1

2.  Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 2,1,2,2

3.  Selene Steelman w/ Travis Tuft 4,3,3,3

4.  Donie Burch w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 3,4,4,4

5.  Stacey Tilford w/ Josh Tilford 5,5,5,5

6.  Aja Pascale w/ Sergiy Samchynskyy 6,6,6,6

Open C Smooth

1.  Sophia D'Angelo w/ Max Sinitsa 1,1,2,1

2.  Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 2,2,1,2

3.  Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Roman Malkhasyan 3,3,3,3

4.  Gail Komar w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 4,4,4,4

5.  Janice B Gonzalez w/ Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 5,5,5,5

6.  Krista Hughes w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 6,6,6,6

7.  Nannel Wray w/ Enzo Zappia 7,7,7,7

Open S1 Smooth

1.  Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Roman Malkhasyan 1,1,1,1

2.  Simona Bebi w/ Nazar Norov 2,2,2,2

3.  Helena Kostik w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuk 3,3,4,4

4.  Charlene Proctor w/ Mikhail Zharinov 5,4,3,3

5.  Kristi Nadvornik w/ Mayo Alanen 4,5,6,5

6.  Diane Wooters w/ Anton Bilozorov 6,6,7,6

7.  Robin Kencel w/ Dmytro Pankov 7,7,5,7

Open S2 Smooth

1.  Lyn Riddle w/ Sergiy Samchynskyy 1,1,1,1

2.  Liz Conklyn w/ Dariusz Michalski 4,3,2,2

3.  Charlotte Browne w/ Evgueni Chaoulski 2,2,4,4

4.  Willie Grana w/ Yuliya Besarab 5,4,3,3

5.  Felicia Porges w/ Adam Katona 6,5,5,5

6.  Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 3,6,6,6

Open B Ballroom

1.  Vinie Miller w/ Stefano Di Brino 1,1,1,3,1

2.  Colette Marotto w/ Oreste Alitto 2,3,3,1,2

3.  Michelle Pho w/ Mirko Spano 6,2,2,6,4

4.  Bo Chang w/ Valerio Colantoni 3,4,6,4,3

5.  Sabrina Zagolin w/ Yuriy Kravets 4,6,5,2,6

6.  Janet Simsic w/ Andrea Stefano 5,5,4,5,5

Open C Ballroom

1.  Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 1,1,1,1,1

2.  Meredith Kaplan w/ Rudy Homm 2,2,2,4,3

3.  Antonia Frost w/ Riccardo Conte 3,4,3,2,2

4.  Kyle Brown w/ Sergey Bondarenko 4,3,4,3,4

5.  Catherine Blondell w/ Andrii Mykhailov 5,6,5,5,5

6.  Annie Chan w/ Cristian Radvan 6,5,6,6,6

Open S1 Ballroom

1.  Agnes Mah w/ Stefano Di Brino 1,1,1,1

2.  Linda Gill w/ Luca Balestra 2,2,2,2

3.  Jakov Kokic w/ Krizia Balestra 3,4,4,3

4.  Sue Carroll w/ Igor Mikushov 4,3,3,4T

5.  Charlene Proctor w/ Andrey Begunov 6,5,5,4T

6.  Juleei Khor w/ Radu Sterban 5,6,6,6

Open S2 Ballroom

1.  Leilani Viney w/ Kamil Urbaniak 1,1,1,3

2.  Linda Gill w/ Luca Balestra 3,2,2,2

3.  Linda Dillman w/ Igor Gayenko 2,3,3,1

4.  Helen Nicoll w/ Rudy Homm 4,6,5,4

5.  Vicki Sato w/ Nazar Batih 5,4,6,5

6.  Gloria Genevieve w/ Samuele Pacchini 6,5,4,6

7.  Rong Chen w/ Oscar Pedrinelli 7,7,7,7


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