On paper at the start it should have been a comfortable win for Kevin Ubillus & Milargros Lareto who have been finalists in most major championships this year – the only couple in the field with this track record. But as it turned out, they had to settle for the runners-up spot tonight and the win went to Aleks Nashev & Evgeniia Elcoro. This is certainly the best result for this couple to date and in truth we do feel that they have been somewhat under-marked in previous outings. However, the results were exceedingly close. Aleks & Evgeniia placed 1,1,2,1,3 and Kevin & Milargros, 2,2,1,2,1. Both couples had a total of 8, but with the Rule 10 tiebreak, Aleks & Evgeniia, who won 3 dances, were declared the winners. There were 19 judges total, and neither couple achieved a majority of first places in any dance. In fact Kevin & Milargros had a total of 37 first place marks, 10 more than Aleks & Engeniia. The difference came in the 2nd and 3rd place marks. Although Kevin & Milargros had more firsts, they also had more judges placing them in the lower half of the final, allowing Aleks & Evgeniia to slip ahead of them.
And where did the rest of the judges’ first places go? To 3rd placed Roger Romero & Arismel Naya who placed 3,3,3,3,2 but had 24 first places. We were happy also to see this couple receiving some overdue recognition from the judges. They have a true American style.
This was a 7-couple final from a semifinal round and all couples really turned it up in the final. 4th spot went to Senzo Makhaye & Agnieszka Strojek 4,4,4,6,4; 5th Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina 6,6,5,4,5; 6th Silviu Turcan & Yulia Nam 5,5,6,5,6; 7th Jani Bogre & Tjasa Novak 7,7,7,7,7.
The other headline event of the night was the Open Pro Ballroom, but this did not quite rise to the excitement of the Rhythm. Vladyslav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova from Canada were the very clear winners and lost very few first place marks. For us they were in a much higher class than the rest of the final. The very busy Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva were 2nd in all dances; 3rd Artur Kozun & Monika Pyrgiel 3,3,3,3,3; 4th Ivan Ilin & Lindsay Milam 4,4,4,4,4; 5th David Schmidt & Alexandria Camargo 5,5,5,5,5.
In the last competitive heat of the evening, Stanislav Morozov & Kseniia Tashkinova were the winners of the Pro Cabaret. They received 10 of the 11 first places.
On both Friday and Saturday night we were treated to exhibition dances by Latin stars, Andrei Kazlouski & Nino Dzedneladze that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.
Mr. Sid Pocius also presented a second Lifetime Achievement Award and this time it was to the “Goumada” herself, Marianne Nicole. Marianne received a standing ovation following a video presentation narrated by her husband, John DePalma.
Elegance & Tradition – The Florida State 2023
It has been more than 10 years since Dance Beat attended the Florida State Dance Championships, still held at the elegant Ritz Carlton Hotel in Sarasota, FL.
This is certainly one of the more iconic events on the NDCA calendar. From its early years at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach when for most the competition was simply known as “The Breakers” until now at the Ritz where it has been for the last 20 years, the Florida State remains a bastion of elegance. Now under the direction of Sid Pocius, the event continues in its traditional way.
Last night the highlight was certainly the Open Professional Latin that began with a semifinal and featured two current US finalists. These two couples did indeed place first and second. Manuel Fabilla & Natalia Maidiuk won all 5 dances with the clear majority of 1st places in all dances, although they did pick up a few lower placements, including some 6th placements from one judge. This was a surprise to us. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova were 2nd in all dances and had the majority of “2nd or better” scores in the first three. They picked up a few first places, but they also collected some scores in the lower half of the final, including some 6th placements. Placing 4,3,3,3,3, Sasha Porozov & Arina Sokolova took 3rd. This is a new couple to us and they certainly showed well on the floor. Their scores ran the gamut from 1st to 6th in all dances. Also with a wide range in individual judges’ scores but placing 3,4,4,4,4 overall, Roman Italyankin & Sasha Bokova took 4th and were perhaps slightly disappointed with this result. Rangel Spirov & Veronika Chernyavska took all the 5’s and Oleg Ovchinnikov & Karina Nugumanova, all the 6’s, although once again both of these couples had scores that ranged the whole 6 places from the judges.
The Open Pro Smooth also began with a semifinal and also had easy winners as Jang & Adele Don had a clear majority of first places in all dances. Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir took an easy second in all dances and picked up most of the few first places not awarded to Jang & Adele. Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva were third overall, placing 4,3,3,3. This must be the busiest couple on the circuit as they currently compete in 3 styles – Ballroom, Latin and Smooth as well as Showdance and Cabaret! 4th Alexander Romanov & Anna Blagodyreva 3,4,4,4: 5th Manuel Fogliani & Agnieszka Kuzma 5,5,5,5; 6th Dmitry Krasnyanskiy & Esther Frances 6,6,6,6.
Four couples contested the Professional Showdance division and the win went to Alexey Smirnov & Daria Smirnova. 2nd were the Grinevs, 3rd Vladyslav Komelkov & Alexandra Sevastianova and 4th Jay Holmes & Andrea Rupley.
On Thursday night, Sid Pocius presented Tommy Radon of Storm Ballroom, NJ, with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Tommy has been the Top Teacher of multiple circuits and is the current and undefeated Top Teacher of the World Dancesport Series.
Also on Thursday, the Florida State offered professional divisions in basics. The best supported were the American style divisions. Jang & Adele won the Smooth and Artem Merenkov & Maria Balshova won the Rhythm.
Tonight we finish the event with the remaining Open Professional divisions.