United States Dancesport Championships 2023

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Rule 11 in the Smooth!

There were not many changes on the last night of the United States Championships.

Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova continue to wear the Professional US Latin Crown and Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina, the Smooth. There was an interesting result broken by a Rule 11 in the Professional Smooth with Aleksandar Vukosavlivic & Alexandra Smirnova dropping a place and the fairly new partnership of Yegor Novikov & Tatiana Voilokova moving up to third place both couples were awarded 14 points each in the final, Aleksandar & Alexandra’s score were 3,4,4,3 = 14 and Yegor & Tatiana’s were 4,3,3,4 =14.

The winners, Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina took all dances with the majority of firsts in three dances and perfect scores in the waltz. Second in all dances was awarded to Travis & Jaimee Tuft.

As we mentioned earlier, Yegor & Tatiana moved up to third position by a Rule 11 decision where the got 64 fourth of better marks to the 60 that Aleksandar & Alexandra had on their score card in the final leaving them with a fourth place finish. Fifth in all dances were Tykhon & Yana Zhyvkov and sixth place went to Kharyton & Anastasiya Khomenko.

Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova won the US National Latin Championships for the second time with also nearly perfect scores from the judges. The won the paso doble with perfect scores from all judges but in the other four dances they missed by one or two marks; in the cha cha and samba judge Corky Ballas was the only judge to award them second place and in in the rumba and jive Linda Wakefield joined Corky and both awarded them seconds in this two dances.

Second overall by placing second in four dances and third in the jive were Andrei Kazlouski & Nino Dzneladze.Perhaps our favorite couple in this final this evening was Mykahailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina who danced with great energy and win or lose all, they placed second in the jive and third in the other four dances.

Fourth in all dances was awarded to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk; fifth overall went to Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman 6,5,6,5,5, and sixth were Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan 5,6,5,6,6 – their first national pro final.

There were three special presentation awards presented this evening the first was the Martin Chiang Heritage Foundation award for dance excellence and the recipient was Erin Drake Angelo for her work with people in assisted living. The second was the Hall of Fame award and that went to undefeated Pro Smooth Champions, Slawek Sochaki & Marzena Stachura.

Last but not least was the Life Time Achievement Award and that was given to Mr. John DePalma.

The US Open to the World Scholarships and National Scholarships in the Ballroom division were held at the end of the afternoon, as you saw the day before there was no Pro/Am Scholarships on Friday so all scholarships in the Ballroom were Saturday afternoon.

The Senior One and Senior 2 US open had the same winner - Linda Gill w/Luca. In the US Senior 1 Open that started with a semifinal Linda won three dances and placed second in the waltz and quickstep. Llewelyn Nielsen w/Oreste Alitto was second 1,3,2,2,1; Annie Chang w/Cristian Radvan placed third overall 3,2,3,3,3; fourth was Jakov Kokic w/Krizi Balestra 4,4,4,5,4. Charlene Proctor w/Andrey Begunov placed fifth 5,5,5,4,5; JuLeei Khor w/Radu Sterban was sixth in all dances and seventh was Jessica Indig-Smith w/Artem Belmeha.

In the Open Senior 1 National things were a little different here the winner was Llewelyn Nielsen w/Oreste Alitto, she placed second in the waltz and won the other three dances. Agnes Mah who did not enter the open to the world with teacher Stefano Di Brino took second overall 4,2,2,2,2, and third also did not enter the Open to the world Kathy Stetler w/Alexander Voskalchuk 1,4,3,3,6. Annie Chang w/Cristian Radvan placed fourth 3,3,5,5,3; Linda Gill w/Luca Balestra in this nationals was fifth 5,5,4,4,5, and sixth went to Mike Brown w/Anna Oblakova 6,6,6,6,4.

In the Senior 2 Open to the World Ballroom Linda Gill w/Luca Balestra took all dances. Second place was awarded overall to Lynn Murrell w/Andrea Zaramella 2,2,3,2,2; third overall was Shela Abraham w/Andrii Mykhailov 3,4,2,3,3. Maryann Nichols w/Mirko Spano took fourth 4,3,4,5,4; Linda Huntress w/Andrea Stefano was fifth 5,5,5,4,5, and Barbara Grossman w/Daniel Buhana took all sixths.

Linda Gill w/Luca Balestra also won the Senior 2 US National Open Ballroom Championship placing first in all dances. Lynn Murrell w/Andrea Zaramella placed this time second in all dances and Shela Abraham w/Andrii Mykhailov was overall third 3,3,3,3,4. Peter Chou w/Xenia Cletova placed fourth overall 4,4,4,4,3; fifth in all dances went to Gloria Genevieve w/Samuel Pacchini; sixth was Carolyn Homoly w/Dmitriy Solomakha, and seventh was awarded to Maryann Nichols w/Mirko Spano.

Five couples took to the floor for the A US Open to the World Ballroom and here Tessa Kolaczenko w/Artur Kozun took first overall 2,1,1,1,1; Laura Simon w/Martin Reinbold placed second 1,2,3,2,3, and Alex Caraballoso w/Ihar Kisialiou was third 3,3,2,3,2. Fourth in all dances was Arun Garg w/Madalina Letting, and fifth went to Alina Huang Sakura w/Eugene Bubyr.

The Nationals A division was awarded overall to Kristina Mazhar w/Alex Spencer 2,1,3,1,1. This time Alex Caraballoso w/Ihar Kisialiou took second 1,2,1,2,4; Tessa Kolaczenko w/Artur Kozun placed third 3,3,2,4,3 and once again Arun Garg w/Madalina Letting took fourth 4,4,4,3,2. Alina Huang Sakura w/Eugene Bubyr was fifth 5,5,5,5,6, and Annette Baird w/Alexey Grinev placed sixth overall 6,6,6,6,5.

The US C Open to the World Ballroom went to Jill Bradford w/Andrea Stefano placing first in all dances. There was a tie for second place that was broken by a Rule 11 and here Natasha Janey w/Iaroslav Bielievi took second 2,2,2.5,4,3 =13.5 and Kyle Brown w/Vladislav Shakhov was third 4,3,2.5,2,2 =13.5. Patricia Schneider w/Sergey Bondarenko placed fourth 3,4,4,3,4; Catherine Blondell w/Andrii Mykhailov took fifth 5,5,6,5,6, and Meridith Kaplan w/Rudy Homm was sixth 6,6,5,6,5.

In the US National C, Patricia Schneider w/Sergey Bondarenko placed first 1,2,1,1,2; Kyle Brown w/Vladislav Shakhov took second 3,1,2,2,1, and Natasha Janey w/Iaroslav Bielievi was third 2,3,3,3,3. Fourth in all dances went to Antonia Frost w/Riccardo Conte, fifth was Meridith Kaplan w/Rudy Homm, and sixth was awarded to Catherine Blondell w/Andrii Mykhailov.

Sabrina Zagolin w/Yuriy Kravets won all dances in the US Open B Championship, it was an 8 couple final and here second overall went to Laura Shooks w/Aleander Voskalchuk 3,2,2,2,2, leaving third with Aleksandra Grocott w/Andrii Mykhailov 2,3,4,3,4. Dana Miller w/Oreste Alitto was fourth 5,4,3,4,3; Janet Simsic w/Andrea Stefano placed fifth 4,5,5,5,5. Sixth in all dances was awarded to Bo Chang w/Valerio Colantoni, and seventh Annette Baird w/Alexey Grinev placed seventh in all dances.

The National Open was also won by Sabrina Zagolin w/Yuriy Kravets in all dances. Second but now in all dances went to Laura Shooks w/Aleander Voskalchuk; third overall again went to Aleksandra Grocott w/Andrii Mykhailov 3,3,4,4,3; Dana Miller w/Oreste Alitto was fourth 4,4,3,3,4; Vinie Miller w/Stefano Di Brino placed fifth in all dances and she did not compete in the Open to the World Championship; Bo Chang w/Valerio Colantoni took sixth, and Annette Baird w/Alexey Grinev was seventh.

The Rhythm Got Them!

Last year Andre & Natalie Paramonov retired from the Professional Rhythm arena leaving a void in our Rhythm space.

This void has been filled this year with new champions and new directions. Francesco Arietta & Jessa Mae Briones were crowned last night United States Professional Rhythm Champions, this solidified their win from last week at the Embassy Ball as World Professional Rhythm Champions.

  Francesco & Jessa won all dances with a majority of firsts in every dance. Yes there were a few dissenting marks from some judges - 3 in the cha cha, 2 in the rumba, 4 in the swing, 3 in the bolero and 2 in the mambo. Marianne Nicole was the only judge to award Francesco & Jessa all seconds, the other judges were scattered, but overall the judges all agreed that Francesco & Jessa were to be crowned 2023 US Rhythm Champions.

Andrew Escolme & Asta Sigvaldadottir took second in every dance and yes one first in four dances was given to them by different judges and two in the cha cha, but not enough to overcome the landslide sweep by Francesco & Jessa. Andrew & Asta danced quite well even though they were hard to find or should we say they often danced so close to the audience that they almost disappeared, especially for those on the far side of the floor or for the judges who were lined up in front of the stage. This was not just them - many of the couples in this final decided to dance right on top of the audience, leaving the center of the floor nearly empty.

Third in this professional national championship went to Dmitriy & Olena Nikishkin. They were third in all dances. Dmitri & Olena took one first place mark away from the Champions and that was in the swing, Wendy Johnson awarded them first for this dance. Kevin Ubilios & Milagros Lareto were fourth overall with these marks 4,4,6,5,4. We were surprised to see that on this occasion not one first place mark was awarded to them for their mambo, usually their signature dance.

There was a tie for fifth place between Shane & Shannon Jensen and Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova, but this was easily broken by a Rule10 and in the end Ivan & Ksenia placed fifth 5,5,5,6,5 =26 and Shane & Shannon were left with sixth overall 6,6,4,4,6 =26.

There was one surprise for us we kind of expected Roger Romero & Arismel Naya to make it back at least to the semifinal round but it was not do be they were left out in the quarter final round, apparently they did not have enough marks. Roger & Arismel have a wonderful look and for us they seem to be doing quite a few “Rhythm” moves. We also thought the RS winners, Illie Bardahan & Oxana Kashkina had a shot at this final.

In the US National Professional Ballroom, Valerio Calentoni & Anna Demidova took also an easy win, defending their title, with a full majority of firsts in every dance. As with Francesco & Jessa there were a few dissenting judges, but just a couple in four of the dances, their Viennese waltz was won with perfect scores from all judge. Second in all dances was awarded to Valeriu Ursache w/Liana Bakhtiarova a strong result for this couple who had placed third in a similar field last week at Embassy.

From third place down the marks became more spread Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabolvil took third overall 4,3,4,4,3; Gaetiano Iavarone & Manuela Napolitano were fourth 3,4,3,3,6, as you can see the 6th in their score card did not help their cause. Tey had placed 2nd last week at Embassy. Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova were fifth 5,5,5,5,4. Sixth was awarded to one of our favorites in this competition, Daniil Drovolsky & Anastasiia Malovana 6,6,6,7,5, and seventh place went to Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova 7,7,7,6,7, who we also felt danced well tonight.

Total entries in the Rhythm were 26 couples and in the Ballroom there were 25 in the Ballroom. The organizers made the decision to dance these events over 4 rounds even though both could have been danced in 3 rounds. A tough decision, but the extra time meant that the ballroom was barely half full by the finals and results – it was just too long for many in the audience.

The US Open Amateur Ballroom was also held this night but attracted only 5 entries. The winners in all dances were Andri Cutashevskii & Anna Vasina. 2nd in all went to Maksym Savytskyy & Marta Tyutyunnyk. 3rd Roman Shchochka & Marta Tyutunnyk 3,3,4,3,3; 4th Mariia Aleksieiev & Kateryna Vusatenko 4,4,3,4,4; 5th Brian Noon & Anastasia Tatarenko 5,5,5,5,5.

We also saw the final 2 Rising Star event and the winners were Ron Garber & Klaudia Petriti (Latin) and Lukas Spisak & Eva Tibenska (Smooth).

An Open, Latin day at USDC!

Yesterday at the USDC the Professional Open to the World Championships were held in both the Latin and the Ballroom divisions.

We also saw the conclusion of the fully packed Latin day for Pro/Am dancing with the Open and National Championships and it was full of surprises.

The Professional Open to the Worlds were held this year prior to the National events and a few of the well-known names in the US either pulled out at the last minute or just did not enter. This was a little disappointing for us that wanted to see so many of these couples go ahead to head. But in ways we saw a number of couples featured in the final that perhaps we would have not seen had these couples showed or entered. The winners of the WDC US Open to the World Professional Latin indisputably were Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk who won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges and for us they too were the clear winners, we saw them from first round on and there was no one else.

Second overall in the professional Open to the World Latin event went to Daniil Tymoshenko & Vlada Vursalova 2,2,2,3,2, who we just saw competing at the Embassy Ball and where they placed sixth, this can tell you how many couples were missing from this event. Third was awarded to Andrii Voloshkov & Kateryna Kyrylenko 3,3,3,2,3; Oleksii Fedor & Anastasiia Konieva took fourth 5,4,4,5,4.

Only two couples came from outside the USA and they were from Japan and Slovakia, but only one of them made it to the final, Naoto Nomura & Karin Yamasaki from Japan who placed fifth overall 4,5,6,4,6. The coupe from Slovakia, Thomas Jy Loewe & Nirvan did not get out of the first round of competition. In sixth position in this US Open To the World Professional Latin event were Robin Alexander Veskus & Diana Gavrilona 6,6,5,6,5.

The WDC US Open to the World Ballroom also took place and here nearly the same happened with the couples entering and pulling out or not entering. The winners, Eldar Dzhafarov & Anna Sazhina from Azerbaijan won the event with a majority of firsts in 3 dances and perfect scores in the Viennese and foxtrot. We must point out that they only lost one first place mark in each of the dances where they did not get perfect scores - the seconds in the waltz and tango came from Giampiero Gianico, the one second in the quickstep came from Roman Myrkin.

In this Open to the World Ballroom Championship second place in all dances was awarded to Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova. Maksym Savytsyi & Polina Riabolvil took all thirds. Fourth place overall went to Radu Sterban & Xenia Cletova 5,4,4,5,4; fifth was awarded to Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova 4,5,5,4,5, and sixth in all dances went to Marek Klepadlo & Nina Zhiting Yang.

In the Pro/Am divisions the US Open to The World Cabaret Championship was very contested and the level of difficulty of some of this choreographies made your head spin. The easy winners from the judges perspective was Sophia D’Angelo w/Victor DaSilva. This was perhaps not our favorite routine we have seen from this lady, but she did bring not only lifts but also quality of movements in their transitions as well as a good balance when it came to floor movements.

Second in this excellent category was awarded to Jorge Amaro w/Tetyana Makarenko and they did some amazing lifts to the point that two first place marks missing from Sophia’s column were awarded to him. This gentleman had an incredible strong core and he just lifted Tatiana from one amazing lift to another. But third place was not far behind. This lady stole three first place marks from Sophia and her lift work was also amazing - Daniella Soroka w/Igor Puzhevick. We think this must have been a difficult decision for the judges, but we agree that Sophia did show a maturity in her work and brought something very complete to the table.

Robert Haworth w/Rachel Sayotovich placed fourth overall; Maya Rao w/Douglas Dombrowik took fifth overall and Alexandra Kaiser w/Colton Gannon took sixth from the judges.

As we mentioned earlier, the US Open to the world Pro/Am Latin took place this same day and finished with the finals in the evening. Many of them were quite good and here are your results.

The US Open Senior 2 Pro/Am Latin went easily as in previous years to Nora Fox w/Plamen Danailov who won all dances with a huge majority of firsts and we could not agree more on this decision. Second in this excellent heat and in all dances was awarded to Esperanza Blair w/Andre Paramonov; third overall went to Alice Lekht w/Igor Derimov 3,3,3,3,5. Philippa Zemelman w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk was fourth overall 4,4,4,4,3, and fifth overall was Susan Sordoni & Francesco Arietta 5,5,5,5,4 leaving sixth in all dances to Diana Knight w/Nikolai Shpakov.

Nora Fox once again won all dances in the US Open National event and Esperanza also captured second place in all dances. Alice Lekht w/Igor Derimov were also third but with lower marks than in the Open to the World, 5,4,3,3,5. In this heat there was a tie for fourth place which a Rule10 easily broke and here Philippa Zemelman w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk took fourth 6,3,5,4,3 =21, and Susan Sordoni & Francesco Arietta ended up with fifth overall 3,5,4,5,4 =21. And sixth place was awarded to Toni Mullins w/Tomasz Wlodarski 4,6,6,6,6. Toni competed in the Open to the world but was not called for the final.

The Open to the World Latin B Latin Division also started with a semifinal round and here Lindsey Keatley w/Francesco Arietta won overall 1,2,1,1,1. Christine Stanko w/Andrei Kazlouski took second overall 2,1,2,3,2, and Katie Hinkle w/Dymytrii Goncharov was third 3,3,4,2,3. Liliya Bauer w/Aleksandr Gorodetskyy placed fourth 4,4,3,4,5; Irma Wang w/Daniel Hustiuc took fifth 5,5,5,5,4, and Irina Myrceva w/ Artur Tarnavskyy took all sixth in all dances.

In the National B event Christine Stanko w/Andrei Kazlouski took first overall 1,2,3,1,2, as you just saw she placed second in the open. Second went to Christina Enoch w/Tarasov 2,1,2,2,4, we most point out that Christina did not compete in the open event. Third in this National event was awarded to Cortney Reiselman w/Christopher Wayne 3,3,1,4,3, and she too did not compete in the Open to the World event. Katie Hinkley w/ Dymytrii Goncharov placed fourth 4,4,4,3,1. Lindsey Keatley w/Francesco Arietta took fifth in all five dances in this National event, we must point out that as you read earlier Lindsey won the Open to the World Championship. Sixth in all dances was awarded to Irma Wang w/Daniel Hustiuc, and in seventh place was Mirra Blinova Thorpe w/Clement Joly.

In the C Open to the World Pro/Am Latin, Deborah Wright w/Nikolay Voronovich won all dances with a majority of firsts and nearly perfect scores, Riccardo Cocchi was the only judge in this panel to award them seconds in all dances. Lynn Magnesen w/Tomasz Lewandowski took seconds in all dances, but if you look at her scorecard her marks varied from first to fifth place. Third in all dances went to Maria Rigopoulos w/Andrei Kazlouski, and fourth overall was Kay Kajiwara w/Roberto Maleckis 4,4,7,4,5. There was a tie for fifth place where a Rule10 had to be used and it was easily broken and Cristina Rojo w/Ivan Mulyaka taking fifth 6,5,5,5,6 =27, and Nichelle Kennedy & Aleks Nashev were sixth 7,6,5,6,5 =27, and Marina Svyatets w/Vladimir Karpov was seventh overall 5,7,6,7,7.

Deborah Wright w/Nikolay Voronovich also won all dances in the National event but here was not as clear as in the open event, Deborah had to rely on second or better marks to win the samba, rumba and jive. Second overall in this heat was awarded to Lynn Magnesen w/Tomasz Lewandowski 3,2,2,2,2, and Maria Rigopoulos w/Andrei Kazlouski continued in their third place finish in this National but not in all dances she placed second in the cha cha. Sophia D’Angelo w/ Vitalii Proskurin placed fourth overall 4,4,5,4,4, this lady did not compete in the Open to the World perhaps because the Cabaret Championships were running quite close with this event, Sophia as we mentiond earlier won the Cabaret Championship. Nichelle Kennedy W/ Aleks Nashev placed fifth overall in this National event 5,5,4,5,5; Bonnie Collins w/Mykyta Serdyuk took all sixth in all dances, Bonnie did not dance in the Open To the World event.

Irene Caredis & Francesco Bertini won all dances in the Open to the World A Latin Division, and she won all dances with the majority of firsts and the jive with perfect scores. Kristina Mazhar & Vladimir Karpov placed second in all dances, leaving third overall to Audrey Cruz Chan w/Andrey Tarasov 4,3,3,4,3. Lori Ebinger w/Tabish Romario was fourth overall 3,4,4,3,4; fifth in all dances went to Jessica Stone w/Sergey Korshunov and she took fifth in all dances. Gabbie Diassi w/Ivan Kudashev was sixth; Erika Jang w/Art Tsaturyan placed seventh and Danielle Forman w/Jason Daly were eight.

The US Open National A division was awarded to Anna Brown w/Andrey Tarasov and they won all dances but the jive where they placed second. The winner of the Open to the World, Caredis & Francesco Bertini took second in this heat with these marks 2,2,3,2,1, and third overall went to Kristina Mazhar w/Vladimir Karpov 3,3,2,3,3. Fourth place was awarded to Ava O’Hara w/Ron Garber 4,6,4,5,4; fifth went to Ginny Rosanio w/Aleksandar Vukosavljevic 5,4,5,6,5, and sixth went to Xinyu Wei w/Daniel Hustiuc 6,5,6,4,6.

In the US Open to the World Senior 1, Scott Magnesen w/Izabela Lewandowski won first overall 1,1,1,2,1. Second overall was awarded to Tomoko Fujiwara w/Sergiy Samchynskyy 2,2,2,1,2, and third in all dances went to Nancy Murdock w/Roman Italyankin. Fourth was Anna Chiu w/Troels Bager; fifth went to Marie Hughes w/Evgeniy Nazarov; sixth was Diana Knight w/Nikolai Shpakov and seventh placement went to Yolanda Tullo w/Martin Rivera.

In the National Senior 1 event, Marilyn Lim w/Ilie Bardahan won all dances, this lady did not compete in the Open event. Second place in all dances was awarded to Doreen Dressel w/Genya Bartshevich; Tomoko Fujiwara w/Sergiy Samchynskyy who was second in the Open now took third overall 4,3,3,3,4. Scott Magnesen w/Izabela Lewandowski who won the Open placed fourth in this National event 3,4,5,4,3. Fifth overall went to Sheila Pompan w/Henry Byalikov 5,6,4,5,5, and sixth overall was Nancy Murdock w/Roman Italyankin 6,5,6,6,6.

The first of the US National Rising Star Divisions also took place on this day.  The new winners were Illie Bardahan & Oxana Kashkina (Rhythm) and Danill Dobrovolsky & Anastasiia Malovana (Ballroom).

A Show, Show Night

Last night at the US Championships was a show - show night for all, with no group competitions and only solos were performed.

The chairs for the judges across the front of the floor became permanent so they could comfortably witness solo after solo starting with the US Pro/Am South American Showdance and finishing with the US Professional Mambo Championships. The evening as it has been the normal trend this year began after 10:00PM due to the amount of entries and the afternoon finished at around 9:45PM.

The US National Professional Cabaret Championship was perhaps the most interesting of all these shows. Six excellent couples took to the floor one by one with their solo performances. The clear winners from the start for us and the judges were Shane & Shannon Jensen who gave a stellar performance and were rewarded with perfect scores. Shane & Shannon did not waste any time their opening moves were eye catching and death defying, letting us know they were there to win it from the start.

Second overall with a majority of seconds were Travis & Jaimee Tuft, who gave a perfect performance to the now well known “Yellow Brick Road.” As we mentioned earlier they captured the majority of seconds but only two judges gave them a fourth place finish Jonathan Roberts and Sam Sodano. Third overall was awarded to Alyenendrov Tsorokean & Yuki Haraguchi who had a solid performance after dealing with some music issues, yes their track would not play, this has to be a little nerve-racking especially before a solo of this magnitude but they managed to not miss a lift or a step. Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich took fourth overall, Anthony Kantin & Olivia Card were fifth and Jay Holmes & Andrea Rupley took all sixths.

This was a new night for the US National Pro Mambo Championship, and it was the last event of the night which meant a rather diminished audience. We were impressed that the couples all appeared to put work into their solos. Some years it seems that couples just reprized their competitive routines.

Retaining their national title were Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto and they received 12 of the 15 first places. They are definitely always the couple to beat in this division and nobody can quite match their energy and creativity. The runners-up were Illie Bardahan & Oxana Kashkina who took 2 first places and had 8 "2nd or better" scores to give them this result. We really liked their performance tonight and thought they definitely deserved their placement and we would not have complained had they won. 3rd spot went to Roger Romero & Arismel Naya. They received one 1st place mark and had 6 "2nd or better" scores, right behind Illie and Oxana. In truth we were a little disappointed with their solo as before the event we had thought they would have been very real contenders for this title. We found their solo to slip between salsa and mambo timing which perhaps influenced the judges' decision. However, these three couples were well ahead of the remainder of the finalists in our opinion.

4th Gene & Elena Bersten; 5th Jeffrey Benarao & Thea Quilaton; 6th Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina; 7th Joshua Bradford & Regina Kaszas; 8th Andrey Svirydzenka & Yulia Zubava.

Also on the menu with more solos tonight was the US National Pro Latin Showdance Championship. While most of these numbers were entertaining to watch, we felt that all but a couple ran afoul of the following rule "the dances must be selected from....... in the Latin Show Dance events from one up to all of the five regular Latin dances." In many cases we did not see any recognizable dance within these routines making them in effect "cabaret" routines and not show dance.

The winners, Andrey Kitsin & Nicole Prosser received 10 of the 15 first places and performed a show dance with a clearly identifiable paso doble theme. They would also have been our winners. The remaining scores were quite mixed. The runners-up were Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrod who took this position by virtue of receiving 9 "3rd or better" scores. They also had a recognizable dance, rumba, as their theme. 3rd Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian; 4th Dymytrii Goncharov & Veronika Shaper; 5th Miroslav Randelovic & Dakota Pizzi; 6th Alexey & Daria Smirnov; 7th Tilemachos Fatsis & Elisavet Mantani.

The pro-ams also joined in the solo train competing for the National Latin Showdance and Ballroom Showdance Titles. The results were as follows:

Latin Showdance
1. Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev
2. Christian Orsos w/ Anastasiya Danilova
3. Diane Larsen w/ Julius Solano
4. Caleb Ford w/ Evgenia Elcoro
5. Emily Aldridge w/ Carlton Gannon

Ballroom Showdance
1. Charlene Proctor w/ Mikhail Zharinov
2. Adrian Kaiser w/ Sarah Lototsky
3. Leeza Dudinchik w/ Mayo Alanen
4. Lynn Murrell w/ Andrea Zaramella
5. Michael Spatola w/ Lydia Petrigova
6. Susie Somerville w/ Carlton Gannon
7. Sally Frame w/ Oleksandr Dzhum

As we mentioned the afternoon session finished after 9:00 PM with the US Open and National Pro/Am Smooth Championships.

The US Open Senior 1 Open Smooth Championship began with a quarter-final round and here Sue Eldred w/Oleksiy Pigotskyy took first overall by placing first in the tango and Viennese, second in the waltz and third in the foxtrot. Second was awarded to Gracelyn Tuoti w/Roman Malkhasyan 1,3,2,2. Third went to Carolyn Glazner w/Yegor Novikov 3,2,1,3. Irene Fong & Slawek Sochacki placed fourth 5,4,4,4, and Kristi Nadvornik & Mayo Alane were fifth 4,7,5,5. There was a tie for sixth and seventh position that was broken by a (Rule10) and in the end sixth place went to Michelle Kirby w/Radek Wiatrowski 6,6,6,7 = 25 and seventh was Scott Magnesen w/Izabella Lewandowski 7,5,7,6 = 25.

The US National Open Championship had a different winner, here Gracelyn Tuoti w/Roman Malkhasyan won overall 1,2,1,1. The winners of the Open to the World were second this time around, Sue Eldred w/Oleksiy Pigotskyy 3,1,2,2, and third place went to Robin Kencel w/Dmytro Pankov 2,3,3,3. This lady competed in the open championship but was not called back for that final. This time Kristi Nadvornik & Mayo Alane placed fourth 4,4,6,4, she placed fifth in the open championship. There was a tie for fifth and sixth place but was easily broken by a (Rule10) judgement and Llewelyn Neilsen & Slawek Sochacki who did not compete in the Open, took fifth 5,6,5,5 = 21 and Carolyn Glazner w/Yegor Novikov placed sixth 6,5,4,6 =21. Seventh place in all dances was awarded to Charlene Proctor w/Mikhail Zharinov, this lady did compete in the open but was not called for the final.

The US Open to the World Smooth C Division Championship also started with a quarter-final round and here Sophia D’Angelo w/Max Sinitsa won all dances. Second was decided with a (Rule11) decision between Patricia Schneider w/Slawek Sochacki and Zlata Clark w/Igor Dogoter, in the end Zlata took second 2,2,4,3 =11 and Patricia placed third 4,3,2,2 =11. Fourth place was awarded to Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev 3,4,3,4; Natasha Copeland w/Vladislav Robatsenko was fifth in all dances, and sixth place went to Karence Chan w/Paul Cloud.

Sophia D’Angelo w/Max Sinitsa also won with first in all dances in the US National Smooth event, but this time second overall went to Patricia Schneider w/Slawek Sochacki 3,2,2,3, leaving her opponent Zlata Clark w/Igor Dogoter this time holding third 2,4,3,2. Like in the Open to the world Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev placed fourth 4,3,4,4, and there was also a (Rule11) tie breaker but this time for fifth and sixth place, Gail Komar w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk who competed in the Open but did not make the final now placed fifth 5,6,5,6 =22 and Karence Chan w/Paul Cloud who placed sixth in the open manage to stayed in this same placement in the National event 6,5,6,5 =22.

From here on down the Open to the World Smooth events were all semifinal rounds and in the US Open to the world A Smooth division, the overall winner was Alina Huang Sakura w/Kharyton Khomenko 1,2,1,1. Second went to Alexis Salapatek w/ Stefan Ciubotaru 2,1,2,2, and third in all dances was awarded to Marko Namen w/Marina Vlasova. Elizabeth Cuevas w/Mayo Alanen placed fourth in all dances, Maxahna Brinkmeyer w/Danas Jaksevicius were fifth. Sixth overall was awarded to Alicia Jackson w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk 6,6,6,7, leaving seventh place to Diane LaVecchia w/Paolo Di Lorenzo 7,7,7,6.

The A National final was an eight couple affair and here as in the open Alina Huang Sakura w/Kharyton Khomenko won the event but this time with first in all dances. Second also went this time to Alexis Salapatek w/ Stefan Ciubotaru but this time with this marks 3,2,3,3, and Elizabeth Cuevas w/Mayo Alanen moved up one place to third place this time around 2,3,5,2. Marko Namen w/Marina Vlasova took fourth on this National event a place lower than in the Open 5,4,2,4, Maxahna Brinkmeyer w/Danas Jaksevicius continued to be fifth 4,5,4,5, and Alicia Jackson w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk sixth but now in all dances. Seventh overall was awarded to Ali Crampton w/Mauriusz Olszewski 8,7,7,7, they also competed in the Open to the world event but did not make the final and eighth place was awarded to Diane LaVecchia w/Paolo Di Lorenzo who placed seventh in the open - 7,8,8,8.

Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano won all dances in the Open to the World B Smooth Championship with nearly perfect scores from the judges, they only missed one first place mark in every dance for it to be perfect. Second overall went to Aja Pascale w/Sergiy Samchynskyy 3,2,2,2, and third was awarded to Zlata Clark w/Igor Dogoter 2,3,3,3. Ola Glodek w/Kharyton Khomenko took fourth place 5,5,4,4, Danielle Monroy w/Max Sinitsa was fifth 4,4,6,5, and Kristin Buettner w/Ivan Markelov placed sixth 6,6,5,6.

Celia Chou did not dance the National event and so first place went to Aja Pascale w/Sergiy Samchynskyy 2,1,1,1. Second place went clearly to Selene Steelman w/Travis Tuft who also did not enter the Open to the world event 1,2,2,2. There was a tie for third place that had to be broken by a (Rule11), third place went to Mag Retelewski w/Adrian Dydynski 3,4,4,3 =14, this lady did enter the open event but did not make that final, fourth place went to Ola Glodek w/Kharyton Khomenko who also took fourth in the open event 4,3,3,4 =14. Nannel Wray w/Enzo Zappia took fifth overall 5,6,5,5, and she too entered the open but was not a finalist then. And sixth position was awarded to Kelly Prisco w/Paulo Di Lorenzo.

In the Open to the World Senior 2 Smooth event Janet Bruttell w/Dmitrii Zavialov placed first in all dances, second was awarded to Karen Scott w/Vladimir Kosarev and third in all dances went to Jeanie LaFavor w/Igor Afonkin. Annette Bruden w/Tony Scheppler was fourth, fifth overall was awarded to Pamela Wang w/ Alexander Romanov 5,6,5,5, and sixth was Michael McCarthy w/Yuliya Sinevych 6,5,6,6.

The National Senior 2 went also to Janet Bruttell w/Dmitrii Zavialov but this time she placed second in the tango, Karen Scott w/Vladimir Kosarev won that tango and placed second overall again this time around. Sally Hess w/Darius Mosteika who did not compete in the open event took third in all dances, and fourth overall went this time to Jeanie LaFavor w/Igor Afonkin 4,4,4,5 they were third in the open event. Jane Dippong w/Scheppler placed fifth 5,5,5,4 and did not compete in the open event, sixth went to Michael McCarthy w/Yuliya Sinevych in all dances.

Nine Dance, Ten Dance, Showdance, Bingo!

Last night the US Championships hosted the Professional Nine Dance, the Ten Dance, the Ballroom ShowDance and the Theatre Arts.

It was a late evening due to an increase of entries and people, with the afternoon session finishing around 10:00PM. But the events didn’t disappoint, they were all well attended and totally worth the wait.

For us the most interesting national championship was the US National 9-Dance Championship. What was interesting about this event and as is often the case in 9 and 10 dance events, it’s hard to predict the winner as couples’ abilities over the 2 styles often differ. What counts in these divisions is consistency and that’s what we saw in the 9-dance this year. The new champions are Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian and they won the championship despite not winning any of the 9-dances. What they had more than any other couple was “consistency!” They are very accomplished in both styles and it certainly paid off for them. Their placements over the 9 dances (Smooth listed first) were: 2,2,2,2,3,2,3,2,2.

The winners of the 5 Rhythm dances were Shane & Shannon Jensen, but they placed 4th in all Smooth dances – not enough to push them over the top. It was a similar fate for Jang & Adele Don who won the 4 Smooth dances but placed 4,3,4,4,4 in the Rhythm. As we have noted in years past, the 9-Dance favors Rhythm dancers as there are 5 dances to 4 in their favor. 4th spot went Ilya Abdulin & Anastasia Jerjomina and they were fairly consistent over both styles placing 3,3,3,3,2,4,2,3,3. Sergei Solodov & Ekaterina Maslennikova were 5th - 5,5,6,6,5,5,5,5,5 and Joseph & Madelena Letig took the 6th position 6,7,5,5,6,6,6,6,6. The event began with a semifinal.

With 5 dances in each style, the International 10-Dance Championship is a more even split and the new National Champions are Aleksandr Riabtsev & Mariia Oblakova who turned professional earlier this year after the US National Amateur Championships. This result was a simple split between the styles. The winners were 1st in all Ballroom dances and 2nd in all Latin. The runners-up, Casey and Kayci Treu won all Latin but were 3rd in all Ballroom. Aleksei & Elena Minaev were 3rd placing 2,2,2,2,2,4,4,4,3,3. 4th went to Alexie Alekseev & Tatiana Vlasova 4T, 5,5,5,5,3,3,3,4,4 and 5th were Alexey & Kseniia Grinev 4T,4,4,4,4,5,5,5,5,5.

Shane & Shannon successfully and easily defended their US National Theatre Arts Title taking all 15 first place marks from the judges. It was a very different story for the runner-up position where the result was decided by a tiebreak. 2 couples had 11 “3rd or better” scores. Using Rule 10, Alyenendrov Tsorokean & Yuki Haraguchi had a score of 27 giving them 2nd place and Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich had 28, giving them 3rd place. Jang & Adele Don were 4th; 5th Andre Lecca & Marie Celeste Rodriguez and 6th Daniel Reichert & Kristina Snitsar.

Six couples entered the US National Ballroom Showdance Championship and the new champions are Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley who performed their Mary Poppins routine. For us this was a clear win as their routine has a clear storyline and is meticulously performed. 8 of the 15 judges agreed with us giving them the title. The runners-up were Daniil Dobrovolsky & Anastasiia Malovana. We liked their dancing and while this number started with a bang, it did not really seem to maintain a storyline. 3rd spot went to Mykhailo Anufriev & Anna Vietrynska who performed their dramatic “Hearing” routine. 4th were Alexey & Kseniia Grinev; 5th Denis Filonenko & Anna Sergeenko; 6th Alexander Romanov & Anna Blagodyreva.

The US Open to the World Rhythm Pro/Am Scholarships were all quite good, a couple of them had quarter-finals and full semifinals to start.

The US Open Senior 1 Open to the World Rhythm was a full quarter and was fought hard but only six competitors made it to the final. The winners of all dances were Judith Spivey w/ Nazar Norov. Second overall by placing 2nd in three dances and third in cha cha and mambo was Carolyn Glazner w/ Yegor Novikov, and third was awarded to Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez 2,3,3,4,2. There was a tie for fourth place between Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan with 20 points and Sandy Bukholtz w/ Toshko Kondov also with 20 points, this tie was easily broken by a (Rule10) and Sandy w/ Toshko placed fourth leaving Shari w/ Hayk with fifth position. Sixth in all dances was awarded to Scott Magnesen w/Izabela Lewandowski.

The US Open National Rhythm Championships Senior 1 went a little different, here Marguerite Pinard w/Ilya Reyzin who placed fourth in the Open to the World Scholarship C won all dances. Carolyn Glazner w/ Yegor Novikov took second in every dance and Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez placed third overall 4,3,3,4,3. Shari Oxman w/ Hayk Balasanyan was fourth 3,4,4,3,5, Sandy Bukholtz w/ Toshko Kondov placed fifth 5,5,5,5,6; Tillie Stacker w/Norov placed sixth 6,6,7,6,4, and Scott Magnesen w/Izabela Lewandowski took seventh overall 7,7,6,7,7.

The C Division went to a man, Giovanni Fortezza dancing with Jolanta Mosteika and they won all dances easily. The fight was for second and third place, it was so close between Lynn Magnesen w/ Tomasz Lewandowski and Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev, they both were awarded 14 points each but after a (Rule11) was called Lynn Magnesen placed second 2,2,4,3,3 =14 and Nichelle Kennedy took third 3,4,3,2,2 =14. Marguerite Pinard w/Ilya Reyzin was fourth place overall 4,3,2,4,4; Janice Gonzales w/Aleksandar Vukosavljevic placed fifth 5,5,5,5,6; Louise Shah w/Andrew Escolme took sixth 6,7,6,6,5; Natalia Zavodchikov w/Dmitry Demidov was seventh 8,6,7,7,7 and in eighth position was Belgica Perkins w/Shandor Shtefil 7,8,8,8,8.

Giovanni Fortezza did not compete in the C US National Event, and here Lynn Magnesen w/ Tomasz Lewandowski placed first in all dances. Second overall in this national event was awarded to Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev 2,2,3,2,3 she placed third in the in the open. Louise Shah w/Andrew Escolme took third 3,3,2,3,2; Janice Gonzales w/Aleksandar Vukosavljevic was fourth 5,4,4,4,4; Adriana Salinas w/Roberto Fernandez took fifth and Krista Hughes w/Tykhon Zhyvkov was sixth in all dances.

In the A US Open To the World Championship Rhythm were 3 men in the final. First place went to Marko Namen w/Marina Vlasova who won all dances. Second place overall was awarded to Maxahnna Brinkmeyer w/ Danas Jaksevicius 3,2,3,2,2. Third position was also awarded to a man and this was Adrian Kaiser w/Evgennia Elcoro 2,3,2,3,3. The third gentleman Tristan Moe w/Misha Crawford placed fourth overall 4,4,4,5,4. Alexis Salapatek w/Legor Likhachov was fifth 5,5,5,4,5, and sixth in all dances was awarded to Hanna Reich w/Ivan Kudashev.

Marko Namen w/Marina Vlasova also won the US A National Open Championship also placing first in all dances. Maxahnna Brinkmeyer w/ Danas Jaksevicius took second overall 3,3,2,2,2, and third went to Adrian Kaiser w/Rvgennia Elcoro 2,2,3,3,3. Fourth in all dances went to Alexis Salapatek w/Legor Likhachov; fifth place was Avery Lloyd w/Adam Spencer; sixth wen to Hanna Reich w/Ivan Kudashev; seventh was awarded to Lily Pryor w/Frank Del Aguila 8,7,8,7,7, and in eighth position was Crystal Jackson w/Vartan Zakhariants 7,8,7,8,8.

Karen Scott w/Vladimir Kosarev won every dance in the Senior 2 Open to the World division. Janet Bruttell w/Dmitrii Zavialov took all seconds, and all thirds went to Leslie McLeod w/Melbin De La Cruz. Fourth overall was awarded to Jeanie LaFavor w/Igor Afonkin 4,4,4,6; Susan Sordoni w/Francesco Arietta placed fifth 6,5,5,5,4, and Annette Burden w/Tony Scheppler was sixth 5,6,6,6,5.

The Senior 2 National event was also won by Karen Scott w/Vladimir Kosarev but this time not in all dances 2,1,1,2,2. Second was awarded to Quin Bommelje w/Mikhail Vlasov 3,3,2,1,1; third went to Janet Bruttell w/Dmitrii Zavialov 1,2,3,3,3. In this heat Leslie McLeod w/Melbin De La Cruz was fourth in all dances; Jeanie LaFavor w/Igor Afonkin placed fifth and Susan Sordoni w/Francesco Arietta took all sixths.

It was an easy win also for Chasity Smith w/Eddie Ares who took first in all five dances in the US Open B Rhythm Championship. Second place overall was awarded to Andi Wolff w/Decho Kraev 3,2,3,2,2; third went to Mari Edstrom w/Sodo Boldbaatar 2,3,4,3,3. Amber Haider w/Mark Baker placed fourth 4,4,2,4,4; Jill Winters-Bougard w/Grigol Kranz was fifth in all dances, and sixth was Zaida Soroka w/Andy Bradfiel.

Chasity Smith w/Eddie Ares also won the National B event but this time with these marks - 1,1,2,1,2. Second place went to Michael Butler w/Oxana Kashkina 2,2,1,2,1 who did not enter the Open event, and third place was awarded to Monica Morales w/ Abraham Sannoh 3,3,5,3,4. Julie Wolf w/Gene Bersten placed fourth 4,4,4,4,5; fifth went to Amber Haider w/Mark Baker 6,5,3,6,6; sixth was Cait Meree w/Mishiko Bregvadze 7,6,6,7,3, and seventh went to Jill Winters-Bougard w/Grigol Kranz 5,7,7,5,7.

The US National Pro/Am “mambo” has become a feature at the US Championships, last year there were several penalties awarded but this year we are proud to announce they all behaved and there was no penalties awarded whatsoever.

The winner of the mambo for all judges with perfect scores was Michael Butler w/Oxana Kashkina. Adrian Kaiser w/Evgennia Elcoro took second place with a majority of seconds losing only 3 second place marks. Third place went to Chasity Smith w/Eddie Ares, fourth was awarded to Avery Lloyd w/Adam Spencer. Jill Winters-Bougard w/Gricol Kranz was fifth; Amber Haider w/ Mark Baker placed sixth, and Ilse Martinez w/Igor Puzhevich was seventh. This mambo championship stared with a semifinal round, but only the finalists from the group semifinal were able to do their solo routines.

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