Tristate Challenge Championships 2024

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TriState a Home Away from Home!

The TriState Championships located on the northeast of the United States, servs three different states, and it continues to provide great entertainment, great competition, whether it's pro-am or professional events, they're all excellent.

What makes TriState so appealing is not just the fact that when you are at the TriState Championship, you feel at home - anything they can do to make you feel comfortable, to assist, to help you do your job, or to help the competitors feel at home, they do. And this is wonderful specially for the officials that travel from one place to another nonstop, feeling at home at the TriState is something the judges as well as the students teachers and professionals look forward to. Their home made food in the hotel suite after the competition is over is welcomed by all especially the officials, but best of all the competitors that sometimes cannot eat before their performance.

Friday and Saturday night at the TriState we had some excellent events featured. In the professional level we had the Professional Smooth won easily by Travis and Jamie Tuff. This is a couple that is now giving some of the best performances we have seen since their start and are now really coming through and we can see why they were first in all dances. We were a little surprised when we looked at the marks to see that a few of the judges marked Travis and Jamie second to third place. They had one third place in many of their dances, however, they still got the majority of firsts in all dances winning this competition easily.

Second in all dances and with the majority of second place marks with the judges went to Aleksander Vukosavljevic & Alexandra Smirnova. This couple have really changed their style to make it fit themselves and to make it fit their look. We found Aleksander a little bit timid and slightly worried perhaps the floor may not have allowed this very tall couple too much room but overall we thought they were terrific. We can honestly see how some of the judges may have given them first place marks, there were a few judges in at least every dance that awarded them a first. They do have a terrific style she looks beautiful in everything she wears complementing their dancing. I would like to see him be as productive as she is in letting go and not worrying about the person next door. They have wonderful skill getting around the couples, so this should not be a problem for them at the moment. We spoke to a bystander after the event and they told me he is nursing a neck injury, perhaps this might have been the cause for his hesitance.

Third in all dances went to Volodymyr Barabash & Yulia Rudenko. This couple is excellent. Their work and their quality is terrific. At the moment for them to surpass the other two couples just mentioned, I believe they need to explore other possibilities in the style and give us something more unique to make them a little different, have something extraordinary to sell. They are both very talented. They're both technically correct, but I would like to see them have a little bit more initiative when it comes to exploring other possibilities within this style.

There was a tie for 4th place between Alexandru & Stephanie Monteanu and Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski. These are two excellent competitors and the tie had to be broken by a (Rule 11) decision. At the end, fourth place was awarded to Radek & Denise. I enjoy both the couples. We think there are both super talented but there was something a little different from both of them. For one, with Radek & Denise, at times they look like everything is a little hard to do or it seems like they're putting too much hard work effort into their performance and from the viewers’ perspective we want to see easy. They might have issues getting around but we don’t want to see that there is a problem. We just want to enjoy and so when you're seeing a little bit too much hard work, we think this is when things get questionable. With Alexandru & Stephanie who placed 5th, I think they are excellent in quality. We found that it was hard to find them sometimes and perhaps the tan outfit that she wore, although beautiful made it all blend into the floor. With the lighting and everything, it was hard to find her on her own and being able to see what they were doing. So perhaps with this lighting and with this floor, a different kind of color may have made them stand out a lot more and be a lot more noticed.

Finally, in 6th position were Stefan Badea & Whitney Myers. This is one of our favorite couple in this style from California and they seem to do some excellent work. I found them a little too hard and awkward when finishing something, perhaps a little too abrupt finishing especially on her part which made him seem like she might knock him over. We think we know they're trying to probably project a little more strength but the finishings on many of the occasions we thought they were a little exaggerated a little too hard. But, hopefully this will smooth out and they will move even higher in this group. We believe they may have been a little disappointed with this performance but I did found the performance a little rough throughout so just go back to the drawing board take some of the new you are working with but meld it into the old work.

The Professional Latin was also a terrific event. All the couples here were of great quality, and there was a lot of great initiatives from the couples and things to see and enjoy. The winners of all dances, and with the majority of firsts, were Andriy & Amanda Besyedin. They gave an excellent performance of quality, good rhythm, beautifully presented in beautiful costumes. We can see why the majority of the judges were voting for them.

Second in all dances were Ilya Maletin & Anna Oblakova. This couple have some excellent, technical qualities. Unfortunately, sometimes it does not look appealing to the eye. They also do not seem to be having much fun while doing the work, even though they probably are, but it doesn't come across as being an enjoyable task. Judges are people too and when you worry they worry; when you enjoy they enjoy. Having said all that, Ilya & Anna did manage to steal the few first places taken away from Andriy & Amanda, and they did place second without any issues. They were fully second for us and for the judges.

Third place was awarded to a new couple that we think we have not seen very often in the past Mikhail Kolosov & Elina Semka. This couple was terrific and they placed third overall 3,4,4,4,3. This couple had a wonderful quality and that is they have their own unique interpretation of the dances, and they seem to also enjoy their every move. This is a wonderful quality to have and totally draws your attention, they were also very rhythmical. Unfortunately, at times, like in the cha-cha in the final, the gentleman perhaps went too far and he nearly slipped or fell twice. And this for us is a no-no. Part of the exercise is to be able to stay upright most of the time and not have slip-ups that would make it look unstable. We saw some of this throughout the competition on this final. And so perhaps they were awarded third overall because of their talent, and innovation. But for us, I think they could have been a bit lower. Perhaps fifth or sixth may have suited them better. But as I said before, a lot of talent and a lot of great qualities in this new couple to the US scene.

4th place went to another excellent couple Kostianty Samarskyi & Margarita Golubeva. Here their marks were 3, 4, 4, 4, 3. Again, their quality is excellent. We love this gentleman. He is one of the best on the floor. Unfortunately, it still lacks that energy and push, that initiative to get them through to the very top. And so we think this is the best they could have hoped for at this time. Fifth was awarded to Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrob 6,5,5,5,5, and sixth place went to Alon Gilin & Maria Bavyko 5,6,6,6,6.

It was a wonderful performance for Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin, who sported a beautiful look and owned the floor from the start in the American Rhythm Championship. We must also note that Dmitry & Olena won all dances with perfect scores from the judges in all dances. Second place went easily to Roger Romero & Naya Arismal, they placed second in all dances and were able to take 4 dances with a majority of seconds from the judges. In the cha cha they had to rely on thirds or better to place second, we did not see this but perhaps this might be a dance they should look at closely, because it is the first dance and first impressions are very important after all.

From this position down, I feel that the couples still have a long way to go in order to break through position number one and position number two. Third place went to Vladislav Krupskii & Tara Fanzo and that was in all dances. Fourth place was awarded to Oleg Iakushev & Viktoriia Iakusheva 4,4,4,5,5, placing fourth in three dances and fifth in the bolero and the mambo. Fifth place was awarded to Vasyl Voinarovskyi & Khrystyna Voinarovska and as you can see they took a little bit of everything, sixth place in the cha-cha, fifth place in the rumba and swing, and fourth in the remaining two dances, bolero and mambo 6,5,5,4,4. Sixth place, but not least, went to David Nyemchek Jr. & Viktoriya Dilay and they took fifth in the cha-cha but then placed sixth in all the other four dances.

It was also an easy win for Igor & Valeriia Mikushov on the Open Professional Ballroom, they won all dances, taking perfect scores in both waltzes. In the rest of the dances they only lost one mark or it would have been almost perfect scores in all dances. We truly enjoyed their performance and can see how easy it was for them to capture the night. Also it was just as easy for Alieksandr & Vilhemina Lavrov to be placed second in every dance in this heat, these two couples were totally above the rest.

Third in every dance went to Oleksii Halktionov & Olha Shadrina- Halaktionova, fourth was awarded to Jaren Hopkin & Enxhi Fundo, fifth went to Vladyslav Korablov & Yevheniia Iliash, and sixth was Jonathan Proescher & Anastasiya Plytych.

The Amateur Latin is always an exciting event here at the Tri-State Championships. Most of the couples are of great quality. They're all top-notch. It started with a semi-final round, and at the end we had a terrific final, this event is usually one of the finest in the country for Amateur Latin dancing. The easy winners for us and for the judges in this great Amateur Latin event were Lyndsey & Mykyta Vasylenko. They brought all great qualities to the floor and so they took all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges . They're easy to watch, the work is very well executed, very good technique-wise, and they are very easy to spot on the floor. We must mention that they only received a few marks not favorable to them but it was a couple of marks in every dance.

Second in all dances went to Maksym Rodionov & Sophia Marriott. They have not been together long but they showed tremendous promise and possibly will easily become one of the best couples in the country. Sophia looks terrific with the excellent support of Maksym who is energetic and always ready to offer this lady the support she needs. Sophia & Maksym were also the winners of the Under 21 Latin. The Tri-State Championships are a part of the selecting tour for the Ballroom Spirit Tour, here Maksym & Sophia qualified to be the third couple selected for a special competition where they will be in line for substantial prize money, congratulations to them and we hope to see them at the DBDC 2024 for this terrific finale.

There was a tie for third place between Kristers Smits & Shelly Umansky 5,5,3,3,3 =19 points and Erik Linder & Mela Kreczman 3,3,4,4,5=19. As you can see these two couples got 19 points each, but it was an easy tie to be broken by a (Rule 10) decision, in the end Kristers & Shelly placed third and Erik & Mela were fourth. Oskar Krimus & Shayna McDonald took fifth overall 4,4,6,5,6; Pavel Ivanov & Veronica Baranova took sixth 6,6,5,6,4, leaving Tony Cooperman & Barbara Smodleva from Canada took seventh in all dances.

There was a Best of the Best between the professional event winners and in this competition the winners were Travis & Jaimee Tuft. Andriy & Amanda Besyedin took second, Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrob placed third and Igor & Valeriia Mikushov took fourth.

As always at Tristate, we celebrated the birthday of our Chairman of Judges, Cathie Nyemchek.  Congrats on your special day!

Our congratulations to the organizers, Andre Gavriline & Elena Kryushkova for doing a fantastic job and for treating every person in the competition as if we are all part of a big family. The afterhours food and the after party is always amazing making this Tri-State Championship an event not to miss, put it on your calendar for next year now!

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