Philadelphia Dancesport Championships 2024

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Philadelphia Dancesport Championships 2024

The strong winds and grey skies followed us from one weekend to another as we left the Windy City behind, arriving in Philly for the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships.

With the theme song from the Rocky Balboa movie playing throughout the weekend and interesting choices of rock music for a ballroom event the rest of the time, one was constantly
reminded about the organizers of this event, an ex-boxer - Chuck Danza and rock music enthusiast - Igor Litvinov. Having the band play live music for the nightclub events as well as at the afterparty, is always a nice touch, elevating the mood of the event. And although pro-am divisions were not as well attended, perhaps due to the large West Coast competition taking place at the same time, the amateur and professional events were fantastic especially on Saturday night, with some of the top couples present.

The organizer celebrated the birthday of a very special icon of our industry, Mr. Sam Sodano, as well as presented the Sammy’s Awards to the voted winners of the four categories: the most influential coach - Ms. Diana McDonald; the most influential pro-am teacher - Tommy Radon; the best professional couple - Francesco Arrieta and Jessa Mae Brione; the best amateur couple - Austin Jason and Liza Lakovitsky. (click here for an interview with Sam Sodano)

As we move to the results by categories, we should note that some of the results were all over, placements bouncing from 5th to 2nd place in each dance. This doesn’t seem to happen as often so it brought the rise of surprise. However, it is a great way of awakening the couples from their comfort zones and keeping them on their toes.

One of such events was the Amateur Latin. It was won by Oscar Krimus and Shayna McDonald(11241), from our standpoint the easy winners, but not as clear when looking at individual scores. Second place went to the couple from Canada, Pavel Ivanov and Veronica Baranova (32113). Third were Kristers Smits and Shelly Umansky (233334). Forth were Arthur Solomovych and Angelina Rozghon, who placed second in Paso (44425). Fifth went to Roman Boiarchuk and Valerie Snitko, placing fifth in the four dances and second in Jive. Sixth in all were Aleksandros Arapis and Alina Odintsova.

The professional events were all danced from Quarter or Semifinal rounds.

The Professional Ballroom was a semifinal with the following six couples called into the final. Taking first this weekend as well were Igor and Valeriia Mikushov (11111), losing only a few first place marks to the couple in second place, Riccardo Conte and Eleonora Filippi (22222). Tango was the dance where they lost 5 first places and seems to be the best dance for Riccardo and Eleonora. Third were Ileksii Halaktionov and Olha Shadrina, who only lost the Waltz to Ion and Diana Postolachi whose placements were the most unstable: 3-Waltz, 4-Tango, 6-V. Waltz and 4-Foxtrot and Quickstep. Fifth in all were Jaren Hopkin and Enxhi Fundo. Sixth -Alexander Elsbury and Grace Gallagher who placed fourth in the V. Waltz. We must say the results for the couples in 3-5th were even more all over the night before during the Rising Star events.

The Professional Rhythm was more exciting and more stable from the point of placements, but nevertheless a great event. The top three couples of the night were all going for it. The winners, Francesco Arietta and Jessa Mae Briones who lost only two first place marks, one in swing and one in bolero, both from Mr. Rufus Dustin. Francesco danced pro-am the entire weekend, barely ever getting off the floor. But we must admit, it was perhaps one of his personal better weekends: perhaps due to the tired or warmed-up body and comfort with the confidence of his position, he was dancing with more softness and fluidity in his back vs pushing. This we would love to see so much more from him. (click here for an interview with Francesco & Jessa Mae) Second in all with a strong and solid performance were Dmitry and Olena Nikishkin. Third went to Roger Romero and Arsenal Naya, who were third also in the Cabaret devision. This couple brings on a raw and authentic fusion type of energy to the Rhythm floor. At times too messy perhaps, but surely much improved. Vasyl Voinarovskyi and Khrystyna Voinarovska were fourth, losing only the bolero to Vladislav Krupskii and Tara Fanzo. Sixth in all went to the couple from Pensilvania, Sergei Solodov and Ekaterina Mashennikova.

The Professional Smooth was an easy ride for the top two couples - the winners - Travis and Jamiee Tuft (also the winners of the Cabaret) and the runners up - Aleksandar Vukosavljevic and Alexandra Smirnova.(click here for an interview with Travis & Jamiee) The rest of the final was a much closer race. We were quite surprised not to see one of the semi-finalists in this final - Alexander Elsbury and GraceGallagher. These two had a great night and showcase a lovely quality which in our opinion at times gets overlooked. Third overall went to Evgenii Grinin and Olga Morozova who took the Waltz and Tango but lost Foxtrot and V. Waltz to Evgenii Rozenfeld and Olha Novikova (the winners of the Rising Star from the night before). Radek Wiatrowski and Denise Sobiewski were fifth overall, placing fourth in the waltz. Sixth in every dance went to Ihor Chibishev and Diana Zhosan. Although the floor was of decent size it seems as if the couples were too clustered, and no one could dance to their maximum on the given night.

The Professional Latin was afire. The winners were Manuel Favilla and Natalia Maidiuk, cruising from the first round, dancing and enjoying each moment together on the floor. (click here for an interview with Manuel & Natalia) Although the easy winners they managed to lose a couple of marks, with one of the judges, Eugene LaPierra giving them 56523. Second in all dances were Andriy and Amanda Besyedin. Third went to Pasha Stepanchuk and Gabrielle Sabler. We would love to see Pasha dancing more with Gabrielle, instead of looking forced. After all it is partner dancing and the ability to showcase the woman is a skill. Fourth were Max Firestein and Nicole Mtchedlidze (4445.55). These two were calmer compared to the previous weekend as if the excitement of their first competition as professionals had subsided. Fifth in this final went to Sasha Porozov and Arina Sokolova (55544). Sixth - Kostiantyn Samarskyiand Margarita Golubeva (6665.56).

We would like to congratulate the organizers, Chuck Danza and Igor Litvinov on a successful event.

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