Texas Challenge 2024

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Texas Hospitality at the Texas Challenge 2024

It’s always a pleasure to attend a well-organized and friendly dance competition!

This year’s Texas Challenge in Houston, organized by John & Olga Elsbury, was a stress-free, enjoyable event thanks to their meticulous organization and friendly demeanor throughout. There was a new host hotel this year, the Hilton Post Oak, and everybody seemed to like this location. It is very central (in the upscale Post Area of downtown Houston) and the rooms are comfortable and the ballroom very attractive with a chandeliered ceiling.

Competitively, the highlight for most was the Pro Rhythm. The comfortable winners were Gene & Elena Bersten. They won all dances and lost a total of only 5 first places from a possible 45. They had perfect scores in cha cha and mambo. Also very secure in second spot were Alexey & Daria Smirnov who were second in all dances. They received those 5 first places and all of the remaining second places except 2. 3rd and 4th positions were closer. 3rd fell to Nicolas & Nora Maria Garcia with 3,3,4,3,4 and 4th to Joshua Bradford & Regina Kaszás 4,4,3,4,3.

Alexey & Daria were the winners of the Cabaret, but it was a tighter race than we anticipated. They received 5 of the 9 first places. For us they were comfortable winners, but the judges also liked Artur Shastavets & Maryna Shalayeva, awarding them the remaining 4 first places. Joshua & Regina were 3rd.

Local favorites, Malachi Osai & Anastasia Hrynnyk, won the Pro Latin 1,1,1,2,1. They had the majority of first places in the samba and jive. Mykhaylo Smagin & Melanie Weiler won the paso and placed 2nd in the other 4 dances, to take the runner-up position. 3rd Balint Temesvari & Shely Castillo 3,3,3,3,3; 4th Mate Polyhe & Kinga Iszlatyi 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Sam Paliashchuk & Nelly Mustafayeva 4,4,5,5,5.

The largest division and also the most closely contested was the Pro Smooth. The winners in all dances were Alexander Romanov & Anna Blagodyreva. Again we felt they were the comfortable winners but although they won all dances, they did not have the majority of firsts in any one. Oleg & Mishka Teleha were the runners-up, scoring 2,2,3,3. They have recently made the move to include Smooth and we think it suits them well. This runner-up position was actually decided on a tie-break. Joao Carvalho & Sarah Berens scored 3,3,2,2 and so lost on a Rule 11 decision – always bad luck. 4th in all dances were Adam Telessy & Viktoria Juhasz; 5th in all were Oleg Prokopchuk & Olha Dieordiieva and 6th went to Nicolas & Nora Maria Garcia.

Oleg & Mishka easily won the Pro Ballroom in a two-couple event. They received every first place mark. Mate Polyhe & Kinga Iszlatyi were second.

We must comment on the great farewell party that had some really great food and drink. A lovely way to end a friendly and fun competition in the heart of Texas!

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