It’s 1 & 2 Again! Once again USA took both winners and runners-up positions at the Blackpool Dance Festival – Open British Ballroom Championship. Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova won all 4 dances (no VW in Blackpool) and Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were 2nd in all 4. As always the atmosphere for the final was terrific and the ending was a prolonged standing ovation. Representing England Andrea & Sara Ghigiarelli took 3rd in all 4 dances and it was a great night for Slovenian Reps, Domen Krapez & Monica Nigro who finished ahead of all their closest rivals to take 4th in all 4 dances. With placements of 5,5,5,6, (order of dances in Blackpool is WFTQ) Valerio Colantoni & Yulia Spesivtseva had to be content with 5th place. And in 6th were the popular Chinese team, Chao Yang & Yiling Tan placing 6,-,6,5. As you all know, professional divisions are judged by dance from the quarter-final onwards at Blackpool. Sascha & Natasha Karebey (Germany) placed 6th in the foxtrot. The USA continued to show great form down through the ranks of this competition. Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk made all 4 semifinals, cementing their ranking in both the USA and the world. But also making dances into the semifinals were Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva (W); Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa (F); Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova (F); Andrea Zaramella & Kristi Simmonds (T). As a side note, Australian photographer and Dance Beat contributor, Mark Gadsden, became something of a local hero when he dived into the chilly Irish Sea during the afternoon to save a boy from drowning. I’m sure the temperature was a little lower than his native land – but at least there were no sharks! Don’t forget to join the members’ section of Dance Beat to read the full Blackpool report and special commentary from Barbara Nagrode Ambroz, Giampiero Giannico, Eugene Katsevman and Lindsey Hillier-Tate.
Wow! 4 of the six finalists of the Amateur Ballroom at Blackpool, including the winners, were from Poland. And there was another Polish couple in the semifinal. Some in the audience felt it was a very even final and they loved all the couples – “Any one of them could have won!” Somebody told us.
The winners, retaining their title, were Marek Kosaty & Paulina Glazik and they won all dances. The remaining couples in the final were shuffled a bit since last year. Moving up were Chong He & Jing Shan (China) and also moving up were Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Makar (Poland). Poland also took 4th and 6th, Andrzej Sadecki & Karina Nawrot and Lukasz Tomczak & Aleksandra Jurczak; splitting them in 5th place were Dusan Dragovic & Greta Laurinaityte (England).
"I don't have attitude, I'm just REALLY good!"
US aspirations ended in the quarter-final with two couples making this round – Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody were 14th and Andres & Veronika End were 17th.
The USA had 4 entries in the Invitational Exhibition, but the winners were previous winners, Craig Smith & Micheline from South Africa who gave a near faultless performance. They received a standing ovation from the audience. Also receiving a standing ovation and the runner-up spot were Shane & Shannon Jensen from the USA. Our Dance Beat award for “most improved” went to the 3rd place recipients, Carlos Zapata & Dora Pashkova (Canada). 4th went to South Africa, Gerhard Van Roohen & Amor Krucer; 5th to Justine Guilmette & Kimerlee Piedad (USA); 6th Ethan & Nikki White (USA); 7th Travis & Jaimee Tuft (USA); 8th Igor Alferov & Alexandra Akimova (Russia). Margaret Burns from the USA was a judge of the division.
This also marked the 2nd year for pro-am dancing in Blackpool. Once again this year, there was a pro-am exhibition. 8 performances were split into two groups. There were six performances from Russia and 2 from China.
Stay On the Floor! It was the same couples in all dances for the Professional Latin at the British Open, but we were really taken aback when after the competition was over, Mr. Marcus Hilton MBE asked the couples once again to “stay on the floor,” but this time it was to read the retirement letter of Sergey Surkov & Melia.
It was a touching moment for all, Sergey & Melia have been a fixture of the Empress Ballroom for a long time, and we were really surprised when Mr. Hilton asked them to perform an honor dance. Now that World War II has been over for a while, are we developing a soft heart on this side of the pond? Never, since we can remember or any other English person of our age can remember, has an honor dance been executed by retiring competitors here at Blackool. (Can anyone else help us here, has this been done before?) Congratulations to Sergey & Melia on their retirement and we wish them the best in their future goals and accomplishments. As the norm Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis from England won the overall competition by takig three dances the C, R, P, leaving the left over dances S, J to current WDC World Professional Latin Champions & USA Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko from the USA. Third place went to Sergey & Melia but it was not a clear sweep. Canada’s Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite took two third places from the outgoing couple, but still were placed fourth overall. Fifth went to another fixture and that was Andrej Skufca & Melinda Torokgyorgy from Slovenia they placed fifth in every dance but the jive, this dance went to USA’s Stefano Di Filippo & Dariya who were sixth overall. I know there is total confusion as to who represents who and on some
"Dance for yourself. If someone understands, good. if not, no matter. go righr on doing what interests you, and do it until it stops interesting you."websites they have Stefano & Dariya dancing for Italy but as far as we know they continue to represent the USA, they possibly do most of their studies and rehearsing and competing in Alaska and Wyoming but they do represent the USA.
In the Semifinal Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina made two dances In the 24 Sarunas Greblikas & Viktoria Horeva made all five from the USA and Canada had one couple Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko who also made all five dances.
"Let us dance in the sum, wearing wild flowers in our hair..." England’s most promising couple Neil & Ekaterina Jones dropped out of the competition due to a foot injury. From the vendors report: they seem to be happy! They think there are more competitors than last year but attendance as a “fan” or viewer is down from last year. In looking around we do find it a little thinner on the ground, but not enough to cause alarm. The British Open continues to be as healthy as always but we do feel bad for the vendors who have no place to go and are now spread like butter all over the Winter Gardens! Rumors have it that by next year the space occupied this year by many of the vendors will be turned into a Blackpool Museum.
Troels & Ina Repeat in Amateur Latin Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark) won the first of the “big 4” at Blackpool last night, the Amateur Latin. This was a repeat of their win last year. Last night they won all 5 dances, although, from the sidelines, we felt they have danced better on other occasions, but the judges clearly did not feel this to be the case.
Taking 2nd in 4 dances, but dropping to 3rd in jive were Kirill Belorukov & Elvira Skrylnikova (Russia). We liked their showing tonight, they seemed to have the most energy and attacked their dancing more than the rest of the final. The most improved result went to another Russian team, Nikita Brovko & Olga Urumova (3,3,3,3,2). Leading the US charge were Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina and they placed 4th (4,4,5,4,4). We are sure they were hoping for a little better. One of our favorite couples of the competition took 5th, Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva (Denmark) 5,5,4,5,5 and 6th were Klemen Prasnikar & Alexandra Averkieva (Slovenia). Pasha Pashkov & Danniella Karagach from New York placed in the top 12, a great result for them mirroring their result of 2012 and USA also had 3 couples in the top 24, Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina, Ruslan Aydaev & Valeriya Kozharinova and Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman – so this was a strong showing for USA.
"Our biological rhythms are the symphony of the cosmos, music embedded within us to which we dance, even when we can't name the tune." The other event of the night was the Youth (U/21) ballroom and in their first adult Blackpool New York’s Patrick Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski took 4th. Many in the audience felt they could have been even higher. The competition was very close through the whole final and Patrick & Anna actually won the foxtrot. Their full placements were 3,4,1,3. The winners (by a Rule 10) were Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko (England). They placed 1,3,4,1. The other half of the Rule 10 were Aleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova (Ukraine) with 2,2,3,2. It was great to see NDCA President, Brian McDonald, on the evening panel here at Blackpool, one of very few non-British judges to have ever had that honor.
USA Has 1/2 the Pro RS Ballroom Semi!
Photos by Andrew Miller
USA had 6 couples in the semifinal of the Open British Rising Star Professional Ballroom last night in Blackpool – and 2 couples went all the way to the final. Placing 2nd were Andrea Zaramella & Kristie Simmonds and 3rd were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa.
Our semifinalists were: Egor Abashkin & Katya Kanevskaya, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina, Nikita Novikov & Dovile Sutaite and Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova.
The day before (Sunday) saw the conclusion of the Amateur Rising Star divisions. USA’s best results came in the Latin where Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman were 2nd – a great result for them. There were also 2 US couples and 2 Canadians in the semifinal. For the USA – Austin Joson & Alexandria Kondrashova and Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasiya Danilova and for Canada Nurian Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowski and Adam Hathazi & Morgan Lakatos-Hayward. Also members go to our photos page to see photos of the North American Dinner - coming soon.
Team Americas Wins Team Match Again
Once again, Team Americas won the International Teams Match at the Blackpool Dance Festival. Congratulations to Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite and Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk – our team members.
We were a little saddened not to see US #2 and world ranked #2 team, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva not part of the team (especially since Victor, unlike so many of us North American inports, was actually born there). Our team captain was Meryem Pearson of Canada. North American also had some success in the U/21 Latin Championships. Austin Joson & Alexandra Kondrashova (USA) were 4th and Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward (Canada) were 5th. Additionally Nurian Gallymov & Jessica Swietonioeski (Canada) and Ron Garber & Lisa Lakovistky (USA) were in the semifinal.
Great Start to USA’s BlackpoolQuest! What better way to start Blackpool week than with a win for the USA. David & Liva Wright placed first in the Open British Senior Ballroom Championship last night in the Winter Gardens’ Empress Ballroom. Almost as good, Sarunas Greblikas & Viktoria Horeva, also representing the USA, took 2nd in the Professional Rising Star Latin. Canadians Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko were 6th in this same event. North American also had semifinalists in these competitions. In the senior, Xingmin & Katerina Lu and Andreas & Jodi Meijer and in the RS Latin, Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova from USA and Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc from Canada