Manhattan Dancesport 2014

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The Morning After!

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The morning after the biggest celebration in America the 4th of July (US freedom of Independence), the ballroom dance celebrations continued at the Manhattan DanceSport this time with the Pro/Am Latin Categories during the day and at night with the Open Professional Ballroom and Rhythm. Both evening and daytime sessions were packed with excellent dancing and nail-biting competition.


TheMan-Arunas Professional Ballroom Championship had some of the world’s best competing for the Manhattan title, with Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, WDC World Professioanl Ballroom Champions in the lead and this was an easy win for them with perfect scores from all the judges in every dance. Second in this parade of world stars went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk and almost as if it had been rehearsed most of the judges followed in line awarding them a huge majority of seconds, but not without some dissent - one third in the waltz, another in the tango, one fourth and a few thirds in the VW, and even a sixth in the foxtrot. Man-MaratThis unprecedented 6th was awarded by Marina Tarsinov who most have not gotten the “memo,” because she also awarded them a fourth in the quickstep.

In some ways we too tend to agree with Marina Tarsinov, the spark in this world class final did not came from the top it was the bottom half that thrilled and excited us, beginning with Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa who placed sixth overall 6,6,6,5,6, but who were incredibly musical, and in this case we have to agree with the secretary of the WDC, Hannes Emrich, who awarded them third in three dances. The second couple that for us basically stole the show but placed fourth overall was Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova and they were awarded 4,4,3,4,4. What presence and what command of the skill this gentleman has!  And the lady was totally there complimenting and selling their goods like butter. We have to wonder what competition Ms. Meryem Pearson from Canada was looking at when she awarded them sixth in every dance, however, in her justification beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we here at Dance Beat are known for having inexplicable taste when it comes to ballroom dancing. In our defense there were quite a few judges who awarded them thirds and even a second in the VW that came from Mr. Brian McDonald.

Man-EgorContinuing with this impressive final Artem Plakhotniy & Inna Berlizyeva were third overall 3,3,4,3,3 and Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova placed fifth 5,5,5,5,6.

After the final, it was announced that Egor Abashkin & Katya Kanevskaya were announcing their retirement from competition.  This well-loved couple danced a farewell waltz and then many of their fellow competitors joined them on the floor in celebration.  (Egor was actually hoisted and thrown into the air!!)

In the Professional Rhythm for us and for what we think was the majority in the audience two couples stole the show.  Firstly Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who placed first overall with perfect scores Man-Emanuelin the cha cha and nearly perfect scores in all the other dances. Funnily enough, that near perfect accomplishment was spoiled in the other four dances by the judge from England, Lorna Lee, who awarded them thirds in R,SW,M and a second in bolero.  Joining her in one dance was Mr. Mark Weiss who awarded them also third in the swing. The second couple that people were raving about and who placed second in every dance was Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. I think the majority will agree that it is a breath of fresh air watching this couple dance Rhythm.  Firstly they have a lot of that special element “Rhythm!” Secondly, with their smiles and their emotional performance you cannot help but be drawn to them. But when you look at the marks, you can tell the judges are not totally convinced. They Man-Nazargot marks from fifth to second place with Mr. Allan Tornsberg being their worst judge.  He awarded them three fifths, a third and a sixth in the mambo. Perhaps he was watching the same competition as Ms. Pearson from Canada earlier on. (lol). Towards Allan & Meryem’s vindication this is what makes our competition dancing so unique from other competitions, the variety of opinions in style and philosophy, and the freedom to get them across.  Without this we would not grow and we would not progress.

Third in this Rhythm Championship went to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, and they took third in every dance. From here down we believe things got a little less clear - the pool became a little murkier, with some of the couples making some excellent runs but them pulling back to where any mark could have been awarded. Fourth overall went to Azamat Evgamuko & Kateryna Angelone, here is a perfect example of a couple that at any moment shows a different story every time, when looking at the marks you can see this clearly and we totally agreed. Ms. Lorna Lee from England, awarded them four first place marks and a second in the cha cha, on the other hand this couple got quite number of sixth place marks in their run as well.

Fifth place overall was awarded to Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 5,4,4,5,5. Here we totally agreed with the judges that awarded them seconds and thirds. This couple were totally together from the beginning and were possibly the most consistent of all. Sixth overall went to Vard Margaryan & Sofya Fil, and they took sixth in every dance. In our opinion this couple’s work is well organized and put together, what we hope to see in future outings is an understanding of the where it all came from - it’s not just about being able to do a “startle split” to music.

TheMan-Shane professional Cabaret had also a very robust entry but for us at least half of the 8 couples entered were more perspiration than inspiration. The top three routines had the most vision, story and creativity especially the winners, Shane & Shannon Jensen. The second place routine by Travis & Jaimee Tuft was not far behind, they too showcased a routine with some sort of pattern or idea and as you can see it was rewarded. The third place couple, Jungie Zamora & Sheena Daminar, had some nice lift work but we began to lose storyline, (and at some point the grip, the lady was nearly dropped from an overhead). We are sure this did not help their cause even though the majority of their lifts were well-executed.

TMan-Mortenhe Amateur Latin also took place this night and gave us the biggest upset of the weekend.  USA’s Ferdinando Iannccone & Yulia Musikhina (NDCA Sanctioned US Champions) lost to Denmark’s Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva of Denmark.  Here we have 2 of the DB Team’s favorite ladies in this style and we have to say, whichever of them won tonight was OK with us!  The judges were fairly evenly split.  Morten & Roselina won it 4 dances to 1 (2,1,1,1,1) but individually the judges were fairly evenly split.  Ferdinando & Yulia took the cha cha 8 first places to 5.  In the samba Ferdinado & Yulia had 7 first places (not a majority) to Morten & Roselina’s 6 but the Danes had more ‘2nd or better’ scores.  In the rumba it was 6 first places to 6, but once again Morten & Roselina had more seconds.  Morten & Roselina won the paso doble outright with 8 firsts to 6 but in the jive it was once again the second places that won the Danes the dance.  There were just some judges not keen on Ferdinando & Yulia tonight!  Marianne Nicole placed them 6,6,3,6,4;  Melanie Lapatin scored them 3,2,3,3,3;  Mark Weiss 4,3,2,3,3;  Stanislav Popov 1,3,3,1,2;  Tony Dovolani 2,2,3,3,3.  Those marks below 2nd were what cost Ferdinando & Yulia the win tonight.


From 3rd to 6th it was the battle royal of the USA’s best Amateur Latin couples.  3rd with 3,4,3,3,3 were Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach and they had some first places in all dances except paso.  4th with 4,3,4,4,4 were Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina;  5th Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova 5,5,5,6,5;  6th Artur Tarnavsky & Gabriela Sabler 6,6,6,5,6.

For the pro-ams it was Latin day and we thought the Open Scholarships were the best of the weekend – especially the B divisions that began with 31 couples.  In this division Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov (Moscow) were the winners as they were also in Ohio last year.  They placed 1,2,1,1,1.  2nd this time was US Open Champion, Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev and she placed 4,1,2,2,2.  We must admit to being puzzled by the 4th in cha cha!  3rd today fell to Johanna Kornacki w/ Andrei Gavriline (3,3,6,3,5).


The A division went to Canada.  Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin was the winner with 1,1,1,1,2.  Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi was 2nd (2,2,3,2,1) and Emily Takhtarov w/ Evgeny Dyachenko was 3rd (3,3,2,3,4).


The C was dominated by Florida as the top two ladies are both from there.  Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was the winner 1,1,1,1,2 and Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitus was 2nd (3,2,2,2,1).  3rd place went to Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov (2,4,3,3,3).


Fireworks In and Out at the Manhattan Dancesport!

YMan-Riccardoesterday the 4th of July, there were plenty of fireworks around Manhattan celebrating Independence Day and inside the ballroom at the Manhattan Dancesport it was no different. Some said the Professional Latin competition was the best they ever saw and the Smooth was “la cream the la cream”!

We have to agree that there was definitely plenty of sparks on the dance floor last night. World and US Latin Champions Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were in a contest of their own with every judge in their court, there was not one negative mark on their score chart - it was a perfect go for Riccardo & Yulia with every judge giving them a first in every dance.


ThMan-top3late biggest flair up came from second place down where apparently there were plenty of surprises delivered.  The first with the second place finish of Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from the Ukraine.  They placed second in every dance but the paso doble where they took third. From looking at the marks we can read that the struggle of a decision between second and third meant perspiring brows for the judges. You would have thought that Manuel & Natalia’s second place win would be an easy majority of seconds from the judges but it was not, they received plenty of thirds, fourths and even a sixth in every dance delivered by Marriane Nicole. This interesting third place went to Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who also had very varied marks, no sixes but low enough marks to hold them from a second place finish in four dances.  We must also point out that Nikolai & Maria took second on the paso doble. However, of these two couples Nikolai & Maria were noticeably the most shocked by the result when called for third place and the contrast between the ecstatic happiness from Manuel & Natalia accentuated their disappointment. We have to also point out that this third place finish here in America for Nikolai & Maria must have been extremely disappointing since just last week at the Millennium Dancesport Championships, Manuel & Natalia lost to two other American couples one that is not a US finalist yet.

But the dramMan-Latin4-6a did not end in the second and third place finish, fourth to sixth places also had some intensity.  Fourth in every dance went to our neighbors from up north Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko from Canada, who from our point of view had a steady consistent time on the floor and managed to get enough good marks to secure this position. The most disappointment and anguish in this excellent final must have been for Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte, who we are sure were expecting to recuperate from unhealthy recent results they had had in a few previous events, but here it was no different even though they danced with what we thought to be fierce skill for their survival in the end placed sixth in three dances fifth in the paso and shared fifth in the rumba, giving them and overall sixth place finish. When looking at the full picture we can understand the huge pressure this couple might be under leading up to the USA Nationals, with result like this they can easily lose their place in that prestigious final. The fifth place finish was awarded to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova who placed fifth in three dances shared fifth in the rumba with Ivan & Loreta and took sixth in the paso.


The “cream de Man-Perzhula crème” came in the Professional Smooth where there were plenty of excellent couples from the semifinal on and only six places to fill. Once in the final we think it most have been a nightmare trying to place these couples with so many styles and excellent skill on the floor. The clear winners with the majority of firsts from the judges were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and you can honestly see why.  Their work looked relaxed, well-executed and in our opinion looked as if they owned the floor. Second in every dance went to Mazen Hamza & Izabella Judzill who were able to steal a few firsts from Peter & Alexandra but not enough to make a dent in their fierce opponents. Unsurprisingly to us Mikhail & Galina Zharinov took third in every dance.  They too managed to tMan Smoothtop3ake a few firsts from the top dogs, but once again came away empty handed but these first places did help to secure their third place finish overall. What we found interesting about these three couples just mentioned is how different in style and approach they are.  This continues to be great news for this style that is thriving in popularity.

From third place down the ground was a little more shaky for the remaining couples. Fourth overall was awarded to Travis & Jaimee Tuft  who placed fourth in three dances and fifth in the VW. In looking at the dancing on the floor with a critical eye we can see how they lost their VW.  For us their waltz and their tango were up to par. Once they had a few complications on the foxtrot their stress continued till the VW where we felt they just wanted it to be finished. They wildcard here and for us the biggest challengeMan-Smooth4-6 at the moment to Travis & Jaimee and to some of the others on top in future outings, was Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who placed fifth overall but as you will see form these marks left the judges scratching their heads. They placed fifth in the W,F, fourth in the VW, and sixth in the tango. Speaking of interesting approaches, this couple are way out there with their creativity, we are sure sometimes for the good of their dancing but it could equally work against them. It all sounds as if the fight is between fourth and fifth but you cannot discount Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko who placed sixth overall but took fifth in the tango, and from what we saw although their work still looks a little new and green could easily sneak up on everyone and have the potential to be the biggest challenge to all. The creativity and participation of so many excellent couples in this style is fantastic for American Style dancing and a win for us all on this fourth of July.


The Amateur International Ballroom also took place last night and here Andres & Veronika End took first in every dance with a majority of firsts from the judges with enough to almost make it a perfect run. Second went to Luca & Krizia Balestra and they took second in every dance but the foxtrot where they placed third. Third went to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova and here the judges decisions were very mixed (4,5,3,2,3). Fourth wen to Taras Savitskyy & Alexandra Seliverstova (3,3,4,4,4), fifth was awarded to Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov (5,4,5,5,5), and sixth went to Maciej Zieha & Lory-Eve Jacob and they took sixth in every dance.

The Pro/Am Ballroom took place and it was a healthy day of fully packed competition with semis, finals and quarters.


In the “A” divisionMan-AWinner Open Scholarship Elisa Dalla Vecchia from Italy partnered by Rudy Homm took first overall but not in every dance.  They placed first in three dances and second in the tango and quickstep. Second place went to former US and World Pro/Am Champion, Fuki Uekusa w/Igor Litvinov.  They stole the two first places from Elisa and were second in the other three dances.  This marked the end of a 1-year hiatus from Fuki. Third was awarded to Rebecca Kuhn & Andrea Faraci 3,3,4,4,3.

In the “B” category Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano had a clear run with none of her closer competitors from recent events in attendance. She clearly was first from start to finish in every dance. Second was awarded to Lengxi Gao w/Kamil Urbaniak, but here things got a little more murky as you will see from the marks 4,3,2,2,2.  Third overall went to Michelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeeev  with 2,2,4,3,3.


The “C” division had the most attendance with a strong first round of 29 couples. These pro/am competitors really had to be in full physical shape to get through this minefield.  First place overall went to Tammy Knight w/Artem Plakhotniy 1,2,2,1,1.  Second overall was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva 3,1,1,2,4 and third in this excellent “C” final went to Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk 2,4,3,3,3.


As you can see Manhattan Dancesport did not disappoint us it was still a celebration of dance in the USA during one of the biggest holidays the United States’ Independence were we celebrate freedom to live, work, dance, judge and liberty for all! Congratulations to Gary and Diana McDonald for a terrific event with more to come today!                           

Rising in Manhattan!

Last night at the Manhattan DanceSport Championships it was a Rising Star night and during the day it was all about the Smooth style in the Pro/Am categories down to the scholarships.


Man-JensenClear winners in the Rising Star Professional Rhythm were Shane & Shannon Jensen who won all daces with the majority of firsts from the judges.  As you can tell it was an easy win for this couple last night. Second in this Rising Star went to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who placed second in every dance down to the bolero where they did not get a single 2nd place but did manage to acquire a few firsts giving them an easy second overall. Third was awarded to Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosava (4,3,3,3,4).

The Rising Star ProfessioMan-Prosukurinnal Latin went to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova, who won three dances and placed second in the C,J, their lowest marks came from Lorna Lee from England who awarded them a fifth in 4 dances and a sixth in the jive. Second was Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, they took first in C,J and second in the other dances. Funnily enough, Michael Stylianos, partner in life and in dance of Lorna was not one of their best judges, he awarded them (4,5,5,5,5) and so did Allan Tornsburg who gave them the same exact marks except for the jive where he awarded them a 4th. Third in this very interesting Latin final was awarded to Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova who placed third in every dance, but they too here shared in some low marks, they got all sixths from Eugene Katsevman and three sixths from Allan Tornsburg and 4th in P and 5th in J.



In the Man-BarsukovProfessional Rising Star Smooth Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova won overall taking first in three dances and second in the foxtrot. First in this dance, but second on all others, went to Allie & Kyle Spinder who were second overall. Third wen to Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth who placed third in every dance and did manage to get a few seconds. Their best judge was Wendy Johnson who awarded them all seconds.

The Man-Bielielprofessional Rising Star Ballroom was awarded to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk who won all dances.  Second went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovacikova and they took all seconds and third was Vladishlav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova (4,3,3,3,3).

The Under 21 Ballroom was also run this evening and that Championship went to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kacmarski who took first in all dances. Man-YouthBallIt is nice to note that in this division Patryk & Anna took perfect scores in the waltz and in the foxtrot, in their other 3 dances their perfect scores were spoilt by one mark in each dance: in the tango by Luana Conte who awarded them a second and the VW and quickstep by Taliat Tarsinov who gave them a second in each. Second overall went to Maciej Zieha & Lory-Eve Jacob and third went to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili. Both these couples’ marks were very varied from sixth to second but funnily enough nether of them was awarded the three first place marks that were not awarded to Patryk & Anna.

Man-ASmoothThe Pro/Am Smooth Scholarships were excellent with some very interesting results as well as dancing. Christiana Diaz w/Kris Suakjian placed first in all dances and took the “A” Scholarship home. Second in all dances in this same division went to Elisa Dalla Vecchinia w/Rudy Homm from Italy and third was awarded to possibly one of our favorite ladies in this final and that was Anna Devrevyanchenko w/Mayo Alanen they placed 4th in waltz and 3rd in the other three dances.


As you will see by the marks the “B” category was more divided. Here Joanne Tatem w/Mariusz Zakrzewski was the overall winner (2,1,1,2) but as you can see a clear tie that possibly had to be broken with a Rule 10, or 11 to come up with the winner. Second went to Lillian Li w/Tomas Mielnicki (1,2,2,1), and third was awarded to Amanda Levine w/Morten Jensen (3,3,3,4).


The “C” was a little more consistent. Here Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski won first place in all dances to take the Scholarship. Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu placed second in all dances and Aviva Adler w/Victor Russu was third overall (3,3,5,4).

So as you can see it was a busy day at the Manhattan Dancesport, today we are on to the Pro/Am Ballroom and the competition heats up tonight with the open Professional Latin and Smooth and the Open Amateur Ballroom.

We love NY!

Today's photos by SuperShag

Yesterday was all about Rhythm and the Pro/Am scholarships at the end of the evening were the feature act on this busy day of dancing.

The “A” Man-Matthewcategory was won by Matthew Shimizu w/ Jessica Nicol who won all five dances each with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second went to Jessica Sweeney w/Jeremy Pilling who placed second in four dances and third in the bolero. Third position wen to Alison Schill w/Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and they placed third in all dances but the bolero, here they scored a fourth place overall. Fourth position was awarded to Stefan Tuomanen w/Michelle Officer (4,4,4,2,4), and fifth in this five-couple final went to Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar and she took fifth in all five dances.

Man-DeborahThe “B” Scholarship was awarded to Deborah Altizio w/Jose Decamps and they took first in all dances, with the majority of judges giving them first in all dances but the mambo where they took 4 firsts. She won that dance with the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores. Second in this category went to Alissa Yetter w/Dave Hannigan who placed 2,2,3,2,3. As you can see by her marks the judges were a little undecided, her marks went from sixth to first in almost every dance. Third position was awarded to Donna Sparano w/Evgeny Dyachenko 3,3,2,3,2 and fourth was Heidy Kellison w/Sean Tamashiro 5,4,4,4,4, fifth went to Faye Diamantoudi w/Tony Santana 4,5,5,6,5 and sixth place was awarded to Sophia Chang w/Ron Okubo (6,6,6,5,6).  

In the “C”Man-Lisa Division Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski won all dances, two of them with the majority of firsts from the judges the rest with ‘2nd or better’, only one judge awarded her a sixth in the bolero and that was Eugene Katsevman. Second overall went to Cathy Fullam w/Evgeny Dyachenko but from here down the judges were having a hard time figuring it out as you can tell by the scores 3,2,2,5,2.  Third place was just as hard for the judges and this placement went to Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu 2,3,3,6,3 here the individual judges’ marks went from seventh to first. Fourth overall was awarded to Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert 4,4,4,2,6, fifth went to Quin Bommelje w/Mikhail Vlasov (7,5,5,3,5) and in sixth place was Hope Huber w/Troy Baeten 6,6.5,6,4,4.  Seventh was Monica Broch w/Kris Suakjian 5,6.5,7,7,7.

As you can see by the marks the judges are working quite hard so we hope to see some more wonderful surprises here tonight at the Manhattan Dancesport

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