Ohio Star Ball 2014
A Night of Winners!
Saturday night was a night for winners at OSB. Not only were there the scheduled 2 open pro and 1 open amateur championships, but also the 4 open pro winners competed for the “America’s Challenge” (the show that will conclude the PBS series being filmed here) and it was also time to announce the winners for the 2014 World Dancesport Series. All in all – a night of celebration!
The two open pro events were Latin and Smooth and they were very different events. Whereas almost everyone was there in the smooth, 3 US finalists were missing from the Latin.
US Champs, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, comfortably held on to their lead in the Smooth winning all dances with comfortable majorities of 1st places in all dances. They received predominantly 1st and 2nd places although we did notice a couple of stray marks, a 5th in foxtrot from Wendy Johnson and 2 4ths from Wendy and David Hamilton in VW are the most notable examples. 2nd and 3rd places also remained the same as USDC also with Mikhail & Galina Zharinov taking it 2,3,2,2 over Mazen Hamza & Izabella Jundzill 3,2,3,3. It was a little closer here than at USDC with the only majority of 2nd or better scores going to Hamza/Jundzill in the tango. The foxtrot and VW were particularly close with both couples scoring the same numbers of “2nd or better” scores. Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija held on to all the 4th places, Travis & Jaimee Tuft kept all the 5th’s. The new partnership of Max Sinitsa & Michelle Officer took the 6th spot. These 2 experienced dancers did receive some marks in the top half of the final. Wendy Johnson marked them 1st in VW and Paul Holmes also placed them in the top three.
David Hamilton will have the report on this division.
Everything changed in the Showdance section of the Smooth competition. WE thought the best two routines ended up on top here. Mikhail & Galina won the event taking 7 of the 11 available 1st places. This duo always perform such classic showdances that the standing ovation they received was well deserved. Travis & Jaimee took 2nd in a jazzy (and a little racy) version of “You can keep your Hat On!” As the only couple to choose an upbeat theme and do it well, we were again not surprised by their high placement. Peter & Alexandra took 3rd, Mazen & Izabella 4th, Nick & Viktorija 5th and Max & Michelle 6th.
The US number 2 couple in Latin, Roman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova, had a pretty easy time winning the Latin Championship, taking the majority of 1st places in all dances. The only judge to seriously dissent on this verdict was Meryem Pearson who scored them 6,6,6,5,6. US Champs Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were not present as they were performing at the WDC World Ballroom Championship in Blackpool this weekend. Also not here were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who placed 3rd at USDC. So 2nd spot went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova. They were 2nd in all dances and had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ in all dances except paso doble. 3rd place went to Canada, Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko placed 3,3,3,4,3. 4th went to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova 4,4,5,5,4; 5th to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 5,6,6,3,5; 6th, Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina 6,5,4,6,6.
Chantal Leclerc will report on this division.
The couples finished in exactly the same order in the Showdance section.
The two champions were then joined by the Rhythm and Ballroom champions from the night before to compete in America’s Ballroom Challenge. This is a showdance competition with the couples each dancing a short and long program.
Tonight proved to be a “Rhythm” night. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova won both the short and long programs and so won the Challenge. This will be broadcast over several weeks in April of next year on PBS.
2nd was Roman & Anna who took 3rd in the short program and 2nd in the long. 3rd went to Peter & Alexandra 2,4 and 4th to Artem & Inna 4,3.
When it came to the World Dancesport Series it was a night of celebration for Lauren LaPointe and her teacher, Louis Bar. Lauren won several of the Top Student awards, including Top Female student of the year. Louis was Top Teacher of the year. Top Male Student for 2014 was Eric Leninger.
The Open Amateur Championship was a strong event although several of the top players were missing. Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova won all dances. Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov were 2nd in all – a strong result for them. 3rd in all were Ruslan Kalyzhnyy & Ksenia Sovenko. 4th, Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky 4,4,5,4,5; 5th Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvilli 5,5,4,5,4; 6th Brenton Mitchell & Alexandra Sevastilianova 6,6,6,6,6.
The Final Showdown?
Last night in “Battelle” hall at OSB we had what seems to be the final showdown in the Professional Rhythm Championships, and the final coronation or confirmation to our US National Professional Rhythm Champions, Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova, that they are the best in the land.
Emmanuel & Liana won four dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances, and with perfect scores they took the mambo. Not one judge dissented, they all marked them first in the mambo. Melissa Dexter and Linda Dean gave Emmanuel & Liana their worst scores in the four other dances. Melissa placed them third in the Cha Cha and the Bolero, and Linda awarded them one 3rd in the Bolero. An excited Pierre-Antoine nearly kissed the floor when the awards were announced and the excitement continued when they also were awarded first in the showdance portion of the competition.
A repeat of the US Nationals also took place for second and third positions also, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed second in all dances. They too enjoyed a solid confirmation from the judges. A few gave them first in four dances and almost a clean sweep of seconds. Their worst marks came from Sarwat Kaluby who awarded them 2 fourths in the cha cha and rumba and a fifth in the swing. Andre & Natalie Paramonov took third in all dances, and their scores were a little more varied. They only managed to steal one first in two dances and four firsts in the rumba. Their worst marks came from Marianne Nicole who awarded them sixth in every dance except for the mambo where she awarded them a fifth place. It is interesting to see how different Marianne’s marks are today compared to a year ago, and it is reassuring that judges do change their opinion as the couples improve! (a year ago Emanuel & Liana could have been the recipients of those 6th place marks, but not yesterday Marianne placed them first all dances).
Fourth in this very exciting Professional Rhythm Championship was awarded to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, and they were fourth in every dance. Fifth went to Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova. Sixth place was quite a surprise for us. Shane and Shannon Jensen took this final final position knocking out a few couples that were a ahead of them in the rnakings and placed sixth in every dance.
With the exception of Emmanuel & Liana taking first the showdance final tally shifted a little. Here Peter & Alexandra Perzhu took second place, and we must say that we have never seen Peter dance with so much energy and pizzazz, we are almost certain that if he were to dance all Rhythm dances like this they could easily challenge for higher ground in this style. Andre & Natalie Paramonov took third in the showdance, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed fourth, Shane & Shannon Jenses as we expected moved up and took fifth position, and Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were sixth.
Albina Harble will report on this division for Dance Beat.
The Ballroom competition was not as powerful as in other years, this year the WDC World Professional Championship was being held at the same time in Europe and so some of the heavy hitters were not present. However the US has the most supply of excellent Ballroom dancers in their arsenal surpassing Russia and other major powers in the world, so even our up and coming are excellent. Last night Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva took first in every dance, and nearly a clean sweep of first places from the judges. Artem & Inna’s worst judge was one of the OSB chairmen of judges, Ms. Rickey Geiger, who awarded them seventh in the quickstep and tango, sixth in the foxtrot, fourth in the VW and third in the waltz.
Anton Lebedev & Anna Brosh from Canada took second overall, but could not hold on to the second in the quickstep, in this dance they were third. It is interesting to note that from Anton & Anna down the scores were as we would quickly say, “all over the place” so with an extra mark here or there any couple could have easily moved up the ladder. (Not sure exactly why Anton & Anna, who are the Canadian number 1 were not at the World Championship). Third in this shaky final was Andre Begunov & Anna Demidova 3,3,3,3,2, fourth went to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk 4,5,4,5,4, Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa were fifth 5,4,5,4,5, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina were sixth in every dance and Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova took seventh.
Rauno Ilo will have a report on this division.
Things changed drastically in the Professional Ballroom Showdance. Here Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa who were fifth in the five-dance event took the showdance competition. We figure that it must have been Lesya’s shocking green dress that put them over the top cause their showdance was just a basic dance, no thrills and no frills. Second went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova doing a Marylyn Monroe impersonation. Some ladies (and gentleman) off the floor were expecting Andrey to take his top off so we were happy for them placing second but he left many disappointed fans. Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch from Canada took third doing a “cowboy” routine, we have never seen a cowboy do quickstep but it obviously impressed the judges. Fourth was awarded to the five dance Ballroom Champions Artem Plakotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva, fifth went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova, sixth were Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina and last but not least Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk took seventh.
The Professional Theatrical-Solo Exhibition was also held last night and here Shane & Shannon Jensen took first. Justin Guilmette & Kimalee Piedad were second. We were a little disappointed that Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva from Canada who did their Exorcist number did not place higher, the number is very unique in character and with very difficult lift executed like nothing, but maybe next time. Fourth went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, fifth were Brandon Barker & Chelsea Cherie, and sixth were Clyde Harris & Summer Black Elkin. The semifinal of this event was held in the afternoon.
There was a little shaking up in the Amateur Latin. Favorites to win, Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach, were still the winners but the judges might have been sending a message of “step it up” or go down, when they awarded Pasha & Daniella their marks that were 1,2,1,3,4. Fourth in the jive is quite low for this caliber of dancers and a third in the paso…. Message or not from the judges second overall went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler 2,4,3,1,1. Third was Artur Tarmavskyy & Anastasia Danilova 3,1,2,4,2, leaving fourth to Daniils Kutzovs & Maria Shalvarova 4,3,4,2,3. Fifth were Evgeny Raev & Petrycja Golak 5,5,5,5,6, and sixth was Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova 6,6,6,6,5.
The Open World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Latin ended yesterday afternoon and as just the day before with the smooth it did not disappoint.
The “A” category had some terrific ladies competing but in the end first overall went to Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada, they won all dances but the Rumba where they placed second. Vera Xu w/Jakub Zeglen placed second overall but was not the recipient of that lonely first place mark 2,2,3,2,2. Third place was awarded to Michael Roberts w/Milana Plinter, Michael was the only man to make a final in the pro/am Latin scholarships, and he placed third overall 3,3,5,6,3. Fourth was Emily Tang w/Delyan Terziev 4,4,4,5,4, but she too was not the recipient of that lonely first place mark left. The winner of the rumba was Maria Ceva w/Lyubomir Asenov 5,6,1,3,6, as you can see Maria nearly got one of each when it came to her marks. In sixth place was Grace Kuan w/Denis Podolskiy 6,5,6,4,5.
In the “B” division two Canadians took first and second, Hilda Li w/Roland Michtchenko took first 1,1,1,1,2, and Marialisa DeGasperis w/Kamil Studenny was second overall 2,2,2,3,1. It is also interesting to note that not one of the dances won by Hilda was won by a majority of firsts, the closest she came to winning a majority was in the paso doble where she took 5 firsts out of the 11 judges. And Marialisa also only managed four 1st place marks. From here down the judges also did not have a favorite and so all the couples shared on all the marks. Svetlanta Van Tassel w/Andrey Tarasov placed third 4,5,3,4,3, Missy White w/Genya Bartashevich was fourth 5,3,4,5,6, Suzanne Peterson w/Damir Karaman was fifth 6,6,5,2,5, Maria Seragou w/Dimitrios Damalas was sixth 3,4,7,7,4, and in seventh place was Mirra Blinova w/Clement Joly 7,7,6,6,7.
The “C” division was slightly more consistent especially in the upper tier. Lisa Lowery partnered by Radek Wiatrowoski had no problem winning all the dances and this time in two dances the rumba and samba with a clear majority of firsts from the 11 panel of adjudicators. Former World “C” Latin Dancesport Series Champion Beverly Moore w/Alain Doucet from Canada placed second overall but not all the way through, in the paso doble she took third. Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen placed third 4,4,3,2,3, Lorraine Peoples w/Andrei Gavriline was fourth 5,3,4,4,4, Nora Fox w/Plamen Danilov was fifth 3,7,7,6,5, Connie Buckley w/Leonid Proskurov took sixth 6,5,6,5,6 and seventh position went to Tammy Knight w/Oleksii Lytvyn 7,6,5,7,7.
As you can see this Ohio Star Ball has had plenty of surprises in both the professional, the amateur and pro/am fields. We hope this trend is here to stay it keeps everyone on their toes and in their best shape to perform. There is nothing worse than the same thing over and over again and as we always say in Dance Beat, “if you do what you have always done, you are going to get what you have always gotten!”
“Brilliant” that is the only way to describe the Open Pro/Am Smooth Scholarships and competitions last night at “OSB.”
These are the exact words Toni Redpath used last night to describe the Pro/Am Smooth events on FaceBook, “Brilliant day of Smooth at Ohio Star Ball. Thank you to all the competitors for making it, yet again, one of the most exciting and challenging days to judge.” We too were impressed by the quality and not just the quantity of Pro/Am competitors doing Smooth and doing it with style and great technical merit.
Nearly all the World Pro/Am Smooth Dancesport Series started with quarters or first rounds, but from the beginning you knew that the task to finding 6 finalists was going to be tough and the task of finding a champion even harder. The evidence of this was in the marks and the indecisiveness of last night’s judging panel. The “A” division was a perfect example of how difficult this task was. The overall winner, Julia Vaysfeld dancing with Nikolay Karchev, won the overall but placed second in the waltz, and when you look deep into the marks you can see how difficult the task was. Julia did not win any of the dances with a majority of firsts and in the foxtrot she only had three firsts out of 13 judges and in the VW only four firsts.
In our opinion this was perhaps one of the best and most challenging Pro/Am “A” Smooth Championships we have seen in years! Second overall and winning the waltz was Viktoriya Tverskaya w/Ilya Reyzin and here you can see the judges quivering pens at work. Viktoriya placed second in the tango and foxtrot but fourth in the VW. It’s important to note that Viktoriya won the waltz with only two firsts place marks out of 13 relying on third or better to get this dance.
Sara Jess w/Tomasz Mielnicki placed third overall 3,3,3,2 and our favorite lady of this heat, Jessica Spink dancing with Peter Walker, took fourth 4,4,4,3. For us had we been on that judging panel this would have been the number one Pro/Am player in this category. Well renowned pro/am dancer, Pamela Bolling w/Ben Ermis, placed fifth in all dances, leaving Rachel Sayotovich w/Ilya Velednitskiy holding sixth place 6,6,7,6 and Samanta Rico w/Morten Jensen in seventh position 7,7,6,7.
Although the “A” Smooth category was excellent the category packing the most excitement for us was the “B.” Here in our opinion there were plenty of ladies that could have easily take the crown home. The competition was so tough that in the single dances during the afternoon we noticed that the overall winner was perhaps left out of “tango” final (This was our shocking suspicion, but perhaps she did not dance this dance at this point we don’t really know, we did see her competing in the final of the other three dances). Joanne Smith with Sharone Levit from Canada continues to rein in this fantastic and challenging “B” division and she won all dances, but once again not with the majority of firsts. The closest she came to a majority was in the foxtrot and VW where she got 6 firsts out of the 13 panel of judges. Joanne’s worst marks came from Marianne Nicole who awarded her fifth in all five dances. For us looking from the sides it was a different story. The competition was tough but from where we stood Joanne had very solid performances in all rounds and by the final we were certain that she could take it home to Canada easily. Her technical expertise and her musicality alone throiughout her performance could not be surpassed in every dance at all times.
Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov placed second overall but took third in the foxtrot. Susan’s best marks were given in the tango and VW. In each of these dances Susan took three firsts from the judges. Kim Hardin w/Billy King placed third overall 3,3,2,4 and as you can see the 4th place mark really sealed third place for her even though she placed second in the foxtrot. Fourth in this excellent heat went to Christina Donelson w/Pater Perzhu 6,5,4,3, and as you can see this lady’s marks were all over the place. To us her work looked the same - sometimes it shined the next we could see her being sixth. Lisa Berry w/Rauno Ilo took fifth overall but here the marks were a little more consistent 4,4,5,5, and last but not least in this very exciting final went to Melissa Rodriguez w/Mayo Alanen and they took 5,6,6,6.
Before we go further we want to congratulate Colby Massanari w/Mayo Alanen who took first in the “Best of the Best” Gold Championship. This was the highest marked routine out of quite a number of excellent routines being performed by the best of the best from the country’s top Pro/Am dancers. Congratulations Melissa!
The “C” category was a nail-biting event down to the results! During the results we were all told that there was really no second place winner that one lady had won the waltz and tango and the other foxtrot and VW. This can always easily happen since there are only 4 dances in the Smooth category. Beverly Moore from Canada dancing with Alain Doucet won the waltz and tango and Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowoski won the foxtrot and VW, so the first place winner and champion was decided by Rule 11. The rule like every rule is very complex to explain, but basically Beverly Moore won her two dances more easily than Lisa Lowery giving her the edge and the Championship title. Beverly got 8 first places in the waltz winning this dance with a majority of first from the 13 panel of adjudicators. In the tango she also got the majority with 7 first place marks out of 13, while on the other hand Lisa won the foxtrot with 6 first place marks not a majority and the VW also with 6 place marks. The rules are very specific as to what to do when a tie happens and we were lucky enough that just a simple Rule 11 was used and we did not have to go into one of our other complicated rules. Congratulations to our scrutineers and the comp manager for sorting this out for us quickly, in the past this might have taken some time to do by hand! LOL
Robin Kencel w/Sergey Vasilyev placed third in all dances but she too took a few firsts, the most in the VW were she took 3 first from the judges. Lynn Murrell with Peter Perzhu took all fourth, Sue Eldred w/Artem Plakhotnyi all fifth places and Paige Riffle w/Alex Zagrean placed all sixths.
I must say that we were thrilled to sit and watch all the events without wanting to move from our chairs. Yesterday, everyone down to the senior level were brilliant so I must also tip my hat to these brilliant dancers and ladies. In the Senior 1 Patricia Mooney overtook the rest and became the overall champion by winning all dances, my congratulations to Patricia who in our opinion has made a huge change to her game and is looking fabulous. Patricia dances with Travis Tuft. Second was awarded to one of our favorite Pro/Am dancers of all time Elaine Sheresky w/Victor Russu 2,3,2,2, and third went to another all time favorite of ours, Charlotte Carey w/Kostadin Bidjourov. Even the Senior 3 dance was a terrific event last night and that went to Doreen Marchack w/Youriy Pavlov and she won all dances.
Our congratulations also to Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov who won all dances in the “B” 9 dance Championship, and to Viktoriya Tverskaya dancing with Ilya Reyzin who won the “A” 9 Dance Championship. Viktoriya won all five Rhythm dances, placed second in three Smooth dances and tied for first in the tango.
Congratulations to all Smooth competitors you made yesterday a very special day for us and I’m sure a number of us old, jaded judges and followers of Ballroom dance feel that it would be nice if the professional results were as unpredictable and exciting as they are in the pro-am divisions. This was a very exciting night – if you weren’t here you don’t know what you were missing!
We are back in Ohio once again for the Ohio Star Ball! And we have started as usual with the Rhythm World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Championships.
Last night in the Regency Ballroom it was a “nailbiting” experience! Every category was incredibly challenging and as we mentioned this year on our US Championships report, Rhythm like Smooth has finally found its legs and is no longer the stepsister, following a few steps behind the other styles.
As you will see the Open “A” Rhythm category was heavily contested in entries and in talent but when the decisions were made Viktoriya Tverskaya partnered by Ilya Reyzin took the scholarship home overall. She won four dances and placed second in the cha cha. I must point out that Viktoriya won two dances with the majority of firsts, the rumba and the mambo, the rest of the dances she won some firsts but most relied on seconds, third or better to get through and even then as you saw lost the cha. Second in this excellent event went to Brianna Yadgir w/ Levgenii Grytsak but this placement was decided by a hairline. Brianna placed 4,3,2,2,3T, leaving third to Julia Vaysfeld w/Nikolay Karchev who won the cha cha placed 4th in the rumba, third in the swing, bolero, and tied for third in the mambo. Yes the way you are reading the scores is the way we saw the comp it was very difficult to place everyone in this excellent heat. Fourth went to Natalie Crandall w/Decho Kraev 3,2,4,4,2, fifth was Rachel Sayotovich w/Ilya Velednitskiy 5,5,5,6,5, and sixth went to Megan Strong w/Slash Sharan 6,6,6,5,6.
The “B” was also heavily contested. Here this category went easily to a man, Giovanni Fortezza, with his teacher Jolanta Mosteika from NY. Giovanni won all dances but it was not as easy as it sounds, he won the bolero and mambo with the majority of firsts but the other dances he won with a number of firsts but had to rely on third or better to win comfortably. Colin Hillary was Giovanni’s worst judge awarding him 6,7,6,6,6, totally a contrast from the other judges’ marks in this heat. Second in this very contested heat was awarded to Kathy Howell w/Martin Cawston. However, she was not second in all dances she took third in the swing and bolero and even a fourth in the mambo. This was for sure a very indecisive panel of adjudicators if I have ever seen one! Third went to Susan Sidman w/Gleb Makarov and this was no different, her marks were 3,4,5,2,3, but to be fair to the judges as I mentioned on our opening these were some tough rhythm competitions that we saw here last night. Fourth in these excellent heat was awarded to Kia Malone w/Eddie Rivera 4,5,2,5,2, a very interesting result. Fifth was Shelia Davis w/Sergey Barsukov 5,6,4,4,6 and by the way “Happy Birthday Shelia” yesterday was Shelia’s 30 birthday, (we think you are in the wrong category baby, looking fabulous;) LOL. Sixth was Julie Korsog w/Misha Vlasov 6,3,6,6,5, and seventh was awarded to Elena Cormio w/Edwin Torres.
The “C” division was also excellent and here Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowoski won all the dances, however, even though we felt that she would be the easier winner the judges were not as sure. Lisa won three dances with the majority of firsts needed but in the swing and mambo she only managed to take five firsts out of the thirteen judges, having once again to rely on third or better to win these dances. So as you can see it was a fun task but not an easy task for these Pro/Am competitors, and we have to say that this was one competition that all the Dance Beat staff were happy to sit and watch. Second in the contested “C” division was awarded to Gracelyn Tuoti w/Andrei Abrahin and here again the judges were a little shaken she was awarded 2,2,2,3,3, the seconds in the bolero and mambo went to Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu 3,3,3,2,2. Fourth was Quin Bommelje w/Misha Vlasov 4,5,4,5,6. Quin was also the winners of the Senior I Division. Fifth went to Dianne Caracciolo w/Nazar Norov 6,4,5,6,5, and sixth was awarded to Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert 7,7,6,4,4, leaving seventh to Lynn Magnesen w/Caleb Aleman 5,6,7,7,7.
The “Best of the Best” Bronze challenge went to Bozena Kochanska w/Erwin Rybczynski and the silver was awarded to Margarite Daniels w/Tibor Kerekes.
In the World Pro/Am Dancesport Series Bronze and Silver Smooth closed levels, the Bronze “A” went to Liz Thomson w/Kyle Spinder, the Bronze “B” was awarded to Angela Fuller w/Dmitriy Volodko and the “C” Bronze went to Judy Reneau w/Ben Ermis. In the silver “A” that competition went to Madison Stribling w/Mayo Alanen, the “B” was Selene Steelman w/Travis Tuft and the “C” to Sophia D’Angelo w/Michael Choi.
Tonight it will be “all about the Smooth no treble!” Stay tuned for results and commentary if you care or dare…..