Vegas Open 2015

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A Lot of Everything!

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Saturday offered a lot of everything at Vegas Open – a lot of great dancing, a lot of people and a lot of partying!

The vibrant night session featured the 4 open professional divisions and 2 open amateur.  We saw US champions and finalists in almost all of the divisions.  It’s hard to pick a “best of” so let’s just look at them in order of performance.  All pro divisions were semifinals.

VO15-SueFirst up was the ballroom – now called the Brian Puttock Award in memory of the much loved US Icon who passed away last year.  Sue Puttock was there to judge and present the award and the organizers of the Vegas Open also presented her with an achievement award.

Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva won all 5 dances and had a clear majority of 1st places in all dances.  Also clear was the runners-up position that went to Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova who had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances.  Perhaps the most interesting race was for 3rd place and this went to Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikalyuk who scored 4,4,3,3,3.  They had scores all over the board including all 7th placements from 2 judges, Jennifer Booth and Mark Weiss.  We really liked their performance tonight, but were startled by the announcement following the results (see below).  The other half of this race was Andrew Begunov & Anna Demidova who placed 3,3,4,4,4.  They received 1st placements in all dances (unlike Iaroslav & Olga who received no 1st placements).  One judge, Sharon Savoy, placed Andrey & Anna 1st in all 5 dances.  5th in all dances went to Oscar Pefrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova; 6th were Richard Tonizzo & Clare Hansen 6,7,6,6,6 and 7th, Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubovska


Watch out for Igor Litvinov’s report on this division in Dance Beat soon.

At VO15-olgathe conclusion of the presentation for this division Olga Tsikalyuk announced her retirement from professional competition, we were somewhat surprised to see her go, but wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

NVO15-paramonovext up was the Rhythm and here we had an obvious form winner in Andre & Natalie Paramonov and they did indeed win all dances with the majority of 1st places.  The closest race was surprisingly in the bolero, what we consider one of their better dances.  In this dance they had 9 first places out of a possible 16.  The couple pushing them the hardest was Danas Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi who were US finalists in 2013 but were off the floor throughout most of 2014.  They were 2nd in all dances and had 5 first places in cha cha, swing and bolero.  3rd, with 3,3,4,3,3, were Ivan Dishliev & Marietta Nedyalkova.  They received two 1st places marks, both from Ken Sloan.  Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti were 4th, 4,4,3,4,4.  We thought this was a particularly relaxed and rhythmic performance from these two.  Aaron & Iryna DeSoto were 5th, 5,5,5,6,5, and Ryan Lockhardt & Danelle Newman were 6th, 6,6,6,5,6.

Carolina Orlovsky-Telona will have a report on this division.


The only reigning US Champions in attendance were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu in the Smooth and they were the easy winners taking the vast majority of 1st places in all dances, 14 out of 15 in the waltz.  The only other couple to take some firsts were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who were 2nd in all dances.  Kyle & Allie Spinder took 3rd in all dances and Evgeniy Malko & Anna Shabazyan were 4th in all, the latter couple looking measurably more together since we last saw them.  5th in all dances went to Mariusz Zakreski & Lindsay Ray whose energetic performance was softened somewhat since we last saw them.  6th in all dances went to Peter Hahn & Jude Coraldi and 7th were Kyle & Christina Campbell.


ElVO15-Tarasovizabeth Knoll will have the full report for Dance Beat.

We had another easy winner in the Latin.  Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova showed us their crisp, accurate dancing to take the overwhelming majority of 1st places.  Only 1 judge, Sharon Savoy, demurred, placing them 5,5,5,5,2.  The partnership of Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo were 2nd in all dances.  It is amazing to think that this young lady was so recently dancing pro-am.  Well done!  Sergiy Kvashyn & Olga Ginzburg were 3rd in all dances and really gave a great performance.  This man has such a lithe and rhythmic body.  One judge, Chantal Leclerc, placed them to win 1,1,1,2,1.  4th in all dances fell to Pavel Balykin & Meaghan Mendoza;  5th were Simeon & Kora Stoynov 5,6,6,5,5 and 6th, Maxim Kapitanikov & Natalia Fridmanovich 6,5,5,6,6.

Giocomo Steccaglia & Melissa Dexter will report on this division for Dance Beat.


The Open Amateur Ballroom gave us a good competition for 1st place.  NDCA US Champs, Andres & Veronika End held on and won all dances but they were pushed hard by recent immigrants, Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli in waltz where both couples took 4 1st places and by Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova in the foxtrot.  Angelo & Clarissa were 2nd overall 2,2,2,3,2 and Marek & Liana were 3rd overall, 3,3,3,2,3.  Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko were 4th in all dances, 5th went to Jonathan & Hannah Baily 5,6,5,5,5 and 6th Tyler Wilson & Annie Seeley 6,5,6,6,6.


For us on the sidelines, the Amateur Latin was the hardest to call, but the judges had fairly clear winners.  Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Hanzi won all dances, all but rumba with a majority of 1st placements.  2nd in all dances were Ron & Liza Garber.  With 3,4,3,3,3, Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko took 3rd.  We had never seen this couple before.  They started very strongly in the semifinal but faded somewhat in the final.  4th were Teleryck Iankiev & Natella Devitskaya 4,3,5,5,4.  We were a little surprised at those 5th placements for this couple.  5th were Stepan Yeritsyan & Nadia Kyrylenko 5,5,4,4,5 (Nadia also competed as a pro-am) and 6th, Trevor & Emilie Guthrie.


The Pro-Am Open Scholarships closed the afternoon session and were some of the strongest pro-am divisions of the week.  Sincha Sincahoen w/ Max Sinitsa won the A. Division 1,1,1,2.  2nd and 3rd in this division were decided by a Rule 10 tiebreak.  Kelly Morikawa w/ Jonathan Atkinson was the runner-up with 4,2,3,1 over Natalie Rezai w/ Slawek Sochacki 2,3,2,3.

Joanne Smith w/ Sharon Levit was the easy winner in the B, taking all dances with clear majorities.  2nd was Joanne Tatum w/ Mariusz Zakrzewski 2,2,2,2 and 3rd, Susan Haynes w/ Sergey Nekrasov 3,3,3,4.

Rising star, Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin won the C taking all dances with clear majorities.  2nd was Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,3,3,2 and 3rd Charlotte Carey w/ Kostadin Bidjourov 4,2,2,5.


In a tradition begun last year, the evening concluded with a rowdy party featuring Brent Mills, Mark Weiss, Eddie Melendez and organizer Mikal Watkins in an all star band for dancing and singing.  Paul Holmes even led the ensemble in a British version of “Ride Sally Ride.”  Perhaps the open bar lent tune to his vocals?

This was the biggest year so far for the Vegas Open and we’re sure it will only continue to grow if today’s extravaganza is any indication!

Dancesport’s Busiest Day!

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In what we think may be the busiest day at a dancesport competition so far in 2015, Vegas Open began at 7:00 AM yesterday with barely a break until the end at around midnight.  It was pro-am rhythm day and it was certainly all about rhythm yesterday. With many quarter-final and semifinal rounds at all levels.

For the professionals we switched to the international styles for the Rising Star divisions.  Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova were the winners of the Ballroom, taking 1st in all dances.  They had the majority of 1st places in four dances but a couple were closer than we might have thought.  They won the waltz 6 to 4 and the QS 7 to 5.  There were 13 judges.  They had mostly 1’s and 2’s but did pick up 5th place in all dances from judge, Linda Dean.  Stefano Di Brino & Bianka Zubrovska were 2nd with 2,2,3,2,2 and they were the couple that took the majority of the 1st places not given to the winners.  Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija were 3rd, 3,3,2,3,3, and they had 1st places in all dances except the QS.  4th were Christian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko 5,4,5,4,4;  5th Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina 4,5,4,5,5;  6th Slava & Valeria Kostaniets.


SasVO15-Sashaha Althukov & Cheyenne Murrillo were the easy winners of the Latin with a perfect score of 13 first places in the jive and samba and almost all firsts in the other dances.  It was a much closer race for second resulting in a 3 to 2 decision.  Maxim Kapitanikov & Natalia Fridmanovich were the victors placing 3,3,2,2,2 over Simeon & Kora Stoynov with 2,2,3,3,3.  With 4,5,4,4,4 Oleksiy & Carley Lytvyn were 4th.  Artjom Smigelju & Oxana Kashkina were 5th 5,4,6,6,5; Kirill Nikitin & Jenya Kanchukova were 6th 6,6,5,5,6 and Artyom Klimenov & Giulia Nuzio were 7th.

KVO15-Spinderyle & Allie Spinder won the Open Pro Showdance.

The Open Pro-Am Scholarships were danced in the evening session.  In the B, Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres won all 5 dances.  2nd went to Anush Boyajian w/ Mariusz Zakrzewski 2,2,2,3,2 and 3rd to Bernadette Straatsman w/ Felipe Telona Jr. 3,4,4,2,3.

Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Rezin did a great job to win all dances in the Open C.  2nd place fell to Nancy Rappoport w/ Sergey Shapoval, again in all dances and 3rd went to Pat Bodin w/ Antonio Conde, 3,4,3,3,4.

A very strong Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco won all dances in the A followed by Jessica Sweeney w/ Jeremy Piling with all 2nd’s.  3rd in all was Nicole Huerta w/ Edwin Torres.Today is all about the Smooth for the pro-ams with another 7:00 AM start and tonight we look frweard to all the Open Professional and Amateur divisions.

Vegas Open over 8,000

This year’s Vegas Open is the largest in its history with over 8,000 entries.  The event began with the international styles – both ballroom and Latin – for the pro-ams.  This was truly a full day of dancing.

VO15-CBallThe largest of the open scholarships in both styles were in the C divisions.  The C Ballroom was the tightest event but the winner overall was Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia 3,2,2,1,1.  Close behind was Deborah Errico w/ Dariusz Michalski 1,3,1,2,3.  Taking the last of those 1st places and 3rd overall was Annie Chen w/ Denis Kutepov 4,1,3,3,2.  Marina Sanchez Torres w/ Andrea Faraci was 4th, 2,4,4,4,4;  Jeanine Cutter w/ Giocomo Agrello was 5th in all and Charlotte Carey w/ Kostadin Bidjourov was 6th.  This began as a semifinal.

The A and B Ballroom divisions were both straight finals.  Vinnie Miller w/ Denis Kutepov won all dances in the A.  Runner up, also in all dances, was Irene Lau w/ Mikhail Avdeev, 3rd went to Chritine Yang w/ Mariusz Zakrzewski 3,3,3,4,3 and 4th to Jenica Kalisch w/ Raffaele Sabato 4,4,4,3,4.

MicVO15-BBallhelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev won the B, placing 2,1,1,1,1.  Erika Hristova w/ Artem Plakhotnyi won the waltz and was 2nd in the other 4 to take 2nd overall.  Laura White w/ Andrea Faraci was 3rd 4,3,3,3,3;  Joyce Lo w/ Guennadi Iakounine was 4th 3,4,4,4,4 and James Coltharp w/ Olga Chekhova was 5th.

In the C Latin Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann was a comfortable winner in all dances.  Debbie Wright w/ Mark Baker took 2nd with 2,2,3,4,2.  Sally He w/ Enzo Zappia added a 3rd place here to go with her win in the Ballroom, placing 3,3,2,2,3.  4th was Michael Roybal w/ Carly Lytvyn 4,4,4,3,4;  5th Janet Shemanske w/ Genadi Lulchev 5,5,6,5,6;  6th Olivia Hudson w/ Marcus Johnson 6,6,5,6,5.


SVO15-ALataina Hadden won all dances in the A, the smallest open scholarship of the night.  2nd went to Brittni Gonzalez w/ Ivan Dishliev 3,2,2,2,3 and 3rd to Vera Xu w/ Jakub Zeglin 2,3,3,3,2.

Cindy MiVO15-cindyshlove w/ Vartan Zakhariants won all dances to take the B Latin.  Colette Marotto w/ Oleksil Lytvyn was 2nd in all dances and Jennifer Chan w/ Denis Podolsky was 3rd in all.  Joyce Lo w/ Guennadi Iakounine was 4th 4,4,4,4,5 and Olivia Hudson w/ Marcus Johnson was 5th 5,5,5,5,4.

TVO15-RShere were also 2 Rising Star Professional events, both in American Style and both starting with semifinals.  Aaron & Iryna DeSoto had a fairly easy time with the Rhythm, winning all dances with a clear majority of 1st places.  We agreed with the judges that they were easily the best.  2nd spot went to Slash Sharan w/ Meghan Anderson 2,2,2,2,3 and 3rd to Jonathan Green w/ Rachel Neilson 3,3,3,3,2.

The Smooth was a little closer but the winners were Mariusz Zakrzewski & Lynnsay Ray, home town favorites.  They won 3 dances and placed 2nd in foxtrot.  They had the majority of 1st places in the 3 dances they won.  Winners of the foxtrot were Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and they placed 2nd in the remaining 3 dances.  3rd spot in all dances fell to Slava & Valeria Kostaniets.


Today is even busier than yesterday with the pro-am Rhythm heats beginning at 7:00 AM and continuing throughout the day.

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