San Francisco Autumn Classic 2015

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Pro Ballroom & Amateur Latin Take the Lead

Both danced over 3 rounds, the Pro Ballroom and Amateur Latin were the feature events at the San Francisco Autumn Classic last night.


Mikhail AAC15-Aveddevvdeev & Olga Blinova were the easy winners of the Ballroom catching the vast majority of the judges’ 1st place marks in all dances.  Only 1 judge did not place them first overall and that was Sviatoslav Vloch who marked them 2nd in all dances.

AnAC15-Begunovdrey Begunov & Anna Demidova were 2nd in all dances and had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances except the waltz.  Quite hard on their heals were the rapidly rising Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova who were 3rd in all dances.  In waltz they had 6 second places to Andrey & Anna’s 7.  With 4,4,6,5,4, Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska took 4th place and this was a strong showing for them.  Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko were 5th with 5,5,4,4,5 and Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija were 6th , 6,6,5,6,6.


The AmateAC15-Tarasovur Latin was a tough event to call and the judges gave some quite varied markings.  The winners, however, Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrachat, were fairly clear.  They won all dances, 3 of them with the majority of 1st place marks.  This young couple is going from strength to strength.

2AC15-AmLat2ndnd place went to Guilio Ferrante & Lidia Martinez Espinosa and they placed 4,2,2,3,4.  They had scores ranging from 1st to 6th in all dances.  The first 2 couples are both from California.  3rd place went to England, Harrison Keep & Geogia Blatch and they scored 5,3,3,2,3.  It was actually a Rule 10 tie for this place.  The other half of the tie were Teleryck Ianakiev & Natella Devitskaya and they scored 2,4,4,4,2.  This was a good result for this couple who I often feel are under-marked.  5th were Yevgenii Orlov & Marina Yerina 3,5,5,5,5 and 6th in all dances were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets.  We expected this last duo to place a little higher.

OnAC15-Jakseviciusly 4 couples entered the Pro Rhythm.  Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi won the event easily taking most of the 1st places and scoring a perfect 15 firsts in swing.  Their only competition came from Igor Ustymovich & Briana Santiago who are improving all the time and did pick up a few 1st places in all dances except swing.  The last 2 places were a repeat of the RS division, but the result was reversed.  3rd tonight were Dan Lee Tran & Taylor Elizabeth Kinney 3,4,3,3,4 and 4th Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno 4,3,4,4,3.

SlAC15-Kostanietsava & Valeriia Kostaniets won all dances in the RS Smooth.  This is the best dancing we’ve seen from this duo all weekend.  There was an interesting tie break for 2nd spot that involved both a Rule 10 and a Rule 11.  Jan Ondrias & Saori De Souza eventually took it 2,3,3,2 over Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo 3,2,2,3.

Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi made it a double by winning the RS Latin.  They had also won the Open Latin the night before.  2nd were Andrey Volooshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko and they were 2nd in all dances.  Sasha Altukov & Cheyenne Murillo were 3rd in all dances tonight.  In yesterday’s blog we commented on how surprised we were that they did not make the semifinal of the Open Latin.  It appears they did have sufficient marks to make that round, but withdrew due to health problems.

Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova completed the 2nd half of their show to a very appreciative audience.  Many considered this the best “show” performance that they have ever seen from these great champions.  When a couple has been champion for so many years, they must, of course, change their show routines frequently.  And we agree that the current 5 numbers they are performing are particularly appealing.

The evening ended with a fun cocktail party held in the Sports Bar of the hotel and today everyone is back at work for a day of junior and amateur competition.

Going “Smoothly Latin” at Autumn Classic

The San Francisco Autumn Classic is underway at the Hyatt Regency close to San Francisco Airport.  This is the fourth year this “classic” California event (we think this is the 29th year of this competition) has been organized by Jonathan Wilkins and Olga Foroponova and it seems to be their best year.  As always the ballroom is beautifully and very contemporarily decorated.

Last night we saw 2 really excellent open professional divisions in the Smooth and Latin.  Both were exciting, although the Smooth had more of the nation’s high rollers competing.


In fact AC15-Perzhucurrent US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu were here and they won all dances although those couples immediately below them are sniping away.  They won 3 dances with the majority of 1st places but not the Viennese Waltz.  In that last dance they had 7 first places, 2nd placed Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija had 4 and so did 3rd placed Yegor Novikov & Aleksandra Smirnova.  Peter and Aleksandra had mostly 1st and 2nd places from the judges with a couple of 3rd thrown in and two fourth places in waltz from Lisa Bellinger and Stephen Hannah and another 4th from Lisa in foxtrot.

NicAC15-Cheremukhink & Viktorija were 2nd in all dances and did have the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances.  Interestingly they had no scores lower than 3rd place.  Yegor & Aleksandra were 3rd in all dances and again received few scoresAC15-Yegor lower than 3rd except from Wendy Johnson who placed them 4th in all dances.

Leading the chasing pack were Evegeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan and they were 4th in all dances.  We thought they were fully in contention and did receive some 3rd places in cluding 4 3rds from Wendy.  Slava & Valeriia Kostaniets were 5th in all dances and Michael Choi and Erin Marie were 6th in all.

ThAC15-Bertinie Latin was not as clear-cut and so it was particularly exciting.  There were 2 frontrunners, we thought and they did finish in the top 2 places.  The winners were Francesco Bertini & Sabrina Manzi and they placed 1,1,1,1,2.  This young couple are fresh from great success at the International in London and it showed in their confident performance.  Full of strength and charisma.  It was a tight finish but they did manage the majority of 1sts in 2 dances – cha cha and samba.  

The other half of this duel was Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina and they scored 2,2,2,2,1.  They had the majority of 1st places in the jive.  These two couples are great recent additions to the US Pro Latin scene.


Third were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova 3,3,3,4,3.  It was a bit of a tough fight for them and they did not have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ scores in any dance.  Next up were Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina 4,4,4,3,4.  We thought their best dance was rumba.  With 5,6,5,6,5, Andrey Volooshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko took 5th and with 6,5,6,5,6 Boris Rudenko & Krestina Beregova were 6th.  Interestingly Boris & Krestina picked up a few 1st places.

We were very surprised that Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo failed to progress to the semifinal of 10.  They were a sure-thing from our standpoint.


ThAC15-Oscare other feature event of the night was the Open Amateur Ballroom.  Oscar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody, now from Utah, won all dances, but as the judges scores suggested, they started more strongly than they finished.  In the last 2  dances they were pushed hard by runners-up Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli.  Of the 13 judges 7 gave the foxtrot to Osca & Karolina and 5 to Angelo & Clarissa.  In the quickstep it was 6 each. The 3 earlier dances Oscar & Karolina won quite easily.  Angelo & Clarissa were 2nd in all dances.  2 brothers contested 3rd and 4th spots and 3rd went to Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsckanovsky in all dances.  Mikhail Vorobiev & Sofie Elliott were 4th in all.  5th were Christian Solares & Whitney Myers 5,5,5,5,5 and 6th, Alex & Olga Yates.

The RS PAC15-Setfanoro Ballroom was also a close finish with the result going to Stefano DiBrino & Binka Zubrowska 1,1,2,2,1.  2nd were Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko 2,2,1,1,2.  3rd in all dances went to Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson.

The pro-ams competed in Rhythm and Ballroom.  We thought the Open Scholarships in the Ballroom were the strongest heats of the day.  It was a good day from instructor Sergey Kiselev as his student Natalie Rezai won the Open A and another of his students, Grace Wang won the B.  Deborah Errico w/ Dariusz Michalski won the Open C.

For entertainment, the audience was treated to two numbers from US and World Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova.  They will dance again tonight.

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