Doing it Dance By Dance at Empire
Once again last night, Empire State, ran the open professional events on a dance by dance basis meaning that there was the potential for different finalists to be called for each dance. This is what occurred in one style but not in the other. In the Rhythm the same 7 finalists were recalled for all 5 dances, but not so in the Ballroom.
The rhythm brought together the number 1 and number 2 couples in the USA currently, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. Emmanuel & Liana, current US Champions, won all 5 dances. They received perfect scores (17 1st places) in mambo. The closest scored dance was swing where they won by 11 to 6. Interestingly no other couple received a 2nd place except Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov. Pat Traymore marked them 2nd in mambo and Nazar & Irina 4th.
The rest of the final was much more even. 3rd were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov 5,5,3,3,3. 4th overall went to Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti with 3,3,5,5,4. Donovan & Rose ended up 5th 4,4,4,4,5; Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash were 6th 6,7,6,7,6 and Andrei Svirydzenka & Yulia Zubova were 7th 7,6,7,6,7.
Marat Giamev & Alina Basyuk easily won all 5 dances in the Ballroom. Only 1 judge seriously dissented on their win and that was Michael Mead who placed them 4,3,4,2,3. Actually 5 couples made all 5 of the finals and they finished in the following order: 2nd in all dances were Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshch; 3rd in all Iaroslav Bieliel & Lilia Gladiuk. 4th overall went to Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya 5,4,4,4,4 and the last couple to make all finals, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were 5th 4,5,5,5,5. Making the top 6 in 3 dances, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina were 6th 6,6,7T,7T,6. Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen placed 6th in VW and 7th overall and Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were 6th in FT and 8th overall.
The Pro Cabaret had 9 entries of varying quality. The winners were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who were in exemplary form last night and we agreed with the judges’ decision. Craig Smith & Micheline were 2nd but had some rough moments in their routine we thought. 3rd were Daniel Enskat & Ahtoy Wonpat Borja and one of our favorites, James Brann & Sayra Vazquez were 4th.
The Open Amateur Latin was a royal match up of some of the leading couples in North America. Not surprisingly no couple received a majority of 1st place marks in any dance. However, winning 4 dances and placing 2nd in cha cha were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Kesselman – a much better result for this couple than at Manhattan Dancesport a month ago. 2nd by placing 1,2,3,3,2, were Sasha Chernositov & Arina Grishanina. This couple has taken the world by storm lately and this was still a good result for them. Andrei Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova were 3rd, 3,3,2,2,5. 4th place tonight went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriela Sabler, 4,6,4,4,3. Interestingly Pasha & Gabriela received the most 1st places of any couple in a dance – that was 6 in the jive. 5th and 6th fell to two u/21 couples. Austin Josen & Nino Dzneladze 5,4,5,5,4 were 5th and Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayword were 6th 6,5,6,6,6.
The Empire is Back!
The Empire State Championship is back but this time in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square in the Marriott Grand Marquis. You step out and you’re in the middle of the square surrounded by hundreds coming to see where it all happens!
And it's all here! The Empire last night had three major feature events the Professional Latin & Smooth and the Amateur Ballroom, all had great participation and terrific entries.
The professional events were judged a dance at a time meaning you could make it into the final of the cha cha but not the samba and every dance in both the Latin and the Smooth was judged the same, separately.
The obvious winners to us in the Latin were Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk. They won by a dance by winning the S,R,J and placing second in the other 2 dances.
For these two professional events it was open marking and there was a few oops and ahs from the attending audience. One judge dissented and placed the winners 6th. Wait for the full article for details on this and other events.
Second in this excellent heat and winning the Cha and the PD were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. They too had plenty of fans in the audience making it an exciting final to watch. Third overall in this parade of stars was awarded to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko 3,4,3,3,4.
Eugeny Likahachev & Marya Levina were fourth overall 4,3,6,4,7. Fifth went to Mykhail Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina 6,5,5,5,3. Jean-Philipe Milot & Laurence Bulduc were sixth overall 5,6,4,6,6. Seventh was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 7,8,7,7,5. Daniel Juvet & Zuzana Sykorova were 8th 8,7,8,8,8
The Professional Smooth was also run one dance at a time but here there were few or no any variables. Mazen Hamza & Izabella won all four dances, Travis & Jamie Tuft took all seconds, and Kyle & Allie Spinder took all thirds. All fourths went to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi. Fifth in all was awarded to Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko and all sixths went to Morten Jensen & Anastasia, leaving 7th place for Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov.
The Amateur ballroom all dances went to the Ends. Second overall was Klepadlo/Bakhtiarova they placed second in every dance but the quickstep where they took 4th. Third place overall went to Cutler /Primeau, they took third in w,t,VW, fourth in the fox and second in the quickstep. Fourth was awarded to Plozaj/Kaczmarski 4,4,4,3,3 and fifth was Hacke/Hermanova and sixth was Pavlov/Spernacka.
The evening concluded with high-energy local team match! Everyone had a great time the only problem is that it took us into the morning hours, making the after party less desirable to attend. Or at least for the Dance Beat group. However, the competition was worth the time, in our opinion it was an excellent night for the Empire at Times Square, New York City.
Florida State 2015
Busy and successful weekend for a lot of dancers at the Florida State Championships at the Sarasota Ritz Carlton. With over 7,000 entries the ballroom kept full and the dancers busy. Look at the weekend in pictures and stay tuned for further report.
Can-Am Closes on a Golden Note!
The 2015 Can-Am Dancesport Gala came to a close Saturday on a golden note. Well known dancer, competitor and main character documentary feature films “Mad Hot Ballroom,” and “Dancing in Jaffa” Pierre Dulaine was presented with the Can-Am’s Lifetime Achievement Award. It was very emotional for the organizers and everyone came to their feet as he was introduced. Pierre was very gracious and soon after the competition was finished and the show was over he stayed and took pictures with many of the fans.
The feature events Saturday night were the Professional Smooth that started with a semifinal and the Professional Latin. Both competitions were excellent and entertaining to us and the audience who stayed in their seats until the very end. The Professional Smooth went to Kyle & Allie Spindler from the USA who won all dances and far out danced everyone else. Kyle & Allie also won the Cabaret competition the same evening. Second in every dance went to Canada’s Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko, this couple was totally worthy of this position and a surprise to a number of judges who wondered why they do not compete more often in the USA. Adrian & Hanna Dydynski were third in all dances, we are sure a few attendees and even possibly Adrian & Hanna were a little surprised to have a Canadian couple get ahead of them.
Fourth in every dance went to Viktor & Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina, fifth in every dance was awarded to Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite and sixth went to Christopher & Jenny Sochnacki.
The Latin was a five couple final and here the top three couples were top of the line. The winners in every dance were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. Second overall were Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko who tied for second in the cha cha with Jean Philippe Milot & Lorance Bolduc, placed third in the jive and second in the other three dances. Jean Philippe & Lorance were third overall and placed third in three dances, second in the jive and tied for second in the cha cha. In fourth place were Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier and fifth went to Steve Forrest & Bianca Izzo.
The Amateur Ballroom event was also excellent with two very high quality couples fighting for the top spot, James Cutler & Virginia Primeau and Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor. In the end every dance went to James & Virginia leaving all seconds to Florin & Natalia. To us both couples were excellent but it was also clear to the trained eye that James & Virginia looked a little more experienced and their skill easier to read and understand. Third overall were Brenton Michell & Alexandra Sevastianova.
The Junior Latin event was only a three couple run but the couples were all of a good level with huge potential. Danny Zhelasko & Emma Gladubakh placed first in four dances and second in the cha cha. First in this dance and second on the other four dances went to Samuel Hakobian & Sabrina Le. Third in all dances were Ryan Tzanko & Nicole Lerman.
The evening ended with a show “Dancing Beyond the Stars” featuring both amateur and professional dancers. Our favorite number tonight was by James Cutler & Virginia Primeau who danced a clever routine to “Me and my Shadow.” The show was produced by Wendy Johnson and as always featured those of the judges with the “gumption” to also perform at the end.
Rhythm Semifinal for First Time!
Last night we saw the first professional semifinal ever in the Pro Rhythm at Can Am Gala. Perhaps this is a sign that the USA is finally taking note of this elegant competition north of the border in Toronto!
As expected USA dominated this event. Winners tonight were Aaron & Iryna DeSoto and they won all dances with their action-packed dancing. 2nd in all dances were Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt. We thought this was a closer race than the scores indicated. 3rd went to Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubova, 3,3,4,3,4. We felt they were also very much in the mix with the top 2. The only Canadian couple to make the final placed 4th, Boris Vdovine & Patricia Esty 5,4,3,4,3. 5th were Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina 6,5,5,5,6 and 6th Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padlekaite 4,6,6,6,5.
Canada got their revenge in the Open Ballroom with 4 of the 5 finalists. Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshch won all dances ahead of fellow Ontarinans, Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen who were 2nd in all. All the way from Germany, Volker Schmidt & Ellen Jonas took 3rd in all dances. 2 couples from Quebec closed the final, Steve Forrest & Bianca Izzo 4,4,4,4,4 and Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin 5,5,5,5,5.
6 couples entered the Professional Showdance (Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva had to withdraw). The winners were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who performed a showy samba. 2nd went to the Rhythm Champs, Aaron & Iryna with their disco/hip hop cha cha. Kyle & Allie Spinder were 3rd.
There was also an upbeat Open Amateur Latin but sadly it attracted no entries from the USA. Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward were in great form and took all dances. Christopher Navas & Alina Totska, a new partnership we believe) were 2nd in all. All couples finished in the same position in all dances. 3rd Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru, 4th Sandu Babira & Alisa Dombrovsky, 5th Simeon & Dimitrina Vassilev, 6th Joey De Angelis & Elise Magliocchetti.
The weather this year in Toronto is perfect! The downtoen location, Westin Harbour Castle, is delightful as it sits right on the bank of the Lake with nice walks past the boats and plenty of activity.
Stay tuned for more from Can Am tomorrow!
Volunteer State launches TV World Network!
The Volunteer State Championship, organized by David Medeiros, was the location for the launch of the Dance Network. The Dance Network is going to be a television cable channel dedicated to dance and what we all love the most, ballroom dancing, this network will feature ballroom competitions as well as dance movies from Fred Astaire to Dirty Dancing, etc. and even their own programing will be featured there.
With a television studio the size of a football field, the Dance Network will be able to create their own programing, featuring all the different styles of dancing, tap, jazz, flamenco you name it. This multi-million dollar investment is the creation of David Medeiros, the organizer, and Julie Stadler who is a Pro/Am Ballroom fan and competitor. From their presentation we can see that this venture will be competing with networks such as the History Channel, Animal Planet and the Food Network. Finally we will have a Network that will cater to all dancing, and especially to ballroom Dancing. This is an incredible undertaking and one that we as a group should be proud. We should all stand behind it. As in everything viewership is everything and it is important that when it airs we watch and we stay tuned in.
Talking of viewership, the Professional “Star Rhythm Tour” was also a major success here at the Volunteer State. This was the third stop for the rhythm couples to accumulate points and win dollars to the tune of over $50,000.00. Each leg has been a little different and as the tour moves on the tension on all front mounts with anticipation as to who will take the $25,000.00 purse for first place. When it came to internet viewership this tour had the most so far with hundreds of devices being used and tracked. Viewership as I mentioned is the name of the game and on this leg of this tour we had a huge increase of people viewing the competition at home on their computers.
The winner of the tour will be determined by a combination of 3 different scores - or points given for the 3 different challenges. Firstly the group competition, secondly the solo exhibition and lastly the audience participation vote. On this leg the overall competition went to Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryshova who earned a total of 138.64 points. In the group competition they were second best overall. The judges’ scores on each dance were 2,3,2,2,2. This earned them a total of 24 points for their group effort. In their solo presentation they received the third best score of the evening from the judges, a 94.14 total. What put this couple above the rest in this third leg of the tour was the audience. They were the audience’s favorite when it came to the solo with 41% of their vote they managed to accumulate a total of 20.5 points towards their final tally, giving them an overall score of 138.64 points and so they won the Volunteer State leg.
Second on this leg was awarded to Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova. They of course were the favorite to win the group competition and this they certainly did, first in every dance from the group judging panel. This was a great push towards the finish line and the most you can earn on the group dances, 30 points or a perfect score. In the solo section of the competition they also shone with the best score of the night 95.43. However, their weakest this time was motivating their fans to vote. In the scheme of things they were third best with the audience but a sad finish that was only 5% of the popular vote, this was not good enough to push them to the top at this leg with only 2.5 points added for this effort. Overall they received 127.93 points total towards the tour, a difference of 8.71 between them and the leading couple on this leg. Most effort needs to be applied in awakening the interest of their fans to vote. We must also point out that the Star Tours are not a walk in the park. The different variables make it very interesting for us the viewers, something that we need in this industry (more fans and people watching) but this makes it a challenge for the couples that are new to this and do not always end in the position they are accustomed to. Emanuel & Liana are the perfect example, they placed last on the first leg in Colorado due to a time rule penalty, first in Twins Cities and now second on this third leg.
Third in this leg of the tour went to Andre & Natalie Paramonov. They placed third in four of the five dances of the group competition and second in the rumba, this effort gave them 21 points towards their tally. Andre & Natalie were the second best after Emanuel & Liana in their solo performance with 94.57 points awarded to them by the judges. In the popular vote they were fourth in this effort with only 3% of the vote, giving them 1.5 extra points. In the end their overall score for this leg of the tour came to 117.07.
We acknowledge a glitch that occurred immediately following the solo presentation. About 8 minutes following the solo Star Tour Challenge it was brought to our attention that on the TV screen in the ballroom the couple that was number 108, Andre & Natalie, appear as number 103. This was confirmed and changed right away. Although the error was on the screen, there were cards on the tables with their correct names and numbers. Also, the announcer read the correct name and number for each couple. For viewers voting on a computer device everything was correct.
To insure the integrity of the vote, every vote had to be looked at closely as to who voted, how it was voted and at what time. As we looked into this matter, we realized that at this competition the majority of the votes for all couples came from people at a computer looking at the show and not from texting on cellular phones. We were then able to look at a spreadsheet as to who got the text votes. In comparison with the other events the numbers were all very consistent. After looking over every vote for the past two days, we find that this glitch did not have any impact or consequence for the couples involved and is not significant to the final tally.
Fourth was awarded to Aaron & Irina Desoto. They placed fourth in all their group dances obtaining 15 points towards their final score. They were the fourth best solo with a score 90.29, their audience score was higher than Emanuel & Liana’s and Andre & Natalie with an 8% of the vote picking up 4 extra points for this, giving them the final tally of 109.29.
The second favorite couple of the audience was Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Kinney, they came into the solo as the audience wildcard, getting only 3 points for this before the solos began. Daniel & Taylor have always been the favorite of the audience at every stop where they have competed and this time they almost did it again. They lost the audience favorite position to Nazar & Irina by 1 point with 40% of the audience vote. They might have lost the popularity contest by one vote but they still were awarded 20 points for this towards their final score. The judges were also not thrilled with Daniel & Taylor’s “Lion King” performance. Their routine was scored only 65.00 points awarded by the judges. Their overall score was of 88.00 putting them in fifth position on this the 3rd leg of the Star Rhythm Tour.
Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova placed sixth overall on this leg of the tour. They made the final and placed 6th in every dance. They got a point per dance and so 5 points were awarded for their effort in the group final. Their solo was not marked in the nineties, but their score was not the lowest they got 81.14 towards the run. When it came to the audience their popularity was not as strong. They picked up 3% of the vote and got 1.5 extra points as did the Paramonovs. In the end adding these points up, their overall score was of 87.64. This score was good enough to keep them in play but not to go further than 6th position at this third leg of the tour.
Seventh position overall on the tour was awarded to Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson. They placed fifth in every dance in the group competition. This effort gained them 10 points towards the final tally. Their solo performance was the lowest marked, perhaps due to the fact that they did not have a prepared routine. The judges awarded them 63.86. Their popularity with the audience totally fell with 0% awarded to them by the audience and so no points were awarded to them by the audience. Their final tally was the lowest of this leg of the Star Ballroom Tour a 73.86 total, putting them in seventh position.
Overall this leg of the City Lights Star Rhythm Tour was a fantastic success the amount of people watching on their computer monitors at home and away from the competition was amazing. We tabulated that close to 1,000 people or devices, 98% being computers, were in use, with I’m sure the majority or all watching the Star Rhythm Tour. With every stop the tour continues to engage more fans and more people. This is great for the industry since this will be what will get more sponsorship money for professional dancing in America for future endeavors. The City Lights Star Tours want to once again thank all the couples that are supporting this venture. And finally we want to remind the couples that you most attend and compete at the City Lights Ball in order to collect what is owed to you. Congratulations to all, and you can see the final tallies and where you stand after this leg at www.dancebeat.com.
Sunday A Good Finish For IGB
Sunday night was a good finish for the IGB. 2 good open pro divisions and some interesting U/21 divisions, one of which produced a different result to the Youth division.
Of the two open pro divisions the Smooth was larger and began with a semifinal. Basically two couples were far ahead of the field and these were the eventual winners, Yegor Novikov & Alexandria Smirnova and the runners-up, Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan. Yegor & Alexandria won all dances with the majority of 1st places. They produce wonderful, elongated lines and seem to get more settled each time we see them. Evgeny & Anna have a more dramatic style and this was the best performance we have seen from them so far. They were 2nd in all dances. 3rd went to Peter Hahn & Jude Coraldi, 4,3,3,3. This duo also continues to improve. It was good to see Eric Koptke & Chelsea Farrah back on the floor after an extended layoff. They were 4th with 3,4,4,4. Kyle & Christina Campbell were 5th in all and Jonathan Atkinson & Lrena Bravo were 6th in all.
The Open Latin finished as a straight final after a couple of cancelations. The winners in all dances were Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova. They put in a strong showing and were the audience favorites, but they had to give up some 1st places in all dances to the Rising Star Winners, Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina. The closest fought dance was the cha cha that Andrey & Yulia won by 7 first places to 4. Comfortably 3rd in all dances were Maxim Kapitanikov & Natalia Fridmanovich. 4th Artjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Vasily Anokhin & Kristina Androshenko 4,4,5,5,5; 6th Kiril Nikitin & Jenya Kanchukova 6,6,6,6,6.
The U/21 Ballroom was interesting because the 1st and 2nd places were reversed from the same style of the Youth. Tonight Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky were the winners 1,2,1,1,2 over Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu 2,1,2,2,1. Both couples are great additions to this style and we did think that Justin & Sasha danced the best and most consistently that we have ever seen from them. 3rd were Jacob Tsai & Cara Loo.
The U/21 Latin was an 8-couple final and the winners were Giulio Ferrante & Lidia Martinez Espinosa 1,1,3,3,1. All couples were at a high level in the final and the results were anything but clear. 2nd were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets 2,2,1,2,2 and 3rd, Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky 3,3,2,1,3. These 3 couples are all from the Bay Area. 4th, from MA were Steven Varshavsky & Karolina Loutnikov 4,4,4,4,5 and also from MA Murat Medzhidor & Valerie Dubinsky were 5th 6,5,5,5,4. Lance Yasinsky & Annabelle Vinckur were 6th 5,7,7,6,6; Zika Trajovic & Scarlett Liafer were 7th 8,6,6,7,7 and Adrian Grobeiny & Tanya Smith were 8th 7,8,8,8,8.
There was also a fun youth and junior team match that the audience seemed to very much enjoy.
At the end of the evening we celebrated the 84th birthday of the incredible Mr. Ken Sloan.
Avdeev/Blinova Take 2nd leg of Star Ballroom Tour
Last night marked leg 2 of the Star Ballroom Tour sponsored by City Lights here at IGB. It resulted in a win for Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova. They swept the board tonight winning the Freestyle, the Showdance and the Audience Vote. Following the first leg at Yankee Classic they were in 4th place and this win moves them up to 2nd. The overall leaders after 2 legs are Alexander Voscalchuk & Veronica Egorova who were the runners-up here tonight, again in all 3 categories. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova remain in 3rd place overall. The full results from the Star Tours will soon be available here. Check the rankings. Look out also for an analysis by Keith Todd and video commentary by Stephen Cullip on the Freestyle section and Michael Mead & Toni Redpath on the Showdances. All coming soon!
Michael Towslizew & Tiffany Fung were the 7th couple to dance a solo as they were the audience's "wildcard" selection from the semifinalists.
The 5-Dace Open Pro Ballroom was extremely tight tonight. Mikhail & Olga won the division but it was a Rule 11 tie between them and Alexander & Veronika. Mikhail & Olga placed 1,2,2,1,1T and Alex & Veronica 2,1,1,2,1T. There is very little light between these two couples and we are all looking forward to more exciting duels. Things were also tight between 3rd and 4th but by two points Andre Begunov & Anna Demidova took it, placing 4,3,3,4,3 and in their first competition back on the floor, Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa were 4th, 3,4,4,3,5. And in the 3rd of the tight races Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti were the winners taking 5th spot with 6,5,5,6,4 over Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 5,6,6,5,6.
The other Open Pro event of the night was Rhythm and this was comfortably won by Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd with 2,2,2,2,3 were Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti. 3rd were Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman 3,3,3,4,4 and with the widest range of scores, 5,4,4,5,2, Jeremy Babgay & Carolyn Barreno took 4th. 5th fell to David Moon & Sydney Petersen 4,5,5,3,5 and 6th to Richard & Marianne Myers.
The Open Amateur Latin was a very strong event with competitors from both coasts. Taking all dances and giving a totally “in command” performance were Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler who easily won all dances. Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrschaft were the runners-up scoring 2,2,2,2,3. The second of the East Coast couples in the final, Allen Rudman & Svetlana Lisnaya were 3rd 3,4,3,3,2. Giulio Ferrante & Lidia Maria Espinosa were 4th 6,3,4,4,4. Two youth couples closed the final, Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Kletts in 5th 4,5,5,5,6 and Mike Monokandilios & Sophia Brodsky 6th 5,6,6,6,5.
Ilya Rezin will have a report on this division.
It was a great night for Junior II competitors Eric Linder & Rickie Taylor who won both the Ballroom and Latin divisions taking all dances in both divisions. Tyler Li & Angelica Lowe were the runners-up in both and also were 2nd in all dances. Continuing the tradition, Jared Alley & Sabrina Bezzant were 3rd in both. These were scholarship divisions sponsored by the CBZ Foundation.
The Youth Latin was an excellent 8-couple final that was a nightmare for the judges. We thought it was a great race for 1st between the top two couples. Winning by 3 dances to 2 tonight were Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Kletts 1,1,2,2,1 over fellow Bay Area competitors, Mike Monokandilios & Sophia Brodsky 2,2,1,1,2. We thought thesetwo couples were well clear, but the rest of this excellent final was up for grabs. Erik & Rickie moved up from the J2 division to take 3rd 3,3,3,4,4. Lance Yasinsky & Annabelle Vinckur were 4th 6,5,4,3,6; Murat Medzhidor & Valerie Dubinsky 5th 4,6,7,6,3; Tyler Adler & Makayla Bezzant 6th 7,7,5,5,5; Daniel Bernecker & Charity Anderson 7th 5,4,6,7,7; Zika Trajkovic & Scarlett Liaifer 8th 8,8,8,8,8.
Youth & Amateur Ballroom Headline at IGB
For us the flavor of the night was Ballroom and that means the Open Amateur and Youth divisions. Both semifinals and both filled with quality dancing.
The Youth was first on and we saw the great dancing in this division that the Bay area has, plus a few good “outsiders.” The winners were Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu 1,1,1,2,1. This is Mr. & Ms. Perfect – rarely do we see them out of position or sometimes it seems even breaking a sweat. This is their strength and their weakness we believe. Winning foxtrot and placing 2nd in the other dances were Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky from MA. These are rather the antithesis of the winners. They dance with much passion but sometimes get stuck in some awkward positions. We loved their waltz & foxtrot. 3rd in all dances were Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky. Another great SF team, they sometimes seem a little tight to us, but move beautifully. MA took the next position also Murat Medzhidor & Valerie Dubinsky 5,4,4,4,5. A new partnership that exhibits great, free flowing movement and should be strong contenders soon. Jacob Tsai & Cara Loo were 5th with 6,6,5,5,4. They too show great promise once some positional problems are addressed. We were also impressed with the clean performance of 6th placed Daniel Bernecker & Charity Anderson from UT 4,5,6,6,6. Perhaps they need to let go a bit more.
Comfortable winners of the Open Amateur were Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtierova who won all dances deservedly in our view. From our perspective it was a little closer for 2nd but the Runners-up Ferando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili were 2nd in all dances and 3rd placed Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor were 3rd in all. These are two couples with very different appearances and styles. Mike & Sophia also danced in this division and were 4th 5,4,4,4,5. 5th went to Daniel Rubahevsky & Anastasiya Vysotska 4,5,6,5,4 and 6th to Christian Solares & Whittney Myers 6,6,5,6,6.
All 4 styles in the Pro Rising Star were also held – all straight finals. The best we thought was the Latin. This was a showcase for Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina who have made such an impression recently. They won all dances. 2nd in all went to Maksim Kapitanikov & Natalia Shchypilina and 3rd in all were Artjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina.
Kyle & Christina Campbell won the RS Smooth – all dances, Jonathan Atkinson & Loreno Bravo were 2nd in all and Kelton & Jessica Johnson were 3rd in all.
Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno won the RS Rhythm 1,2,2,1,1. David Moon & Sydney Petersen were 2nd 2,1,1,2,2 and Alejandro & Lucelia Falcon were 3rd in all dances.
Stay tuned for tonight’s results that include the 2nd leg of the Star Rhyhtm Tour.
Star Rhythm Tour Second Leg
(sponsored by City Lights Ball)
The second leg of the tour in Minneapolis, Minnesota was a model of just how exciting the Star Tours can be. The couples competed to a full house and thrilled the audience and even the judges as they took to the floor to present their solo performances one couple at a time starting with the audience’s pick (The Wildcard).
The audience’s favorite tonight and their pick from the semifinalists at this Star Rhythm Tour stop were Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson from Brookfield, Wisconsin. Slash & Meghan probably had an advantage here as this is their hometown, but funnily enough when it came to their solo performance the audience pulled away from them leaving them with only 3% of the votes from the audience adding only 1.5 points to their cumulative score. Slash & Megan went out of the box when it came to their solo they did an “I love Lucy” routine with a hint of comedy but very up beat. However, the judges were also not behind them, they scored the lowest of all the scores a 79.29 overall from the judges. We must also mention that Slash & Megan came with a disadvantage because they did not earn any points in the group competition, they did not make the group final, and so received only 3 points total going into the solos for being the audience favorite. Their grand total was 83.79 on this second leg of the tour.
Sixth in this leg of the tour was awarded to Aaron & Iryna DeSoto who gave us also an uplifting routine that was well received by the audience and by the judges who awarded them 85.43 points making it the fourth best score the judges gave for the solos in this leg. Unlike Slash & Megan they did make the impressive group competition final and here they earned 5 points total - they placed sixth in every dance and so they picked up a point per dance. They were also the audience fourth favorite in the solos. They received 9% of the audience vote earning them 4.5 points toward this leg total and placing them in sixth position at this event with a 94.93. Aaron & Iryna participated on the first leg and so to see were Aaron & Iryna stand overall after the second leg, see the cumulative totals here on Dance Beat. (Star Dance Tours Rules and Results).
Fifth in this leg was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka. The judges awarded them 85.29 points for their solo routine. This was quite a good score but the audience failed them. They only received 2% of the popular vote giving them only 1 point extra towards their final score. However, they did dance in the group competition and they took 3 fifths and 2 fourths and this gave them 12 points towards their final tally of 98.29 points total. Mykyta & Anna are new to the tour and you can also see where they stand in the Rhythm Tour cumulative scores here on Dance Beat.
Fourth overall on this second stop went to Ilya Velednitskiy & Mariya Ilchenko. They too are new to this tour. Their solo performance was not placed as well as Mykyta & Anna’s by the judges, but the difference was not great. The judges scored them 84.86. Ilya & Mariya danced in the group competition final and here they earned one point more than Mykyta & Anna, 13 points total by placing 4,4,5,4,5. In the audience’s eyes they were like Mykyta & Anna, they shared in 2% of the vote and so only 1 point was added to them from the audience. Their total scores for this leg of the Star Rhythm Tour was 98.86.
Things really heat up when it came to the top three places. Third in this exciting second stop of the tour was awarded to Andre & Natalie Paramonov who received the second best score from the judges awarded in the solo portion of the tour, it was a whamming 96.29 points. This couple also danced in this exciting group final and here they placed third in all five dances earning them a total of 20 points. However, the fans helped but not enough to push them over the top. They received 18% of the audience’s vote giving them 9 points extra but that was not enough to place first or second. In the end their overall score was of 125.29 points, good enough to stay afloat but they are going to have to work hard on popularity to stay comfortably where they currently stand, second place in the overall race.
Second on this stop were Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. They participated in the first leg of the tour at the Colorado Star ball and overall they are currently the front-runners of this Star Rhythm Tour. However, they won Colorado but here they placed second overall. When it came to their solo performance the judges placed them below Andre & Natalie with 96.14 points (a very small difference). They also placed second in every dance in the group competition earning them a few more points freezing the Parmonovs with 25 points. But their biggest strength on this leg of the tour was the audience who loved this couple. They earned the best audience score of this leg with 39% of the popular vote, earning them 19.5 points and placing them second overall on this leg of the tour with 140.64 points total.
The winners of this leg of the tour were Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who, if you remember, were knocked down to last place at Colorado for breaking the time rule of the tour. However, this is a very resilient couple that came back stronger than ever. This time without breaking any rules, they earned the highest score from the judges for their solo performance, a 97.86. They won all dances in the group competition taking perfect scores in this section of the tour and that was 30 points total. They too were prepared and did a good job mobilizing their fans around the country. They received the second most amount of points after Nazar & Irina, 13.5 points coming from 27% of the audience vote total.
For us and for everyone participating and watching at home this was a nail-biting experience. The couples’ performances were all beautiful and exquisite to watch. The tension builds as we move on to leg three of the Star Rhythm Tour in Nashville, Tennessee that will finish at the home of the tours, the City Lights Ball. We want to thank all the couples for their effort and for their participation. You can see that when we all push together we can move mountains and we are moving mountains and setting new standards for dancing and compensation for professional dancing in America.
Saturday at Manhattan
Click here for video from SuperShag
With so much good dancing here at Manhattan yesterday everyone was picking their favorites – both the judges and the audience we assume! While all 3 of the feature events last night, Open Pro Ballroom, Open Pro Rhythm & Open Amateur Latin, had clear winners, there was so much to look at every event was interesting.
Starting with the Pro Ballroom, WDC World Champions, Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova notched up a perfect score receiving every available 1st place from the judges. We thought they were in great form too and did we even see some new styling from them in places?
Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk also had clear majorities of 2nd places to easily take the runners-up spot. A couple of ladies on the judging panel, Maria Johnson and Iveta Lukosute, had them lower in all dances and they were joined by Mireille Veilleux, Jonathan Wilkins and Colin Hillary in some random dances. The battle for 3rd – 6th was much tighter with the judges scoring the couples all over the place. Even the final summary shows this. With 3,3,4,4,3 Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva got the best of it but they did not have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ in any dance. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 4th with 5,6,3,3,4. They did have a slim majority of ‘3rd or better’ in the foxtrot. Canada sneaked in among the USA couple as Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh took 5th with 4,5,5,6,5 and Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova were 6th with 6,4,6,5,6. This was a splendid competition all the way from the 1st round.
Charlotte Jorgensen will report on this division for Dance Beat soon.
US Champions, Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, were the easy winners in the Rhythm. They had almost all 1st place marks with a smattering of 2nd’s and only one lower score, a 4th in swing from judge Mark Weiss. We liked Liana’s new, sophisticated look!
Similarly, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were easily 2nd with strong majorities of 2nd places and very few scores lower than a 3rd. They also received a 4th place, this time in rumba from judge Aigers Stolcers. 3,3,4,3,4 gave Andre & Natalie Paramonov a 3 to 2 scores over Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova with 4,4,3,4,3. A tighter race than recently seen from these two although the Paramonovs did have the majority of ‘3rd or better’ scores in the 3 dances they placed 3rd. However, we also thought that this was a very strong performance from Mikhail & Vanda. Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone were 5th with 5,5,5,6,5 and Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haragouchi were 6th 6,6,6,5,6.
Wendy Johnson will have the report on this division.
The Amateur Latin for us was the most interesting event of the night and an almost impossible choice for the judges at every round. Some great couples fell by the wayside early in the competition and to them we would only say, “don’t be discouraged” this was a tremendous event from round 1 and the choices the judges were faced with were miniscule in their differences.
The event did have easy winners and this was Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva from Denmark who won all dances with clear majorities of 1st places. The only really low score they received was a 5th in cha cha from judge, Mark Weiss.
2nd in all dances went to Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach. They had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances except samba. Interestingly they received only one 1st place and that was from judge Keith Todd in rumba, but they had a number of judges placing them either 5th or 6th also. The great success of the night was 3rd placed Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina who scored 5,3,3,4,6. Those final placements give you a sense of how tight this final was. Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler were 4th with 4,4,5,5,3 and for us this couple showed the greatest improvement of the night. Gabriella especially was on fire tonight in the faster rhythm dances. Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina were 5th scoring 3,6,4,6,4. They have a more serious demeanor than some of the other couples. We felt their best dance was paso doble, although the majority of judges did not seem to agree. Closing this final were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman with 6,5,6,3,5.
Next into this final were Austin Josen & Nino Dzedneladze and we felt they did an outstanding job. We were also impressed with the improvement in Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova.
Nadia Eftedal will report on this division for Dance Beat.
Travis & Jaimee Tuft won the 4-couple Professional Cabaret and gave what we considered a faultless performance of their style of cabaret performance. It was great to see June Mavor, a pioneer of this style of dancing in the audience. June and husband Roy, were the early directors of dance at BYU and great cabaret champions. Travis & Jaimee are both alumni of BYU.
The daytime session was filled with pro-am Latin and what great Open Scholarships we saw. Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) won all dance in the A division. This young lady has improved so much over the last year. Great job! Sabrine won all dances. The whole final was strong today. 2nd in all dances fell to Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinado and 3rd in all was Joanna Wa w/ Plamen Danailov. These two ladies are also both excellent but have very different styles and personalities. Maria Ceva w/ Lyubomir Asenov was 4th 6,4,4,4,5; Mona Xia w/ Andrew Phillips 5th 5,5,5,5,4; Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi 6th 4,6,6,6,6.
The B division went to Russia in a tight race. Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov won the event 2,1,1,1,2, three dances to two over Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev 1,2,2,2,1. Two great ladies in a great duel. 3rd went to Canada, Marialisa De Gasperis w/ Kamil Studenny who placed 3,3,4,3,3. Maria Seragou w/ Dimitrios Damalas was 4th 4,4,3,6,5; Jelana Sevaljevic w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) was 5th 5,6,5,4,4 and Netsuyo Lipschutz w/ Nikolai Shpakov was 6th 6,5,6,5,6.
USA took the C Division. Lorraine Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline won the event 1,3,1,1,1, repeating her win from Millennium last week. Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was 2nd 2,2,2,2,3 and Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was 3rd 3,1,3,3,2. As you can see this was quite a close race. 4th in all was Tasha Romero w/ Evgeny Likachev; 5th in all Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov and 6th in all Fifi Wang w/ Delyan Terziev.
Today is junior day here at Manhattan Dancesport. We’re ready for the madness!
It was a night of spectacular dancing at Manhattan Dancesport last night and the winners of the two open professional divisions were “almost” perfect – at least according to the judges.
World WDC Latin Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko won all dances in the Open Pro Latin and had perfect scores of 15 first places from the judges in all dances – well almost. They received two 2nd places from judge Shirley Ballas, one in rumba and one in paso doble.
Shirley’s two 1st places went to the runners up, Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark). Their perfection of 15 second place marks in all dances was also spoiled by one judge, Chris Johnston awarded them 3rd in 3 dances, cha cha, samba and jive.
Competition for 3rd place was tough and was decided by 3 dances to 2. With 3,3,3,4,4, the 3rd spot went to Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir. This was their first time back on the floor after a lengthy sabbatical. They did not receive a majority of 3rd or better scores in any of the dances. Always one of our favorite teams it was good to see them back on the floor – were they fully up to speed? Let’s see how the reviews go in Dance Beat soon. The other half of this tussle were Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina with 4,4,4,3,3. Nikolai & Maria did receive the majority of 3rd or better scores in paso doble.
Two Canadian couples battled for 5th and 6th place but Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko came out clearly on top with majorities of 5th or better in all dances. 6th spot went to Jean-Philippe Milot & Larence Bulduc who we thought had a great semifinal round but faded a little in the final.
We also liked the winners of the RS, Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina, and indeed they were 7th well clear of the remaining semifinalists.
Klaus Kongsdal will have the full report in Dance Beat soon.
In the Open Pro Ballroom, the winners, US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu also won by a large majority of 1st places in all dances, but there were a few judges spoiling their “perfection” also. Most noticeable was Mireille Veilleux who scored them 6th in all dances. They also picked up a 4th in foxtrot from John Nyemchek. The rest of the panel placed them 1st with a couple of 2nds thrown in.
There were 2 couples fighting for 2nd and it was decided by 3 dances to 2 in the favor of Mikhail & Galina Zharinov 2,3,2,2 over Mazen Hamza & Izabela Jundzill 3,2,3,3. Neither couple had the majority of 2nd or better scores in any dance. They are very different in appearance and style – pay your money and take your choice! 4th and 5th was a split decision. The result went to Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija 4,4,5,5 over Travis & Jaimee Tuft 5,5,4,4. This marked a return to form for Travis & Jaimee who have received some lackluster results of late. New to the division and now finalists at their 2nd major championship in two weeks were Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova with 6th in all dances. This was a 7-couple final and Kyle & allie Spinder were 7th in all dances, perhaps disappointing for them as they have beaten both Novikov/Smirnova and the Tufts in recent competitions.
Larinda McRaven will report for Dance Beat soon.
“Close to” perfection continued into the Open Amateur Ballroom. ABC U.S. Champions, Andres & Veronica End won all dances with large majorities of 1st place marks. The lowest score they received was one 5th from John Nyemchek in VW. 2nd place was a USA/Canada battle that went to USA. Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova placed 2,2,2,2,3 to take the runners up spot. James Cutler & Virginie Primeau were 2nd 3,3,3,3,2. This was a reverse of form from last week at Millennium where James & Virginie won all 5 dances. 4th tonight were Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra 5,4,5,4,4 who we thought had a very good night. 5th were Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko 4,5,4,5,5 and 6th were Nicholas Kharlamov & Rochelle Kharlamov. Interestingly there were 2 brother/sister teams in this final.
Pierre Allaire will comment on this division for Dance Beat soon.
For the pro-ams it was a huge day of Ballroom that culminated with the best Open Scholarships so far. The Open C began with a 1st round of 3 heats, returning for a quarter-final. It was quite close for 1st place, but the winner was Jill Bradford w/ Andrea Stefano Stefano and she placed 2,1,1,2,1. This was the first time we had seen this pairing. The winner of this division at both Emerald Ball and Millennium, Hye-Kyong Park w/ Linas Korieva took 2nd here 1,2,2,1,2. All dances except waltz were won with a majority of 1st places. With 3,4,3,5,3, Rhonda Fisher w/ Gianni Caliandro was 3rd. 4th went to Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 4,3,5,3,5; 5th Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini 5,6,4,4,4; 6th Annie Chan w/ Denis Kutepov 6,5,6,6,6 and 7th to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 7,7,7,7,7.
It was a good day for the Stefano brothers as Andrea’s brother, Erminio, won the Open B with his student, Celia Chou. Celia won all dances with the majority of 1st places and perfect scores in the quickstep. 2nd in all dances, a marked improvement from last week’s scores at Millennium, was Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada). 3rd in all Leilani Veiney w/ Kamil Urbaniak. With 4,6,6,4,4, Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold took 4th. 5th was Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein 5,4,4,6,6 and 6th was Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico 6,5,5,5,5.
The winner of the Open A was Julia Shen w/ Alexander Voskalchuk who had the majority of 1st places in all dances except the quickstep. Runner-up today was Fuki Uekusa w/ Andrey Begunov. Fuki was 2nd in all dances. Canadian, Michelle Yeh w/ Anton Lebedev took 3rd, again in all dances. Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) was 4th 4,4,5,4; Lin Meng w/ Kamil Urbaniak was 5th 5,5,4,5,6 and Lisa Liao w/ Denis Kutepov was 6th 6,6,6,6,4.
We must compliment the organizers, Gary & Diana McDonald, on an excellent schedule that saw us out of the ballroom well before midnight. Gary shared with us that they had turned down late entries to preserve a comfortable schedule.
From All Quarters!
Thursday at Manhattan
The majority of the Thursday evening was dedicated to the professional rising star divisions – all four took place and all began with a quarter final except the ever shy Ballroom with only a semi.
In actuality the Ballroom gave us the tightest race with the winners, Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova, taking it by 3 dances to 2. Vlad & Ekaterina won W,VW, F. Their runners up were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska 2,1,2,2,1. These two couples have been facing off all over the country recently in this division and both are improving on every outing. Congratulations guys! Another one of our favorite up and coming couples in this style, Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson took 3rd, 4,3,3,3,4. Close behind them another couple whose quiet style is often overlooked, Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya 3,4,5,4,3. Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Katsukhina took 5th 6,5,4,5,6 and Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were 6th 5,6,6,6,5.
In two of the RS divisions the winners were 1st in all dances beginning with the Rhythm won by Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov. They have a light and engaging style on the floor that makes it very hard not to smile when watching them. 2nd and 3rd positions were also filled by very strong new couples. 2nd were Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 2,2,2,3,2 and 3rd, Ilya Abdulin & Tara Barakova 3,3,3,2,3. The scores for the last 3 positions were tight. Kosta Trifunovic & Domante Padleckaite 6,4,5,4,4 were 4th; Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay were 5th 4T,5,4,5,5; Eddie Rivera & Megham McNash were 6th 4T,6,6,6,6.
Mykhalio Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina won all dances in the Latin. This couple is taking the Latin division by storm lately and we can see why. They have a very unique presentation and exude confidence. 2nd went to Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo and they scored 2,3,2,2,2. Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser were also strong in 3rd place with 3,2,3,3,3. Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 4th in all dances, Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie were 5th in all and Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao were 6th in all.
The Smooth division offered a very mixed bag of styles and the adjudicators were not consistent in their placements – understandably. The winners were Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and they placed 2,1,1,1. They have made great progress since switching to this style. We would like to see some attention to use of feet in a more “ballroom” manner. 2nd was another one of our favorite couples, Adrian & Hannah Dydynski 1,2,2,2. With 4,4,3,3, Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth were 3rd and they dance what we would call a more traditional style of Smooth. Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobeiewski were 4th 3,3,5,5. We found them the least consistent – at times in winning form and at others seemingly a little lost. We would like to see softer arm and hand lines from Radek. Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow took 5th 5,6,4,4; Morten Jensen & Anastasia were 6th 6,5,6,6 and John Campbell & Jaki Brokman were 7th in this very strong and interesting final.
Run concurrently with these Rising Star divisions were some amateur events. The U/21 Ballroom and Latin were both very strong divisions with couples from Canada & USA. Nazariy Blagy & Michelle Kurpas won the Latin 1,1,2,2,2, Yevgenii Orlov & Maryna Yerina were 2nd 2,2,1,1,3 and Ryan Raffloer & Hanna Sverdlov were 3rd 3,3,3,3,1. As you can see a very close finish at the top.
Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarkski were the comfortable winners in the U/21 Ballroom. Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka were 2nd in all and Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky were 3rd in all.
We also saw the Senior II and Senior III Ballroom. Thomas Yu & Yuko Nauluani Yu won the II and Thomas & Renee Malinowski won the III.
For the pro-ams it was Smooth day and in the Open Scholarships it proved to be a good day for professional Mayo Alanen whose students won two of the divisions. Anna Derevyanchenko won the A with mayo, taking all dances. A former professional partner of Mayo/s Michelle Officer, took 2nd with her student Stefan Tuomanen 2,3,2,2. Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan was 3rd 3,2,3,3; Samanta Rico w/ Morten Jensen was 4th 4,4,4,5; Sarah Gladish w/ Ilya Reyzin was 5th 5,5,5,6 and Kailee Donovan w/ Gunnar Sverrisson was 6th 6,6,6,4.
Aiyesah Dey w/ Mayo was the winner of the B, again in all dances repeating her win from Emerald Ball last month. Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson took 2nd in all dances and Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen took all the 3rd’s. Daniella Koren w/ Greg Fidurski was 4th 5,4,4,4; Mary Lemmer w/ Tomas Mielnicki was 5th 4,5,5,5 and Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago was 6th in all dances.
Beverly Moore w/ Alain Doucet (Canada) was back on top in the C division overtaking last week’s winner at Millennium, Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Waitrowski by 3 dance to 1. Beverly placed 1,1,1,2 to Lisa’s 2,2,2,1. What a great competition between thesetwo very accomplished ladies! Keep up the good work! Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was 3rd in all dances and the winner of the Rhythm, Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin was 4th 4,4,5,4. Alla Neyshtadt w/ Eric Pali was 5th 5,5,4,5 and Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza was 6th, 6,6,6,6.
The Dance Beat Team took advantage of a short break to "Walk the Bridge." Brooklyn Bridge, the oldest in NYC, offers a fantastic view of Manhattan and is only 2 blocks from the Marriott hotel!
Stay tuned for the first of the open professional and open amateur events pus the pr-am ballroom divisions!
“Everything Old Is New Again!”
Manhattan Dancesport 2015
Here we are back at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge for the Manhattan Dancesport – but wait where are we? The Marriott has undergone a serious transformation since we were here last year. The lobby and bar areas have a contemporary style rather than the “woody” gentleman’s club atmosphere of before. Lets see how the dancers react to these changes in their R & R area.
One thing that never changes at Manhattan Dancesport is the quality of the dancing – you’ll always see the best in all levels at this event and we certainly got off to a good start with the pro-am Rhythm divisions yesterday.
The most interesting result came in the Open C Scholarship. Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski has been unbeaten in this division of late, recently winning at Emerald Ball and just last week at Millennium. But here Lisa had to be content with the runner-up position as Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilia Reyzin won the event by 3 dances to 2 – 1,2,1,2,1. Lisa won the rumba and bolero. So a good competition from two very strong ladies. (PS we liked Sophia’s New York skyline dress!) 3rd went to Jennifer Marre w/ Plamen Danailov 3,3,4,4,3; 4th Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert 4,5,3,3,4; 5th Donna Sparano w/ Evgeny Dyachenko 5,4,5,5,5; 6th Natalie Kerr w/ Misha Konstantinov; 7th Heather Petros w/ Fonzie Zapata.
There was a clearer result in the B with Heidy Kellison w/ Sean Tamashiro winning all dances. The runner-up was Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantinov 2,3,2,2,2 and Angela Morrison w/ Peter Santiago was 3rd 3,2,3,3,3. Deb Muzio w/ Evan Wellemeyer was 4th 4,4,4,6,4; Ingrid Pessa w/ Jean Michel Erole was 5th 5T,5,5,4,5; Rick Shaw w/ Tina Meyer was 6th 5T,6,6,5,6.
There were only 3 contestants in the Open A and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was the winner in all 5 dances. 2nd in all was Veronica Maoli w/ Hayk Balasanyan and 3rd Sara Sharpe w/ Gunnar Sverrisson.
Today competition continues with the pro-am Smooth and various amateur and professional events at night. Stay tuned!
A review and analysis of the first legs of both the City Lights Star Ballroom Tour and Star Rhythm Tour.
Click here to watch the video reviews. Carolina Orlovsky on the Solo routines In the Rhythm, Forrest Vance on the Freestyle Rhythm performances! Don't miss them. Ballroom videos coming soon!
Starry, Starry Nights!
City Lights Star Tour, Ballroom
Report by Didio Barrera
This past weekend was all about the City Lights Star Tours! Over $100,000.00 will be awarded between 2 styles over 5 competitions. $50,000.00 to the City Lights Star Ballroom Tour and $50,000.00 for the City Lights Star Rhythm Tour. The first leg of the City Lights Star Ballroom Tour took place at the Yankee Classic Saturday, June 20th and the City Lights Star Rhythm Tour Sunday June 21st. There are still 4 legs to go but the excitement is already building up.
In both Star Tours we had some wonderful couples, many of them were US finalists if not already US Champions. When I decided to engage and do this project the last thing on my mind was who will be attending, my biggest concern was getting the word out, the rules published and just hoping that couples would read and be motivated to be a part of such a great attraction and prize money. So, when I got to the Yankee Classic, I was totally floored and completely humbled to see the quality and the amount of support this Star Ballroom Tour received. The group competition was fabulous to watch, I was just a little sad to see so many great dancers not qualified for the final and available to compete in this the first leg of the City Lights Star Ballroom Tour in the solo segment.
Nearly every couple left out of the final was also very capable in dancing on their own right. I had a very favorite and when it came time for the audience to vote to select the “Wild Card” couple, I voted immediately to try to help bring my favorite couple back, also knowing that this couple had a fantastic show number. Unfortunately for me when the polls were closed and the voting was over, my favorite couple was not called. This time the audience favorite was Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti, who were also a strong contender in dancing as well as organization, their friends audience and fans got them a whamming 54% of the overall total on that poll making them the easy Wild Card couple in this the first leg of the City Lights Star Ballroom Tour.
The actual City lights Star Ballroom Tour winner is decided by a combination of votes. The couples are awarded points for how well they do in each dance of the group competition and also more points for how well their Solo performance goes all scores awarded by the judges. In the Solo performance the audience also vote for their favorite couple and all couples get a percentage of the vote, this percentage is divided and converted into points and these points are added to each couple’s total.
The overall winner of this first leg of the tour was Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egora who came into the solo performances with the highest amount of points from the group competition 28 points total. They won three dances giving them 6 points per dance and took second in two dances where they took 5 points per dance. Their solo performance was not the best score overall in this challenge they got 89.29 in their solo performance, but it was high enough to keep them afloat. Their worst scores came form the audience who only gave them a 5% of the vote translating to 2.5 points added to their combined total from the judges. Their total score overall was 119.79 good enough to win but only by a hairline. They need to improve on the audience likeability as well as on their showdance in order to stay in front of the pack.
I said hairline because second position was by a small margin. Igor Coloc & Roxane Milotti received an overall score of 119.06 total, and here is how they managed to get so close to the top.
Firstly, Igor & Roxane qualified by being the audience favorite and being the Wild Card. This allowed them to compete with their solo and also for this they were given 3 points going into the solo competition. Their solo, I must say, was excellent. It was a little rough but I personally thought they did a great job putting this solo together with a theme of James Bond and all. The judges placed them 5th in the solo by awarding them 77.56. Igor & Roxanne’s strength was the audience, they were clearly the audience favorite from the start. In this solo they were awarded by the audience on the internet telecast and by the audience in the ballroom an impressive 77% of the vote and after we divided it they ended with an extra 38.5 points - a big difference between them and the winners who only received 5% of the people’s vote. In the end Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti leapfrogged into second position with 119.06 points.
I was very impressed with Igor & Roxane, they seamed to be preparde for the task from the word go, they knew what they had to do if they did not make the final, unlike some of the other couples they had prepared a 3 minute routine and they knew that their strength would be to get the audience on their side because they would have little or no points going into the showdance, and that they did! I’m totally impressed! They were the most prepared out of the 16 couples in the two tours.
Third place in the Star Ballroom Tour went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova, they went in to the Showdance portion with 19 points, they placed third in four dances collecting 16 points for that and fourth in the quickstep this gave them 3 points, so as you can see when you add the scores that’s how they got their starting points of 19 after the group competition. When it came to the show, the judges where thrilled by this couple’s interpretation of Marilyn’s Mr. President. By far they were the judges’ favorite in every way. Their score was 90.43. However, when it came to the popular vote they got one of the saddest scores of only 2 points. Had this couple done a little more work in social media and alerting some of their fans who I’m sure they have, they would have done better and could even be in the lead right now. Their final score was of 111.43 and this has them in 3rd position going into the next leg of the tour.
Occupying fourth place in this leg of the tour were Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova who were overall second in the group competition and went into the showdance with 27 points. Mikhail & Olga won two of the group competition dances and were 2nd in the other 3. In the Star Tour Showdance portion they placed third overall with the judges with a score of 78.57, not an impressive score considering fourth place for the judges was 78.42 so less than 0.2 difference. What I think killed this couple was the fact that they possibly did not read the rules from top to bottom and time does make a difference. All couples entering the tour portion have to have a solo of 3 minutes max, if you pass that line there is a point deduction for every second. Michael & Olga did not get a deduction for this but they had to stop the routine at 3 minutes and in some of the judges’ eyes this might have been interpreted as an incomplete routine. Judges want to see a full package when it comes to solo performance, the good thing is they received no deductions and so they go into the next leg of the tour with a good number of points. The other score that could improve their standing is the popular vote, they were the least popular couple when it comes to the audience on the internet and on the ballroom, they only managed to get 1 point that means they did not appeal to the audience and none of their friends were there to support them. Their final score going into the next leg of the tour is 106.57, putting them in fourth position slightly behind Andrey & Anna.
In fifth place overall on the tour so far is Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina, who took 15 points from the group competition, a 78.42 from the judges for the tour solo challenge and 1.5 points for the audience vote, giving them a 94.92 total going into the second leg of the tour. As with many of the competitors, this couple needs to improve their popularity with the audience in order to secure a higher placement in the future legs of the tour.
Sixth in this leg of the tour went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova. They earned 15 points from the group competition, took 74 points in their solo tour performance and they shared with the winners a 2.5 points from the audience. Their total at the end of this leg is 87.5 going into our next stop.
Seventh position in this tour went to Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova who placed sixth in all dances in the group competition and captured only 5 points before going into the solo challenge. In the solo challenge, they too were last with only 69.71 points being awarded for their performance by the judges. They were not the least popular couple for the audience, they received a 1.5 points more than Mickail & Olga just 0.5 point above them and so their total score for this leg of the tour was 76.21. Like most of the couples in this competition they need to improve their performance and thrill their audience to motivate them to vote for them.
We are looking forward to the next leg of the Star Ballroom Tour at the International Grand Ball July 24-26 2015.
It’s a Rhythm Tour!
Colorado Star Ball – first leg
Report by Didio Barrera - Click here for video
The first leg of the City Lights Star Rhythm Tour commenced this past June 21st at the Colorado Star Ball and it was an affair of who’s who from the dance floor, nearly every US finalist was present and the competition ran smoothly as a feather. There were a few bumps we should mention. The biggest bump was a strong penalty issue to the overall winner due to a time limitation rule that was in place to make the tour run smoothly and quickly, “Routines (Solo) should be 3 minutes or less. Any couple that dances over three minutes will get a deduction of a point per second over three minutes. (eg. If you dance 3 minutes and 10 seconds, 10 points will be deducted from your final tally during the leg of tour).” There are other rules concerning props etc. but all couples have done great with these other rules, no infractions have been made over props or other rules.
Before the infraction was applied the winners of two of the challenges were Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova. They won all dances in the group competition and so they earned the maximum points you can earn by winning all dances and that was a whamming 30 points. In their solo performance they also did well - they received the highest score of all solo presentations, a 96.43. In the audience department they were not as popular as they could have been, they only earned 6 points making them the 4th most popular couple with the audience. Overall they received the most points out of anyone with a 102.43, unfortunately they also went 73 seconds beyond the 3 minutes giving them a penalty of 73 points placing them in a disappointing 9th place. This was comparably to an athlete falling of his bike or losing her grip on the asymmetric bars. Their total of points after the fall (or the penalty) was 59.43 that put them in 9th place overall. We have spoken with Emmanuel & Liana and they have gotten up, cleaned up and are ready for the next contest. We believe every ones’ heart fell as the results were announced but these two are used to competing and they know what to do to get up there in the ratings again.
The winner of this leg were Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryshova, they placed second in every dance in the group competition earning them 25 points, 5 points per dance. They were the judges’ second favorite with a score of 92.43 in the solo but they were not very popular with the audience because they only managed to get 2 points from there. Remember couples, every vote counts even your own! Anyone can vote looking at their computer at home or texting through a phone device. We understand that the dance couple’s main focus is to practice and get their dances to perfection, but a little public relations to tell you friends, students to vote on the night might help greatly. We are broadcasting the tours through internet and so people can see it from the comfort of their bed, we had a fan email us a photo of him on his bed watching the tour and saying that it was fabulous to be able to see it, LOL. We know sometimes time differences might put a strain on the east coast fans, but you’d be surprised how many people would stay up to see their favorite dancer compete for such grand prizes.
Second overall on this one leg of the tour went to Andre & Natalie Paramonov, who took 20 points from the group competition before their solo where they got 91.86 from the judges. Their fans were also not very motivated, they only managed to get 2.5 points from them, giving them a total of 114.36 total and placing them in second position at the end of the first leg of the Star Rhythm Tour. Work needs to be done to motivate their fans to vote during the tour, remember every vote counts.
Third place so far goes to Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova. They took 14 points in the group competition, they could have taken another point had they not placed low on the bolero. Their solo performance could also be improved, they placed fourth in this challenge with a 79.14 awarded to them by the judges. I think Mikhail & Vanda will have to develop their solo routine more in order to bridge the gap between them and the current leaders. When it came to the audience, Mikhail & Vanda were not too bad, they still need to do a little work in this department they got a fair 7 points but could have done better. In the end they stand in third position with 100.14 points till the next leg.
The fourth place couple in this leg of the tour is Aaron & Irina DeSoto, they earn 5 points from the group competition, the judges awarded them 79.29 for their solo routine in the tour portion of the event and they were quite popular with the audience gaining 9.5 points from the audience. I think these two did a great job in this department considering they were far away from their fans. Overall they are now in fourth position with total points of 93.79 total.
The elusive wild card, and the lucky couple chosen by the audience was Daniel Lee Tran & Elizabeth Kinney Taylor, they are now on the 5th spot on the tour and all because you the audience wanted them there. They came into the solo performance with only 3 points since they could not earn any from placing in any dances in the group competition because they were not in the elite final. The judges were not as happy with their performance as was the audience, they awarded them 61.71 the lowest score awarded in this leg. But the fans in the room and at home were very motivated and love these couple awarding them 22 points. In the end the audience managed to keep this couple afloat and in fifth place overall with a score of 86.71 points total.
Sixth place in this leg went to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi. In the group competition they earn 11 points. In the Tour Solo challenge they were awarded 70.29 by the judges making theirs the sixth favorite routine for the judges. Danas & Yuki were really not very popular with the audience they only got a 0.5 of a point from them and so their total score as they stand in sixth position is 81.79.
It was an 8-couple final in the group competition and so it was a 9-couple City Lights Star Rhythm Tour, on this leg of the tour. The seventh in line couple on this venture is Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nadyalkova, they took 5 points from the group competition, got a 64.71 for their solo routine from the judges and had to share with a number of couples their audience score they too got 0.5 from the audience for their efforts. Their score going into the next leg of the tour is 70.21 points total.
Eighth in this dramatic 9-couple tour final were Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago, they also earned 5 points from their group competition. They were the second lowest score in the solo performance with a 63.57 points awarded to them by the judges. And they too were not very popular with the audience, they only managed a 0.5 points from the audience, giving them a total of 69.01 going into the next leg of the tour.
As you can see this was a very challenging leg, one that will be remembered for some time to come. Nearly all couples lacked popularity with the audience in the ballroom and in their homes at their computers. I hope to see them motivate more of their friends to watch so they can earn more points and so we can turn that into dollars. Congratulations to all competitors and we’ll see you next stop, the Twin Cities Open, July 9-12. Maybe we can all celebrate your win and my birthday?
Watch the event videos! Click here to view!