A Night of Rhythm
Click here for video by SuperShag
Rhythm was the feature last night at American Star Ball. Not only was the Pro Rhythm the biggest event of the night (2 rounds), but it was also the feature of the finale show, entitled the Havana Ballroom and choreographed by Brent Mills.
Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, current US Champions, easily won the Open Rhythm winning all dances and losing a total of only 4 first places over all 5 dances. Equally sure were the runners-up, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova who picked up those 4 first places and received all the remaining 2nd place scores from all judges. Perhaps the match between these two couples was a little closer in real life than it appeared on paper.
From there on the scores were a little more mixed, particularly in the lower half of the final. Shane & Shannon Jensen were relatively secure in their 3rd place. They were 3rd in all dances and had the majority of 3rd places in 4 of the 5 dances. With 4,4,4,4,5, Andrei Abrashin & Mariia Gavrylova were 4th but had scores ranging from 3rd to 7th in all dances. Matt Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were 5th 5,6,5,6,4. For us their best dances are cha and mambo. Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were 6th 6,5,6,5,6 and new to the final, Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson took all the 7’s.
There were 3 live percussionists for this final. Tom Larson (who had played throughout the weekend), Brent Mills and Eddie Melendez.
Only 4 couples participated in the Open Pro Ballroom and it was easily won by Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova. They won all dances. The only significant challenge came in the Viennese Waltz where the runners-up, Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena took 4 of the 13 first places. They were 2nd in all dances. Anatoli Repliuk & Ruslana were 3rd in all and Nenad Pavolic & Anastasia Barhatova were 4th in all.
Both open amateur scholarships also took place tonight and both were straight finals. Sam Hacke & Katarina Hermanova won the Ballroom, winning all dances 4 with the majority of 1st places. They certainly had the most energy of all the finalists. 2nd in all dances went to Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka. They had a more traditional approach than the winners. 3rd in all dances were Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe. 6,4,5,4,4 gave Alec Zhiwei Zhang & Ersi Nie a 4th place finish overall, Brandon Buchthai & Natasha Barrera were 5th, 4,5,4,6,6 and Sam Brandt & Sabrina Yakubovish were 6th 5,6,6,5,5.
The Amateur Latin Scholarship was a close fought affair with the first places being mostly spread between 2 couples, Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasiya Danilova and Nikita Malakov & Nadezda Vlasova. The overall event went to Artur & Anastasiya by 3 dances to 2 – 2,2,1,1,1. Nikita & Nadezda won the first 2 dances. All dances wre won with a majority of first places except the cha cha. 3rd in all dances were Allen Rusman & Svetlana Lisnaya, 4th in all Stanislav Engelhardt & Tatiana Vasilyeva and 5th Raphael Matis & Jamie Dorotov.
The two remaining professional rising star divisions were also held. The Smooth had a semifinal and was won by Adrian & Hannah Dydynsky 1,1,1,1. Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser won the RS Latin 1,1,1,1,1.
We also saw the scholarship divisions in the pro-am Smooth and Latin. The winners in the Open Scholarships were Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika (C Smooth), Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston (B Smooth), Bethanie Picerno w/ Thomas Vasicek (B Latin), Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (A Latin) and Lorraine Peoples w/ Andrei Gavriline (C Latin).
Today s filled with Junior and Youth Divisions.
Smooth but Hard!
Last night at the American Star Ball the professional events were quite tough to judge, in particular the Smooth, but all three of the main featured events were fabulous.
Mazen Hamza & Izabella were the easy winners with a huge majority of firsts in all dances, only one, two or three judges awarded them second or less in different dances. Their worst mark a third in the Viennese Waltz came from Marianne Nicole. Second overall went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft and they got the majority of seconds and only a few firsts and thirds. Their worst marks came from Mireille Veilleux who awarded them 5,6,4,4. Third in every dance went to Michael Choi & Erin Marie and they took the majority of thirds with the exception of some high and low marks, their works marks came from Keith Todd who awarded them 6,5,6,5. Fourth were Vladimir & Vera Kosarev, fifth went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and sixth was awarded to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi. The smooth competition was excellent with great talent and quite a number of couples, with some very talented couples being left out of the final.
The Open Professional Latin was also a terrific competition. Here the easy winners for the majority of the judges were Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova and they placed first in every dance. Their worst marks came from Joe Howard who awarded them all fourth place marks. Second overall was awarded to Stanishlav Savich & Nicole Prosser 2,2,3,2,2, for us it could have been a toss up between them and the third place couple Hayk Balasanyan & Emilia Poghosyan 3,3,2,3,3. These two couples stood out from the moment the competition got under way and either of them stood a chance for this position. Fourth was awarded to Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko and they took fourth in every dance, leaving all fifths to Nikita Tsernov & Annie He Xiao. Sixth in all dances went to Jungie Zamora & Sheena Daminar.
The Professional Open Showdance started the evening professional competitions and here there were four excellent couples, all showcasing unique numbers with great lift work and choreography. The winners overall were Shane & Shannon Jensen who won with a huge majority of firsts, only two of the 2 of the nine judges awarded them less, Didio Barrera who placed them third and Mirelle Veillleux who gave them a second. Second overall was Travis & Jaimee Tuft who took Mirelle’s first place mark with the rest of the judges awarding them second. 3rd were Canada’s Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva dancing their new “battle” number. Only Didio Barrera awarded them a 1st. 4th were Jungie Zamora & Sheena Danimar.
There were 2 rounds in the Pro RS Rhythm, a strong division. Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov won all dances. Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson were 2nd in all and Kosta Trifunic & Domante Padleckaite were 3rd, 4,3,3,3,3.
The pro-ams danced 2 styles – Rhythm and Ballroom. Winners of the open scholarships were: Chastity w/ Eddie Ares (Rhythm A); Sophia D’Angelo w/ Martin Cawston (Rhythm C); Gretchen Fenston w/ Michael Choi (Ballroom B); Elena Lee w/ Emanuele Pappacena (Ballroom C).
The end of the Thursday night "Nighclub" session turned into a baby shower for organizer, Amanda Reyzin, whose baby is due in just a few weeks.
The Judges Are Wild!
The judges last night at the Atlanta Open were in rare form when it came to laying down the marks, most notably in the Professional Rhythm category.
To us and the majority of the judges, Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were the obvious winners by placing first in all dances, with a majority in each dance. However, as usual there is always a judge that would not budge and this time it was Ms. Pat Traymore who could only offer them as their higher marks third in the swing and bolero, but in the rest of the dances she award fifth and fourth place marks. From then on the judges went wild, there were excellent finalist like Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti who did not even make the final cut!
Second overall in the Rhythm went to Shane & Shannon Jensen who placed second in every dance, however, we must point out that their marks were more varied than those of Mikhail & Vanda. They got some fifth and fourth, our very own representative Mr. Didio Barrera awarded them 4,4,4,4 and 5th. Lucky for all as we pointed out yesterday, the system works and the majority ruled and Shane & Shannon were second overall. Third in this excellent heat of Rhythm dancing went to Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova who placed 3,4,4,3,3, last night they sported very simple outfits but their dancing as usual was very consistent and possibly worthy of a higher placement in a few dances.
Fourth was Andrei Abrashin & Maria Gavrylova 4,3,3,4,4, who we were quite surprised to see in the final, not that their dancing was not up to snuff but because there was so many other couples that could easily tempt the judges to go in another direction. As we mentioned before, there were at least three other couples that we could easily see in this final. Fifth were Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov who placed 5,5,5,6,5. This couple also have been placed higher at least in the mambo. And completing this final in sixth place were Shandor Shtefil & Alessandra who were perhaps one of our favorite couples in this final and who we could have also see higher up the ladder, they took 6,6,6,5,6.
The Professional International Latin was also a good heat and one that shook up things a little. It was a seven couple final and here the obvious winners by far were Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who placed first in every dance. From the moment this couple stepped on to the floor they were the audience’s favorite and the judges’ too. This is really rare at a competition of this stature but Dmitri & Olena won every dance with perfect scores, not one single second or otherwise was awarded by any of the members of this panel. Second overall also without a surprise for us went to Jake Davis & Alona Kalinina placing second in every dance, we have to say that we feel this couple has made some excellent progress in the last couple of months and it is wonderful to see it being rewarded.
Third was Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko 3,3,4,3,3, fourth went to the Rising Star winners form the night before Felipe Gonzales & Darinka Divljak 5,4,5,4,4, fifth was Andre Strinadko & Ching Kao 4,6,3,5,7, as you can see the judges here were more than split! We also were a little, though here we thought Andre to be the best man on the floor but as a couple we are sure it would be hard to see where to put them in the scheme of things. Sixth were Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevieva 6,5,7,7,5, and seventh was awarded to Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko 7,7,6,6,6.
The Professional Ballroom was almost a repeat of the night before in the Rising Stars, except the easy winners were Igor Coloc & Roxanne Milotti placing first in every dance with perfect scores in four dances. However, when it came to the foxtrot two judges were not convinced. Linda Dean and Dennis Rogers awarded them second in this dance. Linda & Dennis’ first place marks went to the runners up Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who placed second in every dance with a majority of second placed marks as well. Third was Khryton & Anastasia Khomenko 4,3,3,3,3. Fourth were Dumitru & Cristina Turcan 3,4,4,5,4, fifth went to Aleksandr & Aida Skripsova 5,5,5,4,5, and sixth was Sergey Izyumov & Ellen Porter plaicn sixth in all dances.
The Professional Smooth was also an excellent heat. Here Michael Choi & Erin Marie took first in every dance also with a huge majority of firsts from the judges, but as always there is a dissenting judge, in this case there were 2, Eulia Baranovsky who awarded them 3rd in every dance, but their worst marks came from Maria Hansen who awarded them 4,5,4,5, quite low compared to the other minds in the room. Second place in every dance went to the Rising Star winners from the night before Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and their worst marks came from Pat Traymore who awarded them 6,4,5,6. Third were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark, here we thought they could have easily placed second in a number of dances, their look is a little mature and did not help their cause but their dancing for us was as good or sometimes better than the second place winners.
Fourth was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 4,5,4,4, fifth went to Christopher Germain & Mila Popovich 5,4,5T,5, and sixth was Maksym Lototskyy & Sara Haworth 6,6,5T,5.
The Professional Showdance was the last heat to go on at the Atlanta Open and it sure was worth waiting for. Shane & Shannon Jensen stole the show and took the prize home. Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti were second. Third was Alfie Perratta & Sloan Cobb, fourth went to Tim Polaschek & Katherine Hutchinson, and fifth were Aaron Stowell & Rebecca Berryhill.
My congratulations to the organizers for putting such a clean cut non-rushed competition. The hotel is brilliant with plenty of room and accommodations for everyone’s needs. The tower I requested is very private and allowed for total relaxation. The bar and restaurants were excellent with great service, giving everyone a choice. The city of Atlanta has been known for their southern hospitality and this was a perfect example.
Rising Stars at Atlanta Open
Last night at the Atlanta Open was a night of Rising Stars, all events had a minimum of four couples and both the American style Rhythm and Smooth had healthy semifinals.
The weakest link in entries and in quality was the Professional Rising Star Ballroom this five couple final should we say was a “one man” and a “walk in the park” for Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second went to Kharyton & Anastasia Khomenko who had the most innovative choreography especially in the tango where perhaps some of their moves cost them their second place finish in that dance. Third overall went to Dumitru & Cristina Turcan and they took the second away from Khariton & Anastasia.
The Rising Star Rhythm was also a walk in the park for Shandor Shtefil & Alessandra who won all dances with the majority of firsts. However, for us it was not as clear as the Ballroom. We though that runners up Eddie Rivera & Meghan McNash could have taken a few dances specially the C,R,Sw. When you look on paper Shandor & Alessandra were the clear winners in the Mambo with perfect scores not one single second place awarded and the bolero were they only got one third place mark, and that was form Melanie LaPatin. Third overall was Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson.
The smallest heat was the professional Latin and here the clear winners for us but not for the judges were Felipe Gonzalez & Darinka Divijak who won three dances to two 1,2,2,1,1. Overall we found Felipe & Darinka to be not only correct in their field but quite unique and interesting. However, we were also quite surprised when the announced the runners up as Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva who won the samba and rumba and placed second in the other three dances. We say surprised because for us they could have been third, but like Mr. Sodano says, this proves that the skating system works. Judges mark where they see it and in the end the system works it out. Third were Kahryton & Anastasia Khomenko.
For us the Smooth was the best competition of the night and here we had a seven couple final from a very healthy semifinal. This competition went clearly to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and they won all dances. Second was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 2,2,3,2 and third went to Christopher German & Mila Popovich 3,3,2,3.
This was a perfect ending to a terrific day of competition at the Atlanta Open.
Perfect Scores to Victor & Anastasia
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The Professional Ballroom began with a tribute to Brian Puttock with all the couples danced a relaxed foxtrot to Brian’s favorite song, “Candy” to begin the night. Brian was chairman of judges for many years at Emerald Ball, including last year, the last event he attended before his untimely and tragic death a few days later. We all miss him so much.
Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva left no doubt about the results receiving perfect scores – 19 first place marks in all dances. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva had the comfortable majority of 2nd places in all dances and received nothing less than 3rd from any judge except Irina Sarukhanyan who scored them 4,3,5,5,4 and Michael Mead with 4,5,2,3,3. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova were 3rd in all dances, but had to work a little harder at it than we expected. They had the majority of 3rd or better scores in only waltz. Rudiger Homm & Katia Kanevskaya received perhaps their best result of their new partnership placing 4th in all dances and actually receiving more 2nd places than Alexander & Veronica. The happiest couple in the final was probably the new partnership of Iaoslav Bieliel & Liliia Gladiuk who were 5th in all dances in what we believe is their first competition together. A great start for a really promising partnership. With 6,7,6,6,6, Andrew Begunov & Anna Demidova were probably somewhat disappointed as just 2 weeks ago they finished ahead of Rudiger & Katia. Closing this 7-couple final were Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova with 7,6,7,7,7.
We saw reasonable consensus from the judges in the Pro Rhythm. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova won all dances with a huge majority of 1st places. Indeed they received nothing but 1st or 2nd placements from all judges. Similarly, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were clearly second with the majority of the 2nd placements and a couple of 1st places in each dance. The only judge who did not place them at least 2nd overall was Corky Ballas who scored them 3,4,4,4,4. There was some discussion about the relative merits of both of these exciting couples at the after party from some interested observers.
As with the first 2 couples, 3rd placed Andrei & Natalie Paramonov were easily 3rd in all dances, although surprisingly to us, they actually received only 1 first place and that was in rumba from Melissa Dexter. Natalie sported a new slick hairdo – quite different from her look of the last few years.
The scores were a little more varied for the remaining 3 couples. The experience of Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova paid off and they were 4th scoring 4,4,4,5,4. The elegant Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi took 5th with 6,5,6,4,5 – perhaps not a clear as they would have liked. A brand new partnership, Vard Margaryan & Mandy Carlisle was 6th 5,6,5,6,6 and they picked up a few 3rd places here and there. Vard was a US finalist last year with Sofia Fil, and Sofia was also dancing with a new partner, Alberto Cortes and they made the quarter-final, although we could have seen them progress further.
The last of the professional events to be decided was the Showdance and this went easily to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who received 7 of the 9 available 1st places. The other 2 went to runners-up, Jaimie Black & Robin Ray.
The two Open Amateur events also took place tonight. The Ballroom was the stronger event in terms of ranked couples. US Champions (NDCA), Andres & Veronika End were the easy winners tonight with the majority of 1st places in every dance. The battle for 2nd actually produced a reverse of the placements from the US Championships in March, with Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova placing ahead of Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko in all dances. 4th fell to Dimitriy Vorobiev & Sofie Elliot, all dances. 5th in all were Thomas Yim & Sophie Cheng and 6th Scott Nicholson & Evgeniya Gorobets.
Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrschat were the winners in the Amateur Latin taking all dances and all except the samba with the majority of 1st places. We were a little surprised to see some random 6th places and even 7th awarded to this strong young couple. 2nd fell to Sigurdur Thor Sigurdsson & Annalisa Zoanetti with 2,3,3,2,2 over the Youth winners, Bumchin Tegshjargal Michelle Klets with 3,2,2,3,3. Teleryk Ianakiev & Natella Devitskaya were 4th in all; Hai Tran & Stacy Chuang 5th in all; Jacob Murillo & Sydney Tormey 6th in all; Cristian Solares & Whitney Myers, 7th in all.
During the daytime session it was all pro-am Latin and as in all the other divisions the Open Scholarships were definitely a highlight.
The A Latin was the only open scholarship won by a gentleman at this year’s Emerald Ball. Jacob Tsai w/ Yuliya Kuznetsova won the division 2,2,1,1,1. The runner-up was Vera Xu w/ Jacob Zeglin with scores of 1,3,2,2,2. The remaining 1st place in samba went to another gentleman, Michael Roberts w/ Milana Plinar 4,1,3,4,4. 5th overall went to Sabrine Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin (Canada) 5,5,5,5,3; 6th Grace Kuan w/ Eveniy Likachev 6,6,6,6,6.
Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev was the easy winner of the B division winning all dances with the majority of 1st places. 2nd went to Canada, Hilda Li w/ Roland Michtchenko 3,2,2,3,2 over Carolyn Howard w/ Sasha Althukov 4,3,3,2,3. 4th Katherine Kuan w/ Jakub Zeglin 2,5,5,4,4; 5th Svetlana Van Tassel w/ Kirill Nikitin 5,4,4,5,5; 6th Michelle Peng w/ Nikolai Voronovich 6,6,6,6,6.
Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski won her 3rd Open Scholarship of the week, taking the C Latin. Lisa won all dances, but it was a fight. In a couple of these dances she received only 2 first places and was even picking up some 8th place scores. 2nd went to Lorrain Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline 2,4,2,2,2. Interestingly, Lorraine had the same total amount of 1st places as Lisa. Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephen McCann was 3rd, 3,2,3,3,3 and she too had 1st places in all dances. 4th Tasha Romero w/ Evegeniy Likachev 4,3,5,6,4; 5th Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn 5,5,4,7,6; 6th Suzanne Saperstein w/ Ricky Bentzen 6,8,7,5,5; 7th Lisa Markovic w/ Igor Danilla 7,7,8,4,7; 8th Alicia Chung w/ Ilie Bardahan 8,6,6,8,8.
Janet Colleran w/ Aleks Nashev won the S2 and ????? Chen w/ Nikolai Shparkov won the S3
3,000 In One Day!
Yesterday at the Emerald Ball it was a day like no other, it was all about the Ballroom categories and how to squeeze 3000 entries into the approximately 17 hours the day allowed. This was not to be, although it ran mostly on time we had to borrow 2 ? hours from the next morning in order to finish this unprecedented phenomenon. The competitors and the remaining audience were completely out of the ballroom by 2:16AM, Saturday morning.
The 3,000 entries in one day (the size of a medium event on its own) were not the only unprecedented occurrence. Nowadays with the use of instagram, twitter, and Facebook a desperate professional Smooth competitor wrote to her fans and friends on Facebook “Dear Emerald Ball 2015 participants and spectator!! As many of you know First Round of pro Smooth is going to be on at 12:00 am tonight :) On behalf of professionals who are dancing this late, we would like to ask you to stay in the ballroom as late as possible so we all can perform for you! You may bring your pillows and blankets :)”
It was interesting to see the different responses that she got. A few advised her to take a nice nap, many said they would be there in spirit cheering and one just said “That sucks. I’ll be screaming for you in my dream!” We too expected plenty of people to walk away but we were pleasantly surprised by how many did stuck it out!
Perhaps the dancing, in particular the Professional Smooth category, really brought it home for most. Down to the semifinal round the competition was excellent and nearly every prominent couple in the country was present. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with the majority of firsts in every dance. We seem to think that these brand new US Champions might be feeling the heat from below and are trying to keep everything moving and improving and that is what we saw yesterday in their performance. Second overall were Mikhail & Galina Zharinov. They placed second in four dances and third in the tango. Their scores were around the ballpark, the only anomaly we saw was that out of 17 judges only one of the highest respected Smooth style coaches awarded them a sixth place mark - Michael Mead in the VW. (The previous report that David Hamilton also awarded them a 6th place was an error on the original scrutineer sheet. His marks in tango was 2nd).
A third place finish was awarded to Mazan Hamza & Izabella. They placed second in the tango and third in the other three dances. For us their performance was strong and clean, no room for mistakes here, and this was reflected by the steadiness of their 3,2,4 place marks from the 17 judges. However, here too we had an anomaly and this was in the foxtrot where Tomas Atkocevicius awarded them 6th. We were very disappointed with Nick Cheremukin & Viktorija who placed fourth overall and who we are almost certain must have been disappointed with this result. On this outing we did not see much of the magic and spontaneity this couple brings to the floor, instead it was a little like an old marriage going through the motions. In their defense, perhaps this couple is quite affected by the surroundings and dancing at 1:30AM is not the most conducive environment for a smoothie.
Fifth and sixth came to a rule (11) Travis & Jaimee Tuft placed fifth in both waltzes and sixth in the tango, foxtrot. Kyle & Allie Spinder placed fifth in the tango, foxtrot and sixth in the waltzes, that meant a complete tie, so now we have to dig into the rule book for a rule 11 decision that gave the edge to Kyle & Allie who placed fifth, leaving The Tufts holding sixth.
We cannot say the Professional Latin was totally worth the wait. Maybe the couples were not motivated but for us they all seemed to look the same. With an educated audience, as most of us were, we had to look for what we liked because really nothing came to us. Our group favorites were basically taken out in the semifinal and so we ended up with what we called the rest, and we did as best as I’m sure the judges did to sort them out in our mind. The winners indisputably from our perspective and that of the judges were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who won all dances with the majority of firsts in all dances. However, we must say that this was not the best effort we have seen from this couple, perhaps they were missing the usual company here at the Emerald Ball of Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zaugoruychenko and Roman Kutsky & Anna Kovalova who, as we just mentioned, are usually fixtures at this competition.
Second overall was awarded to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova they placed second in four dances and third in the rumba. I think everyone is in awe of this young lady’s feet, her arches are a Latin dream and her body and back seduces the music, with a more attuned engagement they could have easily moved up. Third overall was Gunnar Gunnarson & Marika Doshoris from England 3,3,2,4,5. Marika sported a million dollar smile, for me this is very important to draw your audience in sometimes the anguished looks does not do it for us but a pleasant smile goes a long way. Gunnar & Marika’s dancing was very well rehearsed so in just correctness we could see them having this placement. However, here in the USA we expect more than correctness because that will be what you will get a correct result and not a win.
Fourth overall was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 4,4,6,5,3, what a steady couple this is, with powerful movements and a very high understanding of movement and balance, this couple has come a long way and we consider ourselves fans now. We would not have been surprised if they had placed a little higher. Fifth went to Evgeniy Likhachev & Maria Levina 5,5,5,3,4. In all fairness we most point out that here there was also a tie between Dmitry & Olena and Evgeniy & Maria, when the points were all counted they both had 22 each, but this tie was easily decided by a simple rule 10 and that how the results came out. To conclude this was not a welcome result for Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova who placed sixth overall 6,6,4,6,6.
The Youth Latin was also excellent and here the winners were Bunchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets placing first in all dances, second overall was Michell Itkin & Natasha Shevchenko 2,3,2,2,3, and third was Murat Medzhidov & Valerie Dubinsky 3,2,3,3,2 who won the Youth Ballroom.
The Pro/Am Ballroom scholarships were super well attended, most with quarter final rounds. The “A” had an 8 couple final in the end and top placement went to Natalie Rezal w/ Sergei Kiselev 2,1,1,1,1. Second was awarded to Julia Shen w/Alexander Voskalchuk 1,2,3,2,2, and third was Yulia Rudenko w/Andrei Rudenco 3,3,2,3,3. 4th Vinie Miller w/ Denis Kutepov 5,5,4,4,4; 5th Rebecca Kuhn w/ Andrea Feraci 4,4,5,5,5; 6th Deanna Beglyarova w/ Simeon Stoynov 8,6,6,6,6; 7th Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin 7,8,7,7,7; 8th Irene Lau w/ Mikhail Avdeev 6,7,8,8,8.
The “B” Ballroom was awarded to Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano and she placed first in all dances. Second went to Carol Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet 3,2,2,2,2, and third was Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov 2,3,3,3,3. 4th Ling Ma w/ Edgars Gasjuns 6,5,4,5,4; 5th Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold 4,6,5,4,5; 6th Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev 5,4,6,6,6.
The “C” division winner was Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Koreiva, winning all dances, second was Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk 5,2,4,2,3, leaving third for Jenny Fong & Victor Veyrasset 4,3,2,4,4. 4th Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,4,3,3,6; 5th Connie Edmonds w/ Samuele Pacchini 2,5,7,5,2; 6th Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 6,6,5,7,5; 7th Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 7,7,6,6,7.
As we said earlier it was a very unprecedented day and night literally packed with dancing till dawn. Let’s see what today brings, we should all keep our fingers crossed for an early night!
1,1,1,6 was the scores for one of the pro RS couples last night in the American Smooth, and where do you think they placed overall?
In a result that had the whole ballroom talking, Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski placed 1,1,1,6 to achieve an overall 2nd place finish – one of the oddest results we have seen in some time. The winners were Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who scored 2,2,2,1. So was Radek & Denise’s VW really off? Not that we noticed, but the whole final received some of the most varied scoring we’ve seen. 6 of the 7 couples had 1st places in every dance. Radek & Denise had judges placing them 1st and last in every dance, as did all the others, in the VW a couple of judges lowered their scores a little and that resulted in the dramatic lowering of their placement.
Overall this was probably the best event of the night. As we said, Adrian & Hannah were the winners and looked in great shape. 3rd were Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 3,5,3,4. 4th Mark Short & Alyssa Kark 4,7,4,2. 5th Morten Jensen & Anastasia 5,3,6,5. 6th Jean Paul & Lana Rossi 7,6,5,3. We felt they could have been higher. 7th Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini 6,4,7,7.
All 4 RS events were held last night. The first one to hit the floor was the Rhythm. In this Aaron & Iryna DeSoto were the victors winning all dances but only the mambo with the majority of 1st places. They had tons of energy and were always visible on the floor. 2nd spot went to Erwin & Iwona Rybczynski 2,2,2,3,2. 3rd were a new couple to this style, Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago 3,4,4,2,3. We were impressed with this lady. 4th went to Max Lotoskyy & Sarah Haworth 4,3,3,4,5. 5th Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman 5,5,5,6,6; 6th Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson 6,6,6,5,4.
A clearer win went to Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova in the Ballroom. They placed 1,1,1,1,2 but did have the majority of 1st places in the 4 dances they won. The runners-up were Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska and they scored 2,2,2,2,1 and they also had the majority of 1st places in the QS. Looks like the judges got it together on this one! 3rd were Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko 4,3,3,5,4. It was interesting to see Kristina’s retro styled ballgown. 4th Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson 5,5,4,4,3. 5th Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina 3,6,5,3,5. 6th Alexey Pigotskyy & Taisiia Babiuk 6,4,6,7,7. 7th Alex & Grace Wang 7,7,7,6,6.
The clearest win of the night came in the last event, the RS Latin. A new duo to us, Mykhallo Bilopukhov & Anastasia Shchypilina, won all dances with a majority of 1st places. We liked them for the win also. However, the word from those around the ballroom was that we were all glad not to be judging this one! 2nd went to Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko 2,2,2,4,2. 3rd were Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova 5,3,4,3,4; 4th Jake Davies & Alyona Kalina 3,4,5,5,3; 5th Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva 6,5,3,2,5; 6th Francesco Arietta & Rosaria Vivone 4,6,6,6,6.
The afternoon session saw the conclusion of the pro-am Smooth divisions with the Open Scholarships. All these were at a very high level.
The A was won by Yulia Rudenko w/ Andrei Rudenko who has recently moved up from the youth division. This young lady will e very difficult to beat in this style and she won all dances here. 2nd went to Natalie Rezai w/ Slawek Sochaki 3,2,4,4. 3rd was Jessica Spink w/ Peter Walker 5,5,2,3; 4th Madison Stribling w/ Mayo Alenan 2,4,5,5; 5th Sara Jess w/ Tomas Mielnicki 7,6,3,2; 6th Irene Lee w/ Nick Cheremukhin 4,3,6,6; 7th Melissa Jensik w/ Dave Hannigan 6,7,8,7; 8th Samntha Rico w/ Morten Jensen 8,8,7,8.
The B gave as a close finish with the win going to Aiyesha Dey w/ Mayo Alanen 1,2,3,1 over Sincha Sincharoen w/ Max Sinitsa 4,1,1,2. 3rd Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu 2,3,2,3; 4th Patricia Schneider w/ Nick Cheremukhin 3,4,5,4; 5th Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen 5,5,4,5; 6th Suki Kramer w/ Gunnar Sverrisson 7,6,6,6; 7th Lance Smith w/ Tone Jacobsen 6,7,7,7.
Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski notched up her second win so far here at Emerald by taking all dances in the C Smooth. 2nd went to Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu 2,2,3,3; 3rd Michiko Cantor w/ Evgeny Malko 4,5,2,2; 4th Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi 3,4,4,4; 5th Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian 5,3,6,5; 6th Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean 6,6,5,6.
In the Senior divisions, Janice Smiith w/ David Weise won the S1, Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy won the S2 and Lawrence Mitchell w/ Shalene Archer won the S3.
Today is Emerald’s longest day with about 2,700 entries in the pro-am ballroom divisions plus open professional categories at night. Stay tuned!
Emerald Starts with 2 Days of Rhythm
The Emerald Ball kicked off its almost 1 week of dancing and 14,000 entries with 2 days of pro-am Rhythm that began Tuesday afternoon and concluded Wednesday afternoon with the Open Pro-Am Scholarships.
Of the 3 open divisions the C was the largest with 22 entries and we thought the most exciting. There were several new players fighting for the top spots. In the end, however, experience paid off and seasoned competitor, Lisa Lowery w/ Radel Wiatrowski managed to win all dances and we think the judges made the right decision. Lynn Magnesen w/ Vard Margaryan, a newer pairing, took 2nd in all dances and this lady with a little more work on feet and legs could be a great force in this division. Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu was 3rd 4,3,4,3,4 and we thought she showed tremendous improvement in this style that has not always been her strongest. Sophia D’Angelo w/ Ilya Reyzin was 4th, 3,4,3,4,5; Dianne Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov took 5th 5,5T,5,5,3 and Joan Goddard w/ Aaron Talbert was 6th 6,5T,6,6,6.
The B division began with a semifinal and here the winner, again in all dances was Gwen Bourque w/ Aaron Talbert. Gwen showed her usual soft use of arms and body. We also liked the runner-up, Jacqueline Bequette w/ Daniel Lee Tran who indeed took 2nd in all dances. The remaining places were less decided. 3rd went to Heidy Kellison w/ Sean Tamashiro 5,4,3,3,4. 4th was Isabel Collins w/ Slash Sharan 4,3,5,4,5. 5th went to Sharon Power w/ Jason Daly 6,5,4,5,3 and 6th went to Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantynov 3,6,6,6,6. We thought Tracy could have finished higher.
Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco was the certain winner of the A division, we thought. Only 4 couples entered and Nadia won all dances. 2nd in all went to Natalie Ptersen w/ FJ Abaya, 3rd in all to Jessica Sweeney w/ Jeremy Pilling and 4th in all to Ann Shaw w/ Daniel Lee Tran.
There was also a very good S2 division with 21 entries. This was won by Susan Miller w/ Hayk Arshakian who had a new look and demeanor on the floor. We really liked the runner-up also, Quin Bommelje w/ Misha Vlasov. 3rd went to Diana Best w/ Alosha Anatoliy.
In the evening we began what will be 2 days of pro-am Smooth that conclude in the late afternoon if Thursday with the Open Scholarships. Check back for more
Amateur Latin Headlines on Saturday!
We felt the Amateur Latin was the headline event on Saturday night here at the Miami Vibe. It was the only event to begin with a semifinal and several countries were represented.
Every couple entered was of a high level and the final six were outstanding. Winning all dances tonight were Denmark’s Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva. As usual we liked their dancing a lot, but although they won all dances they had the majority of 1st places in only samba and paso doble. In fact they picked up marks all over the board including a few 6th places. We were surprised by this disparity. Actually many of the couples shared in the 1st places. 2nd tonight were Slava Visnakovs & Tereza Kizlo from Latvia 3,2,3,2,3. We liked this couple, they were neat but not overly showy. 3rd place fell to the USA in the persons of the new tam of Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina 2,3,2,4,4. This was a great result for this new team – several steps better than their last showing in Provo. Vladimir Litvinov & Olga Nikolajeva from Russia were 4th 4,4,4,3,2. Placing 6,5,6,5,5, Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriela Sabler were 5th. We thought they would place higher and indeed some judges agreed with us. Closing the final with 5,6,5,6,6, were another great new partnership, Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze.
Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova won the Pro Ballroom quite easily, although they did receive a few scores in the lower half of the final. The judge who favored them the least was Marc Nocera who scored them 5,4,5,4,2. 2nd went to Rudiger Homm & Katia Kanevskaya with 2,2,3,2,2. Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova, who we feel were the most musical couple in this final, were 3rd with 3,3,2,3,3. The remaining couples all finished in the same position in every dance. Nazah Batih & Mariko Cantley 4th; Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova 5th; Pavel Cherdantsau & Svetlana Rudkovskya 6th; Dmitry Solomakha & Gabriella Sevillano Solomkha 7th.
With the only perfect score of the night, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova won the Pro Rhythm. 13 first places in every dance. Well done! Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra were 2nd in all dances. Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova were 3rd 3,3,2,3,4; Tamas Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurpova were 4th 4,4,4,4,3; Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy 5,5,5,5,5; Rodrigue Edouard & Evgeniya Spotar 6,6,6,6,6; Mitchel Kibel & Bobbie Briceno 7,7,7,7,7.
Martin Cordosa & Noelia Guerrero won the Cabaret with their fiery Argentine Tango. Although we are not always a fan of this genre, this pair does and outstanding job. Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez were 2nd and perhaps could have won the division, but one missed lift marred their performance. Slava Panakshev & Daria Cebotary were 3rd, Nazar & Mariko were 4th and Richard Ortiz & Hannah Pickard were 5th.
The evening closed with a show themed around Alice Through the Looking Glass and featured the Perico Ballet troop and Miss Connecticut playing Alice. Our favorite number was Vibeke Toft as the Evil Queen with her Latin minions!
The Lights go out on Vibe?
A momentary light failure meant that the professional danced about 20 seconds in total darkness during the Open Latin final, but the lights were certainly not out on this event last night.
Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite, world finalists and Canadian Champions, delighted the crowd with spectacular energized dancing to win the event easily. We were a little surprised that they did pick up 3 second placements, 2 of them from judge, Shirley Johnson. Receiving nothing lower than 2nd place and 3 first places, the runners-up were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets. From here on down the judges were a little undecided but 3rd placed Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Dereleva had the majority of 3rd places in 3 dances and placed 3rd in all dances. Vlad Astafiev & Jenya Didenko were 4th 5,4,5,4,4; 5th Dmitrii Zavialov & Ashley Sanchez 4,5,4,5,5; 6th Dimitriy Solomakha & Gabriella Solomakha 6,7,6,6,6; 7th the Netsvetasev from Russia 7,6,7,7,7.
The USA’s 2 leading couples turned out for the Open Pro Smooth and the result went to the US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu. They had a perfect score in the tango and lost only 5 first place marks over the other 3 dances. We thought they were in good form last night. Mikhail & Galina Zharinov were similarly successful in 2nd position. Galina was wearing a knee-length, simple white dress. Are we seeing a change in style for the American Smooth? 3rd in all dances were Andrei & Elena Rudenko, a strong finish for them. 4th in all went to Vlad & Vera Kosarev who we thought had a good night as well. WE saw a reversal of fortunes from the Smooth RS division for 5th and 6th as today Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski placed 5th in all dances, ahead of Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra.
Also on last night was an interesting and multi national Open Amateur Ballroom. Winning all dances were Artem Katashinskiy & Marina Katashinskaya from Russia, a very talented young couple. 2nd went to Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli from California 2,2,2,2,2. 3rd in all dances, Ben Taylor & Stefanie Bossen from England and 4th, Justin Linn & Sasha Dubinsky from Massachusetts.
The night began with a pro-am solo competition that was judged by the audience through a text voting system. 7 couples competed and the winner was Jake Monreal w/ Ashley Sanchez and very lively and talented young man indeed.
All the finalist ladies in the Open Amateur and Ballroom divisions all weekend were invited to a drawing for a piece of jewelry designed by Marico Hosoi following the announcement of their results. There wre some very happy lady competitors this weekend!
Also providing entertainment between the professional rounds was the Perico ballet company.
“Vibrant in Miami Beach!”
Andrew Phillip’s Miami Vibe (formerly known as the Miami Open and Sunshine State) is ongoing and vibrant on beautiful Miami Beach (OK we’re a little biased because we live here!). The setting is architect, Maurice Lapidus’ MIMO masterpiece the Eden Roc Hotel – beautifully restored to much of its former grandeur.
Yesterday got under way with the Pro-Am Ballroom divisions and all 4 Pro Rising Star divisions at night. The 2 American style RS both had semifinals.
The Rhythm was the first and largest division to take the floor. Winning tonight were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra who placed 1,1,1,1,2. They won all their dances with the majority of 1st places except the rumba. Winners of the mambo were Maksym Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth and they placed 2,2,2,2,1. Both of these top couples picked up some random scores in the lower half of the final. After these first two the scores became very random. 3rd with 3,4,3,3,5, were Tamas Kardos & Mariya Khristina Shurpova; 4th Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 6,3,4,6,3; 5th Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy 5,5,5,4,4; 6th Eddie Rivera & Meg McNash 4,6,6,5,6.
Next up was the ballroom and this had easy winners in Vlad Shahov & Ekaterina Popova who won all dances and lost only 3 first place marks total. 2nd in all were Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skriptsova, 3rd in all Dimitriy Solomakha & Gabriella Solomakha and 4th in all William Proper & Jennifer Elliott.
The Latin was also a 4-couple final but the results were more mixed. The winners placed 1,3,1,1,2 and they were Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Dereleva. Winners of the jive, Vlad Astafiev & Jenya Didenko took 2nd overall with 2,2,3,2,1 and the winners of the Samba, Dmitrii Zavialov & Ashley Sanchez were 3rd overall with 3,1,2,3,3. 4th in all dances were 10-dancers, the Solmakhas.
Andrei & Elena Rudenko won the Smooth fairly easily with a majority of 1st places in all dances. 2nd in all fell to Radek Wiatrowski & Denise Sobiewski. 9-dancers, Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra were 3rd with 3,3,3,5. We had an Italian couple in 4th place, Daniele Scalise & Alla Andriushchenko 4,4,5,3. 5th were another 9-dance pairing Maksym Lototsky & Sarah Haworth 5,5,4,4 and closing the final were Ryan Kenner & Laura Kenner.
The pro-am ballroom open scholarships in the B & C divisions were quite strong. The C was the largest and the winners here was Vicki Sato w/ Basil Issaev 4,1,2,1,2. 2nd was April Haims w/ Ruslan Meshkov 1,2,3T,5,1; 3rd Joanne Walford w/ Paolo DiLorenzo 2,3,3T,2,4. The winners of the VW was Frances Yu w/ Alexander Voskalchuk who placed 4th overall.
Irina Grishenko w/ Aleksander Federov was the winner in the B Scholarship placing 2,1,1,1,1, a surprise result over the favorite, Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano 1,2,2,2,2. Aniko Toth w/ Ruslan Meshkov was 3rd, 3,4,3T,3,3.
The evening session ended with a good show featuring 3 strong young amateur couples in solo performances. Austin Joson & Nino Dzneladze, Artemiy & Marina Katashinskiy, Ron Garber & Liza and Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina.
Living up to the name!
Last night the San Diego Beach Bash lived up to its name. What started with a bash ended up with a bash! The feature events, Professional Ballroom, Rhythm, Smooth and Latin were terrific and well attended, and the bash reception by the pool after the competition completed this bash and sent most of us home wanting to come back.
Overall Standings Following Orange County Dancesport (Round 4)
1. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova 514.50 **
2. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 507.72 **
3. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 425.22 **
4. Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti 384.06 **
5. Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa 283.92 **
6. Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 238.78 **
7. Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh 111.29
8. Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina 94.92
9. Michael Towliszew & Tiffany Fung 87.64
10. Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 87.50
11. Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydroug 70.21
** Met minumum attendance requirements for grand prize - so far.
Results of Orange County Dancesport
1. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 140.43 *
2. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorovva 125.21
3. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 101.86
4. Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa 100.50
5. Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti 95.43
6. Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydroug 70.21
* Audience favorite
Results of BBC & C
1. Alexander Voscalchuk & Veronica Ergorova 141.64 *
2. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 125.79
3. Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh 111.29
4. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 98.29
5. Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa 86.71
6. Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 80.07
7. Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti 78.86
* Audience favorite
Results of IGB
1. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 134.93 *
2. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova 127.86
3. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 113.64
4. Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa 96.71
5. Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti 90.71
6. Michael Towlizew & Tiffany Fung 87.64
7. Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 82.50
* Audience favorite
Standings following Yankee Classic (Round 1)
1. Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Ergorova 119.79
2. Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti 119.06 *
3. Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova 111.43
4. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova 106.57
5. Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina 94.92
6. Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 87.50
7. Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova 76.21
* Audience favorite winners
Please note the Ballroom tour total scores have now been corrected to show 2 decimal places. On the original post here they were shown with only 1 decimal place. This does not change any results.
Overall standings following Volunteer State (Round 3)
1. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova 544.00 **
2. Aaron & Iryna DeSoto 404.65 **
2. Andre & Natalie Paramonov 356.72 **
3. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova 328.72 **
5. Daniel Lee Tran & Elizabeth Kinney Taylor 262.14 **
5. Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 218.78
6. lya Velednitskiy & Mariya Ilchenko 98.86
7. Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 98.29
8. Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simamekova 87.64 **
9. Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson 83.79
10. Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi 81.79
11. Ivan Dishliev & Marietta Nedyalkova 70.21
12. Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson 73.86
13. Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago 69.07
** Met minumum attendance requirements for grand prize - so far.
Results from Caribbean Dancesport (Round 4)
1. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova 145.29
2. Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 118.64
3. Aaron & Iryna DeSotto 106.64
4. Dan Lee Tran & Taylor Kinney 87.43 *
* Audience Favorite
Results from Volunteer State (Round 3)
1. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova 138.64 *
2. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova 127.93
3. Andre & Natalie Paramonov 117.07
4. Aaron & Iryna DeSotto 109.29
5. Dan Lee Tran & Taylor Kinney 88.00
6. Christopher Wayne & Juanita anekovaSimanekova 87.64
7. Jonathan Green & Rachel Neilson 73.86
* Audience Favorite
Results from Twin Cities Open (Round 2)
1. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova 141.36
2. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova 140.64 *
3. Andre & Natalie Paramonov 125.29
4. Ilya Velednitskiy & Mariya Ilchenko 98.86
5. Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka 98.29
6. Aaron & Iryna DeSoto 94.93
7. Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson 83.79
* Audience favorite
Results from Colorado Star Ball (Round 1)
1. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova 119.43
2. Andre & Natalie Paramonov 114.36
3. Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 100.14
4. Aaron & Iryna DeSotto 93.79
5. Daniel Lee Tran & Elizabeth Kinney Taylor 86.71 *
6. Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi 81.79
7. Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyalkova 70.21
8. Igor Ustymovych & Briana Santiago 69.07
9. Emmanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova 59.43 **
* Audience favorite winners
* ** Time Penalty applied
The next tour event is third leg of the Rhythm Tour at Volunteer State - Nashville, TN - July 23-25, 2015
Confirmed Events & Rules
Yankee Classic – Cambridge, MA – June 18-21, 2015
International Grand Ball - San Francisco, CA - July 24-26, 2015
BBC & C – Boston, MA – Sept. 24 -26, 2015
Orange County Dancesport - Irvine, CA - Oct. 9-11, 2015
City Lights Ball – San Jose, CA – Jan. 29-31, 2016
Colorado Star Ball – Denver, CO – June 18-21, 2015
Twin Cities Open - Minneapolis, MN - July 9-12, 2015
Volunteer State Dancesport - Nashville, TN – July 23-25, 2015
Caribbean Dancesport – San Juan, PR – Nov. 4-7, 2015
City Lights Ball – San Jose, CA – Jan. 29-31, 2016
The purse for the finale of the Star Tours stands at $53,000.00 per style - a total of $106,000.00 for both the Rhythm and the Ballroom style. In each style $25,000.00 will go to the couple that earns the most points throughout the run and another $28,000.00 will be distributed among 2nd to 12th places as follows:
Points earned per dance in the group competition (or the qualifying professional competition) are:
A first place will earn you 6 points
A second place will earn you 5 points
A third place will earn you 4 points
A fourth place will earn you 3 points
A fifth place will earn you 2 points
A sixth place will earn you 1 point
If there is a seven-couple final, seventh place will also be awarded 1 point in each dance towards the solo performance and the wildcard couple (see below) will earn 3 points total going into the solo dance. This wildcard couple will be selected by the audience watching the semifinal of the Open Ballroom or Rhythm competition and they will participate in the showdance of the Star Ballroom and Rhythm tours only (they will not dance in the final of the group competition) and they will earn 3 points total going into the solo dance.
We also feel that in order to keep the point system as balanced and fair as is humanly possible in the Showdance portion of the competition, the highest judge’s score and the lowest score for each couple will be eliminated. Then the Showdance scores will be averaged and added to the group competition points towards the result.
In the Star Tour “Showdance” portion of the competition, each couple including the audience’s “wildcard” will perform a solo routine. Routines should be 3 minutes or less, any couple that dances over three minute will get a deduction of a point per second over 3 minutes. (eg. if you dance 3 minutes and 10 seconds, 10 points will be deducted from your final tally during that leg of the tour) and this score carries forward. There are no restrictions on material. Props can only be used if they are attached to the dancer or costume. Nothing can be placed on the floor as “scenery” including chairs. The seven couples will dance in order of their placements in the group event with the wildcard performing first followed by the finalists in reverse order of placement. 9 judges will be selected at random to judge the solo routine.
The judges will award 5 different scores for each couple.
1. Storyline and Artistry (was the routine more than just steps, did the routine have a storyline, did they bring their storyline forward through musicality and interpretation). 20 points.
2. Difficulty. (Were the steps easy to do or was it a difficult routine) 20 points
3. Technical performance. (entrances and exits, connections etc.) Points should be deducted for any obvious errors – missed lifts, missed connections, falls, etc. 25 points
4. Creativity and originality (is the routine clever, were there any groupings that were unique even if they were not performed well). 25 points
5. Clarity. (Was the work clear and easy to follow, both physically as well as developmentally) 10 points
As in the previous tour, we will have the audience-voting feature. As we mentioned, the audience will be asked to vote for the couples in the semifinal and the couple with the highest number of votes, but not selected by the judges for the group final, will participate in the showdance portion of the event. The audience can vote via text or internet. The tour will be streamed live so audience members at home can still vote.
The audience will vote again following the solo presentations and this vote will also count toward the amount of points the couples receive. The audience vote is tabulated in percentage up to 100% meaning each couple will receive a percentage score and this will be converted to points. If a couple receives 30% of the vote they will automatically receive half the points 15 extra points towards their final tally in the solo competition. Voting will end 5 minutes after the last couple performs their solo routine. And all scores will be added and tabulated and a winner and placements will be announced and rewarded.
The couple with the most points at each leg will win the showdance portion. Prize money at each leg will be awarded for the Showdance section.
Also $500.00 will be awarded by us to the audience’s favorite couple in the solo presentations in addition to the prize money awarded for that leg of the tour by the organizer.
In the event of a tie for any position in the overall tour, a dance-off will be used. The two couples will be asked to draw for a dance then a minimum of 3 judges will make their decision.
City Lights or soon to be called “San Jose Open” (Jan 29 – 31, 2016) will be a double-point event that means double points will be given at the City Lights (San Jose Open) competition where the finale will take place, January 2016. The couples must attend a minimum of 60% the competitions advertised in each tour in addition to City Lights (San Jose Open) to qualify for the grand prize. (For example if there are 4 competitions they must do 3. If there are 5 they must do 4. If there are 8 must go to 5. If there are seven they must go to 5.)
Couples must be present and compete at the City Lights (Sand Jose Open) Competition in January 2016 to qualify for the grand prize of the Star Tour, and it is not counted as an event attended. Couples most attend 60% of the tour, to qualify for any money.
We also want to reiterate that everyone is welcome to support the competition and participate in the Open Ballroom and Rhythm events at the competition, regardless of whether they wish to participate in the Star Tours. If for any reason a couple does not want to be part of the Star Tour but still want to compete in the Rhythm and Ballroom events, you just have to let us know before the competition starts, so we can make any changes necessary to our selections.
The last day of competition in Baltimore, Maryland was not as filled with energy and people as Friday and Saturday had been, however, the competition was still quite strong finishing all odds and ends and completing all major championships deciding who will represent the United States at this year’s World Championships.
The biggest attraction for us this night was the Youth Championship Standard and the Adult Championship Ten Dance. We also saw the Adult Smooth and a number of senior events. The Youth Standard was great and the fight was quite intense with a full semifinal round, but in the end the competition went to Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova who won three dances and placed second in the waltz and quickstep. They won with a majority of firsts the foxtrot and Viennese Waltz, ‘second or better’ in the tango and second place in the other two dances.
Second in three dances and winning the waltz and quickstep, making them second overall were Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu. For us it came down to musical and dance interpretation. Kinsley & Michelle are wonderful technicians and their work was excellent. However, it needed a little more soul in order to shake the tough panel into awarding them the other three dances. However, we could not have better couples representing the United States in such high level competition in Rimini, Italy, December 2015. Third went to Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky and they placed third in every dance. Fourth place in every dance was awarded to Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky, fifth was awarded to Murat Medzhidov & Valerie Dubinsky and they took fifth in every dance living sixth to Jaryd Farcon & Kyla Dzhaniashvili.
As I mentioned we also saw the Adult Ten Dance Championship and it was a little bit of a disappointment when it came to the number of couples entered. However, the three couples entered were excellent in their craft. Seven of the ten dances went to Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky. Their weakness was in the Latin where they picked up three second placements in the S,C,P. Second overall was awarded and winning those three dances, to Sergey Dementyev & Viktoriya Kolbenkova. Third was awarded to Denis Kojinov & Jeanette Chevalier and they took third in every dance. The winners will go to Chengdu, China for their Ten Dance World Championships, congratulations to Mikhail & Sonya.
There was a WDSF Under 21 Open Latin event and it was poorly attended. Only two couples competed and here Jaryd Farcon & KylaDzhaniashvili were the winners by winning three dances and placing second in the rumba, paso. Second overall and wining those two dances were Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova.
Continuing in the under 21 Championships the USA Dance Championship also had the Under 21 Ten Dance this evening and again it was not a popular heat to enter, here also only 2 couples were present and the winner will represent the USA in Riga, Latvia in October 2015. The winner here was Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova. I was quite proud of this lovely couple who we’ve followed through the USA this and last year, they are perfect proof that hard work pays off. They won seven dances and placed second in three. Second overall was Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky and they won the waltz, rumba, paso and placed second in the other three dances.
The USA Dance Adult Championships Smooth was also held this evening and here we had a full semifinal. The winners overall were selected by rule 11, meaning there was a tie and it had to be broken by a rule. The winners, Jonathan Medlin & Malin Allert ,won the waltz and tango and placed second in the other two dances. The runners up, broken by rule 11. were Paul Freitas & Kelly Glasheen and they placed first in foxtrot and Viennese Waltz and second in the other two dances, so a complete tie and that is why rule 11 had to be used. Third in this Championships in all dances were Damian Pataluna & Irina Morozova. Fourth were Renzo Aida & Natalia Struchkova 6,4,4,5, fifth were Rodney Berry & Shannon Berry 4,6,6,4, and sixth were Gerogia Cometa & Alice Wang 5,5,5,6.
The Junior II Championships ten dance took place and the couple representing the USA in Rimini, Italy is Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor, they placed first in 8 dances and second in the foxtrot and quickstep. The winner of those two dances and runners up by placing second in all the other dances and 3rd in the cha cha, were Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor. Third overall were Kristers Smits & Sophie Shvartsman, fourth was Svyryd Syvyk & Diana Byk, fifth went to Daniel Melnik & Maria Voldki, and sixth was Tyler Li & Anjelica Lowe.
The Senior II Championship Latin was well-attended and here Arkady Rabinovich & Arlene Yu will be representing the USA in Nice, France in October and they placed 1st in three dances and second in the samba and paso. Second overall was Carlo De Jesus & Kelley Priest, they placed 1,3,2,3,2 and third was awarded to Roger Korsiak & Holli Hornlien 3,2,3,1,3. The winners will also be going to Nice, France for their World Championship.
In the Senior II Ballroom Hans & Ans Stork will be representing the US in Rimini, Italy and they won every dance. The runners up were Joseph Huesmann & Rebecca Yeamans 2,2,3,3,2, and third went to Vincent & Irina Feingold, they placed 3,3,2,2,4, it was also great to see so many senior couples participating in this event with a full quarter final round.
The Senior I Championship Rhythm went to Paul Duhaime & Kelly Madenjian. The Senior III Championships Rhythm wen to Darry Martin & Jil Coe. The Junior I Championship Latin went to Tyler Li & Anjelica Lowe. The Junnior II Championship Smooth went to Donovan Kirrane & Katelyn Photopoulos. The Youth Championship Smooth went to Donovan Kirrane & Katelyn Photopoulos.
The competition overall was very well attended and I was very happy to see so many couples going to represent the USA in so many countries. These types of experiences create great impressions on our young and to be given the opportunity to represent your country and participate has no measure, but has great value to everyone especially our young couples who are so impressionable. Congratulations to the organizing committee and we hope that in the future more kids join the ranks and attend this important event in our calendar.
Not your Normal Standard!
Last night was a great night for Ballroom in America, perhaps the best night so far here at the USA Dance National Championships! The feature event the Standard Championship as the style is still called in the WDSF, was fantastic. It’s called “Ballroom” in US NDCA competitions and this was not the normal “Standard” it was out of this world with great couples full of life and innovation.
The Ballroom style is a connection for most of us between the now and the past. Most of the dances themselves the waltz, Viennese Waltz, and quickstep are beautiful but antiquated dances that are now rarely danced at a social level unless you are a Ballroom dance aficionado. The beauty of these dances especially in the Ballroom style still fascinate most of us with great nostalgia of two bodies dancing with ease across the floor to beautiful social music. Earlier I said innovation because it was great to see some of the top competitors last night present these dances with the same classical take but with a few innovations of musicality and body action. We tend to always learn to keep the dances as close to the original as possible without violating their basic principals of movement, but last night the winners in particular were able to do this without the greatest exaggerations that are now common in many young couples trying to emulate instead of create.
We want to tip our hats to the newly crowned USA Dance National Standard Champions, Earl Williamson & Charlotte Christiansen who totally impressed us with their ability to interpret this classical Ballroom style of dancing with great basic principals and yet innovation. We could not keep our eyes from this couple they were far above the rest. In looking at the marks it was clear that the majority of the judges saw it as we did, however, we were very surprised to see a few of the adjudicators awarding them lower than second position in any dance. There were exactly three out of the 13 judges that awarded them third place marks. The most consistent in awarding them the most thirds was Inez Sahlin who awarded them thirds in the waltz, tango and foxtrot. Roberto Albanese also awarded them a couple of thirds one in the waltz, and one in the foxtrot and Kimberly Smith also awarded them a third in the tango. Once again we are very pleased that the system worked, it would have been a shame to see such brilliant talent not win the night, but in this case as in most the majority ruled and they will represent the United States in Vilnius, Lithuania coming up later in the year and we wish them great fortune and hope they bring a medal home.
The winners were great but we cannot forget that the final was one of the strongest finals I have seen at the USA Dance Ballroom Championships. Second was awarded to Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor who placed second in four dances and fourth in the Tang. In looking at the marks you could see that from second down the judges had a hard time placing the couples, their marks varied from a few firsts to sixth place in some cases, making a mosaic of 1-6 throughout the final. So why were this excellent couple so low in the tango, there is no explanation. We thought they were quite capable, but perhaps we were too busy with first place to come to a full conclusion. This was fur sure not an easy walk in the park for the judges and I can honestly see how their marks could vary with any couple at any time. Third overall was awarded to Sergey Dementyev & Viktoriya Kolbenkova who were placed third in 4 dances and fourth in the foxtrot. Fourth place went to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili and here are their marks, also an interesting combination 6,2,4,5,4. Fifth wen to Stanish Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka and here are their marks 4,5,5,6,5, and last but not list in sixth place were Ilia Zakharav & Anna Trukhan and here are their marks 5,6,6,3,6.
There were also a number of other important events sharing the spotlight this evening that should be mentioned. The Junior II Latin representative to the world was also decided and here. Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor were the overall Champions by winning four dances and placing second in the paso. Yusif & Naomi will represent the USA in Riga, Latvia this coming December. Second went to Kristers Smits & Sophie Svartsman 3,2,2,1,2, leaving third to Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor 2,3,3,3,3. The Junior II USA Dance National Champions representatives in the Standard at Chisinau, Moldova are Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor and they won all five dances, second in all dances went to Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor, and third overall went to Svyryd Syvyk & Diana Byk 3,4,3,3,4.
The Youth Latin Championship was also great and the representatives will go to Chisnau, Moldova this coming year as well in October for the Youth Latin World and they are Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky who won the event by placing first in four dances and second in the Cha cha. Second place was Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu who placed 3,1,2,2,3, leaving third to Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova who placed 2,3,4,3,2.
It was also great to see that they are also doing a Latin Showdance Championship but sadly to say that only one couple entered and that was Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova who the night before won the Latin USA Dance National Tittle.
We are also sadly to report that only five couples enter the Under 21 Ballroom and here the representative to the 2015 Youth Ballroom Worlds in Rimini, Italy will be Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova 2.5,1,2,2,1. Second went to Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky 1,3,3,1,2, and third were Mikhail Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky 2.5,2,1,3,3, as you can see the judges were very undecided in this competition.
The Adult Rhythm USA Dance Champions were Allen Granzberg & Milana Lazareva, the Senior I Latin Championship was also well attended and here the Champions were Irsa & Cami Tisnabudi, the Senior III Latin Championships went to Edwin Bugarin & Charlotte Bugarin. The Senior I USA Dance Smooth Champions were Jonathan Medlin & Malin Allert. The Senior II USA Dance National Smooth Champions are Mike Lynch & Rose-Ann Lynch, they are also the Senior III USA Dance National Smooth Champions. The Junior I USA Dance National Standard Championships had only three couples entered and here Tyler Li & Anjelica Lowe took the title back to California. The Senior II Rhythm USA Dance Champions are Carmine Rucco & Maria Bolyard.
USA Dance 35 years in the Making!
This year the USA Dance National Danceport Championships at the Renaissance Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland celebrates 35 years! And as usual the championships are filled with people of all ages wanting to represent the United States in the WDSF Championships around the world in the different age categories and different styles. Last night a few of these major US Championships were were decided and here are some of the results and how we saw it from the sidelines.
The biggest title decided was the Adult Championships Latin. The competition started in the afternoon with a full quarter-final round of about 20 couples from around the USA, and by 10:00PM we were down to a six-couple final. In the end our favorite quick pick was the best from round one and maintained a full performance showcasing maturity, and full stamina. They were in the quarter as good as in the final and they were Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova from NJ and they won every dance. On paper it too was clear. They managed to get a full majority of firsts from the judges, only a handful of adjudicators dissented from this decision. The biggest surprise for us was the marks from Phil Lee who on paper awarded Nikita & Nadezda the lowest marks recorded, 6,7,6,6,4. There were another two judges that awarded them less than a second place and they were Inez Sahlin who awarded them 4th in samba, 3rd in cha, and a fifth in paso, and a sixth in jive. The other judge who awarded lower than second was Kimberly Smith she awarded them 3rd in samba and a 4th in paso. As an observer I don’t see how you could mark this excellent couple less than second but, here is the total proof the system still works and in the end the best will always come through. Congratulations Nikita & Nadezda and good luck in Wetzlar, Germany at your competition and may you bring the gold for the USA.
Second in this major Latin Championship went to Kiki Nyemchek & Magda Fialek who placed second in every dance. Their marks were a little more varied with a number of thirds, fourth and even a few sixths. For us Kiki & Magda were a perfect example of clarity of work. It was what we would describe as a perfect performance. However, that does not always translate as an exciting performance, being able to touch emotionally the audience is an important part of dance and for us this was a lacking element in their performance. We would have love to see what they were feeling and what they were trying to express, we must remember that we want to see life on the floor and not just a perfectly executed exercise.
Third went to Jason Chao Dia & Sasha Nissengolts. They placed third in 4 dances and 5th in the rumba. When it came to third place we could not agree more, an excellent couple but still not able to bring the maturity needed across to award a gold medal. Perhaps the rumba might be a perfect example, here it is required to deliver a soul provoking performance and unless it is clear in your mind what you are trying to accomplish it could end being just steps.
Fourth in all dances went to Sergey Dementyev & Viktoriya Kolbenkova. for us this couple’s performance was also well organized. At times they looked as if they could challenge for higher placement, but when you looked further once again it became all about the steps and not enough about what they were trying to say and accomplish. I did enjoy Sergey & Viktoriya’s Paso their interpretation was vey interesting. I think with work they have something going there, at times it became a little frantic but terrific paso. Fifth went to Malachi Osai & Annabella Waszkiewicz and they placed 7th in C, S, third in rumba and fifth in the other two dances.
Sixth was awarded to Ryan Raffloer & Hanna Sverdlov. They placed fifth in the S,C, sixth in the rumba , paso and 7th in the jive. Last in this excellent heat was awarded to Daniel Dementyek & Dakota Pizzi they placed sixth in S,C, J seventh in R,P. These are two excellent couples with a little more time I think we have here champions in the making. The raw potential is all there all they need to have is a little more time and they will bloom beautifully, quite happy to see our future in Latin looking so bright.
The Senior I Ballroom Championship was heavily contested. A seven couple final was called and here in a surprising move Thomas Yim & Kelly Cheng from California took the lead and the prize away from what we thought would be the favorites Xingmin & Katerina Lu who placed second in every dance. Thomas & Kelly won all dances. Our congratulations to Thomas & Kelly and good luck to you in Prague Czech Republic later in this year. Third was awarded to Tulga Ersal & Ilkin Ersal 4,3,3,3,4.
In the senior III it was an emotional moment for Hans & Ans Stork who won the Championship by placing first in four dances and second in the tango. Vincent & Irina Feingold took second overall 1,2,1,1,1 and third in all dances was awarded to Mike Lynch & Rose-Ann Lynch.
The Youth 10 Dance is always a great event, having to dominate two styles and doing it to the best ability is hard and for us very difficult to predict. This year’s Youth Ten Dance Champions were Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova. They won 5 dances and placed second in five dances, they will be going to Kiev in the Ukraine for their World Championship we too hope you bring a medal home. Second overall went to Kinsley Lin & Michael Yiu, possibly the favorites going into this event. They also won five dances but placed second in four dances and third in the samba, breaking the tie and placing second overall. Third was Mike Monokandilos & Sophia Brodsky. Here there was a little more variation in the marks they even took a fifth in the VW and Samba.
The adult 9 Dance was also presented last night and this category went to Matthew Shimizu & Jennifer Crown and they won four dances and placed second in five. Second went to Damian Pataluna & Irina Morozova they won five dances but placed second in three and third in the rumba, as you can see this dance made them lose this Championship. Third overall was awarded to Evan Schreiber & Hannah Bundus.
The Amateur Youth Latin was also presented last night and here we had some excellent couples as well and totally worth the mention. Daniel Romakin & Dakoda Pizzi easily won this championship and they will be going to Chisinau, Moldova for their World Championship good luck to them. Second was Ryan Raffloer & Hanna Sverdlov and third went to Ariel Milshteyn & Adelina Ishkayeva.
It was interesting to see the Standard Showdance category added to this year’s evening program. There were only three couples entered but it was quite exciting. The winners overall were Ilia Zakharav & Anna Trukhan, and we must say that it was very close between first and second placed Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda OConnor. For us this routine was the best and as I say it was very close indeed with each couple taking four 1st, in the end it came down to two 3rds and Florin & Natalia got one more than Ilia & Anna so they ended up second overall. Third was awarded to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili.
The Under 21 Ballroom had the smallest of all entries, here only four couples entered. The winners were Justin Lin & Sasha Dubinsky 1,2,1,2,1, second went to Oleg Moros & Joy Shen 2,1,2,1,2. Congratulations to these two couples they will be representing the USA in Vancouver, Canada.
The competition as always was very interesting especially due to so many new faces judging the event. I think this is a very positive move on the part of USA Dance variety is the spice of life and they had lots of it this time, and there were no strange results. As we said earlier the system worked congratulations to the organizing committee of USA Dance for organizing such terrific championships