Small but Mighty!
The Professional Ballroom last night at Desert Classic was a straight final of 7 couples, but what a final it was! Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva ran away with the title, losing a total of only 8 first place marks from a total of 75.
Easily 2nd in all dances were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa although the majority of judges did not feel that they challenged the winners. (More about this in the full report in the members’ section soon). For 3rd place the judges were faced with a choice of two disparate (not desperate!) couples - the new partnership of Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikalyuk, tall and stately, or the lively and free-flowing Emanuel & Francesca Pappacena. It was very close in all dances but Iaroslav & Olga took all dances in 3rd position leaving Emanuel & Francesca with 4th in all dances. Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti were 5th in all dances; Evgeny Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya were 6th in all and Slava & Lara Kostianets were 7th in all.
The Rhythm began with a semifinal. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu made it a double, winning all dances to take this title quite easily and add it to the Smooth title from the day before. The clean and readable dancing of Ivan Dishliev & ?? Nedyalkova gave them a comfortable 2nd in all dances. The closest race for us came in the choice for 3rd and 4th between Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov and Vicente Martinez and Meaghan Murphy, who incidentally are similar in appearance and style. It was very close in every dance but when the chips were down, Donovan and Rose took it 4 dances to 1 (3,3,3,4,3). 5th in all dances went to Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty and 6th to Jim Clark & Jennifer Chegini. Watch out for Bill Sparks’ report in Dance Beat soon.
Another double win of the weekend went to Dmytry Dymytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo who won the Amateur Latin, a straight final. They had also won the U/21 Latin the night before. They placed 1,1,1,2,1. 2nd were Telercyk Iankiev & Natella Devitskaya (2,3,3,1,2) and 3rd Nikolai Tarasov & Egle Straleckaite (3,2,2,3,3).
Hans & Ann Stork won al dances in the Senior II Ballroom and Aaron & Katelyn Holmes took all dances in the Amateur Smooth.
The pro-ams danced Rhythm all day and although the freestyle heats were full and exciting the Open Scholarships drew small entries. Nadiya Kireyko w. Daniel Vasco was uncontested in the A division. Sue Putzier w/ Radomir Pashev won all dances in the B and Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian won all dances in the C.
This was the 15th anniversary of the Desert Classic and to celebrate, Igor & Irina commissioned a show to close the evening’s event. Wendy Johnson was in charge of staging the performers that included some high-energy formation numbers from the kids of Center Stage Ballroom as well as feature performances by some of the amateur and professional couples in attendance. This was followed by the now traditional “Breakfast under the Stars” for competitors and package holders.
Today is junior day and it is a full day of competition that does not conclude until 8 PM.
Smooth Heads the Bill!
Friday at Desert Classic
There were 2 Open Professional Championships at Desert Classic last night, both began with a semifinal and both were strong events. Of the 2, we felt the Smooth held the most interest as many of the nation’s best were here and as there is an open throne at the top of this division right now – every competition is important.
Peter & Alexandra Perzhu once again proved up to the task, winning all dances with the majority of 1st place marks – but it was by no means unanimous. 2nd place Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija took 2nd in all dances but had 1st places in all dances. The foxtrot and Viennese were the closest going to Perzhus 8 first places to Nick & Viktorija’s 6 first places. This is an interesting result indeed! The newbies, Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko were comfortably 3rd in all dances. We felt the next 3 places were the hardest to decide and the judges giving very mixed individual marks. With their best performance in some time, David & Natalie Shulz were 4th (5,4,4,4); Kyle & Alle Spinder were 5th (4,5,5,6) and Kri Suakjian & Brianna Haft were 6th (6,6,6,5). Winners of the RS took 7th – David Estrada & Stephanie Betts. In Dance Beat soon find out which couple could maybe have placed better with better floorcraft and just how much the overseas judges impacted this event. Plus watch out for Wendy Johnson’s commentary.
Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina won all dances to take the Professional Latin Championship. They won 4 dances comfortably but were taken to ‘2nd or better’ scores in the rumba as they had 7 first places to the 6 of the runners-up. (not a majority). Those runners-up were Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who were 2nd in all dances. With 4,3,3,3,3, Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova were 3rd. We thought this was certainly the best performance we have sen so far from this couple. Alexandra looked much more confident. Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina were 4th (3,4,4,4,4). Another new partnership, Sergiy Kvashyn & Olga Ginzberg were 5th, 5,6,6,5,5, and Oleg Astakhov & Olivia Wesolowska were 6th (6,5,5,6,6). Armando Martin will have a full commentary on this division in Dance Beat soon.
Only 3 couples contested the Cabaret and it went to Ivan Berkovic & Dena Anne Weiner.
There was a very good Amateur Ballroom and this began with a semifinal. The winners were Andres & Veronika End who won all dances with the majority of 1st places. 2nd in all dances were the always appealing Ruslan Kalyuzhny & Kseniya Sovenko. Showing great promise in this style were 10-dancers, Nikolai Tarasov & new partner, Egle Straleckaite (3,3,4,3,3). 3rd went to Alex & Grace Wang (4,4,3,4,4), 5th in all dances were Tyler Wilson & Annie Seeley and 6th were Dan Manea & Mia Hu, who had won the Senior Ballroom earlier in the evening.
There was also a strong U/21 Latin this evening and Dmytry Dmytrenko & Cheyenne Murillo were the winners in all dances. 2nd were Umar Diallo & Natalya Zrazhevskaya (2,2,2,3,2) and 3rd, Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson (3,3,3,2,3).
For the pro-am dancers it was a day of international Ballroom that ended with very high level Open Scholarships. Our congratulations to Julie Zhao w/ Denis Kutepov who won 2 of the Open Scholarships - the B and the C. She won all 10 dances! 2nd in the B was Lilly Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev (3,2,4,2,2) and 3rd was Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev (2,3,3,3,3). The missing 2nd place in the Viennese went to Alexandra Michel w/ Victor Veyrasset who was 5th overall.
2nd in the C was Tammy Knight w/ Artem Plakhotnyi, 2nd in all dances and 3rd was Deborah Erico w/ Dariusz Michalski (3,4,4,3,3T).
The A was the smallest division and it was won by Grace Wang w/ Mikhail Avdeev shoo won all dances. 2nd went to Irene Lee w/ Mick Cheremukhin again in all dances and 3rd was Andreas Mantius w/ Jenny Rozhkova
Desert Classic on the Move
This year, but for 1 year only, Desert Classic has relocated from the JW Marriott in Palm Desert to the Renaissance, Indian Wells – a short distance away. Organizers, Igor & Irina Suvorov, assured Dance Beat that this was just for 1 year and involved scheduling problems at the iconic JW where Desert Classic has been held since its inception 15 years ago.
That’s not to say that the Renaissance is a slouch by any standards. It offers world-class golf (a favorite of so many dancers), spa, pools and all the amenities of a 5-star resort. The ballroom is spacious and contemporary and happily is right by most of the guest rooms. We are all certainly happy to be here.
The competitions started with a bang yesterday. The pro-ams competed in 2 styles – Smooth and Latin and all 4 of the Rising Star divisions were danced in the evening session.
Two of the RS divisions began with semifinal rounds, the other 2 were straight finals.
The Smooth had a semifinal and was won by a couple competing in their first competition together – David Estrada & Stephanie Betts. We thought they looked strong considering the brevity of their time together. The judges seemed to agree, awarding them the majority of 1st places in all 4 dances and very few placements less than 2nd. With 2,2,2,3, the tall Slava & Lara Kostianets placed 2nd (incidentally they also competed in the Ballroom tonight). 3rd went to Nicholas & Laura Manzo 4,4,3,2.
The Latin was the other semifinal and this offered, we thought, the highest standard of the 4 divisions overall. The winners were Evgeny Likachev & Maria Levina and they won all dances with the majority of 1st places except the jive. 2nd were Oleg Astahov & Olivia Weslowska who were 2nd in all dances and closest to the winners in jive. 3rd spot fell to Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie with 3,4,4,3,3. We felt their final round was so much stronger than their semi.
In the Ballroom Nick Cheremukhin & Victorija turned their attention to the ballroom style – the first time we have seen them compete in this. They were the winners taking all 5 dances with a strong majority of 1st places. This is an interesting development. 2nd place went to Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya. The Kostianets were 3rd overall with scores of 2,3,3,2,3.
Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov easily won the Rhythm taking all dances with the majority of 1sp place marks including a perfect ‘9’ in the cha cha. 2nd in all dances went to Tommy Belmontez & Jessica Holty and 3rd to Pietro Della Santini & Allesandra Gonzalez (3,4,3,3,3).
Unusually, the Latin Open Pro-Am Scholarships were larger than the Smooth all 3 beginning with semifinals.
The A divisions went to the unstoppable Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov who won all dances. (We did note that se lost a couple of single dances in the afternoon to her runner-up tonight). That runner-up was the highest placed gentleman of tonight’s pro-am scholarships, Sam Burekhovich w/ Natia Kuprava – 2nd in all dances. Nadia Kireyko w/ Daniel Vasco took 3rd place 4,4,3,3,3.
In the B Division Oksana Kalimuka w/ Denis Podolskiy was the winner with 2,1,2,1,1. Rhonda Lee w/ Daniele Gozzi took 2nd place 1,3,1,3,2 and Svetlana Van Tassel w/ Andrey Tarasov was 3rd 3,2,3,2,3.
Rhonda Lynch w/ Stephan McCann won the C division taking 1st in 4 dances and 2nd in paso. Winning that paso and taking 2nd in the remaining dances was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn. 3rd went to Iris Chang w/ Evgeny Nazarov 3,4,4,3,3.
The best of the Smooth Op[en Scholarships we thought was the C Division. This was won by Sue Eldred w/ Artem Plakhotnyi who won all dances. 2nd in all went to Marina Sanchez-Torres with Max Sinitsa and 3rd fell to Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean 3,3,4,3T.
The A and B divisions had only 1 and 2 competitors respectively. Cato Seets & Jim Maranto in the A and Iene Lee w/ Nick Chermukhin who won all dances in the B and Elena Eroshkin w/ Daniel Vasco.
The Morning After!
The morning after the biggest celebration in America the 4th of July (US freedom of Independence), the ballroom dance celebrations continued at the Manhattan DanceSport this time with the Pro/Am Latin Categories during the day and at night with the Open Professional Ballroom and Rhythm. Both evening and daytime sessions were packed with excellent dancing and nail-biting competition.
The Professional Ballroom Championship had some of the world’s best competing for the Manhattan title, with Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, WDC World Professioanl Ballroom Champions in the lead and this was an easy win for them with perfect scores from all the judges in every dance. Second in this parade of world stars went to Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk and almost as if it had been rehearsed most of the judges followed in line awarding them a huge majority of seconds, but not without some dissent - one third in the waltz, another in the tango, one fourth and a few thirds in the VW, and even a sixth in the foxtrot. This unprecedented 6th was awarded by Marina Tarsinov who most have not gotten the “memo,” because she also awarded them a fourth in the quickstep.
In some ways we too tend to agree with Marina Tarsinov, the spark in this world class final did not came from the top it was the bottom half that thrilled and excited us, beginning with Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa who placed sixth overall 6,6,6,5,6, but who were incredibly musical, and in this case we have to agree with the secretary of the WDC, Hannes Emrich, who awarded them third in three dances. The second couple that for us basically stole the show but placed fourth overall was Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova and they were awarded 4,4,3,4,4. What presence and what command of the skill this gentleman has! And the lady was totally there complimenting and selling their goods like butter. We have to wonder what competition Ms. Meryem Pearson from Canada was looking at when she awarded them sixth in every dance, however, in her justification beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we here at Dance Beat are known for having inexplicable taste when it comes to ballroom dancing. In our defense there were quite a few judges who awarded them thirds and even a second in the VW that came from Mr. Brian McDonald.
Continuing with this impressive final Artem Plakhotniy & Inna Berlizyeva were third overall 3,3,4,3,3 and Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova placed fifth 5,5,5,5,6.
After the final, it was announced that Egor Abashkin & Katya Kanevskaya were announcing their retirement from competition. This well-loved couple danced a farewell waltz and then many of their fellow competitors joined them on the floor in celebration. (Egor was actually hoisted and thrown into the air!!)
In the Professional Rhythm for us and for what we think was the majority in the audience two couples stole the show. Firstly Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova who placed first overall with perfect scores in the cha cha and nearly perfect scores in all the other dances. Funnily enough, that near perfect accomplishment was spoiled in the other four dances by the judge from England, Lorna Lee, who awarded them thirds in R,SW,M and a second in bolero. Joining her in one dance was Mr. Mark Weiss who awarded them also third in the swing. The second couple that people were raving about and who placed second in every dance was Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. I think the majority will agree that it is a breath of fresh air watching this couple dance Rhythm. Firstly they have a lot of that special element “Rhythm!” Secondly, with their smiles and their emotional performance you cannot help but be drawn to them. But when you look at the marks, you can tell the judges are not totally convinced. They got marks from fifth to second place with Mr. Allan Tornsberg being their worst judge. He awarded them three fifths, a third and a sixth in the mambo. Perhaps he was watching the same competition as Ms. Pearson from Canada earlier on. (lol). Towards Allan & Meryem’s vindication this is what makes our competition dancing so unique from other competitions, the variety of opinions in style and philosophy, and the freedom to get them across. Without this we would not grow and we would not progress.
Third in this Rhythm Championship went to Peter & Alexandra Perzhu, and they took third in every dance. From here down we believe things got a little less clear - the pool became a little murkier, with some of the couples making some excellent runs but them pulling back to where any mark could have been awarded. Fourth overall went to Azamat Evgamuko & Kateryna Angelone, here is a perfect example of a couple that at any moment shows a different story every time, when looking at the marks you can see this clearly and we totally agreed. Ms. Lorna Lee from England, awarded them four first place marks and a second in the cha cha, on the other hand this couple got quite number of sixth place marks in their run as well.
Fifth place overall was awarded to Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova 5,4,4,5,5. Here we totally agreed with the judges that awarded them seconds and thirds. This couple were totally together from the beginning and were possibly the most consistent of all. Sixth overall went to Vard Margaryan & Sofya Fil, and they took sixth in every dance. In our opinion this couple’s work is well organized and put together, what we hope to see in future outings is an understanding of the where it all came from - it’s not just about being able to do a “startle split” to music.
The professional Cabaret had also a very robust entry but for us at least half of the 8 couples entered were more perspiration than inspiration. The top three routines had the most vision, story and creativity especially the winners, Shane & Shannon Jensen. The second place routine by Travis & Jaimee Tuft was not far behind, they too showcased a routine with some sort of pattern or idea and as you can see it was rewarded. The third place couple, Jungie Zamora & Sheena Daminar, had some nice lift work but we began to lose storyline, (and at some point the grip, the lady was nearly dropped from an overhead). We are sure this did not help their cause even though the majority of their lifts were well-executed.
The Amateur Latin also took place this night and gave us the biggest upset of the weekend. USA’s Ferdinando Iannccone & Yulia Musikhina (NDCA Sanctioned US Champions) lost to Denmark’s Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva of Denmark. Here we have 2 of the DB Team’s favorite ladies in this style and we have to say, whichever of them won tonight was OK with us! The judges were fairly evenly split. Morten & Roselina won it 4 dances to 1 (2,1,1,1,1) but individually the judges were fairly evenly split. Ferdinando & Yulia took the cha cha 8 first places to 5. In the samba Ferdinado & Yulia had 7 first places (not a majority) to Morten & Roselina’s 6 but the Danes had more ‘2nd or better’ scores. In the rumba it was 6 first places to 6, but once again Morten & Roselina had more seconds. Morten & Roselina won the paso doble outright with 8 firsts to 6 but in the jive it was once again the second places that won the Danes the dance. There were just some judges not keen on Ferdinando & Yulia tonight! Marianne Nicole placed them 6,6,3,6,4; Melanie Lapatin scored them 3,2,3,3,3; Mark Weiss 4,3,2,3,3; Stanislav Popov 1,3,3,1,2; Tony Dovolani 2,2,3,3,3. Those marks below 2nd were what cost Ferdinando & Yulia the win tonight.
From 3rd to 6th it was the battle royal of the USA’s best Amateur Latin couples. 3rd with 3,4,3,3,3 were Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach and they had some first places in all dances except paso. 4th with 4,3,4,4,4 were Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina; 5th Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova 5,5,5,6,5; 6th Artur Tarnavsky & Gabriela Sabler 6,6,6,5,6.
For the pro-ams it was Latin day and we thought the Open Scholarships were the best of the weekend – especially the B divisions that began with 31 couples. In this division Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov (Moscow) were the winners as they were also in Ohio last year. They placed 1,2,1,1,1. 2nd this time was US Open Champion, Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev and she placed 4,1,2,2,2. We must admit to being puzzled by the 4th in cha cha! 3rd today fell to Johanna Kornacki w/ Andrei Gavriline (3,3,6,3,5).
The A division went to Canada. Sabrina Strasser w/ Stanislav Kochergin was the winner with 1,1,1,1,2. Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi was 2nd (2,2,3,2,1) and Emily Takhtarov w/ Evgeny Dyachenko was 3rd (3,3,2,3,4).
The C was dominated by Florida as the top two ladies are both from there. Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski was the winner 1,1,1,1,2 and Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitus was 2nd (3,2,2,2,1). 3rd place went to Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov (2,4,3,3,3).
Fireworks In and Out at the Manhattan Dancesport!
Yesterday the 4th of July, there were plenty of fireworks around Manhattan celebrating Independence Day and inside the ballroom at the Manhattan Dancesport it was no different. Some said the Professional Latin competition was the best they ever saw and the Smooth was “la cream the la cream”!
We have to agree that there was definitely plenty of sparks on the dance floor last night. World and US Latin Champions Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko were in a contest of their own with every judge in their court, there was not one negative mark on their score chart - it was a perfect go for Riccardo & Yulia with every judge giving them a first in every dance.
The biggest flair up came from second place down where apparently there were plenty of surprises delivered. The first with the second place finish of Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from the Ukraine. They placed second in every dance but the paso doble where they took third. From looking at the marks we can read that the struggle of a decision between second and third meant perspiring brows for the judges. You would have thought that Manuel & Natalia’s second place win would be an easy majority of seconds from the judges but it was not, they received plenty of thirds, fourths and even a sixth in every dance delivered by Marriane Nicole. This interesting third place went to Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who also had very varied marks, no sixes but low enough marks to hold them from a second place finish in four dances. We must also point out that Nikolai & Maria took second on the paso doble. However, of these two couples Nikolai & Maria were noticeably the most shocked by the result when called for third place and the contrast between the ecstatic happiness from Manuel & Natalia accentuated their disappointment. We have to also point out that this third place finish here in America for Nikolai & Maria must have been extremely disappointing since just last week at the Millennium Dancesport Championships, Manuel & Natalia lost to two other American couples one that is not a US finalist yet.
But the drama did not end in the second and third place finish, fourth to sixth places also had some intensity. Fourth in every dance went to our neighbors from up north Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko from Canada, who from our point of view had a steady consistent time on the floor and managed to get enough good marks to secure this position. The most disappointment and anguish in this excellent final must have been for Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte, who we are sure were expecting to recuperate from unhealthy recent results they had had in a few previous events, but here it was no different even though they danced with what we thought to be fierce skill for their survival in the end placed sixth in three dances fifth in the paso and shared fifth in the rumba, giving them and overall sixth place finish. When looking at the full picture we can understand the huge pressure this couple might be under leading up to the USA Nationals, with result like this they can easily lose their place in that prestigious final. The fifth place finish was awarded to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova who placed fifth in three dances shared fifth in the rumba with Ivan & Loreta and took sixth in the paso.
The “cream de la crème” came in the Professional Smooth where there were plenty of excellent couples from the semifinal on and only six places to fill. Once in the final we think it most have been a nightmare trying to place these couples with so many styles and excellent skill on the floor. The clear winners with the majority of firsts from the judges were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and you can honestly see why. Their work looked relaxed, well-executed and in our opinion looked as if they owned the floor. Second in every dance went to Mazen Hamza & Izabella Judzill who were able to steal a few firsts from Peter & Alexandra but not enough to make a dent in their fierce opponents. Unsurprisingly to us Mikhail & Galina Zharinov took third in every dance. They too managed to take a few firsts from the top dogs, but once again came away empty handed but these first places did help to secure their third place finish overall. What we found interesting about these three couples just mentioned is how different in style and approach they are. This continues to be great news for this style that is thriving in popularity.
From third place down the ground was a little more shaky for the remaining couples. Fourth overall was awarded to Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed fourth in three dances and fifth in the VW. In looking at the dancing on the floor with a critical eye we can see how they lost their VW. For us their waltz and their tango were up to par. Once they had a few complications on the foxtrot their stress continued till the VW where we felt they just wanted it to be finished. They wildcard here and for us the biggest challenge at the moment to Travis & Jaimee and to some of the others on top in future outings, was Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who placed fifth overall but as you will see form these marks left the judges scratching their heads. They placed fifth in the W,F, fourth in the VW, and sixth in the tango. Speaking of interesting approaches, this couple are way out there with their creativity, we are sure sometimes for the good of their dancing but it could equally work against them. It all sounds as if the fight is between fourth and fifth but you cannot discount Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko who placed sixth overall but took fifth in the tango, and from what we saw although their work still looks a little new and green could easily sneak up on everyone and have the potential to be the biggest challenge to all. The creativity and participation of so many excellent couples in this style is fantastic for American Style dancing and a win for us all on this fourth of July.
The Amateur International Ballroom also took place last night and here Andres & Veronika End took first in every dance with a majority of firsts from the judges with enough to almost make it a perfect run. Second went to Luca & Krizia Balestra and they took second in every dance but the foxtrot where they placed third. Third went to Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova and here the judges decisions were very mixed (4,5,3,2,3). Fourth wen to Taras Savitskyy & Alexandra Seliverstova (3,3,4,4,4), fifth was awarded to Nicholas & Rochelle Kharlamov (5,4,5,5,5), and sixth went to Maciej Zieha & Lory-Eve Jacob and they took sixth in every dance.
The Pro/Am Ballroom took place and it was a healthy day of fully packed competition with semis, finals and quarters.
In the “A” division Open Scholarship Elisa Dalla Vecchia from Italy partnered by Rudy Homm took first overall but not in every dance. They placed first in three dances and second in the tango and quickstep. Second place went to former US and World Pro/Am Champion, Fuki Uekusa w/Igor Litvinov. They stole the two first places from Elisa and were second in the other three dances. This marked the end of a 1-year hiatus from Fuki. Third was awarded to Rebecca Kuhn & Andrea Faraci 3,3,4,4,3.
In the “B” category Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano had a clear run with none of her closer competitors from recent events in attendance. She clearly was first from start to finish in every dance. Second was awarded to Lengxi Gao w/Kamil Urbaniak, but here things got a little more murky as you will see from the marks 4,3,2,2,2. Third overall went to Michelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeeev with 2,2,4,3,3.
The “C” division had the most attendance with a strong first round of 29 couples. These pro/am competitors really had to be in full physical shape to get through this minefield. First place overall went to Tammy Knight w/Artem Plakhotniy 1,2,2,1,1. Second overall was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva 3,1,1,2,4 and third in this excellent “C” final went to Lynn Murrell w/Alexander Voskalchuk 2,4,3,3,3.
As you can see Manhattan Dancesport did not disappoint us it was still a celebration of dance in the USA during one of the biggest holidays the United States’ Independence were we celebrate freedom to live, work, dance, judge and liberty for all! Congratulations to Gary and Diana McDonald for a terrific event with more to come today!
Rising in Manhattan!
Last night at the Manhattan DanceSport Championships it was a Rising Star night and during the day it was all about the Smooth style in the Pro/Am categories down to the scholarships.
Clear winners in the Rising Star Professional Rhythm were Shane & Shannon Jensen who won all daces with the majority of firsts from the judges. As you can tell it was an easy win for this couple last night. Second in this Rising Star went to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who placed second in every dance down to the bolero where they did not get a single 2nd place but did manage to acquire a few firsts giving them an easy second overall. Third was awarded to Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosava (4,3,3,3,4).
The Rising Star Professional Latin went to Vitalii Proskurin & Evgenia Shatilova, who won three dances and placed second in the C,J, their lowest marks came from Lorna Lee from England who awarded them a fifth in 4 dances and a sixth in the jive. Second was Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, they took first in C,J and second in the other dances. Funnily enough, Michael Stylianos, partner in life and in dance of Lorna was not one of their best judges, he awarded them (4,5,5,5,5) and so did Allan Tornsburg who gave them the same exact marks except for the jive where he awarded them a 4th. Third in this very interesting Latin final was awarded to Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova who placed third in every dance, but they too here shared in some low marks, they got all sixths from Eugene Katsevman and three sixths from Allan Tornsburg and 4th in P and 5th in J.
In the Professional Rising Star Smooth Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova won overall taking first in three dances and second in the foxtrot. First in this dance, but second on all others, went to Allie & Kyle Spinder who were second overall. Third wen to Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth who placed third in every dance and did manage to get a few seconds. Their best judge was Wendy Johnson who awarded them all seconds.
The professional Rising Star Ballroom was awarded to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk who won all dances. Second went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovacikova and they took all seconds and third was Vladishlav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova (4,3,3,3,3).
The Under 21 Ballroom was also run this evening and that Championship went to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kacmarski who took first in all dances. It is nice to note that in this division Patryk & Anna took perfect scores in the waltz and in the foxtrot, in their other 3 dances their perfect scores were spoilt by one mark in each dance: in the tango by Luana Conte who awarded them a second and the VW and quickstep by Taliat Tarsinov who gave them a second in each. Second overall went to Maciej Zieha & Lory-Eve Jacob and third went to Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili. Both these couples’ marks were very varied from sixth to second but funnily enough nether of them was awarded the three first place marks that were not awarded to Patryk & Anna.
The Pro/Am Smooth Scholarships were excellent with some very interesting results as well as dancing. Christiana Diaz w/Kris Suakjian placed first in all dances and took the “A” Scholarship home. Second in all dances in this same division went to Elisa Dalla Vecchinia w/Rudy Homm from Italy and third was awarded to possibly one of our favorite ladies in this final and that was Anna Devrevyanchenko w/Mayo Alanen they placed 4th in waltz and 3rd in the other three dances.
As you will see by the marks the “B” category was more divided. Here Joanne Tatem w/Mariusz Zakrzewski was the overall winner (2,1,1,2) but as you can see a clear tie that possibly had to be broken with a Rule 10, or 11 to come up with the winner. Second went to Lillian Li w/Tomas Mielnicki (1,2,2,1), and third was awarded to Amanda Levine w/Morten Jensen (3,3,3,4).
The “C” was a little more consistent. Here Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski won first place in all dances to take the Scholarship. Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu placed second in all dances and Aviva Adler w/Victor Russu was third overall (3,3,5,4).
So as you can see it was a busy day at the Manhattan Dancesport, today we are on to the Pro/Am Ballroom and the competition heats up tonight with the open Professional Latin and Smooth and the Open Amateur Ballroom.
We love NY!
Today's photos by SuperShag
Yesterday was all about Rhythm and the Pro/Am scholarships at the end of the evening were the feature act on this busy day of dancing.
The “A” category was won by Matthew Shimizu w/ Jessica Nicol who won all five dances each with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second went to Jessica Sweeney w/Jeremy Pilling who placed second in four dances and third in the bolero. Third position wen to Alison Schill w/Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and they placed third in all dances but the bolero, here they scored a fourth place overall. Fourth position was awarded to Stefan Tuomanen w/Michelle Officer (4,4,4,2,4), and fifth in this five-couple final went to Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar and she took fifth in all five dances.
The “B” Scholarship was awarded to Deborah Altizio w/Jose Decamps and they took first in all dances, with the majority of judges giving them first in all dances but the mambo where they took 4 firsts. She won that dance with the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores. Second in this category went to Alissa Yetter w/Dave Hannigan who placed 2,2,3,2,3. As you can see by her marks the judges were a little undecided, her marks went from sixth to first in almost every dance. Third position was awarded to Donna Sparano w/Evgeny Dyachenko 3,3,2,3,2 and fourth was Heidy Kellison w/Sean Tamashiro 5,4,4,4,4, fifth went to Faye Diamantoudi w/Tony Santana 4,5,5,6,5 and sixth place was awarded to Sophia Chang w/Ron Okubo (6,6,6,5,6).
In the “C” Division Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski won all dances, two of them with the majority of firsts from the judges the rest with ‘2nd or better’, only one judge awarded her a sixth in the bolero and that was Eugene Katsevman. Second overall went to Cathy Fullam w/Evgeny Dyachenko but from here down the judges were having a hard time figuring it out as you can tell by the scores 3,2,2,5,2. Third place was just as hard for the judges and this placement went to Lynn Murrell w/Peter Perzhu 2,3,3,6,3 here the individual judges’ marks went from seventh to first. Fourth overall was awarded to Joan Goddard w/Aaron Talbert 4,4,4,2,6, fifth went to Quin Bommelje w/Mikhail Vlasov (7,5,5,3,5) and in sixth place was Hope Huber w/Troy Baeten 6,6.5,6,4,4. Seventh was Monica Broch w/Kris Suakjian 5,6.5,7,7,7.
As you can see by the marks the judges are working quite hard so we hope to see some more wonderful surprises here tonight at the Manhattan Dancesport
Northcoast Final Evening
On this final evening at Carlos and Marielle Pabons' Northcoast Classic, Sergi Smolin and Anna Tomasini won both the Open Professional Smooth and Open Professional Ballroom by winning all dances.
In the Open Pro Rhythm, Dmitti Dolgopolov repeated their win from last night, winning three of the five dances. They faced a strong challenge from Slash Sharan and Meghan Anderson who won the swing and bolero. Find out who also made an impressive showing in this event in the next issue of DanceBeat.
Saturday evening culminated with a show by the very talented Vard Marganyan and Sofia Fil. It was a pleasure to see this couple on the floor alone, demonstrating the intrinsic quality in their dancing.
Northcoast Classic Rocks Cleveland
The Northcoast Classic rocked Cleveland tonight with a full ballroom and an exciting evening of scholarship and rising star professional events.
In the open pro/am events Lisa Vegas had stand out men with Henry Catrett winning the B Rhythm and her student Chris Nunes winning the 'B' open smooth.
Find out which other pro/am teams took home the prize money in the next issue of DanceBeat.
In the R.S. international Latin Dmitro and Nina Kovalenko from New Jersey gave a joyful performance to win all five dances.
In the Professional Open Showdance Brandon Barker and Chelsea Cherie gave a riveting performance with interesting choreography and choice of music to capture 1st place.
In the Professional RS Smooth, Igor Afonkin and Rachel Mercedes from Illinois won all four dances. Find out who else made this seven couple final when you read DanceBeat.
The Professional R.S Rhythm had Dmitri Dolgopolov and Kristen Dobson from Ohio winning four of the five dances with a clean, consistent performance. Pleasant Ivancheko and Anastasia Gordeeva placed second, taking first in the bolero. This couple is very talented but has a decidedly international style feel to their dancing.
The Northcoast Ballroom Classic organized by Marielle and Carlos Pabon started off with a bang this afternoon in Cleveland Ohio.
Check by for updates tomorrow on the most exciting Northcoast to date.
Great Night at Millennium!
Last night was an incredible night, it took us a little to get this to you because we needed to detox from the overwhelming amount of fantastic dancing and emotional rollercoaster of feelings that this night brought to us.
The show was twice as good as the night before with a fiery BYU and incredible transitions from the team to the ballroom stars who were also in incredible mode. Everything was picture perfect from the video screens to the team and lead dancers’ performances. The crowd was as always happy to be there and if you got a vacant seat you were lucky.
The Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 to Lee and Linda Wakefield was deserving and very moving. We believe they were actually surprised! When they were called they stood by one side and they had to be coaxed on to the seats where they watched their life achievements on video. It was a perfect moment, the team had just finished performing a fabulous show and were still on the floor with the stars in the middle and this night they took no prisoners they left everyone wanting more and more.
Earlier in the evening the Millennium Hall of Fame inductees for 2014 were US National Professional Rhythm & Smooth Champions from the 1980’s Joe Lozano & Jan Mattingly.
The two featured finals that started way after midnight kept many of the attendees glued to their seats and it was worth the wait. Both the Rhythm and the Ballroom were excellent finals with boundless attendance and top of the line couples.
Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk were the winners of the Ballroom and they took first in all dances with a huge majority of firsts. However, not all judges felt the same way some awarded them sixth and we will point them out to you in the full article here soon. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva were not far behind and they were awarded second in all dances and Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova were third, and as you will see this job became harder for the judges as they placed 3,5,3,2,5T. We’re sure the judges were sweating bullets. Fourth in this excellent parade of ballroom dancers went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova (6,4,5,3,4), fifth was awarded to Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch (5,3,4,6,5T), and last but not least in sixth position were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa (4,6,6,5,3).
Watch out for Loraine Barry’s full report in Dance Beat soon.
The Professional Rhythm also had huge attendance and here Andrey & Natalie Paramonov won the night, they took first in all dances but the mambo where they placed third. But here clearly the audience were divided on the results. Just prior to the Parmonovs’ crowning, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were called for second place and the audience clearly were not pleased many of them stood and screamed for them showing what was clearly some displeasure with the judges’ decision. Andre & Natalie had a different group of supporters also. Nazar & Irina got these marks from the judges - 2,3,2,3,1. In this mix of firsts, seconds and thirds were Peter & Alexandra Perzhu who too got a great reception from the audience. Here are their marks -2,3,2,3,1. The audience were very undecided with these two last couples mentioned and so were the judges as you can see by the marks.
From foruth place down it was a little more routine. Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakova were fourth in all dances. Shane & Shannon Jensen were fifth, Ilya & Mandy Velednitsky were sixth and Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone were seventh.
Watch out for Bob Powers’ opinions on this division.
As you can already tell this was a fully packed evening and the Professional Cabaret took quite abut of time with seven couples called to the final. The title went to Shane & Shannon Jensen with a huge majority of firsts. However, for us it was Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva who placed second who got us moving today. Their unconventional routine made us look more than once especially when she is flying through the air with her head between her legs being “possessed”. Their routine is based on The Exorcist. We were really in doubt here as to what the judges were going to do especially when Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed third were also looking in excellent form.
Clyde Harris & Summer Black captured fourth overall, Jamie Black & Robin Ray were fifth, Igor Alferov & Alexandra Akimova were sixth and seventh wen to Martin Cardoso & Noelia Guerrero.
Watch for Tommye Giachinno’s report.
The Amateur Open Latin was also an excellent heat and here Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina were the clear winner in all dances. Pasha Pahskov & Daniella Karagach were second and Damir Haluzan & Anna Mashchyts (Slovenia) were third. Ilia Ifraimov will have a full report.
In the Pro-Am Latin Scholarship categories some of our results were totally off compared to the judges’ decisions. Our worst prediction came in the “C” where we had Janet Colleran w/Alex Nashev placing first and she took sixth. The winner here was Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitus, 2nd was Tammy Knight w/ Oleksii Lytvyn and 3rd Nora Fox w/ Plamen Danailov.
In the A Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov was the easy winner both for us and the judges. 2nd went Vera Xu w/ Jacub Zeglin and 3rd to Callie Chan w/ Dmitri Mikulich.
The B was won by Svetlana Mukhametshina w/ Alexander Chesnokov from Russia. 2nd went to Johanna Komacki w/ Andrei Gavriline and 3rd to Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev.
The Elements Plus!
The Elements finally came together last night at the Millennium Dancesport in an interesting and varied show by BYU, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva, Emanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova and Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite.
It was choreographed by Lee Wakefield from BYU and Rufus Dustin from Miami Beach, Florida. A fifth element was introduced, a ballet dancer from American Ballet Theatre, he wore angel wings and portrayed “Sky.” Choreographically he chained all the elements together making the show run smoothly top to bottom!
The Show was sponsored by Debra Fontaine.
On the competition floor it was a smooth night with excellent couples fighting it out to become the Millennium Smooth Champions. From the very start we knew it would be a tough competition, especially for the judges who would have to make up their mind of only six couples for the final. We are sure it was a tough job but in the end the judges did their job, leaving a number of excellent couples out of the final.
The final was a terrific mix giving us great variety to watch and from the judges’ perspective, a great variety to chose from. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with a majority of firsts from the judges. However, they did get a number of thirds and seconds but not enough to affect their standing. Mazan Hamza & Izabella Jundzill placed second in every dance and took a number of the firsts from the Parzhus and the majority of seconds. Third in every dance was awarded to Mikhail & Galina Zharinov who also took a few firsts as well as a huge variety from 6th up. For us it was an excellent competition the top couples were all in great shape for the task. However, from earlier rounds it almost looked clear to us that Perzhus would take the Millennium trophy home. Second and third were less clear to us but we were ready for what ever decision the judges handed down.
The rest of the final was excellent but from looking at the marks and at the competition itself, it was clear that these top six were divided in two divisions, the second part of this final was lead on paper by Travis & Jaimee Tuft who placed fourth in every dance. Travis & Jaimee did get a majority of fourths but also shared in some 5th and 6th. New to the scene, Mikolaj Czarnecki & Victoria Malko placed fifth in every dance and sixth in every dance went to Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft. If is some consolation, we have to say, that this must have really bean a total quick impression for the judges with so much talent and different styles. It must have been hard to compartmentalize and divide these 6 excellent couples. Congratulations to all six of you, you were all terrific!
The Latin was also quite unique, from what we understand there were a few couples that entered on the day and this made for a probable competition rescheduling. However, using a past-used NDCA rule, they were able to go from a 15 semifinal, run in two heats, to what ended up to be an 8-couple final. This seemed fare enough for everyone including the audience who would have had to spend at least another ? hour more in the ballroom and would have taken us to a very late finish. Congratulations to the Chairman of Judges for the efficiency and quick thinking.
Like the Smooth the 8-Couple final was excellent. Roman Kutskyy & Ana Kovalova won every dance with a huge majority of firsts from the judges. From second on it was a completely mixed bag. We are so lucky to have computers because with such variety of marks from 19 judges we would still be there tabulating who got what. Second overall wen to Andrey Tarasov & Julia Kuznetsova and they placed (3,2,2,2,2), This couple were awarded firsts, seconds and on down to a seventh place in every dance but the paso. Third went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk from Ukraine (2,3,3,3,3), and they too were awarded from first down, but this time to 8th place. Manuel & Natalie from Ukraine were the only couple noticeably shocked and by their result, it took them quite a pregnant moment to recuperate but that they did and they accepted their award with a big smile. Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte were fourth in every dance, they did not got any firsts but they did get a number of seconds with other marks down to 8th.
Fifth in this marathon of Latin couples wen to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova but here as you will see the mix is almost liquified they got (5,6,5,5,7). Sixth were Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova (6,5,6,7,5). Seventh went to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets (8,8,8,6,6) and eighth was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova (7,7,7,8,8). As you can see the four elements were not the only ones being brought together at this Millennium Championships, great couples from all over were drawn together here and the competition was fierce.
The Amateur Ballroom also had a terrific entry and here before the final Oscar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody had to pull out for medical reasons due to a foot injury (we believe), we wish her a quick recovery. This left the first place easily open for another couple to take and it went to Lucas Balestra & Krizia Balestra (1,1,1,2,1). Second was awarded to Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kacmarski (2,2,3,1,2) and third went to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Bakhtiarova (3,3,2,4,3).
The Pro/Am Ballroom was run during the afternoon session and here there was also terrific competition in the Open Scholarships with huge entries and excellent dancing.
In the “A” Ballroom Denis Evans w/Artem Plakhotnyi was first overall but not in every dance (1,4,1,2,2). Second went to Melonie Krumer w/Max Sinitsa (2,2,2,1,3), and third was awarded to Julie Zhao w/Denis Kutepov (3,3,3,3,4).
In the “B” Celia Chou w/Erminio Stefano was the crowned champion placing first in every dance and leaving second place open for Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev who took all second places. Third overall was awarded to Lisa Berry w/Rauno Ilo (3,3,4,3,3).
The “C” went to Tammy Knight w/Artem Plakhotnyi (1,2,1,1,1). Second was awarded to Hye-Kyong Park w/Linas Korieva (2,1,2,2,2) and third went to Leilani Viney w/Kamil Urbaniak (3,3,4,3,3).
Tonight the fourth element would come together once more for another show and we will see the competition heat up in the professional Rhythm and Ballroom as well as the Amateur Latin witch has a huge entry.
“It’s the first annual ………”
Pro-Am Team Match – at Millennium!
The brand new addition to the 2014 Millennium was the Pro-Am Team Match held last night at the start of the evening session.
4 international teams competed over the 4 styles totaling 16 dances. The teams were from USA, Canada, Russia and the Republic of ROW (Rest of World)! The ladies from each team entered wearing “wings” in their country’s color. We thought this was a great way to make the teams cohesive in a relatively simple fashion and without the necessity of everyone wearing the same style/color dress.
The winning team was USA, captained by Marianne Nicole.
We saw the first two professional events of this year’s Millennium last night – the RS Latin and Smooth. Both began with quarter-final rounds and the standard in both was good.
The Smooth was a tight race for first place, but it was won by Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidjnova 1,2,1,1 over Kyle & Allie Spinder 2,1,2,2. But to see how close it was you have to look at the judges’ individual placements. Sergey & Maria won the waltz by 9 first places to 7, the foxtrot by 9 to 8 and the Viennese by 9 to 8. Kyle & Allie took the tango, 10 to 7. For those with a keen eye for maths, that remaining 1st place in the waltz went to 3rd placed Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who were 3rd in all dances. 4th in all dances were Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini, 5th were Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow 6,5,5,5 and 6th, Marc Short & Alissa Kark 5,6,6,6.
The RS Latin also had a fairly close race for 1st place, but it went to Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova 2,1,1,2,1 over Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets 1,2,2,1,2. The remaining placements were very mixed. All the way from China, Ray Zhang & Ren Yi took 3rd 6,3,3,4,7. From England, Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina were 4th, 3,6,6,3,5; Pavel Balykin & Meagan Mendoza were 5th 7,4,4,5,4; Ryan Lewis & Tessa Maria were 6th 5,5,5,6,3 and closing the final Felipe Gonzalez & Kathleen Ilo 4,7,7,7,6.
For the pro-ams it was Smooth day. The semifinals and finals of the 3 Open Scholarships were run in the evening with qualifying rounds in the afternoon session. All produced great finals.
The A was won by Melonie Krumer w/ Max Sinitsa and Melonie won all dances. We felt she was the best overall dancer in the final who produces a lot of power. The only challenge to Melonie came from Brianna Yadgir w/ Chris Germain who has greatly improved in this style and took 2nd in all dances. Brianna was also the winner of the Open Scholarship in 9-Dance and won all 9 dances. Congratulations! 3rd here in the A Smooth went to Christine Diaz w/ Kris Suakjian and she was also 3rd in all dances. In fact all places in all dances were the same for every competitor. 4th went to the only gentleman in any of the finals, Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer, 5th to Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki and 6th to Melissa Dipietro w/ Randy Dias.
In the B we saw an upset to the expected form as Joanne Smith w/ Sharone Levit (Canada) who has won most events in this division lately, lost to Lisa Berry w/ Rauno Ilo. Lisa placed 1,2,1,1 to Joanne’s 2,1,2,2. So was this upset expected? You can find out our opinion in the members’ section of Dance Beat coming up soon. The remaining couples placed in the same position in every dance. Christina Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu was 3rd , Melissa Rodriguez w/ Mayo Alanen took 4th, Monica Broch w/ Kris Suakjian 5th, Darla Davies w/ Jim Maranto 6th and Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Souchaki 7th.
It was a return to glory for Sue Eldred as she took 1st in the C division 1,1,1,2. Now dancing with Artem Plakhotnyi, Sue had been a US Champion before taking a break. This was her first major win since returning. 2nd fell to Helena Kostik w/ Mazen Hamza 3,3,2,1 and 3rd to Lynn Murrel w/ Peter Perzhu 2,2,6,3. As you can see, not too much consensus from the judges on these placements! Monica Broch, in her 2nd final of the night, once again placed 4th, 4,4,3,4. Paige Riffle w/ Alex Zagrean was 5th 5,5,4,5; Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 6th 6,6,5,6 and Marina Sanchez-Torres w/ Max Sinista was 7th.
Stay tuned for the first of the major professional and amateur divisions all happening tonight, plus the Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships and part 1 of the Millennium “Show of Shows” that features the BYU Formation Team, Emanuel Pierre Antoine & Liana Churilova, Victor Fung & Ananstasia Muravyeva and Mauritzio Vescovo & Andra Vaidailaite.
Millennium! It’s “Element-ary!”
Millennium’s theme this year is the 4 Elements and it is “elementary” that Millennium Dancesport remains the “best dressed” competition on the circuit. This year the stage is filled with enormous LED displays that constantly change to reflect the theme or what is happening on the floor. It is stunning! This is only enhanced by the superb lighting and sound that Millennium always provides.
The first 2 days were devoted almost entirely to pro-am Rhythm and the culmination of this was the Open Scholarships run last night. All had good attendance and the level of dancing was high.
The winner of the A was Sasha Woshczn w/ Ilya Reyzin. Sasha won all dances and was a clear winner to us watching from the sidelines. 2nd and 3rd placements appeared closer to us but in the final analysis Briana Yadgir w/ Aaron DeSoto was 2nd in all dances and Chastity w/ Eddie Ares was 3rd in all. Julie Korsog w/ Misha Vlasov, who competed and made the final in the B division also, was 4th (4,4,4,5,4); Laurel Skaggs w/ Ben Ermis was 5th (5,5,5,4,5) and Stefan Tuomanen w/ Michelle Officer was 6th.
The B and C divisions were very close-fought. Elena Cormio w/ Edwin Torres won the B (1,2,1,1,1) and we loved her feel for the music. Beatriz Higuery w/ Vlad Kosarev took 2nd (3,1,3,4,2) and she had a great look on the floor. 3rd went to Coleen Peac w/ Ben Ermis (2,3,2,3,4) and this was another very talented lady, new to us. 4th was Tracy Hannon w/ Misha Konstantinov (4,5,4,5,3); 5th Julie Korsog w/ Misha Vlasov (5,4,5,2,5) and 6th Regina Ruff w/ Eddie Ares was 6th (6,6,6,6,6).
The C was if anything, even closer. The winner and obviously thrilled, was Dianna Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov (3,1,1,2,1) – this was probably her best result to date. Congratulations! 2nd went Lynn Murrell w/ Peter Perzhu (2,3,3,1,4) who gave her usual consistent performance and had a great look on the floor. 3rd fell to a lady we really liked tonight, Marguerite Pinard w/ Nerijus Jasaitis (1,2,5,4,3) – those were some mixed scores! Renee Kuwahara w/ Ilya Rezin took 4th (4,4,2,3,2) and in a surprise result, Joan Goddard w/ Chris Johnston, a former winner of this event many times, dropped to 5th (5,5,4,5,5). Marcy Garson w/ Mazen Hamza was 6th (7,6,6,6,7) and Quin Bommeljie w/ Misha Vlasov was 7th (6,7,7,7,6).
Today begins the pro-am Smooth divisions and we look forward to a new International Pro-Am Team Match tonight. Check back tomorrow for the latest scoop!
Smooth or Latin?
The last day at the Colorado Star Ball Championships was a combination of Ballroom and Latin during the day but the best professional event of the week for us was the Smooth Open Championship. As is customary here in Colorado the Open Professional Latin final was interchanged between the Smooth dances, but there was no competition here for us, the Smooth was the best hands down.
Three very exciting couples for us made the Open Professional Smooth nail biting: Nick Cheremukhim & Viktorija, Mikolaj Czarneki & Vicktoria Malko and Kyle & Allie Spinder, all three with very different styles and very capable and ready for the task. In the end all four dances went to Nick & Viktorija, who were in our opinion and those around me, fabulous. Their musicality and artistic interpretation of each dance left you breathless and on this performance they really stole our heart. Second in all dances went to Mikolaj & Victoria, a very promising partnership with huge talent but on this outing we felt they could not challenge. Unlike Nick & Viktorija their dancing still looked a little green in places, but we are sure they will be challenging soon once their material has ripened a bit. Third in all dances went to perhaps the most picture perfect performance, that of Kyle & Allie. They sported a very free spirit look and went out on the floor with a take no prisoners attitude. In the first round we felt they might have a chance for the top but once in the final for us their performance lacked innovation. With a little more experimenting and finding their style this couple could easily find themselves on the very top of the list, their competitive skills are terrific.
The rest of the final was not as eye catching but all three couples were very capable and worth a mention, Fourth place overall wen to Marko Urosevic & Asley Mokris (4,4,4,5), fifth were Christopher & April Muller (5,5,5,4) and in sixth place was Kyle & Christina Campbell who placed sixth in every dance.
The Pro Latin had three entries and for us and we believe the judges it was clear cut. First went to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova and they placed first in all dances, second was Sergiy Kvashyn & Olga Ginzburg and third place was awarded to Gene & Elena Bersten, we will tell you how we saw them in the full article of the Colorado Star Ball here very soon.
The Professional Showdance was also run this evening and this went to Kyle & Allie Spinder, second was awarded to Michas Belfer & Julie Garczynki leaving third position to Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova.
Out of the two styles run this day of Pro/Am competitions the best scholarships for us were in the Ballroom category. The “B” Ballroom had the most entries and here we missed Beverly Moore who pulled out of the competition due to injury, this left top placement fully open and this placement wen to Lily Chang w/Sergey Kiselev they took all firsts. Second went to Michaelle Peng w/Mikhail Avdeev (3,2,2,2,2) and third was awarded to Nadia Tippet w/Yuriy Kravets (4,3,4,3,3).
The “A” division was also excellent with five couples competing for top position. In the end Sabine Blyth w/Giacomo Agrello took all firsts, Sabrina Zagolin w/Yuriy Kravets placed second (3,2,2,2,2) and Grace Wang w/Mikhail Avdeev was third (2,3,3,3,3).
There were four couples in the “C” and this went to Nadia Tippet w/Yuriy Kravets with all firsts. Samantha Sheer w/Jari Muller took all seconds and Susan Lowe w/David Aanestad was third.
The Pro/Am Open Latin Scholarships were all very small. In the “B” three couples competed and here Liz Rocco w/Eric Hudson took first in all dances, Dawn Mersich w/Brad Ackerman was second and Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar placed third. The “A” and “C” had two couples. In the “C” Michael Roybar w/Kristina Poole placed first by wining three dances and placing second in the rest, Patricia Duran w/Ross Pearce were second and they won these two dances. The “A” was won by Dawn Mersich w/Brad Ackerman first in all dances and Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar were second.
It’s a Smoothie!
It was a Smoothie day at the Colorado Star Ball Championships and it went without a hitch. The day was concluded, as the day before, with scholarships in all levels for the Smooth style and in the Professional events the Open Professional Rhythm and Ballroom Colorado Champions were selected.
As in the professional Rising Stars the night before the Rhythm categories had the most entries with a healthy semifinal round, and most of the couples that competed with the exception of one or two couples were the same also, but this time the overall winner of this Rhythm Championship was Ivan Dishliev & Marieta Nedyakova and they won every dance. For us Ivan & Marieta were the clear winners with no other couple challenging their first place position. Second went to the Rising Stars winners Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov who if, in our opinion, had danced more like the night before, could have challenged a little more, but in this performance we agreed with the judges, they were clearly second. Third position wen to Matthias Kruchel & Christina Schlegel who were awarded third in every dance.
In the professional Ballroom there was also a few new entries and they were Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk who for us were the best couple from the start. However, the judges felt a little differently. They awarded them second in the waltz and they tied for first in the foxtrot. First in the waltz went to the second new entry and that was Michael Towlizew & Tiffany Fung who also tied for first with Iaroslav & Olga on the foxtrot, but to our surprise placed third in the VW and quickstep? The second places on those dances went to the third place overall finishers, Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovkaya (3,3,2,3,2). This was a small but very interesting competition with a very interesting result.
In the Pro/Am Open American Smooth Scholarships the “C” division had the most participation and this event wen to Beverly Moore w/Alain Doucet from Canada who won all dances. Second place was awarded to Dana Voigt w/Randy Wilson and they placed second in every dance and third was awarded to Elisabeth Cramer w/Robert Nardozza. In the “B” Liz Rocco w/Eric Hudson took the trophy home and second in all dances went to Dawn Mersich w/Gary Holmes, leaving third to Kitty Sang w/Matthias Kruschel (3,4,3,3). There were only four couples in the “A” division and the winner was Dawn Mersich w/Youriy Pavlov (1,2,1,1). Second went to Kelly Morikawa w/Jonathan Atkinson and in third place was Emma Rosenblum w/Michel Kibel and they were third in all dances.
After all competitions were over for the day the audience were treated to a Latin show by Roman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova.
Colorado has Rhythm!
For the last two days we have concentrated on the Rhythm style here at the Colorado Star Ball Championships and it concluded with some excellent scholarships. To go with the scholarships we had the Rising Star Ballroom and Rhythm events. As always for the entire two days from morning to night time all couples in all levels received the wonderful Denver Colorado welcome we have gotten used to.
Not surprisingly, the largest attendance of the two professional events last night was in the Rising Star Rhythm category. The couples in this division were all very close in level and style and so we presume the judges had their work cut out. In the end Donovan Dominguez & Rose Dimov won every dance and took the title. Mathias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel were second in every dance and Jesse Dickson & Lannie Sullivan were third (5,3,3,3,3).
The Ballroom Rising Star was a lot easier with four couples entered, here Evganiy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya won all dances, Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydrough took all seconds and Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo placed third.
In the pro/am Scholarships the “A” category was won by Dawn Mersich w/Hugh Rowe they took first in all five dances, Michelle Young & Scott Koogle took second and Emma Rosenblum w/Toby Munroe was third.
The “B” category went to Dawn Mersich w/Hugh Rowe again. They won four dances and placed second in the swing. Second overall was awarded to Eileeen Arcilla w/Golden Parker and they won the swing but placed second in the other four dances and third went to Lauren LaPointe w/Louis Bar (3,3,4,3,3).
The “C” was a two couple final and Dana Voigt w/Randy Wilson won all dances leaving second to Barbara Willis w/Rainier Rics.
After hours the talk is all about people staying to hike and people that have already hiked around the beautiful mountains of Denver Colorado. It all sounded so beautiful I wish I could have come a day earlier, but perhaps next time.
Today we are on to the Smooth divisions, so stay tuned for more results and stories from this event.
Ballroom & Rhythm are the Stars at Yankee
Saturday night was a dancing extravaganza at Yankee Classic that started with a “bang!” For us the best professional events events of the night were the first two – Ballroom and Rhythm.
The Rhythm was first up and right away it developed into an obvious duel between Florida powerhouses, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova. On the last meeting between these two that we witnessed, at Emerald Ball, Nazar & Irina came out on top. Here the decision was reversed and Peter & Alexandra took it by 3 dances to 2 by winning cha cha, rumba and bolero. Nazar & Irina took the other 2 dances. All were won with a majority (not large) of 1st place scores. These are 2 great couples – pay your money and take your choice!! They are very different both in appearance and styling.
3rd today went to Azamat Evgamukov & Katerina Angelone (3,3,4,3,3). In the semifinal round we were concerned that this pair was not on form, but in the final they stepped it up and we thought deserved their final placing overall. Physical conditioning has once again become an issue here. Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov continued to impress the judges taking 4th spot 4,4,3,4,4. They are an engaging couple but need a more personalized style perhaps. We liked 5th placed Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt, especially in cha cha and mambo. 6th went to Srahija Lackovic & Irina Fedsova (6,6,6,6,6) and 7th to Sasha & Tara Barakov (7,7,7,7,7). Watch out for Jennifer Foster’s report on this division.
Equally good was the Ballroom, although it had something of a shakeup in the form result. No surprises in the winners – Alexandre Voskalchuk & Veronica Ergorova were superb and won all dances with large majorities of 1st place scores. Alexandre’s twin brother (just kidding, but don’t they look alike?) Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova easily took 2nd in all dances and looked very energized to us today. The surprise tonight came in the 3rd place finish of Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley (3,3,4,3,3). This was a great result for them (they even picked up a few 1st places) and certainly moves them ahead. Let’s see if they can maintain the momentum over this busy summer. Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Roshchina were probably disappointed with their 4th place (4,5,3,4,4). 5th went to Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena (6,4,5,5,5) and 6th to Ronen Zinshtein & Maryam Izmalova (5,6,6,6,6). This was a World Masters Title. Christiane Primeau will have the report on this division in Dance Beat soon.
Unfortunately the Smooth and Latin failed to live up to the first two divisions. The Smooth was easily won by Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija. We were extremely surprised to see Nick & Viktoriya pick up a few scores below 2nd place!! The only challenge to the winners came from Vlad & Vera Kosarev who gave a good performance tonight, much stronger then the recent one at Atlanta Open. They scored some 1st places in all dances except VW. 3rd tonight went to Jan Ondrias & Vivian Lessa 3,3,3,3; 4th to Enzo Zappia & Laura Galmaceda 4,4,4,4; 5th to Matt Fortuna & Tania Nunez 5,5,5,5; 6th Jared Vigneault & Sara Zirolla.
Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Svetts were easy winners of the Latin World Masters taking all dances with large majorities including a perfect score in cha cha. Taking 2nd in all dances, but getting some scores in the lower half of the final were Jean Paul & Lara Rossi. The RS winners, Vincenzo Mineri & Rosaria Vivone, continued their strong form taking 3rd 3,4,4,3,3. With 4,3,3,4,4, Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko were 4th. We liked ???? who were 5th with 6,5,5,5,5. 6th went to #212, 5,6,6,6,6 and 7th to Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada.
The World Masters Amateur Latin was an excellent event with a strong semifinal round – it was a tough final to make. The winners in all dances were Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova and they had the majority of 1st places in all dances except rumba where the 1st ‘s were spread around. We also really liked Artur Tarnavsky & Gabriella Sabler who were 2nd in all dances and picked up 1st places in all dances. With 3,4,4,3,3, Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova were 3rd. 4,3,3,5,4, gave Ron Garber & Liza the 4th spot and they looked much more “high-energy” than usual. 5th went to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova (5,5,5,4,5) and 6th to #345.
For the pro-ams it was Ballroom day. Both the Open Scholarships and the New England Championships were excellent, although there were some reversals of placement between the divisions. The C Scholarship was won by Mike Brown w/ Anna Oblakova with 2nd going to Susan Walker w/ Samuele Pacchini. This was reversed in the New England Championship. Audrey Paek w/ Ronen Zinshtein won the B Open Scholarship over Carole Simmons w/ Serghei Pogonet. Audrey did not compete in the New England, so Carole had a clear field and took the event. Jennifer Lee w/ Serghei Pogonet took the Open A Scholarship.
The World Masters Pro-Am Title winners were Scott Bergendahl (9-Dance A); Elizabeth Canis (9-Dance B); Hope Huber (9-dance C); Rosemary Lynch (10-Dance B); Janice Stanton (10-Dance C).
The featured performers here at Yankee Classic were Victor Fung & Anastasia who delighted the crowd with their new (to us) ballroom show that moved along quickly and had excellent music choices. Interspersed were 2 wheelchair performances from Roll Call that were very moving.
The night ended with the now traditional Legal Seafood professional party sponsored once again by Kathy Kenney.
World Masters to Taras & Tatiana
The main feature of Friday night at Yankee was the World Masters Amateur Ballroom Championship and congratulations to Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova for winning this title – a great addition to any dancer’s resume.
The event attracted a semifinal and the final was the last event danced last night. The field was strong we thought. Taras & Tatiana won the event by 3 dances to 2 over Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova. Tara & Tatiana won tango, Viennese and quickstep, but only tango and Viennese with a majority of 1st places. Marek & Liana won the other 2 dances but not with a majority. Although these 2 couples shared the majority of 1st and 2nd places, both had a few marks in the lower half of the final with Taras & Tatiana picking up more of these stray 4’s and 5’s. The two couples have very different styles, find out what we thought and why some judges did not favor the winners in an upcoming edition of Dance Beat.
3rd tonight were youth competitors Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanova (4,5,3,3,3) who gave a strong showing tonight we thought. This was a close race with Fernando Lareu & Nicole Palagashvili taking 4th (3,3,4,5,4). We didn't really understand the 5th placement in foxtrot. 5th were Daniel Vesnovskiy & Emily Thorpe (5,4,5,4,5) and 6th Ben Moss & Esther Rheinbay.
All 4 Pro RS Star divisions took place this same night and all but the Ballroom had a semifinal round. From the perspective of the Dance Beat Team, there were many couples in all styles we had not seen before.
The winners of the Latin were the new partnership of Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Vivone (1,2,1,1,1). We’re not sure if this was in fact their first competition together. They make a super-attractive pair and should do well in this style. 2nd were the always impressive Dmyto & Nina Kovalenko (2,1,2,2,2) and 3rd, Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada (3,3,3,3,3).
The Smooth went to the consistent team of Serge & Yana Nelyubov (1,1,1,2). 2nd fell to Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth (2,2,2,1) and 3rd to Jan Ondrias & Vivian Lessa (3,3,3,3,3).
In the Rhythm, Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov were the winners in al dances – clearly to us. 2nd went to Sahsa & Tara Barakov (3,2,2,2,2) and 3rd to the new partnership of Kosta Trifunic & Domante Padleckaite (2,3,3,3,3).
Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova won the Ballroom (2,1,1,1,1) with 2nd going to Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold (1,2,2,2,2). We thought the runners-up were close to the winners in this one. 3rd were Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina (3,3,3,3,3).
Friday was a long day with the pro-ams dancing 2 styles – Smooth and Latin. The Smooth was up first and the B and C divisions were the larger.
Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika took the B (1,1,1,2). This lady has really come on strongly recently. 2nd fell to Amanda Levine w/ Morten Jensen (3,2,3,1) and 3rd to Aviva Adler w/ Victor Russu (2,3,2,3).
Elaine Sheresky Lewis w/ Victor Russu took all dances in the C, great to see her back on the floor and looking good! 2nd went to Nancy Sachs w/ Sergey Vasiliev (2,2,3,3) and 3rd to Hope Huber w/ Troy Baeten (3,3,2,2).
Only 2 couples contested the A division and it went to Brittany Falconer w/ Peter Walker in all dances over Scott Bergendahl w/ Maria Huard.
The New England Championships were also run in the Smooth and these went to Lynn Shanahan (B), Aviva Adler (C) and Scott Bergendahl (A).
In the Latin, once again the B and C divisions were the larger. Maria Sergaou w/ Dmitrios Damalas won all dances in the B, 2nd in all was Loraine Peoples w/ Andrei Gavriline and 3rd was Vanessa Dicicco w/ Vlad Astafiev (3,3,3,3,4).
The most closely contested was the C and this fell to Deborah Wagman w/ Matthew Hauer (1,2,2,1,2). Janice Stanton w/ Clive Phillips took 2nd (3,1,3,2,1) and Bernie McCool w/ Thomas Shiloshvili was 3rd (2,3,1,3,3).
Nicolas Nguyen w/ Helle Rusholt won the A (1,1,1,1,1). It was good to see him back on the floor. 2nd went to Chastity w/ Eddie Ares (2,2,2,2,2) and 3rd to Patricia Mui w/ Alex Samusevich (3,3,3,3,3).
Feeling the Rhythm in Boston
Yankee Classic got under way yesterday in a very sunny Cambridge, MA, and from the Marriott Hotel there were fine views across the Charles River of Downtown Boston glimmering in the sunshine.
The Yankee Classic also incorporates the New England Championships and some World Masters Championships. Yesterday was all about pro-am Rhythm and in the evening we saw the culmination with Open Scholarships and also Open New England Championships.
The entries and results were very similar between the Open Scholarships and New England Championships and once again is was FADS NY Westside featuring on the winners rostrum as Jolanta Mosteika and her boys swept the field. Giovanni Fortezza won the B division in Open Scholarship and New England Championship as did Phillip Widlanski in the C division.
Giovanni won all 5 dances in both divisions. The runner-up in both, with 2nd in all dances both times, was Faye Diamantoudi w/ Tony Santana from Montreal and all the 3rd ‘s in both events went to Elizabeth Canis w/ Robert Foster. Valerie Letelier w/ Jason Barrera took 4th in the New England Championship but was 5th in the Open behind Elizabeth Woo w/ Chris Uy.
Phillip placed 1,1,1,2,1 in the Open and 1,1,1,1T,1 in the New England and 2nd both times went to Hope Huber who took the 1st in bolero in the Open and tied it in the New England. Amy Pollinger w/ Slava Sergiev was 3rd in both with 4,3,3,3,5 in the Open and 3,3,3,3,5 in the New England. Carol Silverstein w/ Jean Michel Erole took 4th in the Open (3,4,5,4,4) but dropped to 6th in the New England (6,6,6,6,3). Deborah Liguori w/ Rodrigue Edouard was 5th both times (5,5,4,5,3 and 5,5,5,5,4). David Pollinger w/ Irina Sarukhanyan took 6th in the Open. Catherine Zambos w/ Peter Perzhu was 4th in the New England (4,4,4,4,6) but did not compete in the Open.
The A division saw the smallest entries and was different between the two categories. Chastity w/ Eddie Ares won all dances in the Open. Sami Gendreau w/ Matt Fortuna was 2nd (2,2,2,3,2). Neither of these ladies took part in the New England. Jennifer Coutney w/ Istvan Cserven was 3rd in the Open (3,3,3,2,3) but won the New England (2,1,1,1,1). Scott Bergendahl w/ Maria Huard was 2nd in the New England.
7th Time for Arunas in Vilnius
2014 was the 7th annual Vilnius Dance Festival, organized by US and World WDC Ballroom Champion, Arunas Bizokas, in his native Lithuania. Amazingly this event starts just one day after Blackpool finishes and of course, Arunas & Katusha won the Professional Ballroom at Blackpool again this year.
The thought of organizing an event just 1 day after such an amazingly stressful competition is daunting, but just as in his dancing, Arunas seems to take it all in stride. Not only is he the organizer he and Katusha also are the featured performers.
This year we saw competitors in WDC AL Amateur divisions, pro-am competitions, and hobby divisions with competitors from far afield – Australia, Canada, USA, Lebanon, Israel and a host of European countries. Judges hailed from Asia, Europe and North America.
The competition takes place in the Radisson Blue Hotel, right on the river in the charming and historical city of Vilnius. The after party in the spectacular Space Bar atop the hotel with panoramic windows is always a treat. Watch out for a full report and photos in the members’ section soon. And there will be some surprises - (eg. Katusha Demidova competed in the pro-am!)
It’s 1 & 2 Again! Once again USA took both winners and runners-up positions at the Blackpool Dance Festival – Open British Ballroom Championship. Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova won all 4 dances (no VW in Blackpool) and Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva were 2nd in all 4. As always the atmosphere for the final was terrific and the ending was a prolonged standing ovation. Representing England Andrea & Sara Ghigiarelli took 3rd in all 4 dances and it was a great night for Slovenian Reps, Domen Krapez & Monica Nigro who finished ahead of all their closest rivals to take 4th in all 4 dances. With placements of 5,5,5,6, (order of dances in Blackpool is WFTQ) Valerio Colantoni & Yulia Spesivtseva had to be content with 5th place. And in 6th were the popular Chinese team, Chao Yang & Yiling Tan placing 6,-,6,5. As you all know, professional divisions are judged by dance from the quarter-final onwards at Blackpool. Sascha & Natasha Karebey (Germany) placed 6th in the foxtrot. The USA continued to show great form down through the ranks of this competition. Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk made all 4 semifinals, cementing their ranking in both the USA and the world. But also making dances into the semifinals were Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva (W); Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa (F); Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova (F); Andrea Zaramella & Kristi Simmonds (T). As a side note, Australian photographer and Dance Beat contributor, Mark Gadsden, became something of a local hero when he dived into the chilly Irish Sea during the afternoon to save a boy from drowning. I’m sure the temperature was a little lower than his native land – but at least there were no sharks! Don’t forget to join the members’ section of Dance Beat to read the full Blackpool report and special commentary from Barbara Nagrode Ambroz, Giampiero Giannico, Eugene Katsevman and Lindsey Hillier-Tate.
Wow! 4 of the six finalists of the Amateur Ballroom at Blackpool, including the winners, were from Poland. And there was another Polish couple in the semifinal. Some in the audience felt it was a very even final and they loved all the couples – “Any one of them could have won!” Somebody told us.
The winners, retaining their title, were Marek Kosaty & Paulina Glazik and they won all dances. The remaining couples in the final were shuffled a bit since last year. Moving up were Chong He & Jing Shan (China) and also moving up were Sergiu Rusu & Dorota Makar (Poland). Poland also took 4th and 6th, Andrzej Sadecki & Karina Nawrot and Lukasz Tomczak & Aleksandra Jurczak; splitting them in 5th place were Dusan Dragovic & Greta Laurinaityte (England).
"I don't have attitude, I'm just REALLY good!"
US aspirations ended in the quarter-final with two couples making this round – Oskar Wojciechowski & Karolina Holody were 14th and Andres & Veronika End were 17th.
The USA had 4 entries in the Invitational Exhibition, but the winners were previous winners, Craig Smith & Micheline from South Africa who gave a near faultless performance. They received a standing ovation from the audience. Also receiving a standing ovation and the runner-up spot were Shane & Shannon Jensen from the USA. Our Dance Beat award for “most improved” went to the 3rd place recipients, Carlos Zapata & Dora Pashkova (Canada). 4th went to South Africa, Gerhard Van Roohen & Amor Krucer; 5th to Justine Guilmette & Kimerlee Piedad (USA); 6th Ethan & Nikki White (USA); 7th Travis & Jaimee Tuft (USA); 8th Igor Alferov & Alexandra Akimova (Russia). Margaret Burns from the USA was a judge of the division.
This also marked the 2nd year for pro-am dancing in Blackpool. Once again this year, there was a pro-am exhibition. 8 performances were split into two groups. There were six performances from Russia and 2 from China.
Stay On the Floor! It was the same couples in all dances for the Professional Latin at the British Open, but we were really taken aback when after the competition was over, Mr. Marcus Hilton MBE asked the couples once again to “stay on the floor,” but this time it was to read the retirement letter of Sergey Surkov & Melia.
It was a touching moment for all, Sergey & Melia have been a fixture of the Empress Ballroom for a long time, and we were really surprised when Mr. Hilton asked them to perform an honor dance. Now that World War II has been over for a while, are we developing a soft heart on this side of the pond? Never, since we can remember or any other English person of our age can remember, has an honor dance been executed by retiring competitors here at Blackool. (Can anyone else help us here, has this been done before?) Congratulations to Sergey & Melia on their retirement and we wish them the best in their future goals and accomplishments. As the norm Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis from England won the overall competition by takig three dances the C, R, P, leaving the left over dances S, J to current WDC World Professional Latin Champions & USA Champions, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko from the USA. Third place went to Sergey & Melia but it was not a clear sweep. Canada’s Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite took two third places from the outgoing couple, but still were placed fourth overall. Fifth went to another fixture and that was Andrej Skufca & Melinda Torokgyorgy from Slovenia they placed fifth in every dance but the jive, this dance went to USA’s Stefano Di Filippo & Dariya who were sixth overall. I know there is total confusion as to who represents who and on some
"Dance for yourself. If someone understands, good. if not, no matter. go righr on doing what interests you, and do it until it stops interesting you."websites they have Stefano & Dariya dancing for Italy but as far as we know they continue to represent the USA, they possibly do most of their studies and rehearsing and competing in Alaska and Wyoming but they do represent the USA.
In the Semifinal Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina made two dances In the 24 Sarunas Greblikas & Viktoria Horeva made all five from the USA and Canada had one couple Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko who also made all five dances.
"Let us dance in the sum, wearing wild flowers in our hair..." England’s most promising couple Neil & Ekaterina Jones dropped out of the competition due to a foot injury. From the vendors report: they seem to be happy! They think there are more competitors than last year but attendance as a “fan” or viewer is down from last year. In looking around we do find it a little thinner on the ground, but not enough to cause alarm. The British Open continues to be as healthy as always but we do feel bad for the vendors who have no place to go and are now spread like butter all over the Winter Gardens! Rumors have it that by next year the space occupied this year by many of the vendors will be turned into a Blackpool Museum.
Troels & Ina Repeat in Amateur Latin Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark) won the first of the “big 4” at Blackpool last night, the Amateur Latin. This was a repeat of their win last year. Last night they won all 5 dances, although, from the sidelines, we felt they have danced better on other occasions, but the judges clearly did not feel this to be the case.
Taking 2nd in 4 dances, but dropping to 3rd in jive were Kirill Belorukov & Elvira Skrylnikova (Russia). We liked their showing tonight, they seemed to have the most energy and attacked their dancing more than the rest of the final. The most improved result went to another Russian team, Nikita Brovko & Olga Urumova (3,3,3,3,2). Leading the US charge were Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina and they placed 4th (4,4,5,4,4). We are sure they were hoping for a little better. One of our favorite couples of the competition took 5th, Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva (Denmark) 5,5,4,5,5 and 6th were Klemen Prasnikar & Alexandra Averkieva (Slovenia). Pasha Pashkov & Danniella Karagach from New York placed in the top 12, a great result for them mirroring their result of 2012 and USA also had 3 couples in the top 24, Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina, Ruslan Aydaev & Valeriya Kozharinova and Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman – so this was a strong showing for USA.
"Our biological rhythms are the symphony of the cosmos, music embedded within us to which we dance, even when we can't name the tune." The other event of the night was the Youth (U/21) ballroom and in their first adult Blackpool New York’s Patrick Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski took 4th. Many in the audience felt they could have been even higher. The competition was very close through the whole final and Patrick & Anna actually won the foxtrot. Their full placements were 3,4,1,3. The winners (by a Rule 10) were Michael Foskett & Nika Vlasenko (England). They placed 1,3,4,1. The other half of the Rule 10 were Aleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova (Ukraine) with 2,2,3,2. It was great to see NDCA President, Brian McDonald, on the evening panel here at Blackpool, one of very few non-British judges to have ever had that honor.
USA Has 1/2 the Pro RS Ballroom Semi!
Photos by Andrew Miller
USA had 6 couples in the semifinal of the Open British Rising Star Professional Ballroom last night in Blackpool – and 2 couples went all the way to the final. Placing 2nd were Andrea Zaramella & Kristie Simmonds and 3rd were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa.
Our semifinalists were: Egor Abashkin & Katya Kanevskaya, Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romashkina, Nikita Novikov & Dovile Sutaite and Ronen Zinshtein & Mariam Izmaylova.
The day before (Sunday) saw the conclusion of the Amateur Rising Star divisions. USA’s best results came in the Latin where Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman were 2nd – a great result for them. There were also 2 US couples and 2 Canadians in the semifinal. For the USA – Austin Joson & Alexandria Kondrashova and Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasiya Danilova and for Canada Nurian Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowski and Adam Hathazi & Morgan Lakatos-Hayward. Also members go to our photos page to see photos of the North American Dinner - coming soon.
Team Americas Wins Team Match Again
Once again, Team Americas won the International Teams Match at the Blackpool Dance Festival. Congratulations to Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova, Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko, Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite and Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk – our team members.
We were a little saddened not to see US #2 and world ranked #2 team, Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva not part of the team (especially since Victor, unlike so many of us North American inports, was actually born there). Our team captain was Meryem Pearson of Canada. North American also had some success in the U/21 Latin Championships. Austin Joson & Alexandra Kondrashova (USA) were 4th and Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward (Canada) were 5th. Additionally Nurian Gallymov & Jessica Swietonioeski (Canada) and Ron Garber & Lisa Lakovistky (USA) were in the semifinal.
Great Start to USA’s BlackpoolQuest! What better way to start Blackpool week than with a win for the USA. David & Liva Wright placed first in the Open British Senior Ballroom Championship last night in the Winter Gardens’ Empress Ballroom. Almost as good, Sarunas Greblikas & Viktoria Horeva, also representing the USA, took 2nd in the Professional Rising Star Latin. Canadians Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelipenko were 6th in this same event. North American also had semifinalists in these competitions. In the senior, Xingmin & Katerina Lu and Andreas & Jodi Meijer and in the RS Latin, Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova from USA and Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc from Canada