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Amateur Latin Headlines on Saturday!

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WMV-Lowee 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 theMV-nazar 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.

MartiMV-cardozan 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?

MV-VescovoA 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.


ThMV-Perzhue 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 weMV-Galinaaring 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 oMV-AmBalln 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 tMV-Maricohe 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.

ThMV-Shandore 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 waMV-vlads 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 AlMV-Alexeeiekseev &  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.


MV-BBallIrina 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.

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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.

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Rising to the Top!
Philadelphia Saturday


Ballroom Tour

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.

Rhythm Tour

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

Competitors can see Star Tour scores from Twin Cities Open by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

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:

2.   $8,000.00
3.   $5,000.00
4.   $4,000.00
5.   $3,000.00
6.   $2,000.00
7.   $1,000.00
8.   $1,000.00
9.   $1,000.00
10. $1,000.00
11. $1,000.00
12. $1,000.00

The Rules

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.

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Last Shout!


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.

USA15-Youth Ballroom lineup

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 mentioneUSA15-Adult 10dancewinnerd 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.

ThUSA15-WDSF UNdr21Lineupere 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.

ContinUSA15-Under21Ten danceLineupuing 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.

Junior II  Ten Dance Championship

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 Overviewfar 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.

Winning coupleThe 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.

Winning Ballroom couple dancingWe 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.

Ballroom lineup 

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.

Jinnior II BallroomJunnior IILatinThere 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.

Youth LatinThe 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.

Youth Ballroom

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 cUSA15-Malakovhampionships 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.


Top two couplesSecond 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 Kikiwebbeing 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.

Senior IBallroom lineup

Senior 1 winnerThe 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 Sennior III Winnersaway 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.

Youth 10 dance

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.

Nine dance champsface

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.

Youth 10 dance

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.

Ballroom ShowdanceIt 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.

Ballroom Under 21The 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

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35 Years in the Making!


This year was the 35th anniversary of the San Francisco Open, and to celebrate many of the finalists and winners performed in a 2-part show last night.  This on top of two high quality open professional competitions.

TheSFO15-Perzhu Open Smooth really brought out an interesting group.  US Champions, Peter & Alexandra Perzhu were entered and they had little trouble winning all dances, each one with a large majority of 1st place marks.  The runners-up, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija were equally clear in 2nd place.  Judge Beth Knoll awarded them 1st place in all dances.  3rd spot, again in all dances, fell to Evgeny Malko & Anna Shabazyan, who looked more relaxed and in control tonight as they continue to gain experience together.  4th in all dances went to Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow who always give a light and bright performance.  Back on the scene here in the USA after some time away were Mark & Melanie Perkovich from Australia and they took 5th in all dances.  Closing the final were Drew Miller & Krista Humphrey.


Andrey Tarasov SFO15-Tarasov1& Yulia Kuznetsova were clear winners in the Open Latin from the judges’ perspective and from the audience’s.  They had clear majorities in 4 dances and won the paso doble, also with a majority of 6 firsts to 4 from the runners-up.  The runners-up were Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who scored 2,2,3,2,2.  Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova took 2nd in the rumba and 3rd in the other 4 dances.  Pavel Balykin & Meagen Mendoza were 5th, 5,5,5,6,5 and Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova were 6th, 6,6,6,5,6.


For tSFO15-PABallhe pro-ams it was a day of Ballroom and the Open Scholarships were some of the best of the weekend.  The largest open scholarship this year was the Open Senior Ballroom with 12 entries.  The winner was Gail Sherman w/ Slava Stefanov.  Another good event was the Open B Ballroom and here the winner in all dances was Michelle Peng w/ Mikhail Avdeev.

The Pros Come Out!

Last night we saw the first of the Open Pro divisions here at SFO.  The Rhythm and the Ballroom both began with semifinals.

WSFO15-Nazarith a 2014 US finalist couple in both divisions, the result seemed pretty sewn up going in and indeed, both couples won their respective division by winning all dances.

Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova had the majority of 1st places in all 5 dances although there were  a few loose firsts floating around.  Runners-up, Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi received at least 1 first in all dances as did 4th placed Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti.  We felt Nazar & Irina were pretty clear.  One judge, Aira Bubnelyte did not see it this way placing them 4,4,4,4,4 and Colin James also placed them 3rd overall.


Danus & Yuki, recently returned to the floor, received 2nd in all dances and had a very appealing presence on the floor.  All energy, Andri Abrashin & Mariia Gavrylova were 3rd in all dances, but did not receive any 1st place marks from the judges.  Riccardo & Sabrina were 4th in all dances and as we said, had their supporters on the judging panel, receiving 1st places in all dances.  Ivan Dishliev & Marietta Nedyalkova were 5th in all dances and Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman were 6th.

MikhSFO15-Mikhailail & Olga were easy winners in the Ballroom losing very few 1st place marks and with a perfect 11 firsts in Viennese Waltz.  Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti took 2nd in all dances.  They did have the majority of 2nd or better in 3 dances but also had scores all over the final.  We thought they were certainly the best choice for runners-up.  For here down the results became much less clear.  With 3,3,3,4,3, Stefano DiBrino & Briana Zubrowska were 3rd and are rising very fast here in the west coast competitions.  They were also the rising star winners.  Another newer couple to the pro floor, Christian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko, took 4th with 5,4,5,3,4.  Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija were 5th 4,6,45,6.  This was not quite as good a result as they achieved in the RS.  Closing the final were Simeon Stoynov & Kora Stoynova with 4,5,6,6,5.


It was left SFO15-Tarasovto the amateurs to provide us with the closest finish of the night and that was in the Amateur Latin.  The winners, by 3 dances to 2, were Nikolai Tarasov & Amanda Herrschaft.  They placed 1,2,2,1,1.  This young couple seem to improve from comp to comp and already looked stronger than in Provo 2 weeks ago.  Runners-up were Kiril Kulish & Orsolya Horvath who won the other 2 dances but placed 2nd in cha cha and 3rd in paso and jive.  Going in we felt this would be the winning couple and they certainly have great floor presence.  But the energy level and consistency was not there tonight in the final.  With 3,3,3,2,2, Andrey Voloshko & Kateryna Krylenko were 3rd.  Daniel Rubashevsky & Anastasia Vysotska were 4th in all dances.  6,5,5,6,5, gave Hai Tran & Stacey Chuang 5th place and with 5,6,6,5,6, Maksim Kalmanovich & Danielle Rayzberg were 6th.  This was an all California final.

TSFO15-PALathe pro-ams danced both Smooth and Latin today and we thought the Open B Latin Scholarship was the best of the day.  This was won by Tina  Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev and she won all dances.  2nd in all was Li Liu w/ Andrey Tarasov and 3rd in all Michelle Peng w/ Nikolai Voronovich.

This is the 35th anniversary of the SFO and we know there are some special events planned for tonight.

Sunny & HOT!
San Francisco Friday

Sparking sunshine over San Francisco Bay greeted dancers as they arrived at the Marriott Hotel for the San Francisco Open’s first day.

And if it was warm outside, things got hot in the ballroom last night, with the heat coming from the Amateur Ballroom Scholarship that pitted many of the USA’s top couples against the Canadian Champions and one of the world’s top six from Poland.

SFO15-SadeckiAndrez Sadecki & Karina Nawrot from Poland have finished in the top six in international events and were 4th at the UK Open this January. So we certainly considered them the favorites to take the event last night here in San Fran.  But it was not to be.  The victory went to US (NDCA) Amateur Champions, Andres & Veronica End who won all dances.  However, the Ends did not have the majority of 1st places in any dance.  The judges seemed uncertain tonight and the 1st places were spread aSFO-Endmongst several couples.  The worst scores for the winners came from Mark Weiss who placed them 6,4,4,4,3.

Andrez & Karina must certainly have been disappointed with their result.  They actually placed 2,2,2,2,3.  So what happened?  To us, they appeared the best on the floor at least in most dances, but did they really stand out – perhaps not.  We saw them get hung up in corners a number of times, for example.  Their worst scores came from Irina Suvurov who scored them 6,5,5,5,6.

3rd spot went to USA again.  Oskar Wojciechowski  & Karolina Holody 3,3,3,3,2.  As tall as the winners, it is great to see this couple back on the floor following a long hiatus.  We just wish they seemed happier to be there – always a very serious demeanor from Oskar!  Anton Belyaev & Antoanetta Popova from Canada took all the 4’s.  We have not seen them dance in some time and felt they showed considerable improvement in this style (they are 10-dancers).  Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Savenko were 5th 5,5,5,5,6 and Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova were 6th 6,6,6,6,5.  Altogether this was a very impressive competition.


WSFO15-Smythe also saw all 4 styles of the professional rising star divisions and they were reasonably strong although only the Rhythm had a semifinal round.  The most successful couple of the night were Stephen Smyth & Viktorya Kleyman who won the Rhythm and placed 2nd in the Smooth.  

Their scores in the Rhythm were 1,1,1,1,2.  Runners-up were a strong couple from Canada that we had not seen before, Dmytro Gurkov & Alexandra Efremova who scored 2,2,3,2,1.  3rd spot fell to Ryan Lockhart & Danelle Newman with 3,3,2,3,3.

In the SmooSFO15-Stefanovth Slava Stefanov & Jessica McMorrow were the comfortable winners we thought and they won all dances.  Stephen & Viktoriya were 2nd in all and Brandon & Kirsten Perpich were 3rd in all.

TheSFO15-DiBrino RS Ballroom turned into quite a tight race.  The win went to the quickly rising Stefano DiBrino & Bianka Zubrowska who placed 1,1,2,1,2.  Smooth stars, Nick Cheremukhin & Viktoriya were the runners-up with 2,2,1,2,4 and 3rd went to Cristian Radvan & Kristina Kudelko,  4,4,3,3,1.  We were once again impressed with Yuriy Nartov & Sarika Hudson who were 4th tonight placing 3,3,4,4,3.

Simeon Stoynov &SFO15-Stoynov Kora Stoynova were comfortable winners in the Latin, taking all dances.  2nd went to Artjom Shmigeljuk & Oxana Kashkina again in all dances and 3rd to Zsolt Katona & Timea Potyz also in all dances.

For the pro-ams it was Rhythm all day.

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Tri-State Shows Its Strength - Dancing!


Click here for video by SuperShag

Last night the Tristate Championships showed us their strength and that is the ability to bring great dancing to their competition. The Professional Challenge of Champions was a perfect example of this great finale here at the Tristate.

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A Study in Red & White!
Saturday in Provo


Red was a popular color for the ladies last night in the Marriott Center.  Although generally not so much in demand for ballroom gowns, there was a lot of red on the floor, including 3 dresses in the final.


As in the Latin the night before, the Amateur Ballroom was danced over 5 rounds before an audience that was larger than the night before.  While the ballroom perhaps did not generate quite the excitement we saw in the Latin, it was still, in the words of one judge after the event, “the best overall quality event (in this style) for the past 8 years or so.”

OProvo15-Endnce again the semifinal was a tough round for the judges, although to us it seemed that the choice for the final six was clearer than in the Latin, although there were perhaps one or two couples that could have also claimed a spot.

The duel for the Championship remained as it was in 2014 – between the two giants (both the gentlemen stand well over 6’) of this division – Andres & Veronica End and Provo15-OskarOskar Wojciechowski & Karoline Holody.  What made this a little more interesting is that these two have not been head to head since this time last year as Karoline has been recovering from a foot injury.  As it turned out tonight, Andres & Veronica were the winners as they were in 2014.  Tonight they won all dances and had the majority of 1st places in 4 dances.  In the VW they had 8 firsts to Oskar & Karoline’s 7.  Andres & Veronica received mostly 1st and 2nd places, only judge Ken Sloan placed them lower, awarding them two 4th places and a 3rd place.  Oskar and Karoline also received mostly 1st and 2nd places although they did get a smattering of lower marks and judge Shirley Ballas ranked them 5,4,6,5,6.  Although they are of similar stature, these two couples have very different styles and we look forward to more battles throughout the year.


The rest of the final was more closely fought with marks going everywhere.  Coming out in 3rd place overall were Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra 4,3,4,3,3.  They stood out as the couple with the most aggressive style in the final (or the competition for that matter), and as expected, we thought tango was by far their best dance.  In fact both Igor Litvinov and Ken Sloan placed them 1st in this dance and we can understand why.  Ruslan Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko were 4th, 3,5,3,4,4.  They are the antithesis to the couple above them showing soft, willowy dancing that fares well in the swing dances.

The newest couple to this division, Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli were 5th 5,4,5,5,5.  We were a little disappointed with their showing in the final.  They were stronger the week before at Vegas Open.  Perhaps it was the Provo altitude?  Closing this final were Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova with 6th in all dances, but certainly in the general mix as they received scores as high a 2nd.


Provo15-YusifRunning opposite the Amateur Ballroom once again was the Junior II US Championship, this time in the Latin style.  The result gave us a “switcheroo” at the top.  Last night’s runners-up in the Ballroom were the winners tonight in the Latin.  Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor won all dances tonight, but only cha cha and paso with the majority of 1st places.  We thought they were the best couple tonight. Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor, last night’s winners, took 2nd in all dances.  It was also a “switcheroo” for 3rd placed Kristers Smits & Sophie Shvartsman who fared far better in the Junior II than they had earlier in the day in the Junior I.  They placed 3rd tonight with 3,3,3,3,4.  D’Angelo Castro & Amanda Carbarjeles were 4th 4,4,4,4,3, and gave a more mature performance thaProvo15-Cartern we have seen from them in the past.  Max Firestein & Nicole Mitchedilidza were 5th, 6,5,5,5,5 and Carter Williams & Anika Baker were 6th 5,6,6,6,6.

Here’s what’s interesting here.  Just a few hours before Carter & Anika were the winners of the Junior I placing 1,2,1,2,1, whereas Kristers & Sophie took 2nd 2,1,2,1,2.  Obviously it was a different judging panel and these two young and talented couples have very different styles.  3rd in this division were Kevin Filipczak & Elizabeth Gotovsky 3,3,3,3,3.  We really liked the mature style of this duo.  Another rapidly improving couple, Jonas Terleckas & Ruby Castro were 4th, 4,4,4,4,4.  Audence darlings, Tyler Li & Anjelica Lowe were 5th 5,5,5,5,5;  Timofei Plekhanov & Dascha Jayne Wright were 6th, 6,6,6,6,7 and Anthony Tedesco & Katya Ivahno-Kalinuka were 7th 7,7,7,7,6.


Patrick Plozasj & Anna Kazmarski became double champions here as they also won the US National Youth Ballroom Championship to add to the U/21 Title they already had.  Results to follow.


Austin Josen & Nino Dzneladze were the runaway winners of the US U/21 Latin Championship losing only 3 first place marks from a total of 45.  We thought they could have been included in the final of the Open Amateur the night before, so we were not surprised by this success.  2nd spot went to Vladisalv Kvartin & Anna Maria Prokopovicova 2,3,2,2,2 and 3rd to the winners of the Youth Latin, Bumchin Tegshjargal & Michelle Klets 3,2,3,4,4.  4th went to Yevgenii Orlov & Marina Yerina 5,5,4,3,3;  5th Ryan Raffloer & Hanna Sverdlov 4,4,6,5,6;  6th Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson 6,6,5,6,5.

ThProvo15-Cabe US National Amateur Cabaret Championship is always a highlight, but this year we were disappointed that there were only 4 entries, although all were of good quality.  Each of the top 3 couples missed one lift keeping things nice and even!  The new champions are Josh David & Kelli Foster who performed a delightful “modern dance” piece with some nicely executed high-risk lift work.  The runners-up performed in a more traditional “ballroom adagio” style and again had some well executed lift-work, Benjamin Ralph & Kayci Treu.  A previous 2-time champion, Trevor Guthrie now dancing with his wife Emily, was 3rd and they also performed in a “modern dance” vein.  4th were Logan Barnes & Natalie Savage.

For the Pre-Teens it was Latin day.  The US National Pre-Teen II Championship went to Alex Sarkisian & Beanna Dzhaniashvilli 2,2,1,1,1.  2nd Easton Brotherson & Rylee Arnold 1,1,2,2,4;  3rd Kristian Alexander Evstigneev & Victoria Sepishvilli 6,4,3,3,2;  4th Matthew Bezzant & Kennedy Miller 4T,6,4,5,3;  5th Griffin Cooney & Josephne Taylor 4T,5,5,5,4,5;  6th Freddie Kleynburg & Elizabeth Shapshal 3,3,6,6,6.

TProvo15-PT1Lathe winners of the Pre-Teen I Latin had also won the ballroom the day before and they were Daniel Novikov & Natalina Chen  (The rest of the result coming soon).

Watch out for reports of many of these divisions from our expert Dance Beat contributors.  All coming soon in the members’ section.  So be sure to subscribe!

A Night with Wow Factor!

Friday night at the US National Amateur Championships (run under license from American Ballroom Company) in Provo was a night to make you go, “Wow!”

TProvo15-Flaghe headline event was the Amateur Latin and we had 5 rounds of great dancing.  The finalists from 2014 who were here received a by from the first round.  Right from the start it was clear that every progression from round to round was going to be a challenge.  Nowhere was this more apparent than in the semifinal where it seemed to us and to most of the judges that almost any one of the 12 couples could make the final.  In fact we were only one mark away from having a 7-couple final and then one more from an 8-couple final.

BuProvo15-Ferdinadot in the end 6 couples were selected.  The champions from 2014 were able to easily retain their title winning all dances with a clear majority of 1st places – Ferdinando Iannaccone & Yulia Musikhina.  While they were clearly the winners they did not in fact receive perfect scores in any on the dances.  The two judges who clearly did not favor them were Valentina Kostenko who scored them 6,6,6,6,6 and Wendy Johnson with 5,5,4,4,4.  For the rest they received an occasional 2nd and the rest 1st places.  Speaking with some observers after the event, the only complaint we heard about this couple was that they spent too much time playing to the very vocal audience and not enough time dancing.

2nd Provo15-PashaPin all dances went to Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach.  They had the majority of ‘2nd or better’ scores in all dances but they also had some detractors on the judging panel, most noticeable were Eugene Katsevman, Ron Montez and Allan Tornsberg who all scored them in the lower half of the final.

It was a good night for Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler who took 3rd overall with 3,3,4,4,4 in a tight race with one of our favorites of the night, Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman who scored 4,4,5,3,3.  Both of these couples were on form tonight!

In 5th place were Artur Tarnovskyy & Anastasia Danilova (5,5,6,5,5).  After a rather lackluster semifinal round, from our perspective, they stepped it up for the final.  Closing the final 6,6,3,6,6 were the always elegant Alexey & Vlada Karaulov.


This was the first competition where many of these amateurs danced to the new, slower NDCA tempi.  We wonder how they liked them?


Provo15-LinderThe new champions in the US National Junior II Ballroom that shared the billing with the Amateur Latin are Erik Linder & Rickie Taylor who won all dances with the majority of 1st place marks.  They have a nice soft style.  We were also very impressed with the runners-up, Yusif Amsatr & Naomi Spektor, who were 2nd in all dances.  The judges were undecided with this couple as they received 1st to 4th place in all dances.  3rd tonight were Murat Medzhidov & Valerie Dubinsky 3,3,3,3,3;  4th were Kristers Smits & Sophie Shvartsman 4,4,4,4,4;  5th Tyler Li & Anjelica Lowe 6,6,5,5,5 and 6th Daniel Melnik & Maria Volski 5,5,6,6,6.

During the daytime, the premier event was the US National U/21 Ballroom.  This resulted in an easy win for Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski who won all dances with almost all the 1st places.  The only judge to seriously disagree was Ken Sloan who scored them 3,2,3,2,4.  Michael Vorobiev & Sonya Tsekanovsky were 2nd in all dances, Samuel Hacke & Katarina Hermanova were 3rd in all.  With 4,5,5,4,5, Florin Vlad & Natalia Linda O’Connor were 4th; Stanislav Pavlov & Sandra Spernacka were 5th 5,4,4,5,6 and Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich were 6th 6,6,6,6,4.


Running opposite this U/21 event was the US National Junior I Ballroom Championship.  Kristers Smits & Sophie Shvartsmann in their 1st final of two they made today were the winners in all dances and they had the majority of 1st places in all dances.  Also in two finals on the day, Tyler Li & Anjelica Lowe took 2nd here with 3,2,2,2,2.  Jonas Terlekas & Ruby Castro were 3rd with 2,3,3,3,3.  Timofei Plekhanov & Dascha Jayne Wright were 4th, 5,4,4,4,5;  5th Ivan Shneerson & Empria King 4,5,5,5,4;  6th Matvey Korsunkiy & Alisa Kashkeyvych 6,6,6,6,7;  7th Griffin Cooney & Josephine Taylor 7,7,7,7,6.


The Pre-Teen divisions were smaller, but both the US National Championships in Pre-Teen I and Pre-Teen II Ballroom were held today.  The winners of the Pre-Teen I were Daniel Novikov & Natalina Chen 1,1,2,1,1.  2nd went to Daniel Shtem & Avital Ayzerov 3,3,1,2,2;  3rd Daniel Evstigneev & Angelica Gloria Groysman 2,2,3,3,3;  4th Eric Kashkeyvych & Daria Andreyev 4,4,4,4,4;  5th Nathan Smith & Jocelyn Osmond 5,5,5,5,5.

Griffin Cooney & Josephine Taylor moved up from their 7th place in the Junior I to win the Pre-Teen II Ballroom, placing 1,1,1,1,2.  Runners-Up were Kristian Aleksander Evstigneev & Victoria Sepiashvilli 2,2,2,2,1.  3rd were Gabriel White & Lyubov Morgan 3,5,3,3,4;  4th Dave Firestein & Nicole Shterm 5,3,4,4,3; 5th Freddie Kleynburg & Elizabeth Shapshal 4,4,5,6,7;  6th Andrew Keck & Nicole Ascione 6,6,6,5,6;  7th Sam Peyton & Gem Hersh 7,7,7,7,5.


Xingmin & Katerina Lu were again the Champions in the US National Senior I Ballroom winning all 5 dances with the majority of 1st places.  2nd today were Thomas Yin & Kelly Cheng who also placed 2nd in all dances.  3rd in all were Turtle Brennen & Regina Paregis.  4th Gene Tseng & Hui Zhang 4,5,5,4,4;  5th Denis Kojinov & Jeanette Chevalier 6,4,4,5,5;  6th Lars & Holly Linder 5,6,6,6,6.  Lars & Holly also won the Senior II Ballroom Championship.

Winners and runners-up in the championship divisions all received cash from the NDCA to assist in their travel to the WDC Amateur League World Championships that are always held in Paris, France during December.

Stay tuned for more results from the Saturday sessions here in Provo.

Building Up Steam!

The United States National Amateur Championships in Provo, Utah are building up steam with great dancing and fabulous competition!

Last night at the BYU Marriott Center Sports Arena the competition began to heat up with the United States National Amateur Smooth Championships.  After a number of rounds the competition came to a finish with six couples in the lead. The competition was hard fought and the winners, Trevor & Emily Guthrie, won all dances, however, they did not win any dance with a majority of firsts.  The closest they came to a majority of firsts was in the foxtrot and Viennese Waltz where they took 9 firsts out of the 19 judges assigned to this task. Their two worst marks came from Igor Litvinov and Erminio Stefano.  Igor awarded them a sixth in the foxtrot and Erminio a sixth in the VW, but their overall lowest scores were awarded to them by Rita Algarra who awarded Trevor & Emily all fifths and a fourth in the tango.

Collin Williams & Ashley Nixon were the runners-up overall but not in all dances, they placed second in the foxtrot and VW but third in the waltz and tango. Their worst marks came to them from Erminio Stefano who placed them sixth in three dances but when it came to their VW he thought they were the best by far and awarded them a first. Third overall was awarded to Aaron Holmes & Katelyn Holmes.  Here the judges were very undecided they awarded them 4th in the waltz, 2nd in the tango, and third in the other two dances.


Charlie & Emily Roberts were fourth overall placing 2nd in the waltz and fourth in the other four dances. In looking at the marks we are not really sure the judges knew what to do with this couple.  In the waltz their best overall performance, they got a potpourri of marks from first to sixth place, that was a tremendous variety.  In the tango five judges though they should have won that dance and awarded them five firsts, their foxtrot was the only dance where they only got one first.

Fifth overall went to Sterling & Nicole Stolle and they placed fifth in every dance, and in sixth position was Adam Coker & Kyla Zenger and they took sixth in every dance.  

So far this afternoon, Provo15-Bumchina highlight has been the US National Youth Latin Championship an event that started with over 80 couples.  The final was great and had the judges in a quandary.

The winners were Bumchin Tegshjargel & Michelle Klets and they won all dances but not all judges agreed.  They had the majority of 1st places (5) in the jive only.  In the samba they only received 1 first place but still won the dance.  Nadia Eftedal and Mary Murphy, were the two judges who scored them in the lower half of the final.

All the seconds went to Mike Monokandilios & Sophia Brodsky.  They had some 1st places in all dances – the most in samba and jive (4), but again they had some judges scoring them in the lower half of the final.  3rd spot in all dances went to who we had considered the favorites going into the event, Kinsley Lin & Michelle Yiu.  But this was not their day from the judges’ perspective.  4th fell to Jacob Murillo & Sydney Tormey 4,4,4,5,5;  5th to Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson 5,5,5,4,4;  6th Robert McShinsky & Peyton Munson 6,6,6,6,6.


Stay tuned tomorrow for the exciting US National Amateur Latin and much more!     

Page 44 of 53

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