This time it was in the Smooth and Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who flew 1,000 miles south from where they were competing the day before to take last night’s Open Smooth. They were unchallenged according to the judges who awarded them every available 1st place. 2nd in all dances went to Sergey Samchynskyy & Yulia Besarab. They received the majority of 2nd in all dances but did receive some lower scores most notably from judge, John Swick. We felt this was one of their best performances in this style and loved their creative choreography. A Rule 11 separated 3rd and 4th but the tiebreak went in favor of Jang & Adele Don 4,3,3,4 over Daniil Rostvinschii & Yulia Rudenco 3,4,4,3. 5th place fell to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov 6,5,5,5 and closing the final with 5,6,6,6 were Morten Jensen & Ashley Mokris. We were a little surprised that Morten & Ashley did not place higher.
Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova made the trip from California and were rewarded with an easy win in the Open Latin taking most of the judges’ first places. 2nd and 3rd were closer but 2nd went to Jonas Kazlouskas & Kathleen Ilo 2,3,3,2,2 over Alexey Alexeev & Ekaterina Dereleva 3,2,2,3,3. Brad Montagnese & Tania Trigili were 4th.
The evening ended with three couples contesting the Pro Cabaret. Shane & Shannon Jensen won easily taking 10 of the 11 first places and 1 second from judge, Adele Hyland. 2nd went to Clifton Sepulveda & Ma Martinez and 3rd to Jan & Adele Don.
We would also like to mention Jonas Terlekas & Ruby Castro who won the Youth Latin. What progress this young couple is making!
The Grand Nationals, one of the longest running competitions in the USA came to a close with an after party and we must commend organizers, Peter & Cassandra Schneider for dealing seamlessly with the difficulties of changing venue at the last moment.
Grand Nationals 2017 – A Traveling Show!
Just when you thought the 2017 hurricane season would have no more affects on our dance scene, along comes the Grand Nationals a “traveling show” for 2017.
The Grand Nationals was scheduled for a new location this year, the Ritz Carlton on South Beach, Miami. When Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida peninsular in September, South Beach was hit fairly hard, yet within a week many of the hotels in the area were open again. But not the Ritz! At this point the hotel remains closed. On short notice Peter & Cassandra Schneider had to find an alternate venue. They settled on the Diplomat Resort on Hollywood Beach, about a 40-minute drive north of the Ritz Carlton. Many dancers, like us, may remember this property as a former home of the US Championships and it is a superb property with huge convention facilities, adequately suited to a dance competition. As always the ballroom for the Grand Nationals is beautifully decorated.
The event has been up and running for 2 days with the daytime sessions filled with pro-am divisions in all styles. So far the highlighted event by far has been the Open Professional Rhythm that began with a semifinal that included 4 current US National Finalists.
To no great surprise, the current US Champions won the division taking all 5 dances. They had perfect scores in cha cha and mambo (11 first places) but were pushed hard in the Bolero where they received 6 first places, while runners-up, Andre & Natalie Paramonov received 5. Andre & Natalie received mostly 1st and 2nd places but did also pick up a few lower scores and notably a 5th in cha cha from judge, Bill Sparks. Vard Margaryan & Inga Demtryan were 3rd in all dances. Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin fared well at this event taking 4th in all dances, although they missed the US final in September. Shane & Shannon Jensen were 5th in all, perhaps a somewhat disappointing result for them as current US Finalists. Completing this very strong final were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov.
Vladislav Shakhov & Ekaterina Popova were the comfortable winners in the Open Pro Ballroom, winning all dances with strong majorities of 1st places and a perfect 11 first places in VW. 2nd place in all dances went to the current US 10-Dance Champions, Jonas Kazlauskas & Kathleen Ilo. As in the Rhythm, couples in this event finished in the same position in all dances. 3rd were Aleksandr & Aida Skriptsov; 4th Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver; 5th Volodymyr Barabash & Enxhi Fundo; 6th Brad Montagnese & Tania Trigili.
All 4 of the Pro Rising Star divisions have been completed. Winners were Anton Tregubov & Ashley Sanchez (Rhythm); Aleksandr & aida Skriptsov (Ballroom); Jonas Kazlauskas & Kathleen Ilo (Latin); Daniil Rostvinschii & Yulia Rudenco (Smooth).
Stay tuned for more from the 2017 Grand National Championships.