The Amateur ballroom was not far behind, just to bring couples from the semifinal to the final must have been a difficult job with 2 minutes or less to see them all. The atmosphere was also a great part of the game, the packed ballroom responded to the couples with a roar of appreciation whenever they saw something they liked.
The one thing where all the judges and I think even the audience was in total agreement is that Nino Langella & Andra Vaidilate stole the night, nearly all eyes were on this very expert couple. In the past Andra used to represent Canada around the world so it must also be emotional to see this Canadian back on their soil dancing on this very special floor of La Classique Du Quebec. We have to agree with the audience although we must say that their first dance (the cha cha) was a little bit of a drag for us, we found it to stop for no reason too many times when we wanted to see a very rhythmical couple that we know they are, nevertheless their stops were on a “dime” perfect to the “T” and so we would have still given them first place in that dance. Before we move on we must point out that Nino & Andra had perfect scores from all judges in all dances, a very difficult standard to hit, congratulations!
Second overall went to Valentin Voronov & Anna Pelypenko and we say overall because they did not place second in all dances, here are the scores 2,2,3,5,2. This couple came out like a freight train, and we took notice right away. In their dance-on Valentine was very clever and introduced an unexpected move of flicking the leg in front of him, while moving left down the ballroom. This unexpected move got the crowd going. However, their cha cha was great and we wonder if anyone might give them a first above Nino & Andra, because as you know from our last paragraph they were slow getting it on. If you look at the marks you would see how the judges were a little puzzled as to how to mark this couple, Mr. Didio Barrera even gave them a 6 in the paso, on his own words “their paso deflatted like a balloon.” That was perhaps the worst mark giving to them by the judges but there were others that gave them a number of fifth place marks in almost all dances. Third overall was awarded to Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier with these marks 3,4,2,2,4. Here the judges also had a hard time figuring it out. For us on this night this couple should have been in the bottom two. Yes!!!! We can hear the comments, and we agree they are very correct in the work they do, but correct does not = excitement and for us creating excitement is Latin dance, something that wants to make you join in, it’s very important.
Fourth went to Kamil Studenny & Maria Shalvarova, here for us is a perfect example - their work was perhaps a little disorganized at times, especially in the cha cha. But, there is something they do not lack and that was excitement to the point that at one point we almost saw them take each other down in one dance, but we still would have had them up one position in just excitement alone. These were their marks 5,3,4,3,3. Fifth position went to Alexey & Vlada Karaulov with this marks 4,5,5,4,5, this for us was a very classy couple, they totally matched the chandeliers. Their movement were not exaggerated or rough, it was beautiful, but perhaps to subtle for this night where you needed to break the doors down and demand to be marked! A little more impact would have come in handy on this floor where no prisoners were being taken. Sixth position wen to Richard Lifshitz & Laura Robinson, who took sixth in every dance. When the final first started we thought they were going to be way on the bottom of the list, however, once the competition started they held their own and we would still have had them in the lower part of the final but not in all dances, their cha cha and paso doble were two dances we really liked from this very talented couple.
One thing is for sure, the sportsmanship of all couples in this competition and the other events was impeccable, we did not see any bad faces or attitudes towards the judges as if they were the ones not knowing what they were seeing. The only glimmer of disappointment came from Anna Pelypenko who while in the podium looked a little withdrawn. That might have to do with the MC cutting into her crowd milking performance during the awards. (Just so that you all know the MC continued to announce the winners) and we thought that to be a good thing. Yes, Anna & Valentino were brilliant but did not win and if you look at the marks they were a little murky.
The Amateur Ballroom did not have the same impact as the Professional Latin but here all couples deserve to be mentioned. The winners, James Cutler & Virginie Primeau-Poirier won 4 dances with a majority of firsts from the judges and the Viennese Waltz with a great number of firsts and seconds. James & Virginie’s marks stayed pretty much above 4th from the judges the only judge to give them 4 sixth place marks was Mr. Igor Suvorov. We ourselves expected them to win they bring a reasonable package to the floor and they are very correct in many of their movement.
Second on this excellent ballroom competition was awarded to Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova placing second in all dances. This is another brilliant couple with a tremendous amount of potential, they are perhaps a little too young and in some things could look a little green. In their defense they did take a number of firsts from James & Virginie in almost all dances, but for us they still need more understanding of what the music is all about only then would they be holding that cup. Third in this heat went to one of our favorite dancers Dan Malov & Stephanie Noon. Speaking of musicality, Dan I think is getting there unfortunately the physical movement part was not quite up to par last night in order to be placed higher. But with better understanding of the skill we should be able to see music when they dance.
Fourth was awarded to another favorite of ours, Patryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarski and they took fourth in every dance. We were very impressed with what we saw last night. Unfortunately, this couple has only recently started dancing together again following a year when they danced with other partners, and this newness showed a little.
Fifth was Leandro De Rossi & Alessia D’ Orazy, this was what I would call a very inoffensive couple - they do nice work, they really don’t do much wrong but they could easily be missed on the floor. Here they needed to go for “broke” when it comes to Ballroom dancing it is all like “jazz” music you can play really soft or loud or both and it is just the one that can really master all that usually wins. Leandro & Alessia’s marks were 6,5,5,5,5. Last in sixth place was Tony Cooperman & Rickie Taylor, here too is a very talented couple, totally deserving of being in this impressive final. You have made great strides and in this Ballroom arena we see great future, however, you most now pay closer attention to the music and the leg work that will make you be able to do anything on the floor and we will lap it up!
The Professional Smooth competition was only a three-couple event, it is such a shame that with so much pro/am dancing here we don’t have more than three couples on this spectacular floor. The winner in all dances were Vadim & Alina Safonov , second went to Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin with these marks 2,3,2,3, and third was awarded to Timor Valdman & Kaitland Schertzberg and they got 2,3,2,3 as you can see this was a tie between second and third and they had to use rule 11 to break it.
My congratulations to Meryem Pearson and Daniel Hereux for always putting on such an elegant event here in Montreal.
The Incomparable Classy Classique!
La Classique Du Quebec as always continues to be the epitome of a classy Ballroom Competition like no other.
Every year the innovation on everything from music to décor! This year as you will see by the pictures the ballroom floor was covered with traditional and beautiful chandeliers all with different styles and shapes. These chandeliers change colors and create a mood depending on what dance was being played, making it an incredible atmosphere for the dancers and audience alike.
Last night we had two prominently featured events in this beautiful set up, the Amateur Latin and the Professional Ballroom. The Amateur Latin started with a first round of competition and we must say that like the chandeliers there were quite a few different styles on that floor all well-deserving of being in this prestigious final. The winners by placing first in all dances were Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman and they took a majority of firsts from the judges in every dance. Their lowest mark was two fourths from Mr. Igor Suvorov who gave them two 4th in the cha and samba.
Second in all dances went to Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward, who stole the most firsts from Tal & Ilana and had the majority of seconds. It is very impressive how much this young couple has matured in their performance. In the past we thought of them as a young couple with huge talent, but now they are taking over and proving themselves to be quite challenging and are noticed from the word go. All their movements and characterizations are very mature and accomplished.
Third overall was awarded to Michael Finkelstein & Yulia Ishchak, who also grabbed everyone’s attention from the word go. This couple at times might have been a little rough around the edges but is a couple to watch in future outing. They are fearless and are not afraid to attack! Here the scores got a little varied they placed 3,3,4,3,3. Fourth in this heat were Tony Cooperman & Rickie Taylor 4,4,3,4,4. We must say this was perhaps not their best performance, we have seen a lot better form this couple. On this night they seemed a little distracted, they are one of our favorite couples - hope we see better focus next time around. Fifth in all dances went to Alex Maslanka & Christine Budniak, and sixth in all was awarded to Sandu Babira & Alise Dombrovsky.
The Professional Ballroom was also a terrific final. The winners, Iaroslav & Lillia Bieliei, won all dances with perfect scores from all judges in the W, VW, Q. They won the other two dances with a majority of firsts but with a couple of judges awarding them second. Luc Richer awarded them second in the tango and foxtrot and Forrest Vance awarded them second in the tango. From where we stood, we thought they were the best by far in every dance but as you well know you never know when each judge is looking and at what time.
Second in all dances went to Richard Tonizzo & Clair Hansen and yes they were the recipients of all the firsts that did not go to Iaroslav & Lillia. As you can see they too were clear recipients of this second place. Third was awarded to Yavan Piwovarov & Irina Khanova placing third in all dances. From here down things got a little bit rough. For us any of these couples could have been placed in any of the bottom three positions. We found Yavan & Irina had the right look but were very rough in their approach to this style. Fourth went to Evgueni Chaoulski & Sara Schilling, this couple for us tended to look a little heavy in their performance but honestly we would have probably placed them above Yavan & Irina, because they were not as rough. Fifth position in all dances went to Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin, as we said before plenty of work needs to be done on some of the basic work of the last three couples. However, in their defense, the first two were totally in a class of their own and so we are comparing according to the standard presented.
The Professional Rhythm was also presented last night and Matt Hauer & Anastasia were the winners and second were Andrei Svirydsenka & Yuliya Zubava>
This week at La Classique started with a bang. The show by Slavik Kryklyvyy & Karina Smirnoff was a good start to this excellent weekend of dance. The evening was packed and not a seat in the house was empty.
We look forward tonight to the Professional Latin and Smooth as well as the Amateur Standard, so stay tuned for more on La Classique Du Quebec!