The Professional Rhythm was very thrilling with two very high-placed couples going head to head - the US Cabaret Champions Shane & Shannon Jensen who are also US Rhythm Finalists and the recently crowned United States 9-Dance Champions, Natalie Crandall & Oleksiy Pigotskyy. It sure made us wonder which way the judges would go. In the end, although we quite liked Natalie & Oleksiy it was not to be their night. The judges awarded Shane & Shannon first in every dance with the majority of firsts. We really liked Natalie & Oleksiy’s first few dances then it got a little too messy for anyone’s taste and you can see that by the judges’ marks. In the cha cha Shane & Shannon got the majority of 7 judges marking them first, then from the rumba on they got 10 judges out of 13 marking them first.
The Rising Star Rhythm champions from the night before Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina placed third in all dances. Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea took all fourths, and fifth overall was awarded to Artem & Ginny Rae Shiller with this marks 5,5,6,5,5. Christopher Wayne & Mallory Evan took sixth 6,6,5,7,7, leaving seventh to David Moon & Jessica Mancini.
In the Professional Smooth Natalie Crandall & Oleksiy Pigotskyy had better luck, here they won the event and every dance, but not with flying colors, here they only won the tango with a majority of firsts. In the other three dances they needed “second or better” to reach their goal. Second in all dances went to Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson who stole quite a number of first places from the winners, with the exception of the tango where they took not one first place away from Natalie & Oleksiy. Meghan & Igor took from three to five first place marks in each of the three dances.
The other couples to take some firsts away from Oleksiy & Natalie were Nikolay Karchev & Ania Tarnowska who placed third in all dances. Many around us thought she to be the best lady in the house this evening. The one dance where they took the most firsts was the Viennese Waltz where they took 3 first places, in the other three dances they took only 2 first places and that included the tango.
Fourth in all dances went to Enzo Zappia & Stephanie Betts and they too managed to take one first place mark in three dances away from Natalie & Oleksiy and two in the tango. Fifth position wen to Dmitrii Zavialov & Katt Baumgartner and they took fifth places in all dances, and sixth in all was awarded to Vladishlav & Brianna Nalyvachuk.
With these two excellent competitions the Snow Ball came to an end. What a terrific competition to start 2019! Congratualtions Donna Edelstein for a well run and organized competition!
Snow Ballrooming in Minneapolis!
Once again we gathered in Minneapolis, MN, for Donna Edelstein's Snow Ball. Although this year there is no snow!
So far we have gone through 2 complete days and the pro-ams have danced 3 of their styles – Rhythm, Latin and Ballroom.
Last night the evening started with a terrific Professional Cabaret competition. The top six competitors were all great but what really brought the roof down was not the snow but Shane & Shannon Jensen who did a magnificent performance and won the judges’ approval to be number one. Shane & Shannon’s routine is nearly to perfection with beautiful intros and exits as well as execution of those very difficult movements, making their number hard to beat.
Second in this excellent cabaret competition went to Simeon & Kora Stoynov, 3rd Nick Hacklin & Sarah Ford, 4th Timmy Merz & Diana Strashnikova, 5th Woodrow Wills & Neli Petkova and 6th Cody Armdtson & Paris Becker.
The Open Pro Latin turned into a surprisingly good event. We say “surprising” because there had been no sentries in the Rising Star of this style the night before. With 1st in all dances, Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova were comfortable winners. They had the majority of 1st places in all dances except the rumba. Rangel Spirov & Veronica Chernyavska were 2nd in all dances, but did not really press the winners as hard as we had expected, at least in the majority of the judges’ eyes. The most first places they received was 3 each for the samba, rumba & paso. (There were 13 judges in total). From 3rd place down the judges’ scores were very undecided, with most couples receiving everything from 1st to 6th. In the final breakdown Dmitrii Chopenko & Valeria Khrapak were 3rd with 3,4,3,6,5. 4th and 5th places were separated by a Rule 10 tiebreak with 4th going to Simeon & Kora Stoynov 4,6,4,4,4 and 5th to Aleksei Shiplov & Julia Mitina 6,5,5,3,3. In 6th spot were Dymytrii Goncharov & Tetiana Lutsenko 5,3,6,5,6.
The Open Ballroom was also on the menu last night and in this Simeon & Kora were the easy winners in our eyes and they won all dances. Woodrow Wills & Neli Petkova (Canada) were 2nd in all and 10-dancers Dymytrii & Tetiana were 3rd.
The largest event of the night was the RS Smooth that began with a quarter-final. In the final, all but 1 couple were from the Midwest – a testament that this region is becoming increasingly significant. The winners, in all dances, were Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson. 2nd in all were Vladyslav & Brianna Nalyvaychuk and 3rd in all Dmytro Pohybil & Alona Kushnir. From Colorado, the only non-Midwesterners, David Moon & Jessica Mancini were 4th 5,4,4,4 (although we believe Jessica is originally from this area). 5th Nick Haklin & Sarah Ford 4,6,5,5; 6th Aleksander Bonev & Olga Aidasheva 6,5,6,6.
The RS Rhythm was also a large event, beginning with a semifinal. The winners in all dances were Alekseii Shiplov & Julia Mitina. This couple actually danced the semifinal of this event, then the final of the Latin and then this final in succession – although were allowed time to change between the semifinal of the Rhythm and the Latin. Some in the audience were puzzled at the need to change between Rhythm and Latin. 2nd in all dances were Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea. 3rd Artem & Ginny Rae Shiller 3,3,3,3,4; 4th Christopher Wayne & Mallory Evan 4,4,4,4,3; 5th Jonathan Chen & Juanita Simanenkova 5,5,5,5,5; 6th David Moon & Jessica Mancini 6,6,6,6,6.
The best of the pro-am scholarships from last night, we thought, was the Open B Rhythm. The winner was Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd went to Mariana Lvoff w/ Vladimir Kosarev 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd was Amy Wentworth w/ Timmy Merz 3,3,3,3,3.
The Snow Ball is also one of those events that places in emphasis on fun. There were 2 “theme” sessions this year. Friday night was “Pajama Night” and Saturday daytime was “Winter Hat Day.” All of the judges and officials were involved and many competitors and audience members too. A welcome break from the rigors of competition!
Stay tuned for more reports from the Snow Ball 2019.