We had a fun International Team Match and what we considered the best event of the week, the Open Amateur Ballroom.
Let’s start with the Open Amateur Ballroom, held over 2 rounds. For us going into this event there was a clear favorite – Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova, who have scored consistently highly here in the USA and overseas. There were also several couples from Europe in this final. But there was a surprise for everyone! Placing 1,2,1,1,1, tonight’s champions were Samuel Hacke & Katharina Hermanova from the USA. And what a night they had! Beginning in the team match, this duo was on fire tonight! This is the best we have ever seen from them and we felt they totally deserved their win. But to be fair, it was not a unanimous decision from the judges, they received from 1st to 6th place in all dances, including 5 sixth place scores from Adam Reve (Iceland). They had a slim majority of 1sts in waltz and foxtrot.
The runners-up tonight were Michael & Nika Foskett (England) 2,1,2,2,2. To give you an idea of how closely scored this division was, they received only 2 first places in tango, the dance they won! They are a tall, elegant couple who certainly looked in contention throughout. And what about our favorites at the start, Oleksandr & Olena. They placed 3rd in all dances, although they picked up as many first place marks as the 2 couples above them, in fact more than the runners-up. Unfortunately, there were a small majority of judges placing them in the middle of the final and this lost them the dances in the “2nd or better” column. In truth, this was not a stellar performance from them. We have seen so much better and fully expect them to shine again soon.
The couples placing 4th – 6th were also super talented and they were: Bartosz Lech & Kornelia Kopaczynska (Poland) 5,4,4,5,4; Nicolai Bouet & Anna Shagalina (Denmark)4,5,5,4,6; Daniel Sverrir Gubjornssin & Soley Osk Himarsdottir (Iceland) 6,6,6,6,5.
Seven teams contested the Team Match that was, as is the norm, raucous and fun. Each team performed and entrance routine. Some were well rehearsed, others perhaps put together earlier the same day! Our favorite came from Team England and that featured Team Captain, Lisa Bellinger really “getting down!” The winning team was “Team Europe” that mostly contained dancers from Portugal, but Sam & Katerina sneaked into it as well.
For the Pros we saw the remaining 2 Open and Rising Star divisions. The Latin was the best of them. Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danailova were the unquestioned winners, losing very few first place marks. Also secure in their 2nd place were Ivan Kudashev & Kshusha who were 2nd in all dances and had the preponderance of 2nds from the judges. Taking 3rd in this division and winning the RS Rhythm earlier were, Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina 3,3,3,3,3. We like this couple, especially in the Latin style. The judges were more divided on them. They picked up some 1st places but also some lower rankings including 5 sixth places from Christine Harvey.
4th Malachi Osai & Freda Chan 5,4,4,5,4; 5th Alexandre Nabiullin & Valeriya Ryabova 4,5,5,4,5; 6th Levan Nabiullin & Lily Kolman 6,6,6,6,6,6.
The Open Smooth was almost a re-run of the RS from the night before. Sovetov/Mkrchthian 1,1,1,1; Hannigan/Koshleva 2,2,2,2; Azarov/Makarenko 4,4,3,3; Pickering/Botes 3,3,4,4; Scalizi/Gilday 5,5,5,5.
As we mentioned Aleksei & Julia won the RS Rhythm. The winners of the RS Ballroom were Artem Belmeha & Shevchenko who won all dances. There was a switch in the ranking for 2nd and 3rd over what happened in the Open Ballroom. Today Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver placed ahead of the Minaevs to finish 2nd.
The Fordney Foundation Youth and U/21 divisions were again well-supported. In tonight’s Karol Sledz & Alicja Staskiewicz from Poland won the Youth Ballroom and last night’s Open Amateur Latin winners, Kristinn Thor Sigurdsson - Lilja Run Gisladottir (Iceland) also won the U/21 Latin tonight.
The Eastern 2019 was a busy event, especially in the Amateur divisions and although today we woke up to snow, the weather behaved well while we were in the beautiful city of Boston.
An International Affair on the River
Dance Beat is currently attending the Eastern US Championships, organized by Mark Nocera and held at the beautiful Marriott Long Wharf in downtown Boston.
Located right on the Charles River, yesterday brought clear blue skies and the sail boats were out on the river, a rare sight in February.
As in the past couple of years, The Eastern is quite an international affair with competitors and judges from many countries including Poland, Iceland, England and Portugal and nowhere was this more evident than in the Open Amateur Latin, where many countries were represented. It was a tough event for the judges and in fact a final of 8 was returned from the original 11 couples. Watching from the sidelines we were not surprised. The standard of the dancing was remarkable even. This degree of similarity continued into the final, with the judges’ scores falling all over the place. In the end, the winners were Kristinn Thor Sigurdsson & Lilja Run Gisladottir from Iceland with the scores of 1,1,2,1,1. However, they received the majority of 1st places only in paso doble and as with all the other couples, they actually received scores from 1st to 8th in every dance from the judges. Poland took 2nd spot, Kamil Kurockzo & Sara Janicka 2,2,1,2,2. Giovanni D’Arpino & Francesca Vari (USA) were 3rd 3,3,4,3,3. We did feel that these top 3 couples did manage to pull ahead of the field in the final. At times, Giovanni & Francesca looked like the winners to us.
4th went to Andrey & Amanda Besyedin (USA) 5,4,3,4,4; 5th Bruno Rocha & Barbara Marques (Portugal) 4,6,6,5,8; 6th Andriey Vitenko & Karolina Loukhinikov ((USA) 7,5,5,6,7; 7th Erik Linder & Shelly Meshkausk (USA) 8,7,7,7,5; 8th Yevgenii Orlov & Maryna Yerina (USA) 6,8,8,8,6.
Although, perhaps the Amateur Latin captured the most attention, the 2 Open Professional events were also interesting. The Rhythm began as a semifinal and was won easily by Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin who won all dances with a large majority of 1st place marks from the judges. They had won La Classique in Montreal the night before, so it was a busy weekend for them. 2nd and 3rd places gave us the closest competition between 2 strong couples with very different looks and approach. Yesterday’s result went in favor of Andrew Escolme & Amy Baker in a 3 to 2 decision over Alberto Cortes & Jessa Mae Briones. Andrew & Amy were 2nd in cha, swing and mambo, 3rd in rumba, bolero and it was the reverse for Alberto & Jessa Mae.
4th went to Tomas Vasicek & Vitalija Tyrnova 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Kemar Bennett & Jessica Nicol 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Artem & Ginny Rae Shiller 6,6,6,6,6.
The Open Pro Ballroom was quite closely fought. It was a straight 6-couple final. The results at the top of this division have been quite variable of late. Tonight’s victory went to Nazar Batih & Mariko Cantley who won 4 dances and placed 2nd in VW. They had the majority of 1st places in tango and quickstep. We thought it was a good night for them, this is a compact floor and their brand of expressive dancing was effective. They also won the Pro Exhibition earlier in the night with their “Sounds of Silence” showdance for which they received a standing ovation. The runners-up tonight were Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova who won the VW and placed 2nd in the other dances. They actually had more 1st places than the winners in waltz, but not enough for a majority. With 3,4,3,3,3, Aleksei & Elena Minaev took the 3rd spot.
4th went to Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver 6,3,4,4,5; 5th Riccardo Conte & Eleonora Filippi 5,5,5,5,4; 6th Mykhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska 4,6,6,6,6.
These were the main attractions of Saturday night, but there were also some good supporting events earlier in the evening and we would like to make mention of some of these. The Fordney Foundation U/21 Ballroom and Youth Latin divisions were, as the Amateur, international events. The Winners in the Ballroom were from Iceland, Daniel Sverrir Gudbjornssin & Soley Osk Hilmarsdottir 1,1,1,1,2. England took 2nd Oliver Beradmore & Zoe Cunningham 2,2,2T,3,1 and Poland 3rd Karol Sledz & Alicja Staskiewicz 3,3,2T,2,3. In the Youth Latin, Oliver & Zoe moved up to 1st 2,1,1,1,1. Erik Linder & Shelley Shelly Meshkausk were 2nd 1,2,2,2,2 and Kevin Filipczak & Danielle Malpa were 3rd3,3,3,3,3.
In the Pro RS divisions, Smooth and Latin, the Smooth was the larger, beginning with a semifinal. Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian were the winners 1,1,1,1. Dave Hannigan & Yulia Kosheleva were 2nd 2,2,2,2 and Roman Doroshenko & Iryna Savushkina were 3rd 3,3,3,3. The Latin went to Malachi Osai & Freda Chan 2,1,1,1,1. 2nd were Levan Gelashvili & Lily Kolman 1,2,2,2,2 and 3rd, Fabio Coco & Nicole Harrington 3,3,3,3,3.
The other large event of the night was the Open Amateur Smooth that began with a semifinal. The winners were Steve Torres & Nicole Barron 1,1,1,1. 2nd Daniel Woyak & Monica Ly 2,2,2,2, 3rd Alexandre Solomon & Kirsten Evans 3,3,3,3.
Mention must also be made of the star show performed by Polish Champions and Blackpool Finalists, Sergiu & Dorata Rusu. They performed a compact and tight show of the 5 ballroom dances with not too much time between dances. This kept the show moving and the audience entertained.
Tonight we will see an international amateur team match, plus Open Amateur Ballroom and Open Pro Latin and Smooth. Stay tuned for more!