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Capital Comes to a Close!

Perzhusolo1Yesterday the Capital Dancesport Championships came to a close and as usual the evening session was dedicated to the open professional events.

Out of the four styles the Smooth had the most punch with 6 very promising couples in the final. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu were the best and the judges awarded them first in all dances and they won with a majority of first places in every dance. Peter & Alexandra only received a handful of second and third places. The most noticeable were Pat Traymore and Diana McDonald, the only judges to award them a third place, Pat in the VW, and Dianna in the tango.

Capital Smooth

Second in this excellent heat, in all dances, went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft, but when looking at the marks they had a lot of variety.  Their worst judge was Linda Dean who awarded them three fifths and a fourth in the tango. Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko were third in all dances and here too there was a variety of numbers.  Their worst marks came from Glenis Dee-Creger - 2 5th  one 4th and a 6th  in the waltz. Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidjova were fourth overall but not in all dances they placed 5th  in the foxtrot. Nickolay Pilipenchuk & Natalia Skorikova were fifth 5,5,4,5, and Adrian & Hannah Dydynski were 6th  in all dances.


The Professional Rhythm was also a well attended heat with a healthy quarter-final and here Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova placed first in every dance with a near perfect run, just a total of 3 scores that were not 1st. Ivan & Marieta Dishliev placed second overall and in all dances but here their marks were a little more varied and Diana McDonald thought they should be last in every dance. Third was awarded to Shane & Shannon Jensen and their best marks came from Nick Short who thought they should win the cha cha and had them second in all the other dances. From this point on, the couples had to share placements in some of the dances.  Shandor Shtefil & Alekandra Barsukov were 4th overall but took fifth in the cha cha. Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti placed 5th overall but took a 4th in the cha cha, and 6th in every dance went to Erwin & Iwona Rybcynski.


The Open Latin was a nice event and that went easily to Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaityte who placed first in every dance with the majority of firsts in every dance. Second was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who placed 2nd in four dances and 4th in the rumba. Roman Italyankin & Alexandra Bokova took 3rd 4,4,2,3,3. 4th place overall was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova 3,3,3,4,4.  5th went to Jean Paul & Lana Rossi and they took 5th in every dance and 6th were Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina.


The Ballroom was also a significant event and here Alexander Volskalchuk & Veronika Egora placed 1st in every dance, but they only managed to get the majority of firsts in the tango.  The rest of the dances they won with 4th or better. Second in this competition went to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova who placed second overall in every dance and third was awarded to Nazar Batih & Marico Cantley 3,4,4,33. During this final the foxtrot as in many of this summer competitions was dedicated in the memory of Brian Puttock, his wife Sue was present and judging the event during the dedication, everyone gave a standing ovation during the dedication. Fourth in this seven couple final was awarded to Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena 4,3,5,5,4, fifth went to Iaroslar Beiliei & Olga Tsikalyuk 5,5,3,4,5, sixth was Samuele Pacchini & Ana Oblakova 7,6,6,6,6, and in seventh position were Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova 6,7,7,7,7.

BeatriceIt was a pro/am Ballroom day beginning at 7:00AM.  The Open Scholarships were pretty good and following the pattern here at Capital, the C division was the largest beginning with a semifinal.  Taking 1st in this was Beatrice Wang w/ Giampiero Giannico 1,2,1,1,1.  We thought Beatrice danced great today - everything went just right.  2nd overall fell to Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski 2,1,3,2,3 and 3rd to Paige Riffle w/ Iaroslav Bieliel 3,3,2,3,2 - this was the first time we have seen Paige with this new professional.

CeliaThe B divisions began with a semifinal and Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano won the day, taking all dances.  2nd went to Bo Chang w/ Giampiero Giannico 2,3,3,2,2 and 3rd to Yanina Kisler w/ Peter Walker 3,2,2,3,3.  We felt Yanina a little unlucky today as attires she looked very strong today.

ManAThe A division was again a straight final and was won by a gentleman, Andrey Privda w/ Olga Chekhova.  This young man certainly has a lot of potential.  He placed 1,1,2,2,1 today.  Taking 2nd was Elaine Liu w/ Gary Foster (Hong Kong) 2,2,1,1,2 and 3rd was Jana Hester w/ Dmitry Savchenko 3,3,3,3,3.

 LuiAs customary at the conclusion of the Capital Dancesport Championships a showcase of many who performed during the weekend took place. The “Show” is put together by Wendy Johnson and a parade of couples get up to do their thing. There were quite a few eye-catching numbers this year and in particular catching our eye were the “wearing different hats” by Mr. Louis Bar was quite humorous and kept everyone in stiches from beginning NazarDevilto end. Penelope Rostad with teacher Nikolai Karchev did a wonderful exhibition featuring some lifts and Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova were devilish with their cute swing. Travis & Jaimee PenelopeTuft and Shane & Shannon Jensen did a spectacular duo with some excellent floor and lift work and they closed the show. It was so interesting that we suggested to start a two couple category group number competition. There were plenty more but these few caught our imagination.

The after party was a lavish breakfast affair with about four stations so everyone that needed a little food could enjoy, the only complaint is that in Virginia they must stop serving liquor at 1AM and so everyone rushing to the bar were quite disappointed not to be able to have a cocktail before bedtime.

Overall the Capital Dancesport was a tremendous success and as usual it ran like a tight ship with no difficulties and with great class. Congratualtions to John & Marianne DePalma for another terrific year.

Pro Cabaret Ends Marathon Day at Capital

5 great couples contested an excellent Cabaret division at the end of a long day yesterday. The event went on around midnight, but the couples were in good form and gave us 5 very different routines.


ShCap-JensenCabane & Shannon Jensen continued their winning form taking the division with their new number. We thought it looked just a little uneasy in places, but the level of difficulty in the adagio work is very high. Runners-up were Travis & Jaimee Tuft who produce a more typically “theatrical ballroom” presentation. We thought they were very secure tonight. 3rd went to the acrobatic prowess of Jugie Zamora & Sheena Damimar. Again good lifts but a few wobbles here and there. 4th and 5th went to “showdance” style routines that were also very accomplished. Vincnzo Minieri & Rosaria Virone were 4th and Manuel Trillo & Anastasia Zhitova were 5th.


Overall it was a great night for Shane & Shannon as they also won all 5 dances in the RS Rhythm to take that division. 2nd went to Riccardo Pappi & Tina Moretti in their first competition in this style. They are the latest Latin duo to make the switch. This was a good start. They placed 2,2,2,3,2. 3rd were Erwin & Iwona Rybcznska 3,3,3,2,5. This division began with a quarter-final.


In the RS Smooth, that also started with a quarter-final, Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova won all dances with little challenge in our view. We also liked runners-up Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and the judges concurred, giving them 2nd in all 4 dances. The new partnership of Morten Jensen & Ashley Mayer took 3rd 3,3,3,4 and certainly showed promise.

The pro-ams contended with 2 styles today – Smooth and Latin. Of the two we felt the Open Smooth Scholarships had the edge over the Latin.

TheCap-ASmooth A was the smallest, a straight final. The winner was Jessica Spink w/ Peter Walker 1,1,2,1. We liked Jessica’s dancing, especially her closed work. 2nd went to Sara Jess w/ Thomas Mielnicki 2,2,1,2, Sara has great floor presence and soft interpretation, but perhaps needs more consistency in technique. 3rd was Samanta Rico w/ Morten Jensen 3,3,3,3.

ChristiCap-BSmoothna Donelson w/ Peter Perzhu won all dances in the B Division and looked the strongest to us also. Kathy Howell w/ Martin Cawston took 2nd 2T,2,2,2 ad Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika was 3rd 2T,3,3,3.

In the largest division,Cap-CSmooth the C, Robin Kencel w/ Sergey Vasilyev won all dances and was clearly ahead of the field we felt. 2nd went to Aviva Adler w/ Victor Russu 2,2,2,4. Aviva shows improvement all the time. 3rd in all dances went to Charlotte Carey w/ Kostadin Bidjourov.

In thCap-ALate Latin the A was once again the smallest division and it went to Zoe Antoniou w/ Andre Strinadko 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd was Cynthia Hwang w/ Marek Gabor 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd, Sherry Chen w/ Sergey Izyumov 3,3,3,3,3.

The B division gave us the toughest race for the win but it went to Lorraine Peoples w/ Andre Gavriline 1,2,1,1,2 over Missy White w/ Genya Bartashevich 2,1,2,2,1. We might have called it the other way, but Lorraine has made great strides and certainly there is no argument over her win. 3rd was Anna Poberetsky w/ Andre Strinadko 3,3,3,3,3.


Suzanne Saperstein wCap-CLat/ Ricky Bentzen won all dances in the C Division. Jeanie LaFavor w/ Mariusz Olszewska was 2nd 2,3,2,2,2 and 3rd was Vicki Gorder w/ Andre Strinadko 3,2,3,3,4.

Organizer, John DePalma, took time from his pressing organizer duties to participate in the latest craze of dumping a bucket of iced water over your head. He, Dan Messenger and Mark Weiss took the challenge!!

Short but Sweet!

Last night at Capital Dancesport Championships the night session was short but sweet, filled with excellent dancing. The Rising Star Professional Latin and Ballroom were the featured events as well as some terrific Open Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships.


OutCap-Likachev of the two professional events the Latin was possibly the best with a healthy semifinal round. There were no superstars that grabbed your attention but the quality of the dancing was terrific. Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina from California won all dances and Jake Davies & Alyona Kalinina from England were second. Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie placed third in every dance, Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Virone took all fourths. Tomas Vasicek & Kimberly Harris were fifth and Jungie Zamora & Sheena Damiar, sixth.


The Ballroom was a six-couple final and the win went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova, they won all dances.  Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold were second in four dances and placed third in the foxtrot. Second in the foxtrot and third in the other four dances went to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Karzukhina.

Two very capCap-Jensenable couples entered the rare Professional Compulsory Theater Arts. This competition I think only takes place here at Capital and at the USDC. The winner was Shane & Shannon Jensen and second went to Travis & Jaimee Tuft. After the event was run there was an issue about the music.  Apparently the music has been changed a number of times on the website and so one of the couples had been rehearsing to a different recording. This possibly presented a problem. We think it was a few seconds longer or shorter. It was not a big issue both couples looked wonderful and ready and had it not been brought up to the attention of the chair by one of the judges, nobody would have known that the song came up too short for one of the couples. However, the couples were fine for the moment and we proceeded with the award. Hope the issue gets clarified before the US Nationals in a week.

The ProfesCap-Norovsional Basics divisions, sponsored by DIVIDA, were not as well attended. The Rhythm had the most couples, 4, and they were all quite proficient at the skill. Nazar Norov & Irina Krudyashova were first in all dances, Shane & Shannon Jensen placed second and third went to Jeffrey Goltiao & Katt Baumgartner (3,3,3,4,4). Thse last two were the only couple entered in the Smooth Basics. Finally fourth was awarded to Rex & Rachel Jones.

The Open Rhythm Scholarships were also good and here the “A” Was won by Viktoria Tvreskaya w/Ilya Reyzin. This lady was great! We are sure that she will do quite well at Nationals. The “B” was taken by Kathy Howell w/Martin Cawston and the “C” went to Penelope Rostad w/Nikolay Karchev.


The fashion show by Dore was a success. Many at the bar were quite impressed by the collection. Alexandra Perzhu openned the runway and it was a good intermission between the two professional events while couples made some costume changes. 

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Last night at the NV!

VisensioThe last day at the NV Ball was a combination of Ballroom and Latin. The day started promptly at 7AM with the Ballroom categories and without a break carried on to 7PM finishing up with the Latin competitions. The evening session was packed with spectators all coming to see the professional and amateur competitions. Their feature events this night were the Professional Smooth, Latin and Theater Arts/Showdance, along with the Amateur Ballroom. All competitions were solid with semifinals being run in almost all the events.


Out of the three professional events the Professional Smooth had the most punch for us, there were at least ProSmoothNickfour very strong couples with different styles and presentation. The overall winners were Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija who won all dances and who could not be missed from the start. They seem to be getting more confident and more relaxed on the floor showcasing a carefree style. Second was awarded to Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko and they took second in all dances. Mikolay & Victoria have a very playful look, going from the very dramatic to some very interesting and difficult combinations. Third was Kris Suakjian & Briana Haft who took third in all dances. Here we thought their style was very clean with no missteps, but unfortunately for them, to challenge the top they will have to venture out a little more and like the two on top develop their own signature moves. Fourth in this excellent group of finalists were Kyle & Allie Spinder who took fourth in all dances. This couple is fierce they are super trained and do not miss a beat, it would be hard to leave them out.  However, here again I think they to need to explore other possibilities in the style. Fifth in all were Maksin Leonov & Kristina Kudelko and sixth was awarded to Peter Hahn & Jude Coraldi.


The Latin final had six very strong couples but in the end Italy took the NV home by winning all dances, LongoEmanuele Soldi & Elisa Nasato placed first in all dances and from the start they showed us a star quality that could not be ignored. Second went to Roman Italyankin & Aleksandra Bokova they took second in three dances and third in the paso and fourth in the jive, you can tell that from here down the judges were not too sure of the couples and so the marks were very varied. Third was awarded to Genya Bartashevich & Yana Mazhnikova, they took third in four dances and second in the Paso. Fourth was Evgeny Likhachev & Maria Levina who placed fourth in four dances and fifth in the jive, fifth wen to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets who must have been pleasantly surprised to place second in the jive but unfortunately fifth in the other four dances.  Sixth place in all dances were Vinsenzo Miniri & Rosaria Vivone.

The Professional Theatre Arts/Showdance was also run this evening and here Vincenzo Minieri & Rosaria Vivone took first, Kyle & Allie Spinder took second and Ivan Berkovic & Dena Anna Weiner placed third. Artemi Okunev & Yulia Dragina were fourth, Guo Xiuhua & Lu Deng from China were fifth and Stas Chelnakoff & Tasiia Babluk from Moldova were sixth.


NVEndThe Open Amateur Ballroom was also an excellent competition and here as expected Andres & Veronika End took first in all dances. Marek Klepadlo & Liana Bakhtiarova were second and third were James Cutler & Virginie Primeau from Canada. Jonathan Bailey & Hannah Augustine-Bailey were fourth, Casey & Kayci Treu were fifth and Dan Maneau & Mia Hu placed sixth.

The Open Amateur American Rhythm was not as well attended as the Smooth the night before here we only had two couples and Mike & Jeravae Christensen won all dances leaving second place to Mahdi & Lisa Betts-LaCroit.

Party1The evening concluded with a fabulous after party that was a complete feast for a king. There were four food-making stations varied from vegetarian, meat lover, pastas and even a wonderful Peking duck station. It was an open bar and everyone ate and danced to the band to their hearts content. The location was a little different than the other after parties, this time it was on the second floor overlooking the beautiful Encore Hotel and pool with access to the a beautiful veranda where many of the guess stepped out for conversation or just for fresh air.

Party2I want to once again congratulate the organizing team for putting such a lavish competition in the sister hotel to the Wynn, the Encore was superb, the suites were fabulous with great views and a relaxing lounge and work area, the spa was out of this world, and the convention facilities very grand. I was also quite impressed at the care and attention all the organizers paid to their patrons from personally giving out the awards and for their NVCarmenterrific support while everyone danced.  Their enthusiasm could not just be felt it was heard also and it sure is nice when an organizer becomes a part of the event and not just the face and cash register.

I look forward to many NV Balls and I am sure that in the not to distant future they will become the “NV” of a comp and one that we must all attend.   

Great Pro Ballroom at NV

FungLast night we had a terrific Professional Ballroom competition at the NV Ball in Vegas, Nevada. There was a semifinal round and even then it looked as if it was going to be quite difficult and quite an exciting event.

Victor Fung & Anastasia were present and they of course took first in all dances without a contest or a challenge from any of the other five finalists. The fight was on for second place here between Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova and Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa. For us siting down it was close but for the judges it was not, the judges awarded Mikhail & Olga second place in all five dances leaving Denis & Lesya holding third.


Fourth in this excellent Professional Ballroom heat went to Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk and they were Hildaawarded fourth in all dances, leaving Richard Tonizzo & Clare Hansen from Canada holding fifth in all dances and in sixth position were Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova. They took sixth in every dance. This was certainly a heat worth waiting for especially after the sad professional heat we witnessed prior to the Ballroom. Hilda Lanza one of the three former organizers of the Nevada Star Ball (Now the NV Ball) presented the award, a perpetual throphy in memory of Brian Puttock who just recently passed, Sue Puttock was invited but unable to attend.  


The Professional Rhythm heat was the second to last competition and this too had a semifinal round but it was disappointing to see. Few competitors rose beyond the Rising Star level.  The winners, Sergey Shapoval & Ania Tarnoska, won all dances and you could easily spot them from a plane! So to the runners who were also of a reasonable standing, Jim Clark & Tania Chegini, but who to my surprise placed third in three dances and fifth in 2!

AmSmoothThe Amateur events were not huge but had great quality.  We were totally floored by the Amateur Smooth that had a full semifinal and in the final all couples were of an excellent level and quality.  Here the winners were Aaron & Katelyn Holmes who placed fourth in the waltz but won the other three dances. Second went to Alex Taylor & Alayne Wadsworth 1,2,3,3, and third was awarded to Charles Roberts & Emily Kapral 3,3,4,2. From what you can see, past first place, all couples were quite similar in quality and ability and so the judges had a harder time finding a set final.

AmLatinThe Open Amateur Latin was a final but an excellent final as well with at least three finalists at a championship level. Alexey Karaulov & Vlada Semedova won all dances, Nikita Malakhov & Nadezda Vlasova took all seconds and Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson placed third.

The NV Ball is held in the sister hotel to the Wynn Hotel, the Encore, and like the Wynn it too is a five star hotel.  The facilities are amazing including the casino and spa. There are about 10 gourmet restaurants on the property and Partythe ballroom, although a little far to walk to, is grand.  The NV after parties have been the talk of all - a full buffet is served nightly for the guests of the NV ball and the set up is fantastic.

I want to congratulate the Rat Pack of Mr. Sodano, Mr. Watson, Mr. Gallker, Mr. Sinkinson & Carmen for putting such a phenomenal event in the heart of Las Vegas Nevada. Today was a full day of Smooth dancing for the pro-ams but tomorrow is the killer day of Ballroom and Latin starting at 7AM. Till tomorrow good night!

NV Las Vegas!

GallaThe inauguration for the NV Ball started with a beautiful welcome gala Wednesday night, it was a white glove affair with live music, shows and entertainment. The hosts pulled no punches to make you feel at home.  Andrew Sinkinson, Bryan Watson, Carmen, and Hans Galker all danced.

Andre partnered by Charlotte Jorgensen did a foxtrot and Carmena passionate tango. Bryan & Carmen showed us a cha cha and a jive and they were joined by Hans in a very intricate but interesting trio rumba.

AndrewIt was a cocktail party followed by a four-course meal, and in between a full band lead by our own Brent Milles played for your dancing needs. Mr. Sam Sodano, also part of this NV union, was present and he had a few words to say about the event and in his style plugged the Ohio Star Ball making everyone get  a chuckle.

HandDuring the gala the majority of the attendees were from outside the United States, down to New Zealand and Australia, Hong Kong had also a huge group, but yesterday on the American style day 90% of the entries were from Nevada, California and a few trickles from around the country.

SamToday will be a bigger day starting at 8:30AM and that is for the Smooth day, and tonight the pro rising stars and the usual BYU entries. The competition is a good size with way over 5,000 entries. Saturday should be a packed day of Latin and Ballroom - we have not seen any of the dancers that were at the gala perform so I figure it will be then.

The Encore Hotel is superb one of the best on the Vegas strip, the NV after parties have been great with excellent food and friendly atmosphere.

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Malitowski/Leunis Withdraw!

Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis, the current Open British Pro Latin Champions, withdrew from the Pro Latin at the Killick Kalssic last night after dancing only 1 round (of 4 rounds total for the event).  Joanna injured her foot and was unable to continue.

Although this was a disappointment, the competition was still one of the best of the year so far and the atmosphere was so highly charged nobody complained about how loud the music was!

KK-Latin final

Maurizio Vescovo & Andra Vaidilaite (Canada) benefited the most from Michael & Joanna’s withdrawal as they were now clear favorites and won all 5 dances.  They gave an absolutely brilliant display of fast-paced and sometimes lighthearted Latin dancing that the audience adored.  Maurizio led the finalists in an impromptu jive following the end of the final and even organizers, Paul Killick and Shirley Ballas joined in.  Maurizio also led a conga line following his honor dance to close the night!


With 2,2,2,3,2, Mirko Rizzi & Maria Emanchkova (England) took 2nd.  Not long out of the amateur ranks, this couple were also on fire tonight.  We loved Maria’s tough new look.  Taking that 2nd in the paso and 3rd in the other dances were Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina who also looked confident tonight.  Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maiuk (Ukraine) were 4th with 4,4,4,4,6 and right behind them and with a stronger result tonight that some recently, Ivan Mulyavka & Loreta Kriksciukaite were 5th 5,6,5,5,6.  Closing this great final were Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatlilova 6,5,6,6,5.


Sharing the bill with the Latin was the Pro Smooth and this began with a semifinal.  Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all 4 dances.  Finishing strongly and earning a lo of after event praise at the after-party were Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sidnjova, they took 2nd overall with 2,3,2,2.  3rd tonight went to David & Natalie Shulz 3,2,3,3.  Vladimir & Vera Kosarev took all the 4ths, Andrei & Elena Rudenko all the 5ths and Vladimir Popov & Anastasia Kazmina all the 6ths.

There was a straight final in the Youth u/21 Latin also and this was dominated by Canada who took the top 2 places.  Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward won all dances and Nurlan Galyamov & Jessica Swietonowski took 2nd 3,2,2,2,2.  3rd spot went to Dmytry Dmytrnko & Cheyenne Murilli 2,3,3,3,3.

KK-PABallDuring the day the pro-ams were in Ballroom mode.  The Open Scholarships proved successful for professional Andrea Faraci whose students won 2 divisions and took 2nd in the other. Laura White won the B and Effy Weisfield took the C.  Rebecca Kuhn was the runner-up in the A and the win went to Ashley Kruger w/ Misha Vlasov.

Watch out for a full report on the KK coming soon in Dance Beat with individual reports by Corky Ballas and Barbara McColl.

Dancing With The Stars!


To wKK-Marcildly cheering fans, Derek & Marc danced several upbeat routines – Marc performing to a medley of his own music – “Get My Name” and “Miss Incredible.”  3 Miss Incredibles were selected by Marc  to receive prizes donated by Vesa Designs.  The grand “Miss Incredible” award went to Shiela Davis from Florida.KK-shiela

We were so impressed by the professionalism of these two young men – it was a great interlude that really wowed the audience.  Derek & Marc also judged several of the competitions and were joined by fellow DWTS professional, Tony Dovolani who just happened to be in the area.

The highlights of the night were the Open Pro Ballroom and Rhythm and the Open Amateur Latin


The Pro Ballroom was a high quality 8-couple final.  The winners easily were Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk who won all dances and received 11 first places out of 13 in all dances except quick step where they received 12.  The only judge to place them not first in all dances was Bob Powers who placed them 3,4,3,3,3.  The scores for the remaining couples were very mixed.  2nd in all dances and receiving the majority of “2nd or better” scores in all dances, were Anton Lebedev & Anna Borshe from Canada.  But they had the full gamut of judges’ scores down to 8th place.  3rd in 4 dances and 4th in QS – and on a US Tour it seems, were Igor Kobiuk & Lillia Galdiuk from the Ukraine (could we soon be seeing a new import to the USA?).    Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova were 4th in 4 dances and took the 3rd in QS.  Igor Colac & Roxanne Milotti were 5th in all: Simeon & Cora Stoynov were 6th 6,7,6,6,6;  Pavel Kuzmin & Marsha Khazanova were 7th 7,6,7,77 and Anton & Irina Belev were 8th.


In thKK-Nazare Rhythm it was the battle Royal of the Florida superstars, Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova and Peter & Alexandra Perzhu.  The judges awarded Nazar & Irina their best win too date – giving them all dances with a large majority of 1st places.  Peter & Alexandra were 2nd in all dances. In fact it was an “all Florida” final.  Misha Vlasov & Vanda Polakhova were easily 3rd in all dances.  The judges were quite decisive in this division – all couples finished in the same position in all dances.  4th – Shanor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov;  5th – Tams Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurupova;  6th Vicente Martinez & Meagan Murphy.


The Amateur Latin was a highlight for us.  The winners were NDCA US Champions, Ferdinando Ianncone & Yulia Musikhina who won all dances with a large majority of 1st places.  This was the best we’ve seen them dance in some time.  Perhaps they were reacting to the electric atmosphere!  (And the great music – giving ourselves a pat on the back !).  From Italy Manuel Frighetto & Karin Rooba took 2nd.  They placed 2,2,2,3,2.  They had the most 2nd  better places in all dances but the majority in only 4 but some 4th placements in paso doble allowed 3rd placed, Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach to slip ahead in that dance.  They scored 3,3,3,2,3 overall.  The remainder of the final finished in the same position in all dances.  Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova 4th;  Evgeny Raev & Patricya Golak 5th and the final closed with 2 couples from Canada – Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Howard 6th; Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietonowski 7th.

Travis KK-Cab& Jaimee Tuft were very clear winners for us in the Cabaret with their routine, “Return” one of their best we think.  2nd were Clifton Sepulveda & Mar Martinez;  3rd Daniel Erskat & Ahtoy Wonpat-Borja;  4th Paolo & Liene DiLorenzo.

There were also 2 Rising Star divisions, both well-contested, although we felt the Latin was the stronger.  Sergiy Barsukov  & Maria Sidnjov won the Smooth 1,1,1,1.  2nd Stephen Smyth & Viktoriya Kleyman 2,2,2,2 and 3rd Andrei & Elena Rudenko 3,3,3,3.

Vitalii Proskurin & Eugenia Shatilova won all dances in the Latin.  2nd went to Ilya Maletin & Polina Majer from Canada 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd Ryan Davies & Tessa Marie 6,4,3,3,3.

It was a VERY busy day for the pro-ams who danced 2 full styles – Smooth and Latin.  The Latin, as might be expected here at the KK, was especially strong.  In the Open Scholarships (Latin), danced at night the results were:


Open A:  1st Cheyenne Murillo w/ Sasha Althukov;  2nd Saina Hadden w/ Daniele Gozzi:  3rd Vera Wei Zu w/ Jacub Zeglin.


Open B:  1st Tina Broccole w/ Delyan Terziev;  2nd Christine Ho w/ Stefan Gulubovic;  3rd Natalia Tomal w/ Maxim Kochura (Moscow)

OKK-CLatpen C:  1st Janet Colleran w/ Aleks Nashev;  2nd Lisa Wong w/ Roman Italyankin;  3rd Alice Lekht w/ Ihor Derimov.

The Open Smooth Scholarships took place in the afternoon and the results were:

Open B: 1st Shari Oxman w/ Roman Malkhasyan;  2nd Terry Anderson w/ Olga Bogdanov;  3rd Olga Maslakova w/ Nikoaly Fanagin (Moscow)

Open C:  1st Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin;  2nd Terry Anderson w/ Olga Bogdanov;  3rd John Hansen w/ Michelle Hafle


TheKK-Paul  Shirley KK is OK!

The Killick Klassic is back after missing a year in 2013 – but there have been some changes.  Joining the founder, Paul Killick, as a co-organizer this year is Shirley Ballas.   Also changed is the venue – this year the event moved to the venerable Boca Raton Hotel, situated on the Intracoastal Waterway in Boca Raton, FL. 

This hKK-Hotelotel is one of the society fixtures of Palm Beach County and its history dates back to 1926.  As you might expect, the fixtures of the hotel are period and that includes the décor of the ballroom.  The Killick Klassic has completmented this traditional style with “flowers and feathers.”

Today was really all about Rhythm.  The pro-ams danced rhythm all day and concluded the style with the open scholarships in the evening.  Also in the Rhythm style, the main event of the night was the Rising Star Rhythm, that began with a semifinal.


Clear winners of the RS in an all-Florida final were Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov who won all dances.  Equally clear with all the 2nds were Tamas Kardos & Mariya-Khristina Shurupova and with all 3rds Vicente Martinez & Megan Murphy.

InKK-Derek-Marccluded on the judging panel was Shirley’s son Mark Ballas and her “adopted” son Derek Hough – stars of TV’s Dancing With The Stars who are also here for two meet and greet sessions.

The largest of the Open Rhythm Pro-Am Scholarships was in the C Division, beginning with a semifinal and this fell to Dianne Caracciolo w/ Nazar Norov 1,1,1,1,2.  Dianne has improved dramtically over the past year and her smile is infectious.  Another very strong lady, Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Andrei Abrashin was 2nd 2,2,2,1.  Taking the 3rd spot, Janet Bruttel w/ Michael Neil 4,4,3,3,3.


ThKK-BRhythe B had 5 entries and the winner in all dances was the energetic and enthusiastic Kia Malone w/ Eddie Rivera.  2nd went to Ana Capo w/ Luis Lopez 3,2,2,2,2 and 3rd to Laura Paoletti w/ Willem DeVries 2,3,3,3,3.

Kia also won the A division over Lauren Watkins w/ Michael Neil and Vera Gold w/ Shandor Shtefil won the Senior.

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Empire Gives 20K!

LAndrea Mast night there was a very happy teacher “Andrea Malleta” who took away $20,000.00 dollars, for being top teacher at the Empire. 

The second place walked away with $12,000.00 and third $8,000.00. We think this to be the highest amount paid by a single event in the country today, both the Editor of Dance Beat and staff are thinking on entering next year, that is if we can get anyone to dance with us? Congratulations to this teacher who worked hard and helped make our industry in the USA the very best!  

When it came to dancing yesterday at the Empire was Latin day, with all pro/am competition in the Latin categories being run in the morning and afternoon and in the evening the scholarships as well as the feature events the Professional Ballroom and Rhythm.  Out of the two feature events the Ballroom was the biggest in size and quality, there was more couples entered with a Alinahealthy quarterfinal and the quality of the couples was excellent.

It was basically a walk in the park for Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk from NY, who won all dances in the Open Professional Ballroom with a huge majority of first places. There was off course the odd seconds and even a fourth and a third awarded to them by Tony Dovolani, fourth in waltz and third in tango.  In defense of Tony, he did give them two firsts and that was in the foxtrot and quickstep. From here down the scores were a little more varied for the rest of the couples. Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blimova place second overall but with a huge variety of marks and not second in every dance as you will see here 4,2,2,3,3. Mikhail & Olga’s worst marks came from the husband and wife team Tony & Amanda Dokman who both placed them seventh in the waltz, and sixth in the other fourth dances. 

Empire proBallroom lineup1

Third overall in this excellent Ballroom heat went to Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronika Egorova 2,4,3,2,5, and as you can see this couple really had a good collection of numbers - not always high numbers but a good variety. In fourth place were Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa, possibly our very favorite this night due to their musicality and casual approach to this, very difficult skill and style. Fifth place went to our neighbors from the North, Anton Lebedev & Anna Broshch from Canada 5,3,5,5,2. And sixth place overall was taken by Igor Kobiuk & Lillia Gladiuk from Kiev Ukraine the only couple who entered from outside North America and their marks were 6,7,6,6,6. At the Empire the semifinal and final are all done per dance and in the waltz there was a 7-couple final.  Included in this final and basically placing 7th overall was Iaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk, and they too took seventh in the waltz.  Linas Korieva will have a full report on this division.

EmpirePro-Rhytm Lineup

The Rhythm had a healthy semifinal round and in the end for us and the majority of the judges the winner was Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova they placed first in every dance. Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashov were second in every dance and Shando Stefil & Aleksandra Barsukov placed third. Fourth down was a different story from here own the marks began to vary.  Matthew Hauer & Lauren Schelfhaudt were fourth but not in every dance 4,6,4,6,4, fifth went to Jean Michel Erole & Larisa Miknyukova 5,5,5,5,5, Andrey Svirydzenka &Yuliya Zubava were sixth 6,4,6,4,6. There was seven couples called in every dance and in a couple of dances there was eight couples, so seventh place overall was Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 9,8,7,7,8, and eight overall was Ronald & Katie Guillen 7,7,8,8,9.

The Professional Showdance also took place and here the top three were Shane & Shannon Jensen with a brand new routine to “I who have Nothing.” They won. Travis & Jamie Tuft placed second and Kyle & Allie Spinder were third.

Empire AmLatin lineup

The Amateur Latin also began as a quarter-final and brought out most of the north east's top amateur couples, plus the current NDCA US Champions, Ferdinando Iannconne & Yuliya Muskhina from Los Angeles who won all 5 dances with the majority of 1st place marks from the judges.  2nd in all dances were Pasha Pashkov & Daniela Karagach (dancing for the first time as husband and wife).  they came closest to the winners in Rumba as they had 6 first places to Ferdinando & Yuliya's 9.  3rd in all dances went to Pasha Stepanchuk & Anastasia Danilova;  4th went to Ron Garber & Liza 4,4,4,5,5;  5th Evgeny Raev & Patricia Golak 5,6,6,4,4 and 6th Nurlan Galyamov & Jessica Swietoniowsk (Canada) 6,5,5,6,6

There were only four couples in the under 21 Latin and Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowski were first in all dances, Maciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob placed second and third wen to Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevitch.  Gregory & Ellen were awarded the $2,000 Yulia Iveleva memorial scholarship.

EmpireProAmBThe pro/am Latin scholarships were also fun to watch and here as in all the scholarships the “B” and “C” had the most entries. Sabrina Strasser w/Stanishlav Kochergin from Canada took first in all dances in the “B”, Tina Broccole & Delyan Terziev were second in every dance and Matthias Kirwald took third 5,3,3,3,3.

In the “C” Lisa Lowery w/Radek Wiatrowski took all firsts, Suzanne Saperstein w/Ricky Bentzen was second and Empire pro-amCLisa Gardener w/Nikolai Shpakov third 3,3,3,4,4.

There were 5 couples in the “A” and this category went to Jacqueline Soccodato w/ Delyan Terziev 1,2,1,1,1. Meg Nakamura w/Nikolai Shpakov was second 2,1,2,2,2 and Patricia Mui w/Alex Samusevich was third in every dance.

The evening had a few surprises at the end the wonderful singer of the opening Gala treated us to “A Time to say Goodbye” and the team from Brooklyn Dancesport reprised their Empire Broomsrumba!

It was a lovely evening in the stile of the Italian trio Giampiero, Erminio, and although not present, Augusto, always with the full support and hard laboring ladies Katerina, Luana and the one about to go into labor at any moment, Brigita.

Congratulations to this very hard working team and looking forward to 2015 at the Marriott right in the middle of Times Square!      

Enough of the flying sh……

Last night at the Empire Dancesport Championships the judges had enough of the flying shining trapezeFacesteps, and so two arms were raised high in the Open professional Latin to tell the chairman of judges that the couples had committed the mortal sin of doing lifts. In the four major styles, the Ballroom, Smooth, Rhythm and Latin the rules state that one partner's feet cannot both leave the floor, if both feet leave the floor in an “assisted movement (not a jump), this is considered a lift, a mortal sin in ballroom dancing and one that can cause you to be penalized or even disqualified!!

When the judges hands went up and the chairman was summoned, we had already witnessed this beautiful sweeping action from a very prominent couple and yes it looked like an eternity as her feet were beautifully pointed but totally not on the ground. Mind, we are not sure that beautiful swooping maneuver could have been accomplished while the foot drags on the floor, scrape, scrape... However, by the time the chairman got back to the chair we had witnessed a second couple and even a possible third doing something very similar. Fingers in our mouths, we watched as the chair strode on to deal with the sinning couples and then returned to give firm instructions to the Latin judges that if in the final they were to witness such a phenomenon again they, were to mark it down and the sentence would be handed out swiftly.

Flying fernadozJust to be fair all couples were told of the infraction immediately and warned. From what we understood, one bystander who was near the scene  reported that one of the couples said that his lady was out of balance and that he had to sweep her off her feet to keep her from falling. Fall or not the judges were not about to take it any longer so the next round all eyes were on the flying “Fernandos.”

No infractions in the final were committed, but the judges were not done, they rewarded the couples and the audience by changing the usual order of placement based on recent events in one event and even changing a result from the previous week.

Top 2 LatinRoman Kutskyy & Anna Kovalova, second in command in the USA Professinal Latin field, were demoted to second place here behind US finalists, Nikolay Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina. Roman & Anna took first in the cha cha and samba, and second in the other three dances. Nikolay & Maria won the Rumba, Paso, Jive and were crowned King and Queen (or Emperor & Empress?) of the Empire Professional Latin. We must also point out that in all the dances Nikolay & Maria hardly took anything less then first and second places from the judges, they only took a 4th in all dances from Allan Tornsberg and one other fourth from Vibeke Toft in the Jive. On the other hand Roman & Anna did take more fourths, thirds and even two fifths from Meryem Pearson in the cha and samba.

Empire ProLatin lineup

As you can see the judges, like the couples, were not missing any punches here.  Third in this heat went to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko who’s decision was reversed from last week at the Can-Am where they placed second to Jean-Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc.  In this competition Jean-Philippe & Laurence had to be content with taking fourth place in all dances, both these two couples are from Canada. Fifth place in all dances was awarded to Dmitry Nikishkin & Olena Shvets, sixth was Jean Paul & Lana Rossi 7,6,6,6,6 and in seventh place overall was Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yulia Besarab. Caroline Smith will be reporting on this division for Dance Beat.

Empire proSmoothlineup

It is a shame that all this interesting flying occured, because unfortunately in this report it took some of the punch out of the real story and that is the Open Professional Smooth competition, that for us was two times better than the Latin when it came to dancing and quality. Peter & Alexandra Perzhu won all dances with the clear majority of firsts from the judges, only Janet Gleeve, former WDC World Professional Ballroom Champion from England awarded them sixth in all dances. Second in this excellent final went to Mikhail & Galina Zharinov who from our perspective looked as sharp as a blade, and they took second in all dances. Third place in this mix was awarded to Travis & Jamie Tuft but here the marks got a little different, they placed third in three dances and fourth in the tango. We have to say that the variety of styles and quality in this Smooth competition even down to a semifinal was excellent. Fourth overall went to Mikolay Czarnecki & Victoria Malko 4,3,5,4,4, fifth was awarded to Kyle & Allie Spinder 5,5,4,5,5 and sixth went to David & Natalie Schulz who took sixth in every dance.  Watch out for Martin Lamb’s report in Dance Beat soon.

Empire AmateurBallroomLineup

In the Open Amateur Ballroom Andres & Veronika End took all first places with a huge majority of firsts from all the judges. James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau from Canada placed second overall 2,2,3,2,2, Luca Balestra & Krizia Balestra took third 3,3,2,3,3. Taras Savitskyy & Tatiana Seliverstova were fourth 4,4,5,4,4, Rusland Kalyuzhnyy & Kseniya Sovenko placed fifth 5,5,4,5,5, and sixth went to Nikolay Tarasov & Egle Stralckaite who placed sixth in all dances.  Watch for Andre & Yulia Klinchik’s report soon.

In the under 21 Partryk Ploszaj & Anna Kaczmarsi were first in every dance Samuel Hacke & Katerina Hermanove placed second 2,2,3,2,2T and Maciej Zieba & Lory-Eye Jacob third 3,3,2,3,2T.

LilyThe Pro-Am Ballroom Scholarships were also excellent with great quality and quarter-finals in the B & C divisions.  The “B” was possibly the most exciting for us and here Lily Chang w/ Sergey Kiselev was first 1,1,4,1,1.  Second was awarded to Tina Zhang w/ Andrey Klinchik 2,2,1,3,4, and third went to Lynn Murrell w/ Alexander Voskalchuk 3,5,2,2,2.

LinasThe “C” went to Hye Kyong Park w/Linas Koreiva, they took first in all dances. Second place in this heat went to Lisa Liao w/Andrea Faraci 2,2,4,2,4, and in third place was Rhonda Fisher w/Gianni Caliandro. In the “A” there were only three couples entered and this went to Rebecca Kuhn w/Andrea Faraci.

A Team Match was also run between USA and the rest of the world. Giampiero2It was a little different here - we had professional couples (both retired and competing), amateur couples, and pro/am all represented.  In the end the USA won by a small margin.  As usual they all seemed to have a good time and the majority of the audience were still in their chairs, we are not sure if is because the results for the major events were not called yet or they really wanted to see this challenge. As usual we also had a surprise visit from Augusto Giampiero4Schiavo and Caterina Arzenten. This time the role of Augusto who is absent from the competition due to the expectancy of a child, was played by Giampiero Giannico and the role Caterina was played by the outstanding Erminio Stefano whose attention to detail brought the house down especially when he threw the shoe at “Augusto.” For those of us that knew the real Augusto & Caterina in their time it was a comic relief like no other especially since Caterina was in the audience. Catherina was a wonderful sport even when sweeping the floor she took the broom and went out there with the other two ladies of the Empire – Luanna & Katarina (Marks).

Judges in a Quandary!

Seven couples took to the floor last night at Empire Dancesport for the Rising Star Professional Ballroom.  Now we all know that placing 7 couples without having seen them can be tough for the judges, but throw in that they were all of a high but almost equal caliber, and the poor judges were really scratching their heads.  They needed a little extra time in all dances to make their assessments.  And here’s what they were:


Placing 1st in all 5 dances were the tall, elegant duo of Iaroslav Bieliel & Olga Tsikalyuk and we must say we agreed with this result.  With 2,2,3,2,2, Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova finished 2nd ahead of the new pairing, Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova who placed 3,3,2,3,3.  4th went to Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold 4,4,6,4,4;  5th to Anton Domansky & Anna Chaldysheva 6,5,4,5,5;  6th to Oleksiy Buravenko & Victoria Kazukhina 5,6,5,6,7 and 7th to Vasyl Makarov & Grace Fu 7,7,7,7,6.


The Emp-ShadorRS Rhythm was a larger event, beginning with a semifinal, danced in 2 heats.  We thought this provided a comfortable win to Shandor Shtefil & Aleksandra Barsukov and the judges agreed, awarding them first in all dances.  The remaining couples received quite a mix of placements.  Runners-up were Strahinja Lackovic & Irina Fedosova 2,4,2,2,3;  3rd Ernesto Palma & Leanne Aranza 4,2,3,5,2;  4th Sasha & Tara Barakov 5,3,4,4,4;  5th Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay 3,5,5,3,5 and 6th Dmitri Dolgopolv & Kristen Dobson.

The pro-ams danced Smooth all day, but the Open Scholarships did not produce large entries except in the C Division that was a 7-couple final.  Comfortable winner was Lisa Lowery w/ Radek Wiatrowski and Lisa won all 4 dances.  2nd in all 4, and dancing very strongly today, we thought, was Janice Smith w/ David Weise and Janet took 2nd in all 4 dances.  3rd in all went to Tatiana Ignatieva w/ Mikhail Zharinov;  4th to Sharon Sanchez w/ Vladislav Shahov 5,5,4,4;  5th Cecila Gilchrist w/ Darius Mosteika 4,4,5,6;  6th Alison Allan w/ David Alvarez 6,6,6,5 and 7th Karen Shaffer w/ Dustin Jones.


Both the A & B divisions were uncontested.  Lynn Shanahan w/ Darius Mosteika in the B and Sara Jess w/ Tomas Mielnicki in the A.  Yoko Kani w/ David Rosario took the Senior from Wendy Sherman w/ Gherman Mustuc.

2 strong couple entered the Open Amateur Smooth and Paul Frietas & Kelly Glashen were the winners in all dances over Zach Lapidus & Emi Terasawa.

Beginning Rising!

Fortezza1The first official day of the Empire Dancesport Championships was all about Rhythm dancing and the Professional Rising Star Smooth and Latin. The evening was specifically for the Pro/Am Scholarships and the Professional Events.

Out of the two rising star events we felt the Smooth was a bit better, they both had semifinal rounds, but for us the Smooth had more excitement.


The quality of the smooth was excellent Kyle & Allie Spinder won all dances and yes to us they were the very best, with everything falling into place. But from second down it was a bit murkier the ability between second down to fifth and sixth was very minute, and you will see it from the judges’ markings below. Sehyoung & Adele Jang Don placed second overall but not second in all dances 3,2,3,2. Sergey & Yana Nelyubov took those second places from Sehyoung & Adele, they placed 2,3,2,3. Fourth placed seemed to be easier fro the judges, Matthias Kruschel & Christina Schlegel took all fourths. Robert Fernandez & Denise Sobiewski took fifth overall 5,6,5,5 and sixth overall went to Leo Mora & Christina Garced (6,5,6,6).

Latin lineup

The risin star Latin looked for us even more difficult to decipher, the couples were basically very similar in quality and performance.  Ryan Lewis & Tessa Marie were first overall but not first in every dance 1,1,1,2,2.  Second overall went to Jake Davis & Alyona Kalinina 2,3,2,1,1. Third went to Felipe Gonzalez & Kathleen Ilo 3,2,3,3,3, and even fourth was fought hard - here Adam Katona & Bella Gubzheva took that prize home with 4,4,4,5,5. Fifth was awarded to Werner Figar & Shimkiri 5,5,5,4,4, and sixth was Dennis Sy & Mae Lozada and they took sixth in all dances.


Out of the three main pro/am Scholarships run this night the “C” had the most attendants and it was the most challenging.  Here it was an easy win for Lisa Lowery w/Radeck Wiatrowski who placed first in all dances but the mambo where she took a second place to Philip Widlanski dancing with Jolanta Mosteika, who placed second overall 3,2,3,2,1. Third was awarded to Quin Bommelje w/ Mikhail Vlasov 2,3,2,3,2.


The “B” division was also exciting but with fewer entries.  Here it was a five couple final and for us an easy win for Giovanni Fortezza w/Jolanta Mosteika, he won all dances but the swing where he took a second place. ProAmArhythThe first in the swing and the overall second placement in this heat went to Lana Lusher w/ Jose DeCamps 2,2,1,2,2.  Third in all dances went to Robyn Daly & Jean Michel Erole.

The smallest of all the Pro/Am Rhythm Scholarships was the “A” with only three couples entered, here Matthew Shimizu & Jessica Nicol took all dances.

One word, Fabulous!

Gala SetupOne word, “Fabulous,” was the way an attendee, David Alvarez, owner of the “Hawaii Star Ball” described last’s night Opening Gala to the 2014 Empire State Dancesport Championships here in New York City, and we could not agree more with this description. Last night was superb! The attention to detail, from decorations, the band, show and even the food was amazing.

Ends with singerFor us the Empire gives us a touch of class now almost lost to time.  It brings us back to the era of grace and beauty, where hundreds of thousands were spent on gowns, galas, balls and magical affairs. Last night as you walked into the ballroom you were transported to another dimension, another period, one full of grace, Singerart and beauty, one that made you lost in time.

Once seated the show unexpectedly began.  The opening number was an eye opener or should we say and “ear opener!” Soprano, Megan Piccerno, was lovely, her voice took over and there was only one presence - that of her and her vocal instrument.  It was so beautiful that Troupyou could touch heaven and nearly cry as you heard even a pin drop.

Megan complemented by a well trained dance troop form the Brooklyn Dancesport Club, and directed by Eugene Katsetman and Maria Manusova, was not the only entertainment of the night. AdagioNicholas Besnard & Ludevine Fernot an adagio team from France were a perfect combination.  Their death defying lifts made your arm hairs stand up, all this while the attendees were being served what looked like a wonderful meal, with a devilish desert.

But we cannot forget our ballroom stars, US Amateur Champions Andres & Veronika End who also perform two solo numbers, “O Mi Bambino Caro” accompanied by the lovely Megan and a dramatic tango to “Roxanne” and this went also for our US Amateur Latin Champions Ferdinando Iannacone & Yuliya Musikhina who did a terrific rumba to the “Way We Were” also sang by Megan and later treated us to a jive.

Final Pic

There is nothing else we can think of to say, yet there is nothing really to say except “Fabulous” and congratulations for another unforgettable Gala opening at the Empire State Dancesport Championships! 

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Can-Am the Flagship!

Can-Am Dancesport in Toronto Canada concluded last night with a terrific WDC World series Professional Latin event and all we can say is that Can-Am Dancesport is the Flagship of Dance Competitions with attention to detail and first class service from the Venue, the hotel, the meals and parties and even down to the flowers it was a first class Flagship experience.


TheCA-JP Professional WDC World Series was a six-couple final, and all couples were of good quality.  The first place was very close with the top two couples winning two dances and with it all left to the jive. The victorious couple in this intense fifth dance were Jean Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc from Quebec (1,1,2,2,1) they won the jive with 7 first place marks to 5 a full majority with 13 judges. Second place went to Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko from Ontario (2,2,1,1,2), who looked obviously shocked by the result. We ourselves from the stands were slightly shocked since we too felt they could have easily won. In defense of the judges we did not think this was the best performance we have seen from Kamil & Anna, and so perhaps some of the judges might have been marking their performance rather than comparing, however, judging so many couples on the floor all at once leaves plenty of room for the judges to see only spontaneously what is happening on the floor.

The competition on top was fun but the couple that drew our attention the most was Ilya Maletin & Polina Maier who placed third overall (4,4,3,3,3).  They looked excellent and in a few dances and on some occasions we even felt they could have easily taken a dance.  We knew this to be an impossibility in our business but it was nice to see this couple be so sharp and improved. Fourth went to Rafael Piecyk & Betty Attia (3,3,4,4,4), fifth were Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko who were fifth in every dance and sixth in all were Eyal Glezna & Amanda Fleising. The biggest surprise to us was the little support that the professional WDC couples gave this event, you would have thought that with a world series in hand more would have turned up.


TheCA-Tuft Professional Smooth was quite impressive with a semifinal round and here once again all couples were very capable. The talented duo of Travis & Jaimee Tuft gave an excellent performance, the best we have seen from this couple and they took all dances.  Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft from California placed second in all dances also with a strong performance and Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko from Canada were third in all dances.  It was great to see Smooth dancing being developed in Canada and to have such a terrific couple in this field. It was also great to see Vladimir Popov back on the floor but this time with Anastasia Kazmina (5,4,4,4). Vladimir continues to be an excellent dancer but the partnership needs further work to challenge for top placement.  It is a difficult transition from Ballroom dancing to Smooth but we are sure Anastasia will soon be totally up to par and ready to take the top on. Mark Igor Shpuntov & Crysta Gunn were fifth (4,5,5,6) and Dmytro Kuzmenko & Andrea Lynn were sixth (6,6,6,5).

We must also point out that Travis & Jaimee won the Professional Cabaret challenging successfully well-known Canadian Champions, Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva.

It wCA-Virginieas also our first chance to see the new Canadian amateur partnership of James Cuttler & Virginie Primeau – they won all dances in the 3-couple Amateur Ballroom Championship.  2nd in all were Marciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob and 3rd Alexandre Douradine & Arielle Jacob.

As is traditional now at the Can-Am, a special award achievement was announced and this time it went to former Canadian and World Champions, Alain Doucet & Anik Jolicoeur.  Alain & Anik performed a beautiful waltz proving that although retired now for some years – once you have it, you don’t lose it!


We want to say thanks to Ann Harding, Brigitt Mayer & John Karakis who most definitely pay attention to the details and are able to put together such a Flagship of an event! 

WDC World Series Comes to Can-Am

This year for the first time the Can-Am Dancesport Championships are offering WDC World Series events in the Professional Ballroom and Latin.

CA-TowerThe Can-Am Dancesport Championships are once again under way at the spectacular Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, situated in downtown Toronto, Canada, right on the shores of Lake Ontario.  This facility offers a wonderful ballroom and many guest rooms with a lake view.  The lakefront features great cafes and restaurants for those who want to take in the scenery, and boat rides to the outlying islands are also available.

Unfortunately the WDC World Series Ballroom, that was held last night, did not not attract a huge entry.  In fact only 3 couples contested the division, but they were all of a high caliber and so the audience was delighted with some great dancing nevertheless.  Canadian ChampionsCA-Anton, Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch were the comfortable winners taking all 5 dances.  CA-Ballroom2nd in all 5 went to fellow Canadians, Richard Tonizzo & Claire Hansen.  USA took the 3rd spot in the persons of Anatoli & Irina Gorolevici.

6 couples entered the Professional Showdance and we enjoyed a large variety of styles and quality.  The two routines that could really be termed “Cabaret” finished 1st and 2nd.  Carlos Zapata & Dora Yaneva (Canada) were the winners with their effective “Exorcist” routine that recently won them 3rd spot at Blackpool.  2nd went to the comedy genius of Egor Shalvarov & Alla Profatilova (Canada) who, with their usual mix of whacky music and sound effects, transported us to the Wild West.  3rd with a more traditional “showdance” routine were Travis & Jaimee Tuft (USA) – their routine based on music from Pirates of the Caribbean.  4th fell to Kris Suakjian & Brianna Haft (USA);  5th to Viktor Tkachenko & Yuliya Lukina (USA) and 6th to Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko (USA).


2 couples from Canada also finished on top of the Open American Rhythm.  1st place went to Boris Vdovine & Patricia Estay (1,1,2,2,1).  This is a new couple to us and they show great promise.  2nd once again were Egor & Alla with 2,2,3,1,3.  The winners of the Rising Star from the night before, Viktor & Yuliya, took 3rd 3,3,1,3,2.  Dayan Mantecon Roldan & Kyra Kalweit (Canada) were 4th in all dances, Michael Zepada & Kimberley Turner (USA) were 5th in all and Mathieu Casavant & Melanie Martin (Canada) were 6th.


TheCA-Adam Amateur Latin was the largest of the events.  The top 3 couples finished in the same order as in the Youth Latin, danced earlier in the evening.  Winners were Adam Hathazi & Morgana Lakatos-Hayward with 2,1,1,1,1.  (In the Youth they placed 2,2,1,1,1).  2nd were Nurlan Gallyamov & Jessica Swietoniowska 1,2,2,2,2 (1,1,2,2,2 in the Youth).  3rd in all dances in both events were Marciej Zieba & Lory-Eve Jacob.  In the amateur, 4th went to Steve Forest & Bianca Izzo 4,4,4,5,5;  5th to Marco Tremblay Brosseau & Alice Muraru 5,5,6,4,4;  6th went to the only couple not from Canada, Rafael Kyu & Laura Padroni (England) 6,6,5,6,6 and 7th to Jamie Domb & Elsie Magliocchetti.


FromCA-RSSmooth Thursday night, Dmitry Ilyushenov & Kateryna Stytsenko (Canada) won all dances in the Rising Star Smooth.  This was the first time we have seen them in this style and we think they could really cause a stir on the N. American scene.  Dmytro & Nina Kovalenko won the Rising Star Latin, 1,2,1,1,1.


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IGB-MickolayIGB Comes to a Close!

Last night the IGB came to a close with the last of the professional open events. The best and most attended was the Professional Smooth with five couples and here it was an easy win for Mikolay Czameki & Victoria Malko who won the W,T with perfect scores from all judges, the other two dances they had a huge majority with only a few judges awarding them second, and in the VW Anna Trebunskaya from DWT awarded them a third. Second in this heat was David Estrada & Stephanie Betts they took a third in the waltz but second in the other dances. Third overall went to Sean Brunell & Ekaterina Marshukova and they took the second in the waltz from David & Stephanie.


IGB-LatinThe Pro Latin had four couples total and this competition went to Andrey Tarasov & Yulia Kuznetsova who won all five dances. In looking at the marks it was a clear win but they did manage to take a few seconds from a number of judges, we our selves though that Evgeniy Likhachev & Mariya Potys could have easily taken the competition but both couples were in great form and it was a wonderful competition to witness. Third was awarded to Evgeniy Nazarov & Amy Bennett.

The third and the most attended event this final night was the Amateur Youth U/21 Championship. Here Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson placed first overall 1,1,2,2,1. Second in this event wen to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya and third went to Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich.


And as Beth Knoll said on her face book page: “Big huge "thank you" to Stephan Krauel and Denise Jourdaine for yet another wonderful weekend at the International Grand Ball! So much fun watching great dancing, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and just generally having a good time! This competition is one of the oldest and most respected competitions in the US, and Stephan and Denise run it with class and expert attention to detail. I mean REALLY..... at what other competition can you drink diamond-infused water?”

International Grand Ball

Last night was the main evening at this grand and historic competition. With nearly 50 years under its’ belt it can still produce some excellent dancing and terrific results.

OIGB-lesyaut of the two featured professional events the Ballroom to me had the most punch. From the start it was clear as to where the top placements were going to go, a clear fight between Denis Kutepov & Lesya Sinitsa and Yarasloav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk. Overall Denis & Lesya won all dances with the majority of firsts in every dance from the judges.  There was only a judge of two that did not agree and gave them seconds, but their only third came from Alan Dixon who gave them it to them in the VW. Seconds in this parade of wonderful dancers went to Yaroslav Bieliei & Olga Tsikalyuk, they placed second in every dance but not always with a huge majority of seconds. Yaroslav & Olga got some firsts, seconds and even a fourth from Judge Nadia Eftadal in their VW. Their most amount of seconds was in the foxtrot and quickstep.

Third in the Professional Ballroom went to Igor Colac & Roxane Milotti, but from here the marks got murkier 3,4,3,4,3. Fourth overall was awarded to Michal Towliszew & Tiffany Fung.  We were a little disappointed in this couple’s performance we expected a little better.   They started well but by the end for us they fizzled out 4,3,4,3,4. A clear fifth position was awarded to Evganiy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya.

IGB-Rhythm Lineup

The Professional Rhythm was also a well attended heat at this “Grand” competition. Here for us was more like a coin toss.  The winners overall were Richard & Marianne Myers, who won all daIGB-Rhythm Champsnces but not with a majority of firsts, they had to rely on fifth or better to get them through. We usually love this couple, unfortunately for us their performance was not totally up to snuff today.  Richard has gained a few pounds since the last time we saw him and her zebra print outfit had for us too much going on - fringe, red sequins and her hair had just as many colors. Never mind the combination of all the judges’ marks presented them with first place in all dances.

Second in this professional event wen to Jim Clark & Tania Chegini, who for us had every thing going for them this evening, but we most also point out that they did not place second in every dance 2,3,2,2,3. This was the best work the Dance Beat Team has seen from this talented couple. Third overall was awarded to Jeremy Babagay & Carolyn Barreno 3,4,4,3,2, fourth wen to Daniel Lee Tran & Taylor Elizabeth Kinney 4,2,3,4,4 and fifth was awarded to Zach Crawford & Kate Castro 5,5,5,5,5 and Albert Ayers & Kristina Mola were sixth in all dances.

The Adult Amateur Latin was small but with great energy.  Here Nikolay Tarasov & Egle Straleckaite won all dances with the majority of firsts from the judges. Second overall wen to Umario Diallo & Natasha Zrazhevskaya and they took second in every dance with a majority, and third was awarded to Parker Lynn & Kristina Tieken and they got third in every dance.

IGB-Youth Latin

The Amateur youth Latin Championship was better attended with a seven couple final and here Eric Ascione & Grace Anderson took first in all dances with a majority of firsts in almost every dance. Gregory Rybakov & Ellen Anshelevich placed second overall and in every dance and third was awarded to Tyler Alder & Makayla Bezzant here things got a little different - here are their marks 4,3,3,3,3.

The International Grand Ball continues to be a terrific competition to attend and it offers great music, a great ballroom and excellent prizes. Tonight we will see the Professional Latin and the Professional American Smooth, look forward to an excellent event as it was yesterday.   

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Good Night for Nick & Viktorija

Last night at Volunteer State was a great night for Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.  They won both the Open Professional Smooth and Ballroom. 

First up was the Ballroom – an event with 3 high-quality entries.  Nick & Viktorija placed 1T,2,1,1T,1 in a close 3-way decision.  The runners-up were Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab who placed 1T,1,2,3,2 and 3rd were Martin & Liene Reinbold 3,3,3,1T,3.  Nick & Viktorija are comparative newcomers to the Ballroom field so this was an impressive win against two high-quality opponents.


In the Smooth, their more accustomed style, we felt they were easy winners and indeed they had a huge majority of 1st places in all dances although they did get a couple of scores lower.  Comfortably 2nd in all dances were Mark Short & Alyssa Kark.  A ‘Rule 11’ separated 3rd and 4th places with the result falling to Dennis Woods & Amber Reich (4,3,4,3) over Dave Hannigan & Maggie Toth (3,4,3,4).  5th in all dances were Jimmy Mulligan & Dani Atkins and 6th Michael & Suzi DeSante.  The event started with a semifinal.


The Open Pro Rhythm finished in the same way as the Rising Star the night before.  Maks Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth were once again the winners and they won all dances.  They had the majority of 1st places in all dances, but swing was a close call as they had 7 first places to the 6 of runners up, Erwin & Iwona Rybccynski who were 2nd in all dances.  3rd were Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova (3,3,4,3,3);  4th Rex & Rachel Jones (4,4,3,4,4) and 5th, Blake Glaskox & Kelsey Medeiros.

Volunteer State 2014

The Volunteer State, a Global Spectrum event, is underway right now at the Lowes Vanderbilt in Nashville.  The hotel has undergone quite a facelift since last year – the whole bar area is new and the guest rooms have all been upgraded.  The ballroom with its chandeliers is very elegant as always.

Over the first 2 days the pro-ams have completed their events in Smooth, Ballroom and Latin.  The bronze divisions were the largest.

VS-PABallIt was a good day for the gentlemen students and teacher Shalene Archer in the Ballroom as her students won 2 of the Open Scholarships.  Ming Wang won all dances in the A and Rick Brooks won the B (1,1T,1,2,3).  2nd in the A was Wende Stambough w/ Ben Ermis (2,2,2,2,3) and 3rd was Danielle Mege w/ Jari Muller (3,3,3,3,2).  In the B Karen Weber w/ Maks Lototskyy was 2nd (3,1T,2,1,1), Cindy Blanchard w/ Tibor Kerekes was 3rd (2,3,3,3,2) and Jackie Johnson w/ Ben Ermis was 4th.

In the Open B Latin Scholarship Kush Smith w/ Tibor Kerekes was the winner in all dances.  Jan McElroy w/ Andriy Velychko was 2nd (3,2,2,2,4), Marguerite Daniels w/ Erik Pali took 3rd (4,3,4,3,2) and Anna Prusinski w/ Robert Surowiec was 4th (2,4,3,4,3).


TheVS-Alla evening before Alla Neystadt w/ Eric Pali won all dances in the Open B Smooth Scholarship.  Wende Stambaugh w/ Ben Ermis was 2nd in all dances, Bonni Silfer w/ Jeremy Gatlin was 3rd and Charlie Carboneau w/ Kelly Bartlett was 4th.  

There was also a “Solo SchoVS-sololarship” that attracted over 20 entries. The winner of this was Talia Wong w/ Krisztian Timar.

All of the Rising Star Pro divisions were held on Friday night (although there were no entries in the Latin.)  The largest event was the Smooth with 6 entries.  The Winners, all dances, were Dennis Woods w/ Amber Reich.  2nd in all dances were Dave Hannigan w/ Maggie Toth and 3rd were Jimmy Mulligan & Dani Atkins.  Jimmy & Dani also won the Open Showdance.


Maks Lototskyy & Sarah Haworth won all dances in the Rhythm.  2nd in all were Erwin & Iwona Rybczynski and 3rd in all Christopher Wayne & Juanita Simanekova.


There was only 1 entry in the Ballroom – Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija.

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Great Night of Dance at Twin Cities!

The last night at Twin Cities Open Ballroom Championships was filled with the celebration of dance.

The four Open Professional Dance Events took place and at the end of the night there was a showcase of champions and highlights from this excellent weekend of dance. The Professional Smooth and Ballroom were the most attended events of the evening and possibly the most entertaining for all.

TCO-ProSmooth lineup

TTCO-Mazenhe Professional Smooth started with a quarter but in the end as always came down to six couples.  This time Mazen Hamza & Izabella were in the mix and it was clear to most of us that they would take the night. In the end Mazen & Izabella won every dance with a huge majority of firsts and perfect scores in the foxtrot where every judge awarded them first. Their few seconds came in the Waltz  and VW from Linda Dean, a second in the tango from Izabella Lewandowski, and so only a total of 3 seconds stood between them and having perfect scores. Second place overall with a huge majority of seconds in every dance went to Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sindnjova, their worst judge on this occasion was Didio Barrera who awarded them 2 thirds, one in tango and one in foxtrot.

Andrian & Hannah Dydynski took third overall and fourth overall but not in every dance went to Mark Short & Alyssa Kark (4,4,5,4). We were a little surprised by such a low position we felt that although this was not a traffic stop performance it was still good enough for them to place higher.  We will discuss how we saw it here in the full article from the Twin Cities Open Ballroom Championships soon. But for now just know that Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini were fifth (5,5,4,5) and Ben Sefert & Cheryl Seifert were sixth in every dance.

TCO-Rhythm Lineup

The Professional Rhythm was also a hit especially when competitors Andre & Natalie Paramonov graced us with their presence.  We felt that in this performance their quality was brilliant where it would have been strange to flaw them over their execution of movement - but as everyone was discussing at the bar, “was it Rhythm we saw or an extension of international style?” To be fair to the couple it is unjust to judge them by the fact that they did quite a number of years in that style and it was nice to see that none of the judges fell for this trap they rewarded them in our opinion on the quality of movement, rhythm or not. All these extras continue to give this American category drama and excitement and one that all enjoy from beginning to end.

Seocnd in this heat fell to the Rising Star champions from the night before and that was Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson (2,3,2,2,3). Not far behind and picking up those two second places were Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messanger (3,2,3,3,2). This was also very exciting to see both couples are very close in quality and technique and both get the fans going.

The Professional Latin had only three entries and this went to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka  and the Ballroom had four and this open title wen to TCO-LevededAnton Lebedev & Anna Borshch from Canada who won every dance with perfect scores from all the judges.

The show that followed these two excellent competitions was terrific. It showcased some past and new champions and the numbers were excellent. The tap performance by the two male artists was fantastic and very unique for that venue.

My congratulations to Amy & Scott Anderson on to their success.     

Twins Again!

It’s been along time since we have attended the Twin Cities Open, owned and managed by Scott & Amy Anderson. I did not realize how much we miss this wonderful group of people, it’s been a great experience for us as always.


Last night the competition was all about the Professional Rising Star events and with the exception of the Cabaret where only three couples entered, they were well supported and attended.


TTCO-Sergeyhe Professional Smooth in particular had a huge entry with a healthy quarter final round. In the end six couples were called back and we all agreed on a winning couple, Sergey Barsukov & Maria Sindnjova took first from all judges with a perfect run, not one second was awarded to this couple. They totally took control of the floor from the beginning and we agreed there was no competition here. Second in this Rising Star Smooth went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski and they took second in all dances, but here it was not as clear.  They got a few thirds and even a fourth in one of their dances. Third was awarded to Sergey Smolin & Anna Tomasini and they placed third in every dance, also with not as clear marks as the top couple.


The RTCO-Slashhythm Professional Rising Star category was awarded to Slash Sharan & Meghan Anderson winning four dances and placing second in the Mambo. Second place overall went to Jonathan Chen & Nadine Messenger and here we have to say it was a very tough decision for the judges. When looking at the marks Jonathan & Nadine managed to steal a few firsts but not enough to win any other dances but the Mambo from Slash & Meghan. For us it could have been a toss up between these two talented up and coming couples. Third overall by placing fourth in cha and third in the other four dances were Jhondar Lopes & Amber Osborn.

As I mentioneTCO-Cabd earlier the Professional Showdance took place as well but with only three couples, first place was awarded to Mykyta Serdyuk & Anna Krasnoshapka .

There has been three days of full pro/am competition and there were some Open Scholarships worth a mention.  

Firstly the Pro/Am “B” Rhythm.  Here it was a seven-couple final and Renee Kuwahara with teacher Ilya Reyzin took the cup home. In the Open Smooth the “B” Category was also very exciting and here Elizabeth Rocco w/ Eric Hudson was the victor. The “B” Latin was also quite nice last night and here Elizabeth Rocco also took the prize home.

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