The Open Professional Smooth was certainly a cliffhanger with 3 couples in with a strong chance to win. But it was Evgeny Malko & Anna Shahbazyan who won the day with scores of 1,3,2,1. 2nd went to Kyle & Allie Spinder 2,1,3,2 and 3rd to Sergiy Samchynskyy & Yuliya Besarab 3,2,1,3. As you can see quite a melee! No couple had a majority of 1st places in any dance and in fact Sergiy & Yulia won the foxtrot with only 2 first places. We can understand the judges’ indecision as all 3 couples danced well and have very differing styles. Between them they did take all the judges’ first place marks.
In 4th spot, in all dances, were David Estrada & Meagan Mendoza and they were fairly comfortable in this position with the majority of judges placing them 4th in most dances. 5th and 6th positions were separated by a Rule 11 and 5th went tp Drew Miller & Krista Humphrey 6,5,6,5 and 6th to Julia Tocker & Rachel White 5,6,5,6. 7th went to Jonathan Atkinson & Lorena Bravo 7,7,7,8 and 8th to Tyler Ryan & Jennifer Davis.
The other open pro division of the night was the Open Latin. Evgeny Likachev & Mariya Levina were the easy winners losing a total of only 4 first place marks in total. 2nd went to the newly arrived pairing of Lukas Alisauskas & Simona Grubeviciute – in all dances and 3rd to Rhett Grant & Shelby Wadsworth.
Tyler Li & Angelica Lowe made it a double in the J2 divisions winning the Ballroom and taking all dances. The remaining places were more varied. 2nd went to Charles Lloyd & Polina Zaytseva 2,3,3,2T,2; 3rd Kirill Vassilenko & Zarina Tashmatova 3,2,2,2T,3; 4th Ivan Shneerson & Margarita Shalamova 4,4,4,4,4.
Italian night takes IGB by storm!
The theme of IGB this year is “Italy” and this really came to a head last night in the Italian themed show. We knew we were set for a great show when Italian tenor, Pasquale Esposito began “Nessum Dorma” with faultless pitch and perfectly projected sound. The audience was on its feet from this opening number. Every performer in the show had to be Italian (although to be fair an observer pointed out that two of the ladies did not really qualify – lol). Each couple had prepared a special routine to Italian music and they all really did a good job. They were – Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk , Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena, Stefano & Bianca DiBrino and Riccardo Pappi & Sabrina Moretti. Manuel & Natalia performed a second number to the live music of Pasquale – a truly emotional performance! To close the show, more Italians showed up – including judge, Francesco Flumiani on a Vespa, the organizers, Daniele Gozzi & Cecillia Giovacchini and even MC, John DePalma got some floor time. It was a great show and it really had a “point!” Rufus Dustin helped out with the closing number choreography.
While the show was a “showstopper” there was also some really good competition. A semifinal round in the Open Pro Rhythm produced a strong final. Winning all dances were Vard Margaryan & Inga Demetryan who we felt had a strong night. 2nd in all went to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin who have made solid improvements to their American style recently. 3rd in all dances fell to Danas Jaksevicius & Yuki Haraguchi. We noted some new determination in their dancing. Riccardo Papi & Sabrina Moretti took 4th in all, Jeremy Babagay & Oxana Kashkina were 5th in all and Slash Sharan & Rebecca Vincitore were 6th.
7 couples contested the Open Pro Ballroom and the winners in all dances were Vladislav Shahov & Ekaterina Popova. They showed their customary classic style and were comfortable winners in our view. 2nd and 3rd spots went to two “Italian” couples Stefano & Bianka DiBrino 2,3,2,2,2 and Emanuele & Francesca Pappacena 3,2,3,3,3. We felt these two couples were very close with Stefano & Bianka generating more power, but Emanuele & Francesca showing their usual musicality. Rising Star winners, Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna were 4th in all, Evgeny Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya were 5th in all, Tyrone Thiara & Kateryna Iarintenko were 6th in all and Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydrug were 7th.
5 strong couples contested the Open Amateur Latin. The winners, in all dances, were Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan. This puts an end to a couple of indifferent results from them of late. 2nd and 3rd places proved quite tight. Allan Rudman & Sveta Lesnaya took 2nd 3,2,3,2,2 and Alexandr Ivanov & Mariia Usanina were 3rd 2,3,2,3,3. All the 4’s went to Danya & Anastasiya Rubashevsky and 5th to William Orrock & Ai Ozawa.
Earlier in the evening 8 couples contested the J2 Latin. Tyler Li & Angelica Lowe were the winners 2,1,1,1,1. Dave Firestein & Shelly Umansky won the cha and were 2nd in the other 4 dances. All the remaining couples finished in the same place in all dances. 3rd Daniel Pollack & Rylee Arnold; 4th Mark Karmalita & Marie Kliaeva; 5th Kirill Vassilenko & Zarina Tashmatova; 6th Sage Rosen & Ella Melideo; 7th Ivan Shneerson & Margarita Shalamova.
In the Senior I Ballroom the winners were Thomas Yin & Kelly Cheng 2,1,1,1,1. 2nd were Dan Manea & Mia Hu 1,2,2,2,2; 3rd John Huang & Angela He; 4th Reza Molavi & Jamie Cooper.
Welcome to Italy!
It has been 2 years since Daniele Gozzi & Cecilia Giovacchini took over the reins at IGB, one of the nation’s longest running events.
The venue is still the Marriott Waterfront at San Francisco Airport, but we could be in Italy as that is this year’s theme. Center pieces made from pasta and antique Vespa scooters are two of the things that certainly give you the Italian flavor!
The competition got under way yesterday with the pro-am Rhythm divisions. These were followed at night with the 4 Rising Star Professional divisions, all straight finals.
For us the most exciting was the Latin and this was also the most contested. There were several new couples in this division all showing great promise for the future. The winners in all dances were Sasha Althukov & Cheyenne Murillo and they were certainly the most seasoned couple in this final. 2nd in all went to Vlad Astafiev & Annie He Xiao and for us they were clear in this position. 3rd in all went to a new couple to us, Lukas Alisaukas & Simona Grubeviciute. They are an attractive couple with a very unique style. Rhett Grant & Shelby Wadsworth were 4th 5,4,4,4,5, another new and energetic couple to us. Sergei Panchenko & Natalia Zavrevshaia were 5th 4,5,5,5,4, also new to us and Zsolt Katona & Timea Potys were 6th.
The Rhythm was also a 6-couple final and the winners tonight were Jeremy Babaguy & Oxana Kashkina 1,1,1,2,2. They seemed delighted with their win. 2nd went to Slash Sharan & Rebecca Vincitore 2,2,2,1,1. We believe this is a new partnership. 3rd in all dances went to another new pairing, Dustin Donelan & Georgietta Anderson. 4th in all were Piero della Santini & Alessandra Gonzalez; 5th in all Daniel Lee Tran & Danielle Rayzburg and 6th in all Jerswin Poloyapoy & Anne Montserrat.
The Smooth and Ballroom each had 3 couples. The Smooth was won by David Estrada & Meagen Mendoza 1,1,1,1; 2nd Brodie Kaster & Erin Drake 2,2,2,2; 3rd Tyler Ryan & Jennifer Davis 3,3,3,3. Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna won the Ballroom 1,1,1,1,1. 2nd Tyrone Thiara & Kateryna Iarintenko 2,2,2,2,2 and 3rd Sarosh Ahmad & Zoe Wydroug 3,3,3,3.
Included in tonight’s program is a show themed for Italy that will include a live Italian tenor. Stay tuned for more tomorrow here on the blog.