Windy City Open 2018

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Wind Brings Great Dancing!

The wind at the Windy City Open brought great dancing to the final evening of competition.

5 professional events were run and they all had excellent competition, there were also a few pro-am showcases giving us a little break from the storm of professional talent on the floor.

The biggest of all the professional events were the professional Smooth where a full quarter final was run. In the end 6 talented couples were called back and from looking at the marks you would think that it was an easy heat to pass judgment upon, but not for us watching from the sidelines. For us the top spot was a fight between former US finalists Galina Delkina & Roman Malkhasyan and Adrian & Hannah Dydynski. Both couples were perfectly groomed and costumed and so all they had to do was to smoothly showcase their performance. On paper Galina & Roman took all dances with a huge majority of firsts in all dances and they could have easily won with perfect scores had they not lost one or two marks in each of these dances. Their most consistent judge with low scores for them was Kris Kasperowicz who awarded them these marks 4,5,3,3. We understand every judge here had quite a number of years of experience but we are still a little puzzled by these very low marks from Mr. Kasperowicz.

We personally found Galina & Roman’s performance very artistic and natural and totally unique to their style, perhaps a little to artsy at times but full of musicality and excellent dancing. All of Mr. Kasperowicz’s firsts went to Adrian & Hannah Dydynski who placed second overall and took the majority of second or better in all four dances. For us in this performance we found Adrian & Hannah very correct but perhaps lacking a little in subtlety and uniqueness, at this level of performance we expect a certain amount of creativity when it comes to the couple’s interpretation of each dance and not just well rehearsed performance. Adrian & Hannah’s worst marks came from Elena Kryuchkova who awarded them 3,4,4,4.

Third in all dances went to Igor Afonkin & Meghan Anderson and they got the majority of fourth or better in all dances, their worst marks came from Mr.Didio Barrera who awared them 5,4,3,4. Fourth place was awarded to Ilya Abdulin & Tara placing fourth in all dances, fifth in all was Vladyslav & Brianna Nalyvaychuk, and sixth was Dmitriy & Oksana Volodko.

The Professional Rhythm was also an excellent heat and here the the overall competition went to Aaron & Iryna DeSoto who won all dances but bolero where they took second. We have to mention that Aaron & Iryna won the mambo with perfect scores and the other three dances with a majority of firsts. We also have to point out that there has been major improvement in this couple’s dancing, from the moment this couple took off you could not help but notice them from start to finish. The bolero first place and second overall in all the other dances was awarded to Ilya Abdulin & Tara. On the floor and on paper this couple gave Aaron & Irina the most competition and most of the firsts that Aaron & Irina lost went to Ilya & Tara. Third place in all dances and from nearly every judges went to Sergio Sanchez & Rachel Sayotovich, Senzo Makhaye & Agnieska Strojek were all fourths, fifth in all went to Nicolas Rodriguez & Paulina Struk, Rafael Torress & Adria Moreno took all sixths and William Britt & Mersey Fulper-Smith. seventh.

There was a very interesting Cabaret competition between two couples Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich who did an excellent routine with very difficult maneuvres, and Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk who did an almost perfect and very précise Show Dance number. In the end the competition went to Manuel & Natalia we think mainly because their work was so clear while their competitors, Zachiry & Ariel had a few difficulties in some of their transitions and landings.

The Professional Ballroom most have been a very difficult decision for the judges, all couples that made this final were in excellent form. The surprise winners for us were Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya who won four dances and took second in the VW. We say surprise because there were at least two if not three couples that could have easily challenged them for top prize on this occasion. Yes, Rudy & Katia had their moments but so did at least four couples - Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova for example had a tango that rivaled them all, but we must also point out that Rudy & Katia won the W,T,Q with a majority of firsts from the judges, in the waltz 8 first places out of 13 judges, the tango 7, and the quickstep 7, as you can see it was not a huge majority but still a majority.

Second on this occasion went to Igor Mikushov & Ekaterina Romanskina. For us this was the couple to beat and beat they got, and as you will see from the marks, from here down the judges were totally not committed with anyone - 2,3,1,2,3. With the exception of the tango and quickstep I thought Igor & Ekaterina were good enough to be in contest for this top placement, but it was not to be they had to settle for second place overall.

Third went to Oscar Pedrinelli & Lenka Kovalcikova with these marks 4,2,4,4,2, and in looking at the marks there were at least three judges that thought their tango was terrific as we did. We were a little surprised not to see more judges jumping on board on this one. When it came to dancing we thought Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova had a terrific night. I have not seen them dance this well in a long time, whatever they are doing they should do more of, they looked light and had lots of flair. Unfortunately, they have not been getting great results of late, their dancing was starting to get a little heavy at times and stagnant. We were a little shocked when they were placed fourth but not surprised since as we just mentioned their results have been a little low lately, but as you will see from their marks one more third and they would have placed a little higher 3,4,3,3,4.

Fifth position went to Evgeniy Mayorov & Olga Lisovskaya placing fifth in all dances and sixth in all went to Aleksandr Skriptsov & Aida Skripsova.

The Professional Latin was a five-couple final but with excellent dancing. For us top placement could have gone to at least 2 of the couples - Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk and Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova and we have to report that it was very, very close indeed. Manuel & Natalia won four dances to one taking second in the paso doble, and Artur & Anastasia placed second in four dances and won the paso doble.

When looking at the marks Manuel & Natalia won four dances with a majority of firsts the C,S,R,J but not by a lot, in the cha cha they got 7 first out of 13 judges and Artur & Anastasia got 6 firsts, the same amount of firsts were distributed to the couples in the samba and the jive. Manuel & Natalia took one more first in the rumba bringing that count to 8 first places to them and only five to Artur & Anastasia, that was a little clear. In the paso doble Artur & Anastasia got 7 out of 13 firsts and Manuel & Natalia 6. So as you can see it was really close between these two excellent couples and we must add that their styles were different as well. Manuel & Natalia tend to be more basic with grounded movements, while Artur & Anastasia tend to be more playful and out of the ordinary when it comes to their interpretation and choreography. We have to say that on this occasion we thought that Artur & Anastasia could have easily won and as you can see by all the marks it was very close one judge could have changed the result, so in this case we are going to say that it was really just a matter of taste.

Third in this competition went to Dymytrii Goncharov & Tatyana Lutsenko with these marks 4,4,3,3,3; fourth was Dmitrii Chopenko & Valeria Khrapak 3,3,4,5,4, and fifth was awarded to Aleksei Alekseev & Ekaterina Derevleva 5,5,5,4,5. We actually got this backwards overall, we really liked Aleksei & Ekaterina we thought they presented very solid Latin American dancing, but apparently not when looking at the marks. We found Dymytrii & Tatyana lacking some of the basic understanding of what the dances are all about, but perhaps that is just us being old fashioned in this new world of steps and power. And we found some of Dimitrii & Valeria’s movements a little too abstract and over the top for our old fashioned likes.

Once the night started there were no delays we got right to the business and it was over before we knew it leaving us all wanting more. I think we should all take example of this when it comes to organizing. We tip our hat to the organizers who kept everything moving and have revived this Windy City Open competition with the energy and class that this wonderful city deserves.

The Windy City!

“I’d rather be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire in any other city” this is a quote from William A Hulbert.

Chicago has played a central role in American economic, cultural, and political history and since the 1850’s has been one of the most dominant Midwest metropolis in the USA. And this city is once again the host of the Windy City Open organized now by Emil Loukhnikov.

The competition started Thursday night with the Rising Star competitions and the nightclub dances. All day Friday was about Ballroom and Rhythm competition and    last night the evening got under way with a diner Gala attended by all participants and it was a complete “white glove” affair.  

Once the competition started the highlight of the evening was a show by Eugene Katsevman & Maria Manusova, the high energy show as usual concluded with their Jive bringing everyone to their feet.  Although Eugene and Maria were a big hit, last night’s competition was all about the Amateur Open events, and they were not left behind.  The amateur competitions were more about quality than quantity and so keat everyone’s attention going while Eugene and Maria did their costumes changes.

The Open Amateur Latin was excellent and here Vladishlav Krupskii & Valerie Dubinsky won all dances.  They were perhaps the easy winners but we found their performance in the Under 21 Latin a lot more convincing. David Kolodziej & Sofia took second in all dances and Ziqing Lin & Esther Foo took third in all.

The Open Amateur Ballroom was basically a wonderful performance by a couple that has nearly become a star in the amateur field today, Oleksandr Kalenyuk & Olena Ablitsova and obviously it was all firsts from all judges here.

Tonight it is all about the Professional events and we will be bringing it to you here at But for now we would like to leave you with this quote about Chicago and another state from Mitch Hedburg, “Chicago is known as the Windy City, and Montana is called the Big Sky State, so I think that we should somehow combine the two to create the ultimate kite-flying experience”

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