USDC 2022

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The Awards!

The last night of the US Dance Championships was all about the awards and what’s left over of the Open To The World events.

In the afternoon there were the Pro/Am Ballroom Scholarships and Championships.

The most important award was the John Monte award in memory of the man that started it all, this award was given to Dr. Charles Zwerling for his contribution to Ballroom dancing in the form of his foundation, The Heritage Foundation, that contributes in many ways to the promotion of Ballroom dancing around the USA.

The second award was the “Lifetime Achievement Award” this year given to Stephen Knight & John Gates, who have dedicated themselves to teaching dance and are the owners of quite a number of Fred Astaire studios across the Wisconsin area and are also now members of the Fred Astaire Executive Committee.

The last award went to was the Jane Chiang Scholarship, given in memory of ABC President’s, Martin Chiang’s, This went to Amy Leis who has been committed and participated in many, events across the USA. She was accompanied by Tommy Raydon.

For the professionals, the only remaining National Championships to be decided today were the American 9-Dance and International 10-Dance.

To no great surprise, Olekeksiy Pigotskyy & Anastasiia Zhuchenko won the 9-Dance. As the only couple to place in both finals of the individual championships, their win was fairly ordained. They won all 10 dances. 2nd and 3rd places were fairly close, separated by only 2 points over all 9 dances. Jang & Adele Don go the runner up nod, scoring 2nd in all Smooth dances and 3,3,3,3,4 in the Rhythm (24 points). Ilya Abdulin & Anastasia Jerjomina were 3rd with 4th in all the Smooth dances and 2nd in all the Rhythm. Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian were 4th with 3rd in all the Smooth dances and 4,4,4,4,3 in the Rhythm. Sergei Solodov & Ekaterina Maslennikova were 5th and scored 5th in all Smooth dances and 6th in all Rhythm. In 6th place were Brad Montagnese & Tania Trigili, their scores, beginning with the Smooth dances, were 7,7,8T,8,5,5,5,5,5.

Jonas Kazlauskas & Kathleen Ilo successfully defended their 10-Dance title. They won all the Ballroom dances and placed 1,2,2,2,2 in the Latin. Casey Treu & Kayci Treu were the runners-up, they placed 3rd in all the Ballroom dances and were placed 2,1,1,1,1 in the Latin. Aleksei Minaev & Elena Minaeva achieved 3rd by placing 2nd in all the Ballroom dances, but falling to 4,5,5,4,5 in the Latin. Roman Yunkind & Sofiya Glotova attained 4th in all the Ballroom dances and 3,4,3,3,3 in the Latin for an overall 5th position. Dmitriy Solomakha & Gabriela Sevillano were 6th overall, placing 6th in 8 dances and 7th in tango and jive.

Many of the top couples from the National Championships were missing from the US Open Professional Championships, and few overseas and Canadian couples were spotted. However, the events did both start with a quarter-final round.

In the Ballroom final seven couples were called back. The winner of this Open To the World Ballroom event was Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova who won all dances with the majority of firsts in all dances. Second also in all dances was awarded to Maksyn Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil, third went to Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova, and in fourth position were Angelo Gaetano & Clarissa Morelli. Fifth overall but not in all dances was awarded to Serhiy Averkov & Olena Barna with these marks 5,5,5,5,6. Sixth place was a tie between two couples that had to be broken down by a (Rule 10) decision, in the end Oreste Alitto & Zhenia Casanave 6,6,6,7,7 with a total of 32 points placed sixth. And Dan Malov & Anna Bohachova took seventh 7,7,7,6,5, also with 32 points total.

The Open to the World Latin was also missing some of US best and here too the winners Pavel Zvychaynyy & Polina Teleshova won all dances with a majority of firsts. Second was awarded to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk, and third was Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova. Nikolai Tarasov & Sarah Nolan were fourth in all dances, fifth overall was Andrii Voloshko & Kateryna Kyrylenko 5,5,5,6,5, and sixth went to Oleksandr & Kateryna Kamniev 6,6,6,5,6.

The remaining Open to the World professional event was the Exhibition. The couples entering this event mostly mirrored the National event and the results were the same. Shane & Shannon Jensen were the winners once again. This time 6 of the 15 judges did not award them the title (in the National all 15 judges gave them first place). Travis & Jaime Tuft were once again the runners-up with 3 of the judges awarding them the win. Alyenendrov & Maria Tsorokean also received 3 first places, but third place overall. Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich remained in 4th, Stanishlav Morozov & Kseniia Tashkinova in 5th. 6th place went to Nikita Zhukovskyi & Angelina Boiko who did not compete in the National event.

In the Open and National US Pro/Am Ballroom and The Open to the World “A” division both went to Galina Livitina w/Anton Koukareko and she won all dances, the quickstep with perfect scores and rest with a majority of firsts. The same happen in the Nationals, Galina won all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances but no perfect scores in this competition. Second place in both Open and National events was awarded to Agne Naujokas w/Martin Reinbold and she was second in all dances, in the Nationals she also placed second in all dances.

Third overall in the Open A Championship went to Tessa Kolaczenko w/Artur Kozun 4,4,3,3,3, Tessa did not compete in the National event. Jenny Thompson w/Alexander Voskalchuk placed fourth overall in the open Championship 3,3,4,4,4, in the National she did not place as high she was fifth in all dances. Fifth in the Open Championship went to Jen Mo w/Karlis Treijs and she was fifth in all dances in the Nationals Jen was awarded seventh overall 7,6,7,6,7. Laura Kamper w/ Clive Phillips was sixth in all dances in the Open Championship she did not do as well in the National, she did not make this final.

Anvelyn Pi w/Dan Malov placed third also in the Nationals, Colette Marotto w/ Maksym Savytskyi was fourth overall in the National Championships,  and Arun Garg w/Madalina Varlam Letting took sixth overall in the Nationals A 6,7,6,7,6.

In the “B” Divisions of the Pro/Am Ballroom Championships the National and Open went to Laura Shooks w/ Alexander Voskalchuk. In the Open her scores were 1,2,1,1,1, and in the Nationals she got 1,1,2,1,2. Second place in the Open went to Sabrina Zagolin w/Yuriy Kravets 2,1,3,2,2. In the Nationals, Sabrina did not do as well placing here third overall 2,2,3,3,3. Third place in the Open B was awarded to Brynda Insley w/ Martin Reinbold with these marks 3,4,2,3,4, and in the Nationals she dropped a place to fourth overall 6,4,4,4,4.

Cathy Dorego w/Andrii Mykhailov placed fifth in the Open B Ballroom Championship, and she did enter the Nationals but was unable to make the final in this challenge. Sixth overall in the Open and National events was awarded to Meredith Kaplan w/Rudy Homm. In the Open she got these marks 6,5,6,6,5, and in the Nationals 5,6,6,6,6.

There was another lady that placed quite highly in the National B event but she did not compete in the Open, this was Natasha Janey w/Iaroslav Bieliei and she placed second overall 3,3,1,2,1.

In the “C” Division of the US Pro/Am Championships two different people won the Open and the National. The National C went to Jill Bradford w/Andrea Stefano and she won all dances with perfect scores in the foxtrot and quickstep and the majority of firsts in the other three dances. We must mention that Jill did not compete in the National Event. The “C” National US title went to Monique Saviano w/Oreste Alito and she placed 1,1,1,1,2.

In second place in the C Open was Natasha Janey w/Iaroslav Bieliei and she took seconds in all dances. Natasha also did not compete in the National C category this time. Third place in this same C Open group went to Rebecca Kuhn w/Andrea Faraci 3,3,4,3,3. Rebecca also placed third in the National event with these marks 3,4,3,2,4. Fourth overall in the Open was awarded to Annie Chan w/ Christian Radvan 5,4,5,4,4 and she too placed fourth in the C National event 4,2,6,5,5. In fifth Place in Open was Patricia Schneider w/Oreste Alito 4,5,3,5,6. Patricia did not participate in the National event as you read earlier Oreste won the National’s with Monique Saviano.

In this Open C Ballroom event there was a tie for sixth and seventh place between Yu Ping Ting w/Leonid Burlo and Antonia Frost w/Riccardo Conte in the end after a (Rule 10) decision Yu Ping got sixth with these marks 6,7,6,6,7, and Antonia took seventh with these marks 7,6,7,7,5. Yu Ping did not enter the National event of this C Division but Antonia did and she placed second overall in this venture 2,3,4,3,1. It was a clear eighth place finish in this Open C event for Michele Davis w/Danila Dudin, Michele did not compete in the National event.

In the “C” National event Antonia Frost w/ Ricardo Conte took the runner-up position 2,3,4,3,1. Kim Gorsuch w/Denis Generalov was fifth overall 5,6,2,4,6, and Louise To w/Oscar Pedrinelli took sixth position 6,5,5,6,3.

In the Senior 1 US Pro/Am Championships the Open and Nationals went to Llewelyn Nielsen w/Oreste Alito. In the Open Llewelyn placed first with these marks 1,2,2,1,1, and in the Nationals she took all dances. Second place in the Open was awarded to Paige Riffle w/Iaroslav Bieliei 2,1,1,2,3. In the Nationals she took third overall 3,3,3,2,2. Third overall in the Senior 1 Open was awarded to Linda Gill w/Luca Balestra 3,3,3,4. Linda moved up a place in the Nationals, second was awarded to her 2,2,2,3,3.

Fourth overall in the Senior 1 Open Ballroom went to Jennifer McPartlin w/Richard Tonizzo, Jennifer did not compete in the National Championship. Fifth place in this open went to Jakov Kokic w/Krizia Balestra, placing fifth in all dances, Jakov did not do the National event. This left sixth place in all dances in this open division to Carolyn Homoly w/Dmitriy Solomakha, in the National event Carolyn went up a place and took fifth in all dances.

There was two other couples in this National Senior 1 championships who need to be mentioned. Kathy Stetler w/Alexander Voskalchuk who placed fourth in all dances, but did not compete in the Open, and Sophia Roeth w/Pavel Antanovich who took all sixths in this but was not able to make the final of the Open of this same Senior 1 Division.

And last but not least, in the Senior 2 US Pro/Am Championships 2 different ladies won each category. The Open wen to Leilani Viney w/Kamil Urbaniak in all dances and the Nationals was awarded to Sheila Abraham w/Sergey Bondarenko also in all dances. Leilani did not compete in the Nationals but Sheila did compete in both events and in the Open she placed second overall 2,2,3,2,2.

Third place in the Open Senior 2 was awarded to Lynn Murrell w/Andrea Zaramella and they were awarded these marks 3,3,2,3,3. Lynn also competed in the National Championship and here she placed second out of six couples 2,2,2,2,1. In fourth place in the Open Championship was Linda Huntress w/Andrea Stefano and they placed fourth in all dances. Linda did not compete in the National event. Fifth place was awarded to Betty Lin w/Andre Faraci 5,6,5,5,5, Betty also did not compete in the Closed National event.

Linda Ciabatoni w/Rudy Homm placed sixth overall on this Senior 2 Open Championship 7,5,7,6,6, and she too did not compete in the National Championship. Seventh place in the Open went to Song Chen w/Mikhail Avdeev 6,7,6,7,7, she also competed in the nationals but was not recalled for the final. And the eighth position in the Open Championship went to Pat Klein w/Marek Gabor and she placed eighth in every dance, she also entered the National Championship, but she was unsuccessful in making that final.

With this the United States Dance Championships came to a conclusion, and two wonderful weekends of dancing in California at the Embassy Ball and in Florida at our US Dance Championships.

Ole! Ole! Ole!

Last night at the US Championships was about the Latin and Smooth Professional Championships.

The Latin particularly was great with so much talent and some fantastic dancers in the final. The Smooth was not far behind with a few shakeups and a few new faces.

In the US National Professional Int’l Latin Championships Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova won all dances, the cha cha with perfect scores from the judges and in the other four dances missing perfect scores by one mark. Corky Ballas was the only judge to award second in all dances but the cha cha. For us there were really only two couples to look at this final and that was Troels & Ina and Mykhailo Bilopukhov & Anastasiia Shchypilina. These two couples rhythmical movements were contagious and they danced to every beat played. We were so lucky to be able to see this quality of dancing all on one floor. Mykhailo & Anastasiia placed second in every dance and were the recipients of those first place marks missing in Troels & Ina’s column. These two couples were completely on, especially Mykhailo & Anastasiia who since the Embassy Ball have been going for the kill in each performance. What a delight it is to watch these two couples go head to head, we are too priviledged to be able to see this different but wonderful interpretation of Latin American dance.

Third in this spectacular heat went to Manuel Favilla & Natalia Maidiuk with these marks 3,3,3,4,4. Manuel & Natalia are also terrific Latin players who seem at the moment to be getting some momentum in their performances. Fourth was awarded to Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova 4,4,4,3,3, we simply love the fact that this couple are getting their own groove back and hope to continue seeing this and seeing them giving us their own interpretation of this 5 dances. Of these two couples, we felt Manuel & Natalia gave a somewhat better performance at Embassy Ball last week, but no matter, these two couples continue to give us a great competition.

Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabrielle Sabler took fifth in all dances and at the moment their dancing looks quite correct, for us they now have to find their own interpretation to be able to challenge this great group of dancers in front of them. A new couple made this final and that was Nikita Brovko & Tatiana Seliverstova. Yes the same Smooth Professional dancer that made it to the top tier in that style with Max Sinitsa. In the last few outings we have seen this couple trying to find their footing. on this outing they are now walking side by side and they are totally being noticed. Their styles have now “gelled” a bit more and soon they should be challenging the higher placements.

It is great to see so many different styles and qualities among these couples. Latin dancing is set for the next push around the world and we like the way it’s heading!

The US Nationals Professional American Smooth Championship was also part of this great mix of fantastic dancing and here we had a few shakeups. The easy winners with a majority of firsts was Roman Malkhasyan & Galina Detkina, who we felt started a little slowly in this final. We might be wrong but Roman in particular dances better when there is someone with a torch behind him. In this final we felt that his first two dances were not as charismatic as they were at the Embassy Ball where the former champions, Nick Cheremukhin and Viktorija, were right behind them. After the foxtrot he seemed to get going but it took two dances without a challenger to make him turn on. (Nick & Viktorija did not compete here in Orlando).

Second place went to a couple that for sure has made some interesting changes to their approach to the Smooth and it is working. A little more and they can easily challenge Roman & Galina and they are Travis & Jaimie Tuft. In fact we must point out that any first place marks that Roman & Galina lost went to Travis & Jaimie. On this matter we have to say that once you set a course where to go it is then harder to change the approach or style, and these two are doing just that and it is working for them, they got our attention.

Third went to Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Anastasiia Zhuchenko 3,4,3,3. This was a well-deserved move for this couple. Oleksiy for us is possibly the best man dancer in this group and although Anastasiia could be a little more external in her performance so that we can see and feel what she is doing a little more, everything seems to be falling into place for this couple. We honestly can see them challenging the very top. They are not afraid to experiment and they are also not afraid to challenge, so great things can actually happen with this partnership and we look forward to seeing more of them.

Aleksandar Vukosavljevic & Alexsandra Smirnova 4,3,4,4 are a wonderful addition to this final and they too have a very different style. They must be careful so that their performance matches their sparkling costumes. If we see any awkwardness through their performance this does not help this “twinkling” lights persona. If you choose this in your face presentation, then all you do has to be down to perfection.

In fifth place were Yana & Tykhon Zhyvkov who placed fifth in all dances. Always a favorite couple of ours but tonight sporting what we thought to be a non-complementary dress for their performance, in color and in design was. We are not blaming the dress here because the dress did not go out there on its own, but it is nice to have a costume that compliments your every move “and this was not it!”

Sixth also in every dance was awarded to Volodymyr Barabash & Yulia Rudenko. For us, we are coming to the “age of the man” having a hugely important role in the partnerships and not just a supporting role. We want to see them dance and this gentleman can do this very well. We believe this might have been their first time out in a Professional US final and costumes could have been better managed to showcase a more athletic figure on Yulia. They are both wonderful dancers but when in a US final the full package needs to be present. You don’t want to leave the audience and the judges wondering who could have taken that position better than yourselves. Nevertheless, they would have been our selection for this final six.

In the US National Mambo Championship a great choice here for Champions was Kevin Ubillus & Milagros Lareto who for us won this Championship easily and with perfect scores from the judges. Second place was awarded to Richard Kaszas & Foteini Pangea, third place went to Mattia Bielli & Tony Nunes, fourth position was awarded to Maxin Arkhipenko & Zahara Diego-Moffitt, fifth place was Andrei Svirydzenka & Yuliya Zubava, sixth went to Gonzalo Pavez & Daniela Moreno and in seventh position were Paul leone & Rrebekah Tate.

The US National Professional Ballroom Show Dance Championship also took place. It was a final of five couples and there was one penalty given. The couple that took the US Ballroom Show Dance with a majority of firsts was Nazar Batit & Marico Cantley. This is a well-rehearsed routine to a Mary Poppins medley that is always perfectly executed and beautifully costumed. We think this will give the USA an edge at the Worlds Show Dance Championships.

Second in this heat went to Oreste Alito & Zhenia Casnave. Moving up to third place due to a penalty were Mykhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska. Moving down to fourth place due to a penalty were Anton Silantev & Olga Akopova, and in fifth place were Alexey Grinev & Kseniia Grineva.

(The initial announcement of the result in this category did NOT take into account the penalty)

Tonight we look forward to the US Nine and Ten dance and the Open to the World Pro/Am Ballroom, this will be the last day of competition here at the US Championships.

Let’s Face The Music And Dance!

There were two important retirements from the Ballroom competitive world last night at the US Championships.

Andre & Natalie Paramonov, the current United States and World Professional Rhythm Champions and last year’s US Professional Ballroom Champions, Iaroslav & Lillia Bieliei.

For the final dance Iaroslav & Lillia chose the old but popular tune “Let’s Face The Music And Dance,” So as the song says “while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance, let’s Face The Music And Dance.”

These two couples just mentioned totally faced the music at this US Championships, Andre & Natalie just recently had taken a big punch and were steps away from being unseated as the best Rhythm dancers in the land and Iaroslav & Lillia faced the same music, with the new partnership of Valerio Colantoni & Anna Demidova who just recently got together and almost immediately won the Open British Championship and now, last night, the US National Ballroom Championship.

“There might be trouble ahead, but while there is moonlight and music and love and romance, Let’s face the music and dance” Seven couples were recalled for the US National Professional Rhythm Championship that started with a full quarter-final round of competition. The Paramonovs won all dances but only in the cha cha, swing and bolero did they take the majority of firsts. In the mambo and rumba they had to rely on “seconds or better” to win the dances. For us it was clear from the beginning that Andre & Natalie would continue to be the US Professional Rhythm Champions, their performance from round one was musical, clean and they “stood up” something that is totally needed in this huge ballroom where the US Championships are being held, and the audience 90% of the time were right with them with support and cheers.

Second in all dances and consuming the majority of firsts that Paramonovs lost were Francesco Arietta & Jessa Briones, the challengers. Francesco & Jessa were perfectly groomed and looked totally ready for the challenge. Unfortunately, their new partnership lacked the experience and impact of their counterparts. Their performance was still a little green around the edges but if one looks you can see the tremendous amount of talent that will unleash. As time goes by this couple will be unstoppable. Congratulations to them in putting up such a terrific fight even though experience was not on their side.

The biggest surprise for us in this Rhythm competition was the excellent performance of Dmitriy Nikishkin & Olena Shvets-Nikishkin who took third in all dances. Last night with their copper colored outfits and their unstoppable energy they finally “Faced the music” and danced. Lately we have found this couple to be a little shy and put off by perhaps the attention given to Francesco & Jessa, but this was not the case last night, last night they were going for “Broke” their energy was good but their actual performance between them was quite special, we could here even some of the audience around us commenting on this occurrence.

Fourth overall in this excellent final was awarded to Oleksiy Pigotskyy & Anastasiia Zhuchenko who took fourth in three dances and fifth in the bolero and mambo. Oleksiy for us continues to perhaps be the best man on the floor but their partnership still has to gel a bit. Sometimes their communication is not on the same page, but this might be because they work on nine dances something that is not usual at this level of competition and it probably takes a lot more than just time to do these 9 dance successfully.

Fifth overall went to Shane & Shannon Jensen 7,5,5,4,7. They seemed to have moved one place down in this final from last year. This was still a very good result for them considering that for us their forte is in the Cabaret and Theatrical field not in their Rhythm category. Sixth and seventh place was decided by a Rule 10, both couples Kevin Ubilllus & Milagros Lareto and Ivan Kudashev & Ksenia Sokolova accumulated 30 points each. Kevin & Milagros with these marks 6,7,6,7,4, and Ivan & Ksenia with 5,6,7,6,6. As you can easily see the sixths and the fifths favor Ivan & Ksenia even though Kevin & Milagros got a fourth in their column, so it is easy to see why we only needed a Rule 10 to brake this tie. In the end Ivan & Ksenia placed sixth and Kevin & Milagros got seventh.

“Before the fiddlers have fled, before they ask us to pay the bill, and while we still got a chance, Let’s face the music and dance.” Our last year’s US Champions, Iaroslav & Lillia Bieliei, for sure had to “Face the Music” with the new partnership of Valerio Colantoni & Anna Demidova, who just these year were crowned “British Open Ballroom Champions” at Blackpool, England. The Stakes were high and so was the mountain. Most people though it was a forgone conclusion that Valerio & Anna would win, even though many of the Bielieis fans continued to yell their names and number throughout the competition, not giving up till the MC had sung. Iaroslav & Lillia also did not give up, they danced with energy and power, perhaps at times slightly more than needed, but they were noticed and they stole 19 first place marks from Valerio & Anna, the most in the foxtrot where they took 5 out of 19. In the end their fate was sealed Valerio & Anna and the “Feathers” won all dances and Iaroslav & Lillia placed second overall with these marks 2,3,2,3,2.

A disappointing third place overall was awarded to Rudy Homm & Katia Kanevskaya, who just last week at the Embassy Dance Championships, overtook Iaroslav & Lillia placing second in that competition but not on this US Championships floor. They were close by placing second in two dances, but third in the waltzes and the quickstep.

The rest of the final was a little more predictable fourth overall was awarded to Valeriu Ursache & Liana Bakhtiarova 4,4,5,4,4, fifth went to Maksym Savytskyi & Polina Riabovil 5,5,4,5,5, and Andrii Mykhailov & Ekaterina Popova took all sixths.

“Soon, we’ll be without the moon, hummin’ a different tune and then. There may be teardrops to shed, so while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance. Let’s face the music and dance” The US National Professional Latin Show Dance Championship also ran on this excellent evening of professional dancing. And here, Casey & Kayci True faced the music, cape and whip in hand, giving us a paso doble medley showcasing everything including his use of a whip and a cape. This must have moved the judges in their seats, because they awarded them 7 first place marks and 8 second place marks securing an easy win for them.

Second in this Latin Showdance went to Ivan Sovetov & Valeria Mkrtchian who had a very sleek costume but there “Kill Bill” theme did not seem to grab the judges as Casey & Kayci’s number did. Ivan & Valeria did steal four firsts from Casey & Kayci, but had to rely on thirds or better to secure their second place win. A simple but well-executed rumba took third overall and this was performed by Fedor Artemev & Ekaterina Artemeva. They also stole 2 firsts from the winning couple but as I mentioned before not enough to place them any higher with 16 points total two more points than Ivan & Valeria. In the skating system the closer you get to 1 in points the better you do.

Fourth place overall was awarded to Kelvin Ong & Masha Kozobrod with 26 points. Fifth was awarded to Alexey Smirnov & Daria Smirnova with 34 points, and sixth place went to Miroslav Randelovic & Dakota Pizzi who not only did a dance number but who did quite a few overhead lifts, we figured this might go down well with the judges but we were wrong in this case they apparently wanted more dancing on the floor, Miroslav & Dakoda got a whopping 35 points for this effort.

Trevor & Emily Guthrie were awarded seventh position, and here was clear with 12 sixth or better marks they would be 7th overall leaving eighth place to Mykhaylo Smagin & Melanie Weiler who had 8 seven or better marks.

The US Open To the World Pro/Am Cabaret Championships also took place and here Sophia D’Angelo w/ Victor Da Silva were the clear victors with the majority of firsts from the judges, 11 out of the 15 judges thought she was the clear winner. We totally agree with the judges on this one, Sophia’s work left no tangled ends, it was all tied down to the last note, they totally “faced the music” on this one.

Second in this excellent Pro/Am heat of cabaret went to Jake Mazhar w/Yuliya Besarab. They stole 2 first place marks from the winners but had to rely on 12 third or better marks to hold on to their second place standing. Third was Judith Spivey w/Mykhailo Azarov, this lady only manged to steal one first from the Sophia & Victor and had to depend on 9 fourth or better marks to place third overall. Fourth went to Akvile Bear w/Alexis Romero with 8 fourth or better marks.

It was quite close between Robert Haworth w/Rachel Sayotovich and Martina DiPasquale w/ Roman Chagay for fifth and sixth place. Robert w/Rachel was awarded fifth with 35 points on his scorecard leaving Martina w/Roman holding sixth place with 37 points (remember the closer to 1 the better placement). We must also mention what an incredible reception Robert got from the audience when he was finished, he obviously has quite a following among the crowd.

Seventh position was awarded to Christian Graff w/Maria Tsorokean with eight, sixth or better marks. And in eighth place was Mohammed Khudair w/Rebekah Tate, and they got 15 eight or better marks.

Yesterday the daytime session was Latin day in the Pro/Am field and it carried into the “midnight sun,” finals were run at the end of the late afternoon.

The “A” division was excellent with seven terrific ladies competing for this Open Pro/Am US Title. The overall winner by placing first in four dances and second in the paso doble was Irene Caredis w/Francesco Bertini, who won the jive with the majority of firsts but the other three dances had to rely on second or better marks to win it. Irene is a bundle of energy on the floor

Second in this heat and for us maybe the best lady, although definitely quieter than the winner, was Ariel Xu w/Daniel Hustiuc, and she won the paso doble but placed second in the other four dances. Earlier in the day, the result was the same for these 2 ladies in the US National Championship except that here Ariel won the rumba and not the paso.

Third in all dances was awarded to Olga Onischuk w/ Gunnar Gunnarsson (from England). Olga of course did not dance in the national event. Fourth also in all dances went to Kaylee Schuwarz w/Evgenii Grytsak. Kaylee placed 6th in the US National. Lori Ebinger w/Tabish Romario was awarded fifth in all, Mia Senzatimore w/Alexander Chudin placed fifth and Sara Rose Magley w/Andrey Kitsun took seventh place. None of the last 3 ladies competed in the National event.

Third in the National Championship went to Jessica Stone w/ Sergey Korshunov 5,5,3,3,3; 4th Tonya Hoodyakova w/ Kirill Belorukov 3,4,4,4,5; 5th Anvelyn Pi w/ Pasha Stepanchuk 4,3,5,5,4.

The “C” Pro/Am division probably brought the most excitement into the room. The majority of these ladies are quite well known and their work reflects the time they have been doing this Latin skill in a wonderful way. Here, seasoned player, Deborah Wright w/Nikolay Voronovich took first in all dances in the Open To The World “C” Championship with a majority of firsts in all dances. Deborah also won the national Championship quite easily, also with a majority of firsts in every dance.

Sophia D’Angelo took second overall in this Open To The World C Championship, by placing second in three dances, fourth in the cha cha, and third in the paso doble. In the National Sophia did slightly better, she still placed second overall but this time she placed second in four dances and third in the rumba. Third place in the Open was awarded to Kimberly Bottini w/Aleksandar Vukosavljevic with these marks 2,4,4,2,4, and in the nationals she also placed third but with worse marks, here they are 3,3,2,4,4.

Fourth overall in this Open Latin event was awarded to Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev 6,6,3,5,3. She also placed fourth in the Nationals but with more favorable marks 4,4,4,3,3. Izabel Collins w/Mykyta Serdyuk took fifth position 3,3,5,7,6, in the Open. Izabell entered but was not able to make the finals in the National event. Sixth in this same open event went to Gisa Dilorio w/Stefano Placidi, 5,5,6,4,5. Gisa did not enter the national event. Seventh in the Open was Marina Svyatets w/Vladimir Karpov 7,7,7,6,7. She was also sixth in the Nationals with these marks 5,6,6,6,6. We must point out that if you notice the Open in this C division was a seven-couple final and the Nationals was a six-couple final.

In the “B” Open and Nationals Latin Pro/Am Championships two different people won the divisions. The World National Latin Championship the title of US Champion went to Christina Lyon w/Evgeniy Nazarov and she won all dances with a majority of firsts in three dances and second or better marks in the cha cha and jive. We must also mention that Christina did not enter the Open To The World Championship in this division. The Open To The World Latin B went to Lindsey Keatley w/Vladislav Robatsenko in every dance, but here only in the samba, and paso doble Lindsey won with a majority of firsts. In the rest of the dances on this open Scholarship Lyndsey had to rely on 2nd or better or 3rd or better to win these other dances. In the US National Championship Lyndsey took second place in all dances as we mentioned before the winner was Christina Lyon.

Katie Hinkley w/Dymytrii Goncharov placed second in the Open B Latin with these marks 3,4,2,2,2. In the Nationals she did not fare as well, here she placed fifth overall 5,4,3,5,5. Third in the Open B Championship was awarded to Tina Broccole w/Andrei Kazlouski 2,2,4,3,4. Tina did not enter the National Championship. Fourth place in the B Open Championship went to Liliya Bauer w/Aleksandr Gorodetskyy 4,3,3,5,3, this lady also did not enter the National Championship. Fifth place in this Open B Championships was given to Irina Myrtceva w/Artur Tarnavskyy 5,5,5,6,5. In the National event Irina placed sixth in all dances. Valerie Chayko w/Stanishlav Kocherin from Canada took sixth place 7,6,6,4,6, for obvious reasons she was not in the national event. Seventh position was awarded to Caroline Mao w/Yegor Novikov 6,7,7,7,7, in the Open Championship, but in the nationals she was awarded seventh place in all dances.

There is one more lady we should mention that danced in the National event but did not dance the open - Yingna Nan w/Dymytrii Goncharov it is important because in the National she placed third overall 3,3,4,4,3 - as you can see she was very close to the top in quite a few dances.

The Senior 1 Open To The World Pro/Am Latin US Championship went to Susann Tunick w/ Nikolay Voronovich placing first in all dances. The National event Senior 1 went to Lisa Lowery w/Artem Merenko and they too placed first in every dance. Second in the Open Senior 1 Event was awarded to Lisa Lowery w/Artem Merenko and she placed second in all dances. Second in the National event overall was Robyn Shreiber w/Viktor Shumylo 2,2,4,2,2. Robyn also placed third overall in the Senior 1 Open event and was awarded 3,3,3,4,4. Fourth in the Open went to Nancy Murdock w/Roman Italyankin 4,4,4,3,5 and in the National event this lady was awarded fifth place overall 6,5,2,5,6.

Scott Magnesen w/Sabrina Manzi placed fifth overall in the Open Championship 5,5,5,5,3, but in the National Championship, Scott placed third overall 3,3,3,4,3. Sherry Tucker w/Vlad Astafiev was sixth in all dances in this Senior 1 event, she was also sixth overall in the National Championship 5,4,5,6,5. Seventh in the Open and in all dances was Anna Chiu w/ Troels Bager, she also entered the National event but did not make it to the final.

Nora Fox w/Plamen Danilov placed in both the Open and Nationals Senior 2 Pro/Am Latin Championships. In the Open to the World, Nora won all dances with the majority of firsts in three out of the five dances, in the samba and the rumba Nora had to rely on second or better marks to win. In the National Championship Senior 2 Nora took second in all dances.

Susan Miller w/Ricky Bentzen, placed second in the Senior 2 Open in all dances, Susan did not enter the National Championship. Third in the Open and in all dances was awarded to Alice Lekht w/Igor Derimov she also placed third in the National Championship overall but not in all dances 4,3,4,3,3. Fourth place in the Open went to Susan Sordoni w/Francesco Arietta 4,4,6,4,5, Susan dropped a place in the National Championship and placed fifth in this challenge 5,5,5,5,6.

Toni Mullins w/Tomasz Wlodarski placed fifth overall in the Open Senior 2 Championship 5,5,4,5,4. Toni did not participate in the National Championship. Diana Knight w/Nikolai Shpakov was awarded sixth place in the Open Championship 6,6,5,6,6, she faired a lot better in the National Championship where she placed fourth overall 3,4,3,4,4. Seventh overall in the Open went to Barbara Cheney w/Vlad Astafiev 7,7,7,7,8, Barbara was also seventh in all dances in the National Championship. In eighth position in the Open Senior 2 Championship was Joseph Hubchenko w/Denis Rivera 8,8,8,8,7.

Susan Tunick w/ Nikolay Voronovich did not enter the Open Senior 2 Pro/Am Latin Championship but did enter the National and here she won all dances over Nora Fox who as we mentioned earlier placed second in this same championship. Another person that participated in the nationals but did not enter the Open to the world event was Joan Endres w/Gene Bersten and they placed sixth overall 6,6,6,6,5.

With this we concluded the fourth day of the United States Dance Championships, we look forward to the National Professional Latin and Smooth tonight and tomorrow all the open events as well as the Pro/Am Ballroom Championships.

Great Expectations and the Goblet of Fire!

Last night at the USDC there were great expectations concerning the US Open Professional Cabaret, and the couples totally delivered.

Six couples were in this final and all couples gave excellent performances. As we sat there in amazement seeing all this impossible maneuvers like a magic show or a spell, we just wondered if they were competing for the US Championship or a “Goblet of Fire.”

In this US “Goblet of Fire” Professional Cabaret three excellent couples fought it out to become the US Cabaret Champions, it was beautiful to see so much talent gathered in just one place. Many of the programs we had seen in the past, but the majority were executed perfectly and we are sure that they left the judges with a terrible burden of where to place each one of these brilliant “magicians” of the art of Cabaret.

In the end the winners for us by far were Shane & Shannon Jensen who gave a faultless performance with some death defying lifts, the one signature lift where Shannon looks as if she is traveling through the air unsupported around Shane brought the house down not just once but twice and it secureed them perfect scores from all the judges, and first place position in this amazing “Goblet of Fire” US Championship event.

It was unimaginable that after Alyenendrov & Maria Tsorokean’s “Roman” number that went first and where Alyenendrov levitated Maria just above his head while he is curling into himself and shaping from one side of his body to the other on the floor and slightly off the floor, while holding her comfortably in the air with one hand, (like a Roman god holding a thunder bolt) you would have thought that was it, that would do it, no one can surpass that!

How wrong were we to just allow ourselves to assume that that would be it, they’d got it in the bag. Then came Travis & Jaimee Tuft with their “Golden Road” - so classy, so perfectly executed and with the exception of a few bars we don’t even remember seeing Jaimee touch the ground once, could this be possible? Yes it was, Travis held Jaimee about 80 percent of the time over his head and not once did we see a flicker of discomfort or tiredness on his brow. These three performances were possibly out of a “Harry Potter” story book, so magical so effortless!

Our congratulations to these wonderful three couples Shane & Shannon Jensen who placed first with perfect scores, Travis & Jaimee Tuft, who took second place overall losing only 4 second place marks that all went to Alyenendrov & Maria Tsorokean who took third overall, dancing perfection is the word here today.

But this was not all Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich also gave us an amazing performance, only to be slightly spoiled by one misstep in one of their maneuvers. Had all been just right they too for us could have join that “Goblet of Fire” trio, but they were still rewarded well they placed fourth overall, with the majority of fourth places. From here down the magic got less real but not any worse - Stanishlav Morozov & Kseniia Tashkinova were fifth, and Devan McClish & Brooke Mortimer took sixth.

Wednesday in the land of the midnight sun the Pro-Am US Open Championships continued with the Smooth style and we have to say that this year’s Smooth Championships can totally be considered part of the “Goblet of Fire” especially the A category where more than one of the excellent young ladies participating could have easily taken first and they certainly did.

In the Open To The World Smooth A US Championship, Morgan Wissel w/ Igor Dogoter won the event but it could have easily gone to Luda Callaway w/ Sergey Barsukov who placed second in this open championship but who earlier in the day managed to place first in the National Championship (in a Rule11 decision), this time ahead of Morgan who was the runner-up.

Continuing with the Open A division a man got through and this was Marko Namen w/ Marina Vlasova and he took third in all dances in the Open. In the National event Mr. Namen took third as well but this time he lost one third place overall in the Viennese Waltz, where he placed fourth. Fourth in the Open A category was awarded to Alina Huang Sakura w/ Kharyton Khomenko and they also placed fourth and were the recipients of the third place in the Viennese in the Nationals where they too came in third position overall.

Alexis Salapatek w/ Stefan Ciubotaru placed fifth in all dances in this Open A event, but in the National they only manage to placed 6th overall 5,5,6,7. Elizabeth Cuevas w/ Mayo Alanen took sixth place overall 7,6,6,6, in the Open Event and did not compete in the National event. Seventh position overall in the Open To The World A Smooth event was awarded to Mackenzie Robbins w/ Volodymyr Barabash 6,7,7,7, this lady did compete in the National Championship and here she moved up to fifth position with these marks 6,6,5,5.

There was a lady that competed in both the Open to the world and the National Smooth Championships but only made the final in the National, this was Maxahna Brinkmeyer w/Danas Jaksevicius. In this National Championship Maxahna placed seventh overall 7,7,7,6.

The “B” Categories in both the National and Open were also great. In the Open Celia Chou w/ Erminio Stefano was the victor in all dances with a majority of firsts in all dances. Celia did not compete in the closed National Championship. Second in the Open was awarded to Zlata Clark w/ Kyle Spinder and on this category they placed second in every dance. In the National B event Zlata was awarded a third place finish in a Rule 11 decision against Mariana Boneo & Vladimir Kosarev who did not participate in the Open event but did manage to take fourth place overall in the National event under this Rule 11 decision.

In the Open B event third place overall was awarded to Kelly Prisco w/ Paolo Di Lorenzo 3,3,4,3, this lady was absent in the National event. In this same Open B event Nannel Wray w/ Enzo Zappia took fourth overall 4,4,3,5, and in the National event she placed sixth overall 7,6,6,6. Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto was fifth in the Open 5,6,5,4, but in the National they were eighth in all dances.

Natalia Zavodchikov w/Dmitry Demidov was sixth overall in the Open B Smooth Scholarship 6,5,6,6. Unfortunately they did not make the National final this time around . Last but not least, in seventh position in the Open B was to Kristine Buettner w/Ivan Markelov and she was seventh in all dances and did not compete in the National B event.

In the National event “B” Selene Steelman w/ Tarvis Tuft placed second in a Rule 11 decision against Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochacki who won that competition. Selene got 1,2,1,2 and Patricia was awarded 2,1,2,1. Neither of these ladies competed in the Open event. In the National third and fourth position was also decided under a Rule 11 decision and here as we mentioned before Zlata Clark w/ Kyle Spinder placed third and Mariana Boneo & Vladimir Kosarev took fourth.

There were other ladies who did not do both events - Kimberly Bottini w/Aleksandar Vukosavjevics did not compete in the Open Championships but placed fifth in all dances in the National Championship. Same for for Mag Retelewski w/ Adrian Dydynski who also did not compete in the Open Championship - she placed seventh overall 6,7,7,7 in the National.

The “C” Pro/Am Open and National Championships were also nail-biters and the top prize was split once again, as in the A, between two people. In the Open Championship Patricia Schneider w/ Slawek Sochacki took second place in a Rule 11 decision between her and Sophia D’Angelo w/Max Sinitsa. Sophia won the tango and Viennese Waltz and Patricia took the waltz and foxtrot, but after the rule was applied Sofia took first overall. This was not the same in the National Championship where it was an eight-couple final. Here Patricia won fair and square, in a three to one decision. Sofia placed second but won the Viennese Waltz in this challenge.

Third in the Open C Championships in all dances went to Nichelle Kennedy w/Aleks Nashev. She also placed third in all dances in the National event. Fourth in all dances in the Open C Championship was awarded to Gail Komar w/Nikolai Pilipenchuk, same but not all dances were given to her in the National Championship, in the Nationals she was awarded 5th in the Viennese Waltz. Fifth overall in the Open went to Janice Gonzalez w/Alexander Vukosavljevics 5,5,5,6. In the Nationals things were a little different, here she placed sixth in all dances. Sixth place in the Open championship went to Natalia Zavodchikov w/Dmitry Demidov but not in all dances she took fifth in the Viennese Waltz. In the National Championship Natalia took eighth place in all dances.

As in the other categories there were a few C division competitors that did not contest the Open Championships. In the C national division we had Natasha Copeland w/Vladislav Robatsenko who placed fifth overall in the National C Smooth Championships 5,5,5,4. We also had Amy Brewer w/Gunnar Sverrisson and they did compete in both championships but only made the final of the National Championship and here they placed seventh in all dances.

The Senior 1 categories were huge, both the Open and the National started with a quarter-final round of competition. Here too we had different competitors win the National and the Open divisions. In the Open division Gracelyn Tuoti w/ Roman Malkhasyan took first place in all dances. In the National this position went to Simona Bebi w/Nazar Norov and she also took first in all dances. Gracelyn only managed to get a third place finish in the National event with these marks 2,3,3,2 in a Rule 11 decision between her and Sue Eldred w/Oleksiy Pigotskyy who placed second in this National Senior 1 Championships 3,2,2,3, and who also came second in the Open with these marks 3,2,2,2.

Third in the Open Senior 1 Smooth went to Llewelyn Nielsen w/Slawek Sochacki 2,3,4,3. This lady did not compete in the National Championship. Helena Kostik w/ Nikolai Pilipenchuck took fourth in the Open Senior 1 division 4,4,3,4, but in the National she placed fifth overall 6,5,4,6. Fifth place overall on the Open went to Charlene Proctor w/Mikhail Zharinov 6,6,5,5, in the National she did not place as highly, she took seventh position in all dances. Sixth in the Open Senior 1 Open was awarded to Kathy Stewart w/Mayo Alanen with these marks 5,5,6,6.

In the National Senior 1 event Lisa Lowery w/Artem Merenkov took fourth overall 4,4,5,4. Lisa did enter the Open but did not make the final round of competition. Sixth in this same National category was Penelope Fong w/Slawek Sochacki 5,6,6,5.

The US Pro/Am Senior Open 2 was all about the rules, nearly every placement came from a tiebreak ruling. The winners of this Senior Open category came from a Rule 11 between Janet Bruttell w/ Dmitrii Zavialov and Connie Caruso w/Kamil Urbaniak. Both ladies had six points each, after the rule was applied Janet took first and Connie placed second. It was much different for both ladies in the National final where Janet placed second 3,3,2,1, and Connie was awarded fourth in a Rule 10 decision between her and Karen Scott w/ Vladimir Kosarev, after the ruling Connie was fourth 4,4,5,4 and Karen was fifth 5,2,4,6. Karen also competed in the Open Senior 2 Championship and here she was fourth overall 4,7,4,6 in a Rule 10 decision.

The winner of the National S2 Championship was Judi Markel & Pavel Cherdantsau who placed 1,1,1,2. Judi did not contest the Open Championship.

Third place in the Senior Open 2 Championship without any rule added was awarded to Cynthia Wolfsohn w/Alex Zagrean. Cynthya competed in the Nationals but was not able to make the final this time around. Fifth position in the Open Senior 2 was awarded to Linda Livingston w/Andrei Padlivakhin 7,5,5,4 on a Rule 10 decision against Karen Scott as we mentioned earlier. Sixth place on another Rule 10 decision 6,6,6,5 was awarded to Annete Burden w/ Tony Scheppler, Annete did not compete in the National championship. Seventh place after a Rule 10 was awarded to Jeanie La Favor w/Igor Afonkin 5,4,7,7, giving her 23 points tying with Annete Burden in this Open Senior 2 Championship, but as you read earlier Annete took sixth and Jeanie placed seventh. Without a ruling of any kind Isabella Berstein w/Jim Maranto took eighth in all dances.

After 2 days the US Open to the World 9-Dance Championships were also decided. In the B Division, the larger of the two, Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev had a resounding victory by winning all 9 dances. The runner-up was, equally, 2nd in all dances and this was Mariana Boneo w/ Vlad Kosarev. In 3rd spot was Natalia Zavodchikov w/ Dmitry Demidov. Her placements, beginning with Smooth were 5,4,5,4,3,3,3,3,4.

We had the same situation in the 9-Dance A division. Marko Namen w/ Marina Vlasova won all 9 dances to take this Championship. Maxahna Brinkmeyer w/ Danas Jaksevicius was the runner-up and also took that position in all dances. Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto was 3rd and finished in that position in all dances except the mambo where she placed 4th.

Other notable events to take place last night were the Professional Rising Star divisions in Smooth and Latin. Both were large events with the Smooth danced over 4 rounds and the Latin over 3. The winners of the Smooth were Vlad & Brianna Nalyvaychuk and in the Latin it was Daniil Tymoshenko & Vladyslava Vursalova.

“Crazy Mambo in the Land of the Midnight Sun”

Last “night” was the culmination of all the US National and Open to the World Pro/Am Championships in the Rhythm division and it was also the Pro/Am Mambo night.

Orlando must truly be the “land of the midnight sun” as the “afternoon” session concluded after 10:30 PM

In the mambo seven couples competed for the chance to become US Pro/Am Mambo Champion. But for us “it was all about the boys!” Two of the boys competing in this mambo championship, had great feel for this dance and also interesting choreography, to say the least

With the exception of the boys mentioned overall, many of the routines left lots to be desired in more than one way, and with two expert Invigilators making sure that all couples stayed to the rules of the Mambo Championship game, nothing passed their spying eyes and when all was said and done many competitors broke the music time limit and so many got penalty points. The rules say “The music for each round should be approximately 1:15 to 1:45 seconds. The time starts when the music starts.” And label as rule #2 it also said that “All finalist will dance a solo to the music of their choice, (not to exceed 1:45 seconds) prior to the final round. Another prominent rule on the rule list was rule #4 where they say “There are No Lifts Allowed.”

Here is the final tally for the couples and how they were judged including the penalties, as announced initially following the event. Mary Jane Sibayan w/ Matthew Hauer placed seventh (they were penalized due to rule #2 their music exceeded the 1:45 aloud for their solo). Sixth in this heat then went to Diane Larsen & Julius Solano who apparently had no problems with the rules. Fifth was awarded to Guerline Evariste w/ Chirstopher Wayne and they too seemed to be in line with all the rules.

The problems began with Chasity Smith w/ Eddie Ares who apparently on the first announcement of the awards also broke the 1:45 time allowed for their solo, and so a one-place penalty was awarded making them take fourth place. The next couple that on that first announcement placed third Michael Butler w/ Oxana Kashmina also had a music problem and so they too lost a place. In second place were Adrian Kaiser w/ Evgeniia Elcoro who were also penalized because they broke rule number 4 “There are NO Lifts allowed.” And so the original winner ended up being Zaida Soroka w/ Andy Bradfield.

This was all okay because we understand that couples have to enter with the understanding that this rules are all there and that they must obey them. The judges actually placed the couples in the following order – 1st Kaiser/Elcoro; 2nd Butler/Kashkina; 3rd Smith/Ares; 4th Soroka/Bradfield. However, with the first 3 couples losing a place each, Soroka/Bradfield as the highest placed couple without a penalty, were declared the winners. Everyone clear so far?

The problems began when Chasity Smith w/ Eddie Ares appealed the decision and it was determined that their music was within the 1:45 limit and so the penalty was removed. This new discovery made a huge difference. Now Chastity became the highest placed contestant with no penalty and so in the recall of the results, she was announced the winner. Kaiser/Elcoro (the judges’ winner) were penalized 1 place to second; Butler/Kashkina (the judges’ second place) were penalized 1 place to third and the original winners Soroka/Bradfield were now 4th. Whew! That was some tough scrutineering!

Now on to the more “normal” divisions – the US National and Open to the World Open Scholarships. The USDC offers two divisions here, US National (that apparently include Canadian competitors) and Open to the World. In many cases but not all, the results from the Open to the World divisions mirror those in the National.

Let’s begin with the A Divisions, where there was the most differentiation in the results between the open and national divisions. In the US National, the Champion in all dances was Lula Calloway w/ Nazar Norov. Lula had the majority of 1st places in all dances. The runner-up was Marko Namen w/ Marina Vlasova who was second in all dances. His best scored dance was rumba where he took 4 first places to the winner’s 5. In 3rd spot, was Adrian Kaiser w/ Evgeniia Elcoro who placed 3,3,4,4,3. 4th Alexis Salapatek w/ Iegor Likachov 5,3,3,5,4; 5th Payton Bussey w/ Scott Koogle 4,5,5,4,5; 6th Sophia Santiago-Burgos w/ Danas Jaksevicius 6,6,6,6,6.

Many of the National A division finalists did not take part in the Open to the World, so the result was quite different. Marko Namen & Marina Vlasova moved to the number one position winning all dances, 4 with the majority of first places. The runner up was Mazhana Brinkmeyer w/ Danas Jaksevicius 2,2,2,3,3 (this lady did not compete in the National). In 3rd places was Chastity Smith w/ Eddie Ares who also did not compete in the National, 3,3,3,2,2. 4th Alexis Salapatek w/ Iegor Likachov 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Hana Reich w/ Ivan Kudashev 5,5,5,6,6; 6th Mary Ida Spradlin w/ Primo Garcia 6,6,6,5,5.

The B Division also had some variations in the results as not all contestants danced in both divisions. In the National Championship the winner was Chastity Smith w/ Eddie Ares and Chastity won all 5 dances. The runner-up, once again in all dances, was Mariana Boneo w/ Vlad Kosarev. 3rd in all dances was Juli Wolf w/ Gene Bersten. None of these top 3 ladies competed in the Open to the World. Andi Wolff w/ Decho Kraev placed 4th, 6,5,4,4,4. 5th Jill Winters-Bougard w/ Grigol Kranz 5,4,6,6,5; 6th Beatriz Colon w/ Hyak Balasanyan 4,6,5,7,7; 7th Mag Retelewski w/ Aaron DeSoto 7,8,7,5,6; 8th Thara Salamone w/ Jim Maranto 8,7,8,8,8.

The Open to the World saw many-time winner of this division, Giovanni Fortezza w/ Jolanta Mosteika, out to defend his title. But it was not to be this year. The new Champion is Nichelle Kennedy w/ Alex Nashev who won 4 dances and placed 2nd in Swing. Giovanni did win the swing but his overall scores were 2,3,1,2,2. To be sure it was quite a close race. Nichelle had the majority of first places in only the first 2 dances. Giovanni actually had more first places in bolero and mambo than Nichelle, but not enough for a majority. In fact Nichelle received only 1 first place mark in mambo, a dance that she ultimately won. With 3,2,3,4,3, Belgica Perkins w/ Shandor Shtefil was third. 4th Michael Butler w/ Oxana Kashkina 4,4,4,3,4; 5th Shveta Singh w/ Iegor Likachov; 6th Natalia Zadvodchikov w/ Dmitry Demidov 7,6,7,6,5; 7th Beatriz Colon w/ Hyak Balasanyan 6,8,6,7,6; 8th Jill Winters-Bougard w/ Grigol Kranz 8,7,8,8,8.

In the C Divisions the first 3 places in both the National and Open Championships fell to the same 3 ladies. Nichelle Kennedy w/ Aleks Nashev won both divisions, Louise Shah w/ Andrew Escolme was runner-up in both and Janice Gonzalez w/ Alexandr Vukosavljevic was 3rd in both. The actual scores were a little different. In the National, Nichelle placed 1,1,2,1,1 and in the Open she won all dances. Louise placed 2,2,1,2,2 in the National and 2,3,2,2,2 in the World. Janice placed 4,5,4,3,3 in the National and 3,2,4,3,3 in the Open. Congratulations to all three of these ladies.

Fourth spot in the National division went to Krista Hughes w/ Tykhon Zhyvkov 3,4,3,5,5; 5th Michelle Loeb w/ Aleko Khutsidze 5,3,5,4,4; 6th Adriana Salinas w/ Roberto Fernandez 6,6,6,6,6.

Fourth and fifth places in the open were decided by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 4th Cheryl Lysik w/ Vard Margaryan 6,5,3,6,4; 5th Michelle Loeb w/ Aleko Khutsidze 5,4,5,5,5; 6th Natalia Zadvodchikov w/ Dmitry Demidov 4,6,6,4,6.

As in the Open C, in the S1 divisions, the first 3 ladies remained the same for the National and Open Divisions. Joan Goddard w/ Andrew Escolme was the winner of both, Lisa Lowery w/ Artem Merenkov was 2nd and Tamilane Bleaudeau w/ Dennis Woods was 3rd. In the National Joan placed 2,1,1,1,1 and in the Open she won all dances. Lisa was placed 1,2,3,2,3 in the National and 2,2,2,2,2 in the Open. Tamilane scored 4,4,2,4,2 in the National and 3,5,5,4,3 in the Open.

Fourth place in the National division went to Shari Oxman w/ Hyak Balasanyan 5,5,4,3,4; 5th Judith Spivey w/ Zhylenko 3,3,6,5,5; 6th Sandy Buckholz w/ Toshko Kondov 6,6,5,6,6.

For the Open division the results were 4th Scott Magnesen w/ Sabrina Manzi 6,4,4,3,4 (R10); 5th Nancy Rappoport w/ Igor Dogoter 5,3,3,5,5 (R10); 6th Sandy Buckholz w/ Toshko Kondov 4,6,6,6,6.

Finally in the S2 divisions we saw the same champion crowned in both the National and Open and this was Janet Bruttell w/ Dmitry Zavialov. Janet won all dances in the National and placed 1,2,1,2,3 in the Open.

The runner-up in the National division was Karen Scott w/ Vlad Kosarev who was 2nd in all dances. 3rd in all dances went to Leslie McCleod w/ Melbin De La Cruz. 4th and 5th places were decided by a Rule 10 tiebreak. 4th Annie Crane w/ Andrey Gergel 6,4,5,4,4; 5th Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 4,5,4,5,5; 6th Nati Ross w/ Eddie Rivera 5,6,6,6,6; 7th Anna Mae Schwartz w/ Volodymyre Barabash 7,7,7,7,7.

The runner-up in the Open division was Susan Miller w/ Hyak Arshakian 2,1,3,3,2 and this time third went to Karen Scott w/ Vlad Kosarev 3,3,2,1,4. 4th Leslie McLeod w/ Melbin De La Cruz 4,4,4,4,4; 5th Susan Sordoni w/ Francesco Arietta 5,5,5,5,5; 6th Nati Ross w/ Eddie Rivera 6,6,6,6,6.

Last night we also saw the first of the professional divisions. The first National Title to be decided was the Theatre Arts Division. This event is in a way a “throwback” to the days when the “Theatre Arts” division had 2 dances – a compulsory dance where all couples danced at the same time to a pre-decided musical selection. The top 6 from this were then invited to perform a solo piece of their choice. Nowadays this division has been split into 2 separate competitions – the compulsory dance, now known as the Theatre Arts and the solo, now called the Cabaret.

Tonight it was the Theatre Arts that was contested. This year’s musical selection was a waltz. As has been the case for several years, the contest was really between two couples – Shane & Shannon Jensen and Travis & Jaimee Tuft and indeed, between them, these 2 couples took every 1st and 2nd placement from the judges. By 10 first places to 7, Shane & Shannon successfully regained the title they last won in 2019 (they did not compete in 2021). 2021 Champions, Travis & Jaimee took the runner-up spot this year.

Jang & Adele Don were 3rd. 4th Zachary Pohl & Ariel Freilich; 5th Jay Holmes & Andrea Rupley; 6th Devon McClish & Brooke Mortimer; 7th Daniel Reichert & Kristina Snitsar.

There was a very large entry in this year’s Professional Rising Star Rhythm, the event was danced over 4 rounds. The winners for 2022 were Gene & Elena Bersten who placed 1,1,2,1,1.

The Professional Rising Star Ballroom was also well attended with 2 rounds of competition. The winners here were Mirko Spano & Pamela Romano and they won all 5 dances.

So all in all a good first 2 days for the USDC, today more National Championships and Open championships will be decided. Stay tuned for more!


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