Chicago Harvest Moon Ball Championship 2022

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Dancing Under the Harvest Moon!

“Well, it was a marvelous night for a moon dance……….

With the stars up above in our eyes. A fantabulous night to remember. 'Neath the cover of October skies. One more moon dance with you in the moonlight. On this very magic night.”

It was certainly a wonderful night and conclusion for the Harvest Moon Ball Dancesport Championships, here at the Chicago Marriott in Oak Brook, IL. Last night we had some terrific dancing, and like a harvest some were very ripe and ready to be picked while others were still a little green but with huge talent.

Our favorite event was the Open Professional Smooth Championship and here the couple that won, Vlad & Brianna Nalyvanchuk took all dances with the majority of firsts. Today we were a little surprised to see that a few judges awarded them seconds and even some thirds. This was for us and we think the majority of the audience, hands down the best couple on the floor in every dance and they were smooth as silk, in this performance.  They were also the winners of the Professional Challenge of Champions later in the night.

Second overall was awarded to Emily & Trevor Guthrie with these marks: 2,2,3,2. We totally enjoyed the commitment this couple has to this style and they are quite fun to watch especially the connection they have with each other. However, we are not sure about the quality of their work, they can go from “ripe to green” in the same dance, but this was an excellent result for this couple and congratulations. Third place was awarded to Vasilii & Irina Platonov 3,3,2,3, here again you have a couple that at times could look like the champions then let go and we have posture and presentation basic issues, we did like them at times but never thought they would be placed this highly in the final.

Fourth in all dances went to the couple that we felt could have taken the second place position easily, David Elser & Elizabeth Krug. Their presentation is top notch, even though in the last two dances they seemed to get a little lost and not demand a higher placement. We had to look for them in the last two dances. But once found we liked what we saw. Fifth position was taken by Jonathan Wolfgram & Danyelle Morley and sixth were Aleksandar & Yelena Bonev, who for us had a better night than the night before on the Rising Star.

The Professional Rhythm was also another well attended and interesting professional heat to watch and here the results were really all over the place. The overall winners were Toshko Kondov & Kristen Dobson. They won three dances and placed third in the mambo and second in the rumba. We quite liked their performance, but we agree with the dissenting panel who placed them second in the mambo, for us there was no power or excitement to their performance and even when we looked at their solo number that they did later in the evening during the Challenge of Champions, it was hard to recognize the dance they were doing, apparently it was a bolero.

Second in this heat was awarded to Elena & Gene Bersten who placed first in the mambo third in the rumba and second in the other three dances. With the exception of their mambo that was terrific and we totally agreed with the majority, the other three dances lacked some basic rhythm action, Gene’s upper body does not seem to have much give, meaning there is little isolation through the upper body in most dances. Perhaps they would think of their mambo when doing the other dances and maybe some of that contagious action could rub off on their other four dances.

Our winner on this night placed third overall in this heat, Senzo Makhaye & Agnieszka Strojek, who did manage to win the rumba and placed second in the mambo but were awarded third in the other three dances. We had to disagree with many of the judges on this call, we felt that this couple were easy to read and technically were quite clean, they had enough to win with the exception of the mambo where Gene & Elean could have taken this dance. In the rest of the dances, we think they could have easily placed first in all four dances. We don’t really see any reason why they would be placed as low as this but as we all know, all judges are individual and perhaps we did not see something they saw.

Fourth in this heat and in all dances went to Shen Modrzynski & Magdalena Zybura, and fifth in all was awarded to Nicolas Rodriguez & Paulina Struk, and sixth position went to Fabio Pellicoro & Lindsey Rutherford.

It was a five-couple final in the Open Professional Latin Championship and here the overall winners were Dmitrii Chopenko & Valeria Khrapak by placing first in four dances and second in the samba. Second went to Bregvadze & Elena Khoroshevtseva who won the samba but placed second in the other four dances. Third were Aleksei & Elena Minaev in all dances. They were the winners in the Open Ballroom. Fourth went to Morbert Czerski & Marta Ejsmont and fifth were Simone Spadoni & Simona Caporale.

Sunday was a fairly full “kids day.” Congratulations to Peter Minkov & Yulia Kornilova, the organizers of this event which is the longest running event in the USA. The Harvest Moon began in the 1920’s in New York City.

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